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built Lee's Holiday Bungalows at Wasagaming in the Riding Mountain National Park and has been owner operator for over thirty-five years. He also owned the Siesta Motel for a few years and Anita operated the Devon Inn. Anita died in 1969. At Banff', Alberta on April 9, 1983, Don married Claire Taft of Calgary.
The family has always had an interest in the Clear Lake recreation area as Peter and a government surveyor rode on horseback to choose the location where the townsite of Wasagaming was later located and for the selection of lots for the first cottages. In 1917, the two first were built by his friend, Ludwig Gusdal, and himself on adjoining lots. These are still owned by the families and the Lees continue to enjoy "The Hytte" (cabin) on the lakefront. Peter passed away in 1949 and Mayme in 1956. They are buried in the Bethel Cemetery.
LEE, OLE AND CLARA
by Judy Lee Hoffer
Clara, born March 2, 1894, was the daughter of Eric and Bergette Nelson. With her ten sisters and two brothers she spent her early years living in a log house on the Minnesota prairie near Osakis. In the fall the fragrance of fresh straw pervaded as it was strewn on the livingroom floor to provide cushion for the homemade braided rug. Using the fields for their playroom, with real pumpkins as furniture, Clara and her sisters spent hours playing house with their corn husk dolls. Christmas meant a new dress made from yard goods by the older girls; rock candy, a Christmas tree decorated with wax candles and strings of popcorn and cranberries. The special dessert was "sweet soup" made from prunes, raisins and apples.
"Don't cry, I'll go with you to Canada", she consoled her sister, Gunda, whose minister husband had been called to serve in Clanwilliam, Man. And so she did! Motivated by sisterly love and an adventuresome spirit, twelve year old Clara moved to Canada with the Vangstads. Homesick, especially during the first year, letters from her mother could only be read in small parts through the tears. Earning a dollar a day, helping in a farm kitchen during threshing, news she was accepted into the Minnedosa High School was welcomed. In Minnedosa she stayed first at Mrs. Priest's then at the Iverson's where she roomed with her pal, Tina Jackson. Following Normal School at Portage la Prairie, Clara taught school at Clanwilliam and Danvers. One year she had as many as sixty children on the roll! However, to this day some of her beloved pupils still recall songs she taught them such as, "There's a Land Unknown" and "Up, Up in the Sky".
In 1918, Clara became the bride of Ole Andrew Lee who also had emigrated from Minnesota as a young boy. Attracted by the beauty of the rolling hills and the little picturesque lake, Ole had chosen to homestead a farm situated two miles south of Onanole, NW 32-18-18. A hard worker, he had energetically cleared the land with only the help of horses. It was there, on a hill, he and Clara built their first home.
Douglas Reuben Nelson was their first child born in
1919. He was followed by Lloyd John Carlyle, 1921; Bergitte Eleanor, 1923; Raymond Ole, 1925; Milton Claire, 1927; Russel and Evelyn, both premature babies who died shortly after birth; and finally, Judith Clara Hildegarde, 1939, their only child born in hospital.
Milton, Ole, Clara, Judy and Raymond Lee.
Editor's Note: Milton passed away in the fall of 1983.
Cutting firewood, milking cows, hunting, trapping, churning butter, boiling clothes white, building corduroy roads - the days were more than filled. Coal oil lamps provided the light while an open oven door warmed tiny feet. Wild game, rabbit and a "smidgin" of moose composed much of the daily meat. One winter the front parlour became a classroom for the Lee and Karton children as Clara resumed her teaching role.
With no telephone and only horse, buggy and sleigh as the main means of transportation, in cases of emergency the family often had to rely on its own resources: Baby's Own Tablets and good common sense served well. However, even when a call to Dr. Rutledge was war ranted, the unexpected sometimes happened. Loading a .22 rifle, eleven year old Milton accidently swallowed a shell. It could be heard rattling in his windpipe. Con scious of the effect of a long day in gum rubber boots, Clara requested her son to wash his feet before leaving by team for town. Leaning over to take the first scrub, the bullet fell out - much to the relief of all concerned!
"Come in and have a cup of coffee", was the warm and genuine invitation given to anyone coming into the