Marian Jean Petersen was the first born daughter of Nellie and Julius Ohrt. Her younger sister is Shirley.
Marian was born on the farm in Ewoldt Township and grew up on that farm north of Manning, where her dad did all the farming with a team of horses. She recalls how the gypsies would come and gather to the north of the farm, camping along the untraveled road side. They would ride their horses into the farm and through the watermelon and strawberry patch, destroying them. One small girl named Marian was a good horseman and could clear the fence with her horse.
As a kid, for entertainment, they would go into Manning on a Saturday night, and "people watch" There was a "snack stand" (George "Hotchie" Parrish) there where they would have hot peanuts and popcorn.
Marian also chuckles when she talks about her cousin Harold Ruhde who would come to the farm and get her into trouble. He would make musical instruments out of boxes and whatever else he could find, those were fun times.
Marian tells the story of when she was in 4th grade or so, at the end of the school year, there was a class party. This particular time, the class hiked around the block and it began to pour down rain, and they all got soaked. The next day she woke up with the mumps!
Marian attended Manning public school where she excelled academically. She was a member of the Quill and Scroll, honor society, order of Gregg shorthand artists. Marian won awards for accurately scribing 100 words per minute in short hand. She won an award for that at the Iowa Public radio Shorthand contest at WOI in Ames.
She was a member of the Artistic typist society and recalls a highlight of her high school when her teacher, herself, and two other students drove way to Newton, Iowa, for the state typing and short hand contest. Marian placed seventh in the state in the state typing contest. She says she can still hear the load noise when the typing started in that large auditorium. Marian was also the school newspaper editor.
After graduation, Marian worked for Dultmeier Mfg. in Manning for 7 1/2 years where wooden wagon boxes were being manufactured. John R. Hansen at that time was the president of the Company and he later became a member of the House of Representatives.
She recalls how she and a friend would take the train to Omaha to see movies. She also spent time at Lake View and Lake Okoboji.
Manning had a celebration every summer with lots of games and events. One year her friend asked her to come along with her. Her friend's husband was home from the Navy and his brother was with them. So Marian went with her friend and that is how she met her husband Marvin. They went to the Great Western Park in Manning, which was a popular spot for young people. There was roller skating there and other things to do.
Marian was married at the Presbyterian manse in Manning in April of 1950 with the reception of 70 guests at her mother's home. She purchased her wedding dress for $35 in a time when wages were 75 cents per hour. Her wedding dress is now at the Shelby County Historical Museum. Her colors were aqua and white.
Marian and Marvin farmed near Irwin. She raised a huge garden every year and did lots of freezing and canning. She raised chickens which came on the train and ducks and geese. She had 2 large incubators in the basement with goose eggs, that she watched daily, sprinkled the eggs, candled them and turned them until they hatched. She then sold the geese, and also sold the feathers. They walked miles and miles pulling weeds from the beans and taking weeds from the corn fields and pastures.
Those were the days when neighbor ladies helped each other. There were home permanents, and wall paper parties, and getting together so the kids could play. Many a night was spent playing cards with neighbors and having a light lunch. Music was enjoyed from Marvin's accordion playing and some would dance.
Marian and Marvin enjoyed getting away for daily fishing trips, but had to be home for the chores. They had milk cows, hogs and other animals. They enjoyed occasionally going to the dog races, snow mobiling, the CB club, and the trap line where they caught, skinned, stretched and sold furs. They liked flea markets, garage sales, and auctions where they bought and sold items. During that time, they also collected items. Marian collected over 100 Mickey Mouse items, she said they were cute. She also collected over 90 cylinder lamps.
She and her husband never missed an Irwin Girls' basketball game in 6 years to watch their daughter Connie played the center forward position. She is proud of the local school and state scoring records her daughter still holds.
Later on Marvin and Marian moved to Irwin. Marian worked at the local café. Later she was involved with the senior center and received some volunteer awards. She managed the greeting cards there, and she and her friend would go to flea markets, farmers markets, and other venues selling cards, raffle tickets and other items as fund raisers for the center. She was on the calling committee to invite others for special meals the center had.
Marian spent a lot of time doing filet crochet, what started as a hobby, turned into family and friends requesting certain patterns made for them. Among the designs is one for Connie's cedar chest that has 3 deer in it and covers the entire top of the chest. Marian is most proud of the 3 foot peacock she crocheted. These are beautiful pieces of art! Marian was also a good seamstress, making quilts and sewing her daughters clothing.
She also helped Connie and her friends with 4-H team demonstration practices.
In later years, Marian enjoyed a her first airplane flight to see friends in Cincinnati, touring historic Kentucky, riding in Carol's 48 Dodge, visiting the trailer at KOA, visiting a casino, staying at a bed and breakfast in eastern Iowa, and many other things.
These days find Marian engaged in activities of the day, playing a fun game of cards, enjoying polka and country music, cheering on the Hawkeyes, Cyclones, and the Cubs, and being involved with a puzzle or two. She enjoys the company of friends and visiting with her guests to keep up to date on what is happening in the community and with family.