methow grist 2011-2014 archive



Some time in mid-September 1996, Winthrop man Duffy Dufresne asked his mother, Peggy Leone Dufresne, to write her life story for his birthday. Duffy’s older brother, Garry Dufresne, typed up their mother’s hand-written notes. This is a small piece of her memoirs. Peggy Dufresne, born in Winthrop in 1914, died in 1997.

When I was six I started school. I loved school and all my teachers until my seventh grade. The teacher’s name was Miss Kolb and she didn’t like me or most of the class, because at year’s end she flunked all of us but two. Dad was on the school board, so they arranged for us to go another month, with the eighth graders and their teacher. (At that time the eighth grade and high school went a month longer than the grade-schoolers). Also at that time, we had state exams—and we passed all of them—so we moved on and I graduated from High School in 1931.

One incident I remember when I was about twelve: Mother was a good neighbor who many times went to homes to care for the mothers of new-born babies. Mrs. Zemke had a baby girl, Fern, who is Fern Cranwell. Mother never learned to drive a car, but she could harness up old “Topsy” to our one-horse buggy and away we’d go. This day she went to up to help Mrs. Zemke, taking Jack and I along. I cleaned the kitchen and baked a cake while Mother took care of Mrs. Zemke and the baby.

Finally, we started home. A bee got under Topsy’s tail and off we went across a field and into a gully. Mother fell out on the way and Jack and I were left in the buggy until we reached the gully and I took Jack and jumped out, all of us screaming wildly.

I was sure Mother was killed and she was sure we were, but she caught up with us and Topsy got loose and went to the top of the hill and looked down at us. I don’t remember how we got home but I guess we walked.