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this story with me. Richard says all but 2 years he has lived in this home. He joined the 5th Infantry in Colorado after college. He would spend time in the California and Arizona deserts learning survival skills. Richard says his fondest memory of that time was when they took them by large boats out to the middle of the ocean and had them pair up with another soldier. They had them put on their lifejackets and jump into the ocean, and swim for shore. He said, “You know I was a lifeguard for years in high school, but nothing compared to the waves of the ocean.” He came back home, “and that was that.” We begin the tour in the main bedroom on the first floor. This was grandpa and grandma’s bedroom, he would tell me. Hanging on the wall are hand painted photos of them in oval tortoise patterned frames with bubble glass to protect the images. Richard now uses the bedroom as his own. The original brass bed was too high for him to get into so it was taken apart and hauled upstairs to his childhood bedroom and sits up there. The kitchen now has all new updated appliances and cupboard along with a smaller sink. The original kitchen sink is still in the home and is being used in the basement. There is a back stairwell that would head to the second floors kitchen. Richard’s mom, dad, and brothers would live on the second floor and his grandparents on the main floor. He says, “even after grandpa and grandma passed on, mom and dad kept their bedroom upstairs; never moving downstairs.” Into the grand dining room we enter and taking up almost the entire length of the wall is a solid wood and glass hutch that is built into the wall. This still holds much of the original china and silver, as it was over a hundred years ago. The original dining room table stands in the center and would have seated twelve people, Richard states. We enter the living room, which is divided from the dining room with smaller wood columns and built in bookcases. A grandfather clock stands between two large windows that start just below the ceiling and extend all the way to the floor. There is so much natural light coming in that there is no need to turn on any lights. Most of the original furniture still stands in its place. A queen style chair and couch along with several other wooden chairs with cross stitched cushions. A large radio sits in the far corner of the room. I have to ask Richard what this is as I have no idea. He tells me it still works; this is a pattern with much that is in the home. All the rooms still have the original light fixtures hanging from the ceilings and they all still work! We enter back to the front foyer, also separated from the living room with wooden columns and built-in bookcases. We take the grand staircase to the second floor. The first bedroom we enter is where Richard’s brothers, Andre and Jim, slept. Two beds still stand in place along with multiple family photos hanging on the walls. There is another door and this takes us out to the enclosed porch. More beds stand in place along with a table and chairs. Richard says, “I would sleep out here quite often. All the way till the second week in October. Many people thought I was crazy.” He recalls at one time there was a bee hive in the far corner and for years they would collect honey from it. We make our way to the living room that was used by his parents till their passing. Still holding his mom’s piano, her writing desk, a marble table, the original TV; which Richard recalls came from Karl’s TV and Appliances in Yankton and still works. Updated are two lounge chairs, one for mom and one for dad that came from Hatch Furniture. With a gleam in his eye, Richard lifts the piano’s lid revealing the keys and says, “I took piano lessons for many years. One time I played a song in front of some folks at the old auditorium in town. When I was done they clapped and said ‘play some more.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry folks I only know one song.’” He begins to laugh again and says, “all those lessons and I only learned one song!” We proceed down the long hallway to the next bedroom which was his parents. Untouched over all these years, his dad’s dresser is adorned with track medals and plaques. Thomas K. Ptak after high school attended Yankton College receiving many track awards and also a degree in teaching and music. He taught in Onida, SD, Highmore, SD, and Tyndall. Richard pulls out of the closet his dad’s suitcase that he used when he travelled. His most prized possessions he revealed from the closet were two of his father’s violins in their original cases along with a trumpet so beautiful that they would have taken your breath away. Richard tells me that his dad would play the trumpet at local funerals. “When I would come home from college, dad would pull out the trumpet and blow it at me from across the room and ask me, “how does that sound?” vLIVING continued on page 14 HERVOICEvMARCH/APRIL 2018v13

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