She stood in her entrance of her home at 519-9th Ave. NW. Her hair was white -- absolute in beauty and unassisted other than the perm which rendered her locks in soft full waves.
Audrey Burke had come to her front door to answer my rap. I had deposited myself on her front step because earlier in the day I had seen folks moving out of her upstairs apartment.
Currently I was a senior living in Crane Hall and in search of my first apartment. Apartments were hard to come by because of the 1980s oil boom and the thought of being able to move just across the street was most inviting. First of all, it would be handy and second I would be close to Minot State where I could involve myself in the many activities on campus as an alumnus.
Charles Repnow is a freelance writer who lives in Rugby. His column appears alternate Wednesdays in The Minot Daily News.
Audrey was an exceptional nice-looking woman who had obviously had a jovial time with age because wrinkles and frown lines were simply not noticeable.
Two minutes into our conversation, I was aware of her inherent sense as a landlady and that renting to single, young men was not an interest to her. Her communication to me was direct, yet professional. However, my hopes of this dream apartment were darting away! Well, not so quickly, for while thanking her for her time, I noticed a fantastic twinkle in her eyes as she shut the door.
As her burgundy Plymouth Volar exited her driveway the next day, I zipped across the street and attached a note to her front door saying, "I'm a nice person -- you will want to rent to me. Here is a list of references for you to call, PLEASE check them out!" The window from my dorm room gave me the perfect view to keep an eye on this apartment.
That evening I received a call from Audrey wanting me to come over. As usual, she wasted no time in getting directly to the point.
"How well do you know TeRoy Repnow?" she asked.
Well, that was easy -- he is my dad!
Audrey's husband, John, had been an employee with Montana Dakota Utilities in Garrison. Come to find out my dad, being an electrician in Underwood, worked many times with John. Audrey came to know and like my dad by inviting him to their home for lunch several times.
Would you not agree that it is often who we know in life that makes many connections easier? Case in point here! Audrey offered me the apartment, and I know I flew back to the dorm that evening.
Cozy, convenient, and certainly with character is how I would describe this two bedroom upstairs apartment-complete with hardwood floors and walk-in closets. Did I mention that it was completely furnished -- with several nice antiques, I might add! Audrey let me know the rules: no parties, and "I insist you take excellent care of my furnishings and keep this place neat."
She was a true veteran of knowing that peace of mind comes from creating harmony in your environment. She let each renter know the rules right up front so things would run smoothly.
My move here gave me much more than a cozy, handy apartment. Over the next couple of years, Audrey and I became great friends. Audrey lived on the main floor and she had one apartment upstairs and also one in her basement. I came know that in her real heyday as a renter, she had 14 girls staying in her home who were attending Minot State. It was a program approved by MSC and Garnet Cox, dean of women, made regular visits to Audrey's home.
Audrey shared that the girls were wonderful -- most of the time -- and that she made many lasting friendships over the years. She also shared how the girls enjoyed living in a home and often would gather around the piano and sing or you could find them in the kitchen doing a bit of baking.
Audrey was well accustomed to having renters around as her mother, Blanche Cook, also had a rooming house. Blanche is also remembered for her duties of running the Great Northern Hotel, which made a lasting impression on Audrey as well. It is important in this world to let ourselves be inspired by someone, and Audrey Burke has certainly had a lasting positive impression on me.
Upon the death of her husband, she became the provider for her three children: Joyce, Jack and Vivian. At that time, being a land-lady was a natural fit and it turned out to be rewarding as well. Audrey also put her talents of working with the public to use for many years at Home of Economy.
When Jan began teaching at Minot State University, we thought it would be nice to have an apartment in Minot. On the day we were about to leave Rugby to begin our Minot apartment search, Joyce, who has been Audrey's in-home caregiver for the past
several years, gave us a call and offered us the apartment -- again! Needless to say we said "YES" with much delight. Miss Lydia has come to know Audrey and her family as well.
One of the first evenings we stayed at the apartment, Lydia was very much into running and jumping. The next day upon seeing Audrey and Joyce, we apologized for the extra noise by little feet about. To this Joyce said "Oh, we certainly don't mind the running of Lydia's feet -- in fact, we enjoy it!" Soon from the back seat we hear, "See, you guys, Audrey and Joyce don't mind me running and jumping!"
It is often said that you cannot go home again. This, however, was not the case when Joyce invited us back to be renters again of these cozy quarters! Thanks, Audrey and family, for the many memories!
Almost 30 years ago, Audrey and my parents were my first supper guests. I knew that Audrey was a lover of soup and carrots, so this soup was served during our meal. The turnip gives this a robust and pleasing flavor.
Harvest Carrot Soup
4 slices bacon, chopped small
1/2 cup butter
2 pounds of fresh carrots, pared and chopped
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped turnip
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts chicken broth
Bouquet garni (2 parsley springs, 1 bay leaf, pinch of thyme leaves ties in cheesecloth)
1-1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
Thin carrot strips for garnish
Fry bacon in Dutch oven until almost crisp. Add butter. Add chopped carrots, onions, celery and turnip. Saut until onion is transparent about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in flour: cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat add bouquet garni. Simmer covered over medium heat 15 minutes. Remove bouquet. Place this hot mixture carefully in small batches in blender. Cover and puree and pour back into Dutch oven and stir in milk. Heat to a faint boil while constantly stirring, then reduce heat.
Cook uncovered over medium heat for 5 minutes with much stirring. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with a swirl of whipped cream and a few carrot strips very thinly sliced.