All Those Boys

One of my favorite Borreson family photos is the 1940 formal pose that’s included on this blog. The dark suits and dresses, serious expressions and perfect postures, have always made me look again and think: That’s impressive!

But I’ve also wondered what it was like growing up among all those boys, not only for Gina, Clara, and Mabel, but for the guys themselves. Of course, with Mabel being child #2 and Clara #4, the family was a mix of boys and girls at the beginning. Then number 6 through 10 were boys, and any balance was lost!

I have Sid to thank for this photo which I had not seen until he put it in my hand two years ago.

Sid himself is in the front looking cute. If he was still five (a guess) and this is early summer 1928, his brothers (left to right) and their ages are Garven (10), Ednar (14), Odell (8), and Edgar (14). I wonder if they might be a bit younger, but I don’t know.

We know that big families meant lots of help on the farm. Everyone had to pitch in. But I also think about all the baseball games and the ski jump events that were part of their lives. In the summer at the end of the workday, they would play ball until dark. In the winter, they figured how to ice the shed roof for a ski jump. They would travel (including walk) to ski tournaments. Other times they gave their mother anxiety crawling or walking the beams in the haymow – or climbing over cow stalls in the barn below.

These are just a few things I happen to know about. So take another look at those innocent young faces in the photo, but don’t be fooled. With eight boys in the family, you know something was going on. In this snapshot from 1939 (below) featuring seven of the eight, they look a bit more serious.

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