Features

Oscar Roloff: Duvall resident recalls her rural roots...and roosts...

Florence Rupard

Florence Rupard has seen the fulfillment of many years of life's endeavors and offerings.
Photo by Oscar Roloff.

milk wagon

Florence and her twin cousins ready to deliver bottled milk to Duvall customers.
Photo from Florence's collection.

Oscar Roloff by Oscar Roloff

The Pages of Time
Though her face may be lined with age,
Indeed she's quite a gifted sage.
She could write page after page.
And in them, she'll always praise.

   -- Oscar Roloff

   As we sipped coffee in Florence Rupard's spacious house, I listened to her life's highlights, which would fill a book, had one had time to write it up. Wish I did.
   She'd come to Duvall at age nine months, never left, lived in her current house 46 years, still drives, and can spin off the history of Duvall. She knows everyone in town except those who arrived the day before.
   "At 10 years old, I began delivering bottled milk by hand. Initially, I had three customers and delivered day and night. I walked the entire route," she recalled.
   Then Florence Stromgren noted an increase in her customers--to 20; she could not carry all the bottles by hand any more. Sometimes she had to deliver milk three times a day.
   The aunt and an uncle who raised her got her a horse (Jack) and a two-wheel cart. Seven days a week, she delivered to homes, restaurants, and soda fountains. Their six cows gave abundant rich milk.
   With a smile, she told about their early outhouse toppling days.
   "Oh, how I remember every Halloween night, the high school kids would dump the outhouses over and often take them across the street," she said.
   In 1929, Florence married Ranie Rupard and gave up her many years of delivering bottled milk. The two bought a farm and made it productive by hard labor.
   Two children arrived: Sam and Shirley. The Korean War of 1952 called Sam into the service, and later, Shirley became a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.
   When Ranie died, Florence sold their farm.
   Over the years, Florence helped students, took injured to hospitals, drew up wills, worked for realtors, aided at funerals, helped build homes, was active in civic and town affairs, helped set up the sewage system, and was always available to lend a hand to anyone.
   Her son Sam and his wife Marilyn operate the nearby John Joyce farm. Behind her house is a huge towering 1921 stately barn.
   As we took a stroll around her home, I noted how tall she stood in her life's offerings: how she was an integral part of the community she actually made by her background of knowledge such as new water lines, a post office, a town office, Sheriff's Department, a library, and Fire Department, and, of course, the sewer system.
   With immense pride, she said, "This town has grown so much."
   Her immaculate house is chock-a-block with mementos and memories of the past and all the grandkids and great-grandkids.
   While preparing to leave, Florence walked over to a large plate full of bananas and apples, packaged them and said, "Give these to your wife."
   How nice! I truly enjoy writing about such people, my kind of people, 'cause I'm still a farm boy at heart and write like one.