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Carol Bray

Carol Bray

Born: Princeton, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

Study hard, it’s worth it in the long run. It’s not that money is everything, but it’s nice to be at a place that you can pay your bills. Live conservatively. Be honest. Be kind. Think of three things before speaking. “Is it true?” “Is it kind?” “Is it necessary?”

Carol Bray

My name is Carol Bray. I was born in Princeton, Minnesota on November 1, 1949. I am the second oldest of six children, born on All Saint’s Day, the day after Halloween. I now live in the little town of Crown.

My great grandparents came from Germany and settled on a farm across from the church in Crown. That farm was 100 years old in 1976; it was Grandpa’s farm until I was 10. Then my parents bought the house and Grandpa lived with us.

I went to the parochial school attached to the church in Crown. There were seven students in my class, three were my first cousins. I went to this school through eighth grade. I didn’t eat lunch at school; I would go back to my house for a lunch of fried potatoes with my mother.

Growing up, my life revolved around working on the farm, church and 4H club. I was in sewing and I was a bread-baking champion in Isanti County for six years. When I was young it was a big deal for us to have Kool-Aid and popcorn. We got pop once a year on Christmas Eve. One year, when times were tough, my parents said we wouldn’t be able to have pop at Christmas. I used the dollar I had earned babysitting to buy everyone in my family pop.

After 8th grade, my 6 classmates and I went to St. Francis High School. We were scared because there were so many kids. I received the “Fastest Typer” award as a senior. After I graduated, I decided to go to college and become a business teacher. While at St. Cloud state, I lived in a house with a family of 8 and 3 other people. We had one bathroom for 12 people, but I don’t remember it ever being a problem.

When I was going to college, I kept track of every penny I spent. When I didn’t have much money, I would buy one dozen eggs, and one package of Corn King hot dogs. It was cheap food. You did what you had to do to get through. Two different times I bought a cup of pop, I really splurged.

After college, I was a teacher for 3 years and I ended up being corporate trainer for Hoffman in Anoka. I visited with customers that sold the Hoffman product; I loved what I did for many years.

I am retired now, I spend time with my 2 daughters and 16 grandchildren. I also have a great grandchild. When we play, we do a lot of hop scotching, swimming at the lake, and playing in the snow. We do puzzles and spend a lot of time reading.

I am on the Crown School Board, I volunteer at my church, and I am a master gardener. I write gardening articles for 4 local newspapers. I’ve had a good, healthy, happy life.


Just Do The Right Thing

Honoring Carol Bray

Just Do The Right Thing
(Honoring Carol Bray)

Just do the right thing.
Just thing of three things before speaking
“Is it true?” “Is it kind?” “Is it necessary?”

I was born on All Saints Day
One day after Halloween
61 years ago
In a town where they all looked like me
Went to Parochial School
From first through eighth grade
With seven in my class
What more can I say

I lived in a little town
By the name of Crown
Where my great grandparents lived
On a bicentennial farm
Where we lived with Grandpa
Where he lived with us
When I sat on his lap
I just could not get enough

There was a pickle man
Who came around
To pick up cucumbers
In our little town
We would sort them by number ones
And by number twos
Number one the size of my thumbs
Never got paid for the work I would do

When I was young it was a big deal
To have popcorn and kool-aid
Plus pop once a year
The night before Christmas Day
But one year we had no money
To buy pop for the family
So I worked to make money
To buy pop for everybody

After living away from home
After school most of my life
I returned seven years ago
As a great grandmother and a wife
Now that I am retired
I write for the local news
Plus I’m on the school board
For that same Parochial School

Words & Music by Larry Long and Mr. Heikkenen and Mr. Souther’s 4th Grade Class of Westwood Elementary School. Zimmerman, Minnesota.

© Larry Long 2010 / BMI