Story and photos by Bruce Thorson
July 21, 2009, Sandoz Ranch, Neb: Celia Barth, her maiden name is Sandoz, poses in front of the home of Jules and Mary Sandoz. Celia, the first grandchild for Jules, owns the ranch where Mari Sandoz, one of Nebraska's foremost writers, grew up. She died in 1966 and is buried on a hillside overlooking this valley.
I bumped into Celia as she and her husband were cutting the grass around the old homestead. Back then, she said Sundays were busy days here at the Sandoz Ranch. Cars would come down the road, over the hill directly across from the home. The road is gone now, but during those days there would be lots of people at the ranch. "We had parties, dances and rodeos here at the ranch," she said.
The home also housed a store and post office. As for the economy, Celia said, "People need to know the difference between earned money and credit. If people learned to live on earned money, which is the money you have on hand now, there wouldn't be the problems they have," she said.
She let me poke inside the home. It still has photos of the family members in a corner hutch and a lively photo of Mari from a happier time.