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Fern V. Renner Welk - 1903-2002

Fern had Made us a Home out of a Broom Closet

"Fern had Made us a Home out of a Broom Closet." Lawrence Welk Show Musical Family News, 2002, 1.


Lawrence, Fern, and Shirley

"It was a pretty resort set among the Wisconsin pines and the air smelled so fresh and clean. The manager showed us where the boys (in the band) would stay, and Fern turned a little pale. `Oh, I have a private room for you and Mr.Welk,'he said. He led us through the ballroom and into a sort of closet built onto the other side. Almost the entire floor space was taken up by an ancient double bed, which sagged deeply in the middle, covered with a tattered bedspread. A chest of drawers with most of the knobs pulled off was jammed into one corner and a wooden chair in another. The whole place smelled terrible and was covered with dust. Fern look around desperately.`Where's the bathroom?'

`Oh,' said the manager expansively,`Just feel free to use the ladies' room in the ballroom, and you've got that whole wonderful lake to take a bath in. You're just going to love it here!'

Her lower lip began to quiver, and then Fern, who never cried, who wasn't the type to cry, sat down on the edge of the dirty bed and cried as if her heart would break.`Look, it's really not as bad as all that,'I said, but I couldn't go on with that statement because it really was the worst place I'd ever been in, and I'd been in quite a few. When I left her to begin rehearsal she started to cry all over again.

Suddenly, on the third day, she stopped crying and started cleaning. Everything in that little room got thrown out into the sunshine. She got out soap and scrubbing brushes and cleaning powders and scrubbed the room from top to bottom, ceiling included. She climbed up on the chair and polished the one little window until it sparkled and then she hung a white ruffled organdy curtain she bought at the dime store. The mattress got a thorough beating and airing, and then she scoured and polished the bed and the bureau, and lined the drawers with fresh paper and arranged our few belongings carefully. We had brought our own bedding, and she spent our last few pennies on a bright new bedspread. That afternoon, I found a quiet room with the floors polished and gleaming, a little rug on the floor, some pictures tacked on the walls, and even a few wild flowers arranged in a vase on top of the bureau. Fern had made us a home out of a broom closet."

Reprinted with permission of Musical Family News.

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