Betty Barr Boilesen

Memories of the Phonograph and Other Stories


My name is Betty Barr Boilesen.

I was born in Elba, Nebraska in 1924 on a 650 acre ranch by a river and lots of cottonwood trees.

My second grade teacher, Miss Hildred Karre, gave me my first experience with music on a phonograph which was a portable suit-case style. You opened the lid and inside was this wonderful little record player. Our opening exercise was a special time. We listened and also played games to the music such as the Farmer in the Dell and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. However, my favorite part was watching Miss Karre wind the crank. She wore silver bracelets which cling-clanged when she turned the crank.


My niece Marjorie Ann was in kindergarden in the same school room along with my cousin Eudean. After school the three of us would play school and I would be the teacher. Of course to play school you must have a phonograph. So I would put my dad's razor blade sharpener on top of a shoebox as a makeshift phonograph with crank, and with the rubber jar rings and gold Mason jar lids on my wrist I was ready to wind the 'crank' and jingle-jangle and we would sing and dance to our school room songs.


Kriss Kross Stropper Razor Blade Sharpener, c.1927


None of our neighbors except one family had a phonograph. They had an elegant floor model. If we visited them during an evening we would go to the parlor and listen to a few records.

When I was around ten we stayed by the river in a cabin rented by my Aunt Della for an overnight adventure. During the day some older girls came to the river bank and brought their phonograph. We watched from the distance, listened to their records and thought those older girls were so sophisticated and certainly to be envied.

My step-sister Fay's sister-in-law's family, the Kellers, had a phonograph and it was a treat to go over and listen to their records on their phonograph that sat in the corner of their parlor. When my niece and young playmate died at age eight the funeral was held at the Keller's home and I have a vivid memory of Marjorie Ann's casket put in that parlor corner as they had to move the phonograph out of the room.

We never had a phonograph in our house, nevertheless, I do have wonderful phonograph memories!



Listen to The Farmer in the Dell, Victory Record No. 36 circa 1930 Courtesy of The Woolworths Museum




The Farmer in the Dell Record was included in the Third Bubble Book - The Harper-Columbia Book that Sings - Records by Columbia Graphophone Co., 1918



Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush

Illustration from A Book of Nursery Rhymes by Clara E. Atwood, 1901



Little Tots' Nursery Tunes Record Albums came with 78 rpm records and picture cards, circa 1924






Memories of the Phonograph Main Menu



Other Betty Barr Boilesen Stories


Axel and Betty Christmas Traditions


The "Barr Goodbye"


Betty Ann's Wedding


Betty's Christmas Cookie Recipes


Betty's Recipes and Treats


The Blue Hat - Going to the Picture Show


Brother Chris Vogt


Brother Raymond K. Vogt


The Christmas Dolls


Cottage Cheese - "Don't take it all!"


Education - Growing Up in Elba


The Enders


Entertainment - Growing Up in Elba


Growing up on the Farm


High School "Congratulations" Graduation Cards


The Hour of Charm


Life is a Gift - Enjoy the Present


My Dad - Manley Miller Barr


My Favorites of 1941


My Grandfather - James Airth Barr in his own words


My Mom - Anna Ellen Ender Vogt Barr


Niece Majorie Ann Erickson


"Put My Little Shoes Away"


Say "good night" to your kitchen and your kitchen will say "good morning" to you


Sheetmusic - Growing Up in Elba


Sister Fay Alice Vogt Erickson


"Shuffle off to Buffalo" - Risque music on the Phonograph




June 5 - 1849 Danish Holiday - The signing of the Danish constitution in 1849. Each year Axel and Betty Boilesen celebrated this holiday and remembered their Howard County Nebraska roots which included picnics, ballgames and dances in Dannevirke Nebraska.


In Memory of Betty Ann Barr Boilesen - October 26, 2000