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Family fun, Honor Flight benefit make this a good day

August 7, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

If it's seemed uncommonly loud in the Friendship Haven area this weekend, it's the fault of sweet, little Marjorie Dannenbring.

For the first time in 25 years, all seven of her children are back in town at the same time, and they're making the most of it.

You're not going to see them out eating together, though, because they're all good cooks, Dannenbring said.

"Danny was an excellent cook," she said, "so it just carried over into the whole family."

Danny was her husband, Dr. Forrest Dannenbring, who died in May 2006. He was a pediatrician in the Kersten Clinic on Fifth Avenue South. He was my childhood doctor.

Some of my earliest memories are in the waiting room at his office, which now is owned by Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency. But, I digress.

Marjorie Dannenbring lives in a town house on the Friendship Haven campus. Some of the children are staying with her. Others are in the guest rooms at Friendship Haven. Some grandchildren will be in motels in town.

This family reunion came about because No. 3 child, Mark, flew back to the states from his music teaching job at a university in Taiwan to attend a 150-year band reunion at Luther College in Decorah. Weston Noble, who was his teacher, directed the concert.

In order of their arrival - to life, not back home - the kids are Gary, Cheryl, Mark, Ron, Scott, Greg and Dawn. There's a 12-year age span, from 63 down to 51, Dannenbring said.

"I've got 23 grandchildren, some of them step," she said. "And I've got eight great-grandchildren."

She is more than just a little excited with her family being home.

Shoot, if we could get that tribe to our Honor Flight benefit today, that certainly would help.

Don't forget, the benefit is at 2 p.m. today in the showroom at Shimkat Motor Co. Tickets are $15, and all money raised will be donated to the last Honor Flight, which goes Sept. 17. With higher gasoline prices, they'll need more money to get the jets to Washington, D.C., and back again. That getting-back part is important.

My friend Elvis - well, Eddie Simpson, really - will sing. He rounded up help from Maurice Jules, of Webster City, who does Temptations-style music, and members of the Harmony Brigade Barbershop Chorus, who plan to sing patriotic songs.

"I sing tribute stuff," Simpson said. "But Jules, he's the real thing."

I don't know what the real thing would be, but I know the two have been jamming - do you call it jamming when it's singing, not instrumental? - for a month or so just because they enjoy one another and their abilities.

So, on one side of town you'll hear the happy sounds of laughter and family stories, and on the other side of town, you'll have an afternoon of music. You just can't go wrong.

But if you go anywhere, I'm asking you to go to the benefit. It's one way to thank all the area World War II veterans for what they did in the war and to say it's a job well done.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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