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Edla Aune

Edla Aune still lives in the house she bought with her husband, Arthur, in 1952. It’s a beautiful two story white farmhouse near Volin. She’s 102 years old. And she’s written four books since 1995. Each of those things, in their own, are pretty amazing but together it’s outstanding. Edla was born on a farm near Irene and she attended school at Clay Valley, a rural school, and Irene High School. She taught in Yankton County for a brief time before marrying Arthur in 1939. Together, Arthur and Edla had seven children. Edla then taught oil painting to sixth graders at Hurley School for five years, third graders in Wakonda for two years, and sixth graders in Irene for one year. She also taught oil painting from her house as well as calligraphy. She enjoyed china painting, crocheting, reading, and traveling. And Edla, of course, enjoys writing.

Edla started writing in high school but had no formal writing classes. The idea to write a book was always there for Edla, as she wanted to put her stories as well as other’s down onto paper for people to enjoy. Then Arthur gave Edla a word processor for Christmas and Edla set to work to write her first book, “Reflections of Days Past.” She used Pioneer Press in Freeman to publish it. The book touches on personal moments of Edla’s life, stories and photos. Edla surprised her children with the book for Christmas. Outside of Eldean, who took the photo for the cover, none of the kids knew their mother had written a book. She had them all open the present at once and it definitely surprised them. After finishing the first book, Edla realized she still had more stories to tell and wanted to include her family and friends, as well as tell stories about the area. She had learned a lot about writing and publishing from her first book, such as ordering more than expected. Her first book sold out within months and she had had to reorder which cost more than the first order. With this knowledge, she started working on her second book.

“Journey Down the Road” was published in 1996. Because she had learned so much from her first experience, this one was a smoother process. However, this book required more research than the first because she contacted more people, but she enjoyed every minute of it. The second book talks more about places and people’s memories at those places. The first book was pink, as that is Edla’s favorite color and her second one was blue because that is Arthur’s favorite color. The second book is still very personal, but also features many familiar places to people who grew up in this community. The Corn Palace, Bethesda Home, the Meridian Bridge, and Wall Drug are just a few.

After finishing her second book, Edla realized she still had stories she wanted to tell and people were still enjoying them, so she decided she would write another book. “A Trail of Memories” was published in 1997. This book touches on memories of the community in the twenties and thirties. Each book is definitely very personal but also historical. While this book features familiar places around the community, it focuses more on events that took place and memories of those events.A few years passed, but Edla still had stories. In 2000 she released her fourth and final book, “…And It Was Yesterday.” This book touches on memories of places, people, and country schools. This book focuses more on memories than places but still provides that personal feel to history of this area.

Even though it has been seventeen years since her last book was published, Edla still thinks about writing a 5th book. She is still selling copies of her books; however the first two are no longer available. She even has some copies of the third and fourth book in Wall Drug. Even after all these years of selling books, Edla is still surprised yet proud that people enjoy them so much. A lot of the books sold are from people who had family from this area, wanting to know more about the area and have those memories.

Arthur and the kids supported Edla’s artistic goals and enjoyed watching her succeed at something she loved so much. Her husband helped her get her start and her son, Eldean proofread the books, as well as took the photos for the cover of each book. Edla’s remaining children live further away now but they make the time to come home as often as they can to visit. The community and neighbors are also helpful and neighborly in helping Edla with anything she might need. Getting to glance over Edla’s books and read those memories and moments is a real treat, but meeting Elda was even better. She has so many stories to tell and they are fascinating to listen to. It’s easy to see why her books are still selling copies to this day.