When I was told about having to find a person in my community to interview about their life, one name came to my mind: Janice Anderson. I know Janice from doing handy work with my father on her farm outside of Lyons, Nebraska. Being out there numerous times I have learned so much about her life and her family’s life. I could not wait to learn her life story, to see what made her who she is today, and learn why she never lived outside of Burt County.
Janice grew up in Craig, Nebraska where she helped out on her family’s farm. She worked out in the field and took care of the animals with her father. Her father passed away while she was young, leading to her love for animals that continues on until today. She now takes care of her 6 chickens, numerous cats, and her lovable dog, Mister, on her husband’s family farm. She and her husband have had 16 dogs through the years, each one making a mark on their lives. Loving animals would explain her collection of chicken figurines and items which she stages beautifully in her home.
While attending Craig Schools she was taught by her brother and sister. In high school she became interested in music and singing. She even started to sing in the Methodist Church’s choir. When she finally graduated from Craig she went to work for Northern Bell, a local cleaning company. Right after graduating she met her future husband, Butch Anderson, who was a resident of Oakland, Nebraska. They moved many places in Burt County and about went to Wyoming until they settled into their current home. As she said, “The farm life is my life.” They married after two years in 1957. This year they will be celebrating 58 years of marriage. They have two kids, Kevin and Kim. Now she has two active teenage grandkids also.
After a few years, Northern Bell moved the business to Fremont so Janice took up a cleaning job at the Oakland hospital. While her husband was a full-time mechanic, as a side job, he moved the building and did personal hay stacking. They often helped neighbors and friends with small farm jobs to make extra cash to help support their family. For fun, she frequently watched her husband drag race cars in Scribner and Omaha as a time to relax and enjoy all of God’s graces.
She hopes the community will bring in another dining place so she could have a variation of food in the local area. Janice and Butch then explained about having eleven neighbors’ farm places disappear and turn to farmland and how this disappointed her. They hope someday the young people around town will rebuild these lost places and help the community get back to thriving like it once did.
Her advice to everyone is to be kind, do not bully others, and help those in need because everyone needs help at some time in their lives.