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have something to share with ….

have something to share with anyone who would stop by as their treat to the community.

“It was the only place the kids could go to get an ice cold pop for 25 cents,” she said. “We had a machine out front, anyone could go up to the machine and get one. That was our treat for the people in town. At Christmas we would have big boxes of peanuts at the counter, they could eat peanuts and drink pop. In the summer, we would grill out, anyone could come by and have a meal with us.”

The Beilkes are lifelong members of the Zion American Lutheran Church, located just down the road from where they lived. As a member of the church, Arlene taught Sunday School and Bible School for the children there for more than 50 years and was a member and treasurer of Ladies Aide for more than 30 years. Even today, she said many of the children who were taught by her at the church see her as a second mother to them and have many fond memories of old-fashioned adventures.

“I have gotten so many hugs,” she said. “A lot of them still call me Ma or Grandma.”

Though she already had a lot on her plate with running a business and farm, assisting at her church and raising her own children, Arlene didn’t stop there. In her free time, she would sew wedding dresses for all the brides-to-be in Granton, having sewed and altered more than 75 dresses for members of the community. She also used her sewing talents to work on other clothing items for community members such as band uniforms and cheerleader outfits.

“I used to make wedding dresses,” she said. “I sewed at all hours of the night. I probably made 75 wedding dresses. I made all the wedding dresses of the new brides in Granton back then.”

Norman passed away at the age of 80 in 2004 after 55 years of marriage. The Beilke Feed Mill was torn down a few years later and Arlene ended farm operations after she turned 73. Since then, she has joined the Granton Antique Tractor Club, which restored a 1948 Farmall Tractor she owns last year and she continues to sew for area residents and participate in activities at the Zion American Lutheran Church.