Norma Landsberger

“From the Country to the City”
Words and music by Katie Severns & Amanda Samuelson
with Mrs. Tiffany’s 4th Grade Class
©2008 Katie Severns & Amanda Samuelson



      Norma Landsberger

From the country to the city, an interesting life indeed
Volunteering in her free time, she helps out those in need
I she had her wish it would be that all the world could read
Grandma Norma, Grandma Norma, She’ll help you learn to read

Born Norma Faye Landsberger, her initials spelled NFL
She was quite the tomboy; her neickname Butch suited her well
Her family moved to Grandma’s when she was only three
That would be the best place that any kid could be

Growing up in Minnesota she knew winter’s deepest chill
She would still toboggan down Grandma’s snowy hill
Up and down she would go ‘tll she was frozen and tired
Back home she’d open the woodstove door
to worm her feet in the fire


From the farm into the city Grandma Norma did go
Operating elevators at the Palmer House in Chicago
Running into people like business men and movie stars
Ted Lews, as actor we’re too young to know, told her
“Stay as sweet as you are”


Grandma Norma loves reading,
Almoster her favorite thing in life
But only second to being Scott’s mother and Ron’s wife
The beauty of the Black Hills
Drew Grandma Norma to retire here
Being grandma to kids in Spearfish
Is how she’s spent her recent years

Norma Faye Mattson was born in Duluth, MN on May 20, 1940. She married Ron Landsberger, and became “NFL.” She wears a ring with her initials and a heart on it. She has a son named Scott, and two grandsons, Jesse and Josh, who live in California. Norma and her family moved to her Grandma’s farm after her Grandpa died. She was three years old. Norma has many fond memories of her time on the farm in Minnesota. Her aunt Anita is 5 months younger than she is, so she had a built in playmate, and a built in “partner in crime.” She still remembers with a giggle the time she and Anita ended up crawling in a ditch in their dresses after a school dance, trying to avoid a carload of boys, but running into a barking dog!

Norma loved to play in the snow in the winter. Many times all of the kids would stay outside so long that their feet would get numb. They would come inside and stick their feet in the old wood stove to warm up their feet. They also enjoyed going down the farm’s big hill on a toboggan. They would fit four kids on the toboggan at a time and could really go fast. When it was too cold to play outside they would play
“Six Steps Around The House” inside. It was a game they made up and Norma remembers it fondly.

As a teenager Norma enjoyed playing basketball. She says she was a very good guard, but wasn’t very good at making baskets because she couldn’t see the basket. She finally got glasses at the age of 15.

Norma’s first job was in a Bridgman’s ice cream parlor in Duluth. She says she got one very muscular arm from scooping all of that ice cream!

At age 18 Norma moved to Chicago and got a job at the Palmer House Hotel as an elevator operator. This turned out to be her all time favorite job. She heard, “I bet you have your ups and downs” at least once a day. She remembers when actor/musician Ted Lewis got off the elevator and told her to “stay as sweet as you are.” Norma met many famous people while operating the elevator at the Palmer House Hotel. Besides working at the Palmer House Hotel, Norma also had jobs as a waitress, worked in accounts payable and did customer service data entry. Norma didn’t learn how to drive a car until she was 32 years old and moved back to Minnesota. While in Chicago she used public transportation and never needed to know how to drive. All she remembers about the first car she drove is that it was brown.

In the year 2000 Norma and Ron retired to the Black Hills of South Dakota. They had vacationed in the Black Hills many times and had always wanted to live here. Norma quickly got involved with the Queen City Literacy Organization and the Foster Grandparent program at East Elementary School. She is currently the president of the Queen City Literacy Organization. This organization reads books to first graders and presents each first grader in Spearfish with a book. They also provide a book for every newborn baby at the Spearfish hospital. Along with the programs for children, they also help adults who do not know how to read learn to read and write.

“Grandma Norma” really enjoys being part of The Foster Grandparent program at East Elementary. She has the opportunity to read with, and to, several East Elementary students a week. She also takes the time to eat lunch with the students on the days she is at East. “Grandma” says it is a privilege to be called Grandma by so many students in Spearfish. Her best friend when she was growing up was her Grandmother. She thinks of her Grandma every time she is called Grandma. She enjoys seeing students after they have left East Elementary because they still give her a big hug and say, “Hi Grandma!”

If “Grandma Norma” had one wish it would be, “That everyone in the whole world would be able to read.” Norma’s favorite subject in school was reading. Her mother read her the book Heidi before bed when she was growing up. Reading is something Norma loves to do early in the morning when she first wakes up. Everyone should have the opportunity to read.

Thank you “Grandma” for all of the wonderful memories you have given to us!

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