My Exciting Life

-to be elaborated upon as the mood strikes me. In other words, it may get better and/or longer.

I was born in Dodgeville, Wisconsin on June 25, 1951 at 4 p.m. It was a pretty exciting beginning: I actually was born dead (according to my mother) and had to spend my first few hours in a resuscitator. What a pretty little gray baby I must have been! When it seemed I was too stubborn to really die, I was named Carol June Knutson and was taken home to the booming town of Livingston, population 300, where I spent the first eight years of my life. I recall many good times there, especially time spent reading and playing dominoes with my grandmother. When I was a little older I went with my mother to her one-room schoolhouse, where her students played house with me at recess. (My father died when I was 3 1/2, so my mother raised the three of us by herself.) I remember roller-skating through the town and taking tap and ballet lessons with all the other kids in town. My grand finale there was diving into the side of the Monfort swimming pool and breaking my new, permanent front teeth.

From there my mother packed us up and made the brave move to Oak Creek, then a small suburb south of Milwaukee. It was the summer before I began fourth grade. I started out being assigned to my mother's class (she taught fourth grade), a predicament which she quickly remedied by having me transferred to Mr. Carlson's class across the hall. Soon thereafter she paid a visit to my classroom, where she found me sitting in the corner for talking too much! The next year I took up the saxophone, and haven't put it down yet. I lived in Oak Creek through grade school, high school, and college (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), and the beginning of my brief teaching career (I was the band director at Raymond, Racine Co.) before I ran away from home at age 23 and joined the army. Well, it wasn't quite that simple. I flew out to Maryland and auditioned, was accepted, and then joined the army as one of the first women in the former all-male organization.

I spent the next 20 years of my life in the United States Army Field Band in Washington, D.C. (Actually I lived in Maryland and the band rehearsed at Ft. Meade, MD.) The Army Field Band is the official touring musical representative for the Department of the Army and travels about 110 days every year performing concerts throughout the country and the world. In my time there, I traveled to every state in the Union (our 5 tour areas encompassed the continental United States and it took 2 1/2 years to complete the cycle), including Alaska and Hawaii and our not-quite-states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I also traveled to Canada, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, and India during my enlistment.

During my career in the military, I met my husband, Doc Kramer, who sat next to me in the sax section for the first half of my career. On July 31, 1984 I gave birth to our daughter, Lois, who made several tours with me when she was still very young.

On December 1, 1994 I retired from the Army Field Band and came back home to Wisconsin with my family, settling here in the rolling hills of Richland Center, less than an hour north of my roots. Unfortunately, since moving here my husband Doc died in 2002 (of leukemia), my mother died in 2005 at age 95, and my daughter Lois died unexpectedly in 2010 at age 25.

Since moving to Richland Center, I've been involved in a variety of activities, from playing in musical groups to teaching, both privately and in several schools here. I also do some adjudicating at music festivals. Iíve done quite a bit of painting on walls, LP tanks, and even tilt-a-Whirls! I took up painting watercolors a few years ago, but after a flurry of painting for 6 months, I havenít done any since. I do plan to get back to that someday, though; I still have to try my hand at bird and face paintings. I really enjoy seeing all the wildlife on my property, and they make great subjects for paintings.


My great grandfather, Albert Rundell, 1853-1939

He was a pioneer farmer in Southwest Wisconsin, being awarded the title, "Master Farmer" from the University of Wisconsin. He was the first in the area to see the advantage of and build a silo, as well as the first in the state to import Guernsey cattle from the Isle of Guernsey. He was a founder and President of Platteville's Mound City Bank and held several political offices. He and his wife, Nancy Ellen Fruit, had nine children, one of whom was my wonderful grandmother, Jessie Rundell Davis.

This is an old photograph of my mother's family. Her parents (my Grandma and Grandpa Davis) are in the center. My mother is seated next to her father. Her grandfather, Albert Rundell, is standing behind her. The rest are various brothers and sisters, cousins, and aunts and uncles of my mother.

my grandparents' home in Livingston (then and now - it's still there!)

my dad (Otto Knutson) and mother (Eleanor Davis Knutson)

our old home in Livingston (recent photo - it's still there, too!)

Andrew (1871-1942) & Sarah (1878-1960) Knutson, my dad's parents (My brother, Gary, looks just like Andrew.)

Andrew Knutson was the son of Knute Knutson from the Rye farm in Valdres, Norway.

 January 5, 2016