102 year old Rapid City woman shares more than a century of memories: Along the Way

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN-TV)- A Rapid City woman is 102 years old.
It's hard to imagine how much has changed in her life that's already spanned more than a century.

A picture on Sandy Clausen's table of her and her late husband George

Sandy Clausen was born January 21, 1918 during a Nebraska snowstorm. Her parents, Clara and Bill Sanderson, were traveling and had to stop for the night and that's when she was born. Her dad worked as a ranch hand. But one summer when he was a bounty hunter for coyotes, they lived in a very old style home.

"We lived in what they called a sod house, but it wasn't sod on the inside, it was wood. Then to keep the building warm they put sod banked up on the outside," says 102 year old Sandy Clausen.

That's just one fascinating image, in a lifetime of so very many. She had one sibling, a younger sister named Elda. There's a photo showing her and her little sister with the horse they rode to school each day. Not many folks ride horses to school these days.

Old black and white photos preserved by the family are like gold, showing how different things were back then. Another photo shows the two sisters sitting on the seat of a horse drawn wagon in the early 1920's. That was nearly 100 years ago.

While she spent part of her childhood in Nebraska, she grew up for the most part, in Mission, South Dakota. Fast forward around 15 years to when she and some friends visited Mount Rushmore, which was still under construction at the time. They were able to go to the top, and look over the edge.

"The guy was down over the edge on a wooden seat, hanging down there carving on it, and they asked us what do you think he's carving down there? We didn't know and he said that's Abraham Lincoln's nose," Sandy remembers.

Her given first name is Frances, but it's her maiden last name, Sanderson, that led to her nickname when some boys drove by in a truck.

"They were going from high school to home for dinner and they yelled 'Hey Sandy' and everybody else, all the boys yelled 'Sandy' and it stuck," she laughs as she tells the story.

She graduated from high school in the class of 1936. She ended up spending her life, with the love of her life, George Clausen.

"I was 21 when we were married but he had been there and we had dated," Sandy says. "But his parent's owned the Mission Hotel and they lived in it so he lived in it," she remembers.

She and George had only been married a couple years when the U.S. joined World War Two.

"My husband enlisted in the Coast Guard because he'd seen a PT boat and he thought he'd like to get on that. He never saw one when he got in. They sent him to New York for basic training," Sandy says.

She moved to New York too, and worked in a so called war factory. They worked on a variety of things, like searchlights, and it was important to get your piece right, or inspectors would send it back.

"And the guys on the table behind me said if you ever get anything sent back, you just whack it with your hammer and send it back to them. It'll go through. So I tried that and sure enough it did," she remembers from so long ago.

She worked there for 3 years until the war ended. They never did send her husband overseas. He stayed in New York. They lived there about 3 and a half years.

They had two sons Roger and Jerry. Sandy and George were married for 64 years before he passed away at the age of 90. She says she's been very happy all her life.

What a life it's been, and what a life it still is.

After the war, they moved back to Mission to raise their kids.

Sandy was among the many women across America who worked on the war effort at home, represented in history by the image of Rosie the Riveter.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call or e-mail us to let us know.