DANNEBROG, Neb. — For three quarters of a century, the same Christmas card featuring a Scottish man in a kilt has made its way through the mail either to or from a Nebraska woman.
The Kearney Hub reports that it began in 1941, when Lois Margaret Frandsen of Dannebrog sent the card to her cousin and lifelong friend Janice “Neicie” Hansen, who was living with her husband at a Washington State military base at the time.
In 1942, Hansen sent it back to Frandsen. The next year, Frandsen sent it back to Hansen.
And so it has gone, every year since the early days of World War II, despite Hansen’s death in 2009. Her daughter is now the recipient.
“Why did I keep sending it?” Frandsen, 94, asked. “We had a heck of a lot of fun together. That card traveled a lot of miles. I would keep it in the China hutch so it wouldn’t get lost.”
Hansen was born in 1915, Frandsen in 1923, but they were close despite the age difference, living on nearby farms outside of Boelus.
Hansen, a prankster, and the spirited Frandsen were always up to something. In 1938, they formed a 13-member club called The Modern Maids of Today, made up of young women. Their motto was “To Heck with Men.” Anyone marrying had to throw a party.
Both eventually did.
Frandsen first mailed the card around the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The exchange continued as the Hansens moved to New Jersey while Richard Hansen was stationed at Fort Dix. It followed them back to Nebraska, too.
The card always arrived on time and never got lost.
Hansen celebrated her last Christmas in 2008, at age 93. She died the following year.
Frandsen sent the card to Hansen’s daughter, Bonnie Leahy, who lives in Illinois. The next year, Leahy sent it back.
The tradition continues.
Frandsen said she needs to sit down with her two daughters to determine who will send the card after she’s gone.
Leahy said she’ll keep sending it back. She hopes to keep it circulating for 100 years.
Frandsen wants it to go on indefinitely.
“It’s traveled a lot of miles,” she said. “I’d hate to lose that.”