Memories of acres of beautiful pine trees are all that remain for Marina Andrews and Boyd Fritzinger. Trees that took root almost 70 years ago on the 150 plus acres the couple call home southeast of Luck now lay lifeless awaiting cleanup.
It was these pines that spoke to Andrews over three decades ago and left an imprint she couldn’t shake until she was nestled among them.
Thirty-two years ago, Andrews was single, living in Minnesota. A friend invited her to a new year’s party at a cabin her parents had purchased on Big Round Lake. A storm blew into the area that night and the next morning Andrews made the trek home, soaking in the scenery offered by the countryside.
She followed the Straight River and as she came around a bend her eyes set sight on a breathtaking property. “Beautiful big snow flakes were falling from the sky and the sun was shining on these large snow dusted pines surrounding a property with a ‘For Sale’ sign perched at the end of the driveway, and I impulsively pulled in,” said Andrews.
As she exited her car, she saw the owner cleaning up branches from the previous night’s storm. “Hey- you’re late,” she remembers him saying as he joked about her being there to assist with cleanup. When she inquired about the “For Sale” sign, the friendly man invited her inside to meet his wife. When she entered the home, she set her eyes upon a roaring fireplace and felt it was truly a scene out of a storybook.
Unfortunately the timing wasn’t right and Andrews wasn’t in the position to purchase the property.
Back home in Minnesota, she just could not shake the thought of the majestic acres with the river running through it and a portion that held a quaint lake. The trees really stuck in her mind and kept her frequently driving past during trips to Wisconsin.
“I saw the names change on the mailbox twice,” said Andrews about her years of cruising down 80th Street to catch a glimpse of it.
When Andrews met Fritzinger, she had a co-pilot who fell in love with the property after driving by as well. “We were always out putzing around and I saw the way she lit up when our adventures led us past this place. So finally one day about 18 and a half years ago, we were driving through and I said we should buy it,” said Fritzinger.
Andrews pointed out one small problem; it was not for sale.
On that rainy day, the couple hand wrote a note expressing their desire to purchase the property. They placed the letter in a plastic bag and secured it to a gate in front of the house.
They received a letter back from the owners who explained they loved the property and they were not willing to sell. Their intention was to retire there. Andrews was heart broken.
A little over two years later, Andrews came home from work to see her answering machine light blinking. Andrews said, “The voice on the machine said ‘I don’t know if you remember us, but you wanted to buy our house a few years ago and we are ready to sell.’ I called Boyd to tell him the news, but I was so excited I couldn’t hardly talk.”
The couple purchased their beloved land and named it “In Luck Farm.” Andrews finally felt she was home and the rest you might say is history. The problem is that history has a way of repeating itself.
It was a storm that had a previous owner outside cleaning tree debris when he took time to introduce Andrews to her dream property. It was a much worse storm July 19 that has left the couple in the middle of a nightmare.
“The sky was green for a really long time. We saw the wind pick up and Boyd said, ‘There goes a tree, and another and a third.’ So we took cover in a cubby underneath our stairs. The wind was so loud. We stayed there until it quieted down and crawled out to see the wreckage,” said Andrews when she described the storm that hit them and others throughout Polk and Barron counties that evening.
What they witnessed when they came out of coverage was truly devastating. The acres of trees that were planted by Tom Frampton in the early 1950s were lying toppled on top of each other surrounding the house and blocking the driveway.
Frampton was a greenhouse owner in the Twin Cities in the early ‘50s when he decided to plant a tree farm outside of Luck. It turned out those Christmas trees were never harvested. They were the trees that stole Andrews’s heart and now sat uprooted and broken, leaving the area unrecognizable.
Fritzinger crawled through the wreckage and made his way to his Bobcat. He was able to lift trees off his backhoe and set out to check on neighbors. As it grew dark and hours passed, Andrews sat in an upstairs window with a candle, filled with worry until she saw the light of Fritzinger’s backhoe making its way back.
It took 11 hours before a car could get out of their driveway and it was four days before the road was cleared. Many hours were spent without power in a house that had trees on top of it and had been flooded by the severe rain. Fritzinger spent the upcoming days helping out others as part of the Georgetown Township crew and as he said, “doing what friends and neighbors do.” Before the group could even take a breather, the area was hit by a storm again July 28.
Andrews and Fritzinger are extremely grateful for the outpouring of help they have received from others. “It is amazing how great people can be,” said Andrews. Their neighbor Andy Mangleson has lived in the area since 1948. He is sad to see the trees planted by Frampton and Mike Yourchuck all those years ago wiped out. He remembers assisting Leroy Brown with building the fence that surrounded the tree farm and can’t believe the way the tornado has left the area. He has significant damage to his own property too but said, “Everybody is safe and together; we will get through the rest.”