Violet attended Central Dakota Commercial College in Jamestown, North Dakota from 1938 to 1939.  She lived with her Aunt Louise and her Mom (Elsie) often came to visit.

In 1939 (age 19) Violet started working with Nash Finch Company in Jamestown, North Dakota

Violet's Early Years

1941 Rhoda, Vernon, Rodney, Violet with parents Albert & Elsie Flatau

Violet Flatau in 1936, age 16 (almost 17) - fishing on MacDonald Lake

1942 Rhoda  and Violet (above)

​Violet (age 22) on left

The 1926 Model T Ford 4 door with glass windows was the transportation to Portland, OR.   Can you imagine the highways in 1927 and camping along the way?  Albert & Elsie slept on a narrow bed supported by the back window ledge and front dashboard.  The front passenger seat was removed & placed on the side of the car.  Grandma Marie slept on it (along with Violet, Rhoda, and Rodney).  Vernon slept on the driver’s seat.

1946 Vi (age 26 - in the center with the white hat) at the ball game with friends.  Rodney and Vernon on top far left.

Violet was born in this house that was built by her grandfather, August Beckman, in 1909.

1937 Jr. Prom or Confimation - Violet and Rhoda Flatau


Vi’s father, Albert, came from a family of 12 children.  Vi’s mother, Elsie, was the youngest of 12 children.  As Violet grew up there were many family gatherings.  Since Grandma Marie lived with Vi's family most of the gatherings were at Albert & Elsie’s.  The summers were always filled with visitors coming to see Grandma Marie.

1929 Vernon, Violet, Rodney, Rhoda

1940 Violet Flatau

​age 20

In 1944 Vi moved back to Perham, MN where she took a job with Perham Jobbing Co and later in February 1946 worked for Perham Mfg. Co.

See Albert & Elsie Flatau (from the beginning to 1958) for more on the story of Violet's early life.

Marie Friestad, Elsie & Albert Flatau, Grandma Marie Beckman, Violet & Rhoda Flatau (and Trixie, the dog)

Violet age 18

August 2, ​1938 - photo of Albert & Elsie's new car!

1938 High school graduation - Violet, Elsie and Rhoda Flatau

Rhoda Flatau (age 6), Marie Gable and Violet Flatau (age 7) in Oregon in 1927

1943 Violet and Elsie (above)

​Violet (age 23) on right

​Violet sitting behind desk in office (below)

Violet Marie Flatau, born November 19, 1919 in Perham, Minnesota

1937 Violet Flatau, age 17 (almost 18)

1945 Violet (age 25) with Elsie 

Albert Flatau

born August 18, 1898

died April 14, 1986, age 87

The family moved to Portland, Oregon in 1926 where Albert worked as a hod carrier.  The family lived in the garage (below) at Walter & Ida Locke’s home.  Ida was Albert’s sister.  They stayed for a year and a half in Oregon before moving back to the Perham, MN area.

Rhoda (age 6), Violet (age 7), Rodney (age 2), and Vernon (age 4) on Aunt Ida's front porch in Gresham, OR in 1927.

Rhoda Amanda (Flatau) Koehnen

born January 26, 1921

died March 21, 1985, age 64

1937 Violet Flatau &  Rhoda Flatau

1928 Rodney, Violet, Rhoda, Vernon

Violet age 9

1937 Violet Flatau,  Evelyn Lenius,  Rhoda Flatau

May 1945 Violet Flatau, Rita "Babe" Strauch, Rodney Flatau - above (right)​​ - In 1946 Babe married Bob Riestenberg


1944 Violet and Elsie (above)

​Violet (age 24) on right and left

Rodney Albert Flatau

born October 3, 1924 

died August 8, 2011, age 86

Laverne Schriner, Elsie &  Albert Flatau, Louise Schriner, Rhoda Flatau, Grandma Marie Beckman, Lucille Parks, Nona Jean Friestad, Violet Flatau, Margie Schriner,  Bonnie Parks, Emma Parks, Anker Friestad.

lower row:  Vernon Flatau, Frank Parks, Rodney Flatau, Inez (Inie) Parks,

(Marie Friestad took the photo - 1936)

Violet Flatau in 1936, age 16 (almost 17)

1927 - Vernon (age 4) and Rodney (age 2) in front and Rhoda (age 6), Violet (age 7), and Marie Gable in the back.

1938 Violet Flatau, age 18

Elsie (Beckman) Flatau

born November 16, 1900

died November 2, 1992, age 91

Grandma Marie
Elsie’s mom lived with Albert & Elsie from the time Violet was born until Grandma Marie's passing in 1953.

1934 Rhoda, age 13 and Violet age 14

Violet (age 4), Vernon (age 9 months) and Rhoda (age 2) in December 1923 


1938 Rodney and Violet Flatau, Marie Beckman, Vernon and Rhoda Flatau - dressed for church

Vernon  Beckman Flatau

born March 15, 1923 

died November 23, 2008, age 85

1936 sisters and their mom - Marie (Beckman) Friestad, Louise (Beckman) Schriner, Marie (Husen) Beckman, Elsie (Beckman) Flatau, Emma (Beckman) Parks

The following was from Art Beckman, Vi's first cousin

Vi and Art were first cousins with Vi being five years older.  Art remembers the dances at Luce when they were young kids. He was about 6 or 7 and Violet was 11 or 12.  “Vi taught me how to waltz,” says Art. She was always counting one-two-three, one-two-three.

I have fond memories of being at Aunt Elsie’s and Uncle Albert’s.  We lived in the same home at one time. It was fun with Vi, Rhoda, Vern, Rod, my sister Pearl and me when we were all together.  Vi played piano. We also square danced. We had a lot of fun growing up.


Family photo taken 1941

1946 was the turning point in Vi's life.  Vi met Walter Johnson at a dance in 1946 after Walt’s sisters (Helen and Eleanor) introduced them!

Click on Walt & Vi's life together (coming soon) to see the rest of the story.​

1939 Violet Flatau

​age 19

1941 Violet Flatau - ​age 21

1946 Art Beckman, Vi holding Karen Koehnen, and Vernon Flatau

1939 Rodney Rhoda, Vernon & Violet Flatau

​In 1943 (age 24) Violet was transferred to Nash Finch Co. in Sheridan, WY where she lived and worked for over a year.

1926—Lange School, Perham Township—Kindergarten
1926-1927—Gresham, Oregon—1st Grade
1927-1928—Flatau School, Hobart Township—1st Grade
1928-1938—Perham Public School—3rd Grade through High School
1938-1939—Central Dakota Commercial College, Jamestown, North Dakota


1931-1938—Babysitting, part-time

     August 1938—Worked at Joe Krueger's while Helen's mother was ill

     October 1938—started babysitting part-time for Fred Brook's

1939-1943—Nash Finch Company in Jamestown, ND

     April 1939—Part-time: Nash Finch Company in Jamestown, ND

    July 1939—Full-time: Nash Finch Company in Jamestown, ND

1943-1944—Nash Finch Company in Sheridan, Wyoming

     May 1943—transferred to Nash Finch Co., Sheridan, Wyoming

    October 1944—Left Wyoming to go back to Perham, MN

​1944-1946—Perham Jobbing Company, Perham, Minnesota

     October 1944—Worked for Lester Platt at Perham Jobbing Co.

1946-1946—Perham Mfg. Co., Perham, MN

     February 1946—Worked for Everett Steinhorst at Perham Mfg. Co.

​     Quit in August 1946 to get married

more about work and volunteering on the next chapter of Walt & Vi's life together

1933 Violet, Vernon, Rodney, Rhoda

​Violet, age 13


1929 Rhoda, Violet, Vernon, Rodney, Elsie, and Albert Flatau

Violet Marie (Flatau) Johnson

born November 19, 1919 

died December 21, 2014, age 95