Not Your Average Housewife

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Posted Sun, Nov 25, 2012

Unlike housewife stereotypes, Gayla Raaflaub volunteers to help with high school athletics, college prep groups and teaching a Young Chefs cooking class. [Photo by Leah Raaflaub]


As night descends upon the rural valley, and the crisp Autumn day melts away, snow lightly falls, piece by piece dusting the surrounding mountains.  Warm light emits from the Raaflaub house, as everyone inside is huddled in one room of the spacious home.  Although the football game is playing on the big screen of the media room, and an inviting fireplace glows in the living room, everyone comes together in the least expected place: the kitchen.  There are not enough chairs for everyone to sit, not is the television the center of attention.  Something delicious simmers on the stove and laughter fills the air, leaving smiles on everyone’s faces.  Hustling around, apron on, sleeves rolled up, slicing and dicing, stirring and baking, making sure everyone feels completely at home and welcomed is the real reason everyone is drawn to the kitchen: Gayla Raaflaub.  The kitchen is her domain, the place where she is completely in her element, and wherever she is, there is positively, there is comfort, wherever she is, that is where home is. 

Gayla is a unique woman, preparing dinner nightly and keeping the household neat as a pin. It’s almost as if she was taken right out of the 1950’s, and placed in a time six decades later.

“Her cooking is excellent, always, but to her it’s never quite right,” explains husband Hans. That’s because Gayla all her life has pushed herself to the limit, and continues to do so. But don’t be fooled, the “Betty Crocker Homemaker” may appear soft to the eye, but beneath this housewife is a strong woman, who has raised a family, kept everything in line in her home, and has worked her entire life to evolve into the woman she is today.

Even before her first job, Gayla created a strong work ethic for herself, helping out endlessly under a roof with eight children. Gayla was born and raised in a small Minnesota town, called Cloquet, and was second eldest in the large Catholic family. Helping clean, watching over younger siblings, and learning how to prepare meals were just a few of the tasks Galya undertook. At age 16, unlike many of her friends, Gayla earned her first paying job.

“I was a carhop at A&W, which is a fancy way of saying I delivered food to cars in a drive in,” she says with a smile.

Hustling around, apron on, sleeves rolled up, slicing and dicing, stirring and baking, making sure everyone feels completely at home and welcomed is the real reason everyone is drawn to Gayla Raaflaab’s kitchen. [Photo by Leah Raaflaub]

Not only did Gayla excel in her first job, but she continued to be involved in many school activities. Gayla later worked as head secretary at the St. Scholastica College near Duluth, Minn. Afterwards, Gayla found herself working long shifts as a waitress at Grandma’s Restaurant in Duluth. Hustling around the restaurant, which was the popular place during the time, Gayla worked her way up from being a host to waitress through hard work and consistency. It was after a while at Grandma’s Restaurant when Gayla decided to take her big leap, the risk she had been waiting to take all of her life.

In the small town of Cloquet, Minn., the furthest anyone goes is Duluth. It is a town where one is born, raised and dies. Leaving Cloquet is practically unheard of, but not for Gayla. She knew all her life she wanted something better.

“I just knew that I was not going to spend my life there,” Gayla says, “that there was a huge world out there, and I was going to get out of that town.” So, leave is just what she did. Although her boyfriend, now husband, stayed behind initially, Gayla still followed her heart, and took off to Minneapolis, Minn. Eventually, after marrying Hans, the couple took a leap of faith, and with $11 in their pocket, and absolutely nothing to lose, they left Minnesota to live in a small town in western Colorado.

Gayla continued to work for State Farm Insurance, then later for a local clinic as a receptionist, and eventually as head assistant at Town Hall. After having two children, Gayla devoted everything to them, making their childhood only what many can dream for. Every day, she was there, whether it was to encourage, to scold if need be, and to love every single day. Unlike the stereotype of the housewife twiddling her thumbs at home, Gayla did quite the opposite. Involved in volunteering, being part of Booster Team, an organization that helps with high school athletics, spending hours aiding in the college prep group for high school students through the counseling office, and teaching a Young Chefs cooking class, Gayla is busy, and even that, would be an understatement.

Upon meeting Gayla, many are immediately at ease with her outgoing personality and her infectious smile. “Gayla is the sweetest, kindest woman, and you can tell that immediately after meeting her,” says Josh Panger a longtime family friend.

Don’t be mistaken by the term housewife, or the frilly apron, because beneath it is a life paved the entire way with hard work, with dedication to her family, and an enormous heart. It’s no wonder everyone always wants to be in the kitchen.

About Leah Raaflaub

My name is Leah Raaflaub, and I'm a junior here at Metro State. I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelors in Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with an emphasis in Spanish. I then decided to come here to Metro and get another bachelors in Broadcast Journalism. I'm currently a part of Met Report, which I love, and so far I'm loving the career path I've chosen!

View all posts by Leah Raaflaub

One Response to “Not Your Average Housewife”

  1. Spencer Says:

    The women sounds awesome! I need to try some of her food! Great story Leah

    Reply

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