Alan D. Engebretson was born on September 19, 1936 in Spencer, Iowa. He was the first child of George R. and Constance “Duane” Engebretson. Growing up in Rembrandt, Iowa, Al always seemed to harbor a love for throwing: early on it was rocks, which he would throw at objects and other children. Luckily, he was able to channel this passion by pitching in pee wee baseball and eventually the Rembrandt town team. Through these years, Al nurtured a great love for baseball and a talent for it as well. Later on, Al would even be approached to try out for the Major League, which he declined, stating, “Oh, everybody gets those.”
Al attended the town school in Rembrandt. Later in his life, he would tell that classic harrowing tale of how he trudged miles through rain and snow to get to school. In reality the school was only a baseball field away from the Engebretson home. Al had three younger siblings: Sandra Rae, who tragically fell ill and passed away at the age of 13, George, and Doyle.
Shirley Ann Engebretson, born Shirley Bjorklund, was the first child of Margaret and Lester Bjorklund. She was born on January 11, 1937, likely at her father’s aunt and uncle’s farmhouse a little outside of Albert City, Iowa. Shirley grew up in Albert City where she loved to go to school and enjoyed learning. She attended a country school during her kindergarten year but started attending the Albert City town school in 1st grade until her eighth year. In contrast to Al’s great treks, Shirley and her younger brother, Lester Bjorklund Jr., rode the school bus, often being the first to be picked up and the last to be dropped off. By Shirley’s freshman year, the Bjorklunds moved to a farm outside Rembrandt.