Friday, December 17, 2010

Lyle Bestul, 1921 - 2010

Lyle Bestul was an icon. He was respectful and respected. When I ran into him at Signature's a couple years ago I think I finally felt like I could call him "Lyle", not "Mr. Bestul", and that was not disrespect for him after 50 years but a feeling that maybe, just maybe, I had earned the right to do so by virtue of my own age.

My sister LaVerne, Class of '55, used to talk about him a lot. "Mr. Bestul this and Mr. Bestul that." My guess is the last year he was in teaching the same thing was going on. My favorite story might be of the day before Christmas (or some other Holiday), when he announced a pop quiz, totally unexpected, so we each pulled out paper and pencil for the first question: "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?"

He acted so seriously about it until we caught on. And when he started laughing it was in that drawl unlike any I ever heard from any other person.

He was classy. He was a gentleman. When he did lose his temper I don't know that anyone was ever fearful so much as we were sorry to upset him because he was such a nice guy.

The respect he had for others was/is an attitude I even saw instilled in his son Brian, who led Viking basketball to an excellent season (sorry I don't know the record) before he went on to play at UNI. I was with Phil Johnson after one of Brian's games when we ran into Lyle and Brian. Though he didn't really know me from Adam, Brian knew who I was, and was as polite as you would expect from Lyle's son. It's true - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

We were fortunate to have had lessons at this man's knee.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Take a Sentimental Journey

Marilyn Weidler Ulve forwarded a slideshow about a Town in the 50's, and with the help of Richard Holstad re-formatting some of the slides, we were able to post it here on the blog. Click on the Photos and Slideshows link at the left to go to the page where you can view it.

It should bring back some enjoyable memories.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Weatherman Was RIGHT!!

After pooh-poohing the weatherman in my last post, I suppose I should retract some of what I said. By golly, they were pretty much right on with their prognostication, although they did adjust it upwards midway through the blast.

By now you've heard the Metrodome roof collapsed in a big "poof", just as it did 25 or 30 years ago, and the UNI-Dome did the same thing back about 75 or 76, too. I suppose that's why it now has a hard roof. And you may well see a new stadium for the Vikings soon to be built. As a Cheesehead living but 30 miles away, I shall stand here and cheer for it since it will have no impact on my taxes.

The bottom line to the whole story is that it was a snowstorm like we used to have 'em, with 12 hours of storm-time devoted to the bantering weatherman. WeatherPERSON, I should say. I wonder whatever happened to the KGLO weather guy posted in the Shell Weather Tower. Technology has come a long way since then, when the camera zoomed in on what appeared to be a photo of a guy in a tree house until he turned around to tell us what was happening. Was he possibly the original outdoor weather guy? (Even if he wasn't outdoors?)

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Good Snowstorm

That's what the weathermen are now talking about for this area - probably a foot. Maybe even 5-foot drifts. If it doesn't turn out quite that way they never go back and say, "Gees, I was sure wrong." Instead they say, "That storm had Alpha Force 468 intersect unexpectedly at Median 923 . . . " if you know what I mean.

A foot of snow here near the Twin Cities is nothing compared to what might drop in Buffalo, NY, but it would be kind of welcome, just for the challenge. And it makes me think about storms we may or may not have gotten in the 50's. I do recall one time, I believe 1951, when my Grandpa Holstad picked up my sisters and me because a storm was coming in. The storm was already there, of course, since we were without today's high-tech meteorologists to warn us. We drove back to the farm and probably went without electricity and phone service for a couple days.

Seemed we had some pretty good blizzards from time to time that would just shut things down. But if we get a foot of snow today everybody still commutes to work in the morning. Snowplows - rewired, like the comedian Tim Allen would say.

One time I took Phil Johnson home from somewhere during a pretty good storm, and we decided the roads were so treacherous once we got to his house that I really should stay overnight. I did. For 2 nights. And then Dad called to point out all the roads were open so I should have no problem making it the last 4 miles so I could help him with chores. Sometimes he had no sense of humor.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1960-61 Viking boys basketball squad

From "The Northwood Anchor" 50 years ago, November 24, 1960

The 1960-61 Viking boys basketball squad is one of the smallest in numbers in recent history but have already served notice that they are out to win. Members of the team include Larry Holstad, Gerald Pike, David Randall, John Roberts, Phil Johnson, John Lee, James Trainer, Albert Adams, Mike Lien, David Skellenger and Charles Hendrickson. Head coach is Maynard Midtgaard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Never Humiliate Your Opponent

It probably doesn't happen anymore, but when we were in school we always got a ride home after football practice from the local businessmen. I don't think it happened for basketball or the spring sports, but there were 5 or 6 business owners who would swing by after practice, then deliver the farm boys without their own transportation to their homes. Apparently it was a good business decision to keep the farmers happy.

It was also a business decision not to humiliate an opponent, specifically the good folks from Glenville. As I recall we only played Glenville in our freshman year, when Glen Jensen was one of them, in fact their star running back. It was about the last game of the year, and had been talked about early on when the upperclassmen told us that we'd all play that game, and Coach LaVerne Rohlfson would stress the importance of not running up the score.

Glenville was a smaller school and may have been in the formative stages of their football program. With a number of their community coming across the border to shop in Northwood (and that probably doesn't happen much anymore since the community doesn't appear to be the humming business center it once was) the businessmen didn't want to offend anyone.

Sure enough, we all dressed for the varsity game - for the only time that year - and in the pre-game talk aboard the school bus, Rohlfson pointed out the importance of good community relations so we would all play. And the score would be managed. My recollection is that we scored about 45 points or so and I don't recall what Glenville scored but it wasn't much. Glen was a tough runner but without a team to support him there was only so much he could do.

Last weekend Wisconsin whomped Indiana 83-20, clearly indicating the business owners from Madison are not expecting much business out of Bloomington. A different environment, I guess.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Football Practice - the Summer of '61

We thought - at least I did - that we could have a pretty good football team that fall, our senior year, and jumped at the chance to have a little backyard workout and practice. Official athletic association rules would prevent having any coaches around but that's no problem, we only need a location.

True to his nature, Bill Roberts offered their back yard, although it was realistically just an access to a cow pasture next door. The only problem, a small one for those of us in our athletic prime, was a 3-strand barbed wire fence that marked the lot line.

We all met at Bill's at the appointed hour, but first Bill pulled out his tape recorder, which was no doubt much newer than the one on which he played back the Eisenhower State of the Union address, and we got some taped instruction from Coach Mounts. I don't recall the exact nature of the speech but I'm sure it had a rah-rah nature to it, so we were all primed at the conclusion.

The first step, of course, was to clear the afore-mentioned barbed wire fence, and that turned out to be the LAST step. Some had already gone through the fence by the traditional method of slipping between the strands, when somebody let out a yell. Doug Fallgatter, later to become our starting fullback, had chosen to hurdle the fence - and failed.

It was ugly. Somehow Doug had twisted in mid-air, stuck his foot back under the top wire, and was essentially tangled up in the top two strands. The blood was flowing and the rah-rah attitude was gone. I retain a vivid mental picture of his dancing on one foot, trying to keep his balance while he extracted himself. And it wasn't easy.

I don't recall any further summer practices, and Doug confirmed to me last February that he still bears the scars today. In today's world Mounts probably would have been sued, and certainly there would have been a big uproar about it. For most of us we just felt it best to keep our mouths shut, which we did, and the practice sessions just became a good idea in theory.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

Got an email this morning from a friend who served, although not overseas, and it brought me to reflect on some of what I knew - but never really did.

Like me, you probably recall pictures of your uncles in uniform. Lonna had an uncle who died at Pearl Harbor. Her middle name, LaRae, was in his honor. My uncles, and I had many of them, all came home. And only a couple of years ago I found out one of my uncles had served at Iwo Jima, where he was in the "second wave" to hit the island. Recently I read With the Old Breed: at Pelelieu and Okinawa and discovered the horror that he must have faced.

Apparently he's been suffering from flashbacks and nightmares, and I can understand why. The onslaught was hideous at best, and to watch your brothers being slaughtered would have been emotionally overwhelming. I speak about WW II in particular, but it certainly applies to any war. Reading a biography about Truman told me much about Korea; another uncle served there, and I recall him working on his car on our farm when he returned, changing oil or whatever he was doing. In his case I recall a hush-hush that he didn't really want to talk about what he had gone through. He brought my mother a silk table cloth from Korea and it graced our dining table for years even though it was not the best of interior design, and it represents the memory I have of a good man.

I never heard of our classmates being called to Viet Nam but like all of you was painfully aware of the conflict that raged across our great land as that war developed - and finally ended. The early 70's have memories for me of student protesters at UNI holding a protest in the Student Union the night classes were canceled for the spring after the Kent State shootings. I was there for a night class and on break.

A few years later when I was in grad school many of my fellow students were vets from Nam; a neighbor who had lost both legs below the knee was working on his undergraduate degree. One day he invited me to watch movies he had taken from his helicopter gunner position. I could see tracers going down to the ground and coming back at him. It was a surreal experience to watch with him, especially because he was laughing during his commentary. Perhaps his memories were being suppressed, I don't know.

You have your own memories as well. Whatever they may be, I can only say that today, as one who did not serve, I salute the veterans.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Glenn Rezabek Obituary

I don't check the Anchor Website every day but I did today and found this obituary:

Glenn Roy Rezabek, son of James and Myrtle (Olson) Rezabek, was born February 1, 1923, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He attended grade school in Rutland and graduated from Fort Dodge High School. Following graduation, Glenn attended Fort Dodge Junior College for one year. In March 1943, Glenn was inducted into the United States Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, serving in the European and Pacific Theaters. He was honorably discharged in March 1946. Glenn was united in marriage to Lois LeClair. He was employed in the telephone business in Ruthven for nine years. Glenn entered a partnership with Gus Probst, operating a retail business selling appliances and doing television and radio repair in Ruthven. He moved to Slater, Iowa, where he worked for two years in the telephone business. Glenn then returned to college at Buena Vista and graduated with a teaching degree. Glenn taught chemistry and physics at Northwood High School for 30 years before retiring. Glenn retuned to Palo Alto County after Lois’ death and enjoyed being closer to his brother and sister. Glenn most recently lived in the assisted living apartments in Ruthven. Glenn was very active in the United Methodist Church in Northwood, serving on the financial board. He attended the First United Methodist Church in Emmetsburg after moving here. Glenn enjoyed gardening and took great pride in his gardens. He truly loved education and teaching his students at Northwood. Glenn died Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, at the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg, Iowa, at the age of 87. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife and his sister, Marian Meng. Funeral services were held Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010, at 10 a.m. at the Martin-Mattice Funeral Home, Ruthven, Iowa, with Rev. Roger Maize officiating of the United Methodist Church, Ruthven, Iowa. Inurnment was in the Crown Hill Cemetery, Ruthven, Iowa, with military graveside rites performed by Ruthven American Legion Post #33. He is survived by his brother, Charles Rezabek, and his wife, Rita of Emmetsburg, Iowa; nieces and nephews; as well as other relatives and many friends. Arrangements were made by Martin-Mattice Funeral Home,

So if he came to Northwood in 1961 he was 38 when he got here although he looked older than that at the time. 38 today is just a pup - younger than any of my kids. Age is relative, I guess.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Posted recently in the Anchor and forwarded by Marsha Gaarder Hasseler, who points out the Class of '62 was a 4-time winner at Homecoming (at least on the Queen side):

Who became homecoming queen EVERY year of our class? ...the gal who was Class of ’62 queen each of our four years! So here is from the Anchor’s October 13,2010 50 years ago column:

Betty Ryan, a junior, and Wayne Gaskil, senior, were crowned queen and king to reign over homecoming activities at Northwood-Kensett school last Friday evening. Roses were presented to the queen and identification bracelets were presented to both king and queen. They were crowned by football captains John Roberts, Dave Skellenger and Albert Adams.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Politics in the Good Old Days

Maybe we get too much information these days, with 24/7 cablecasts. Or maybe I was flat naive as a high school student because outside of having some knowledge that Nixon and Kennedy were running for president, and that Orville Loveless, the truckdriver who became our governor in spite of the revelation that he was an alcoholic, I was mostly clueless.

Kennedy certainly brought something new to the table. I can recall adults in my own family who were very down on his potential election, fearing our government would be run from Rome. Today the fear seems to focus on the Mormon Mitt Romney, now that we have moved past, for the time being, the color line. Or will it be a woman next? That would lack a fear factor, but likely would cause great consternation amongst traditional males. They're still out there for sure.

The most political person in my recollection was Chuck Helgeland, who was fully aware of the Nixon-Kennedy debates. Later, in 1964 I recall overhearing him debating with a fellow college student in the off-campus "lounge" as to the relative merits of Barry Goldwater. I suppose had I been eligible to vote I would have voted for Goldwater, although given some distance of time I may not do so today.

And it seems to me that Bob Scheib gave what might be best described as a political speech as the guest speaker at our senior prom. But why in the world did we have a need for a speaker at the prom? Mostly I recall wishing we were on our way out the door. Naive, I guess.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Glenn Rezabek - Professional

As I recall, Glenn had a career change a little later in life so he was a first-year teacher when he became our Chemistry teacher. He was absolutely committed to what science was all about and every day was wearing the same lab coat he is shown wearing in the yearbook.

But Glenn was not a fashion fob, and when you look at the narrow ties being worn on Mad Men I recall the very wide ties that he wore daily. At some point during the year somebody got the bright idea that we should all wear wide ties to school, obviously to mock his own collection. I won't forget the funny look on his face when we walked in, but it was only a one-day event and then we moved on.

We should forget the ties. He was a pro, and loved what he was doing. I'm not sure any other teacher had any greater commitment.

More "Mad Men" - 1965

Each new show that I watch makes me smile. I don't know where they get the office furniture but it is so 1960. The clothing - men and women - is a flashback. I won't make comment on what the women are wearing but it is certainly historically accurate. And the men?

The lead character, Don Draper, is normally smoking, drinking in the office, AND wearing or carrying a fedora hat whenever he comes into or leaves the office or home. And I have heard the style is coming back. Sure enough, one day recently I was walking through our local Target store, and there they were, the Don Draper Fedora Hat. A big display of them. Turned up sides and rear, and down in front.

My folks wanted me to wear a hat because they were convinced that it would keep me from catching a cold. Even though modern science has debunked that theory and has instead determined that colds are caused by viruses, we weren't smart enough to know it at that time, so I wound up with a hat. Normally it sat on a shelf and I avoided wearing it, and finally they decided it wasn't worth arguing about. Pick your battles. They chose others. But if I had only known Don Draper, you can bet I would have worn it everywhere!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Elementary Teachers

Who would know where they are today?

Kindergarten - for me it was Helen Coyle at the Country School
1st Grade - Miss Stover
2nd Grade - don't recall, but I believe it included the word Rose either in the first or last name.
3rd Grade - Olive Rasmussen
4th Grade - Shirley Mitchell (see photo at left - Chuck Hendrickson and I were Candle Lighters at her wedding)
5th Grade - Andrena Hanson (for some of us)
6th Grade - Andrena Hanson Opheim (for some of us)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Mad Men" - the Era of Real Men

My favorite TV show today is "Mad Men", the AMC-TV original series set around a Madison Avenue ad agency. It is so retro including orange and lime pillows, siamese cat silhouette wall hangings, constant smoking, 3-martini lunches, suave men, and women who are there only as objects.

If you haven't watched it, I encourage you to do so. Currently the series is set in 1965 so it's moving past us a little but the cultural take is so accurate. The lead character, Don Draper, said it all regarding the relative place of men and women when he said, "I won't let a woman talk to me this way!" And that is so Don Draper.

When I read that quote in a recent Newsweek I could only think of the superintendent of schools in the small town where I worked after college. One of the bus drivers, surprisingly for that era a woman, had apparently done something wrong, and the superintendent was reaming her out for it. She was a strong woman and was holding up well, but finally gave it up, and burst through the adjoining principal's office in tears, obviously now seeing the true path. (Kidding, ladies!!)

The superintendent sauntered into the principal's office behind her, stood with his hands on his penguin-shaped hips, rocking slightly, and said, "I never met a woman yet I couldn't make cry!"

To read this very interesting article in Newsweek, just click on this link and it will take you there.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dumb as Your Father

Reading a recent email from Richard Holstad, I am reminded of one of our teachers who apparently did not have eyelashes. At least that's the story I was told by female classmates who often would flutter their eyes or stroke their lashes in front of her to tease, I suppose. She would have qualified as a spinster in that day and age, a term not often used today.

In my first teaching job out of college there was a spinster teaching at the junior high level who was well known for her straightforward nature. She had been in the school system for years, and it surprised no one when one day she called out a student in front of the class for being "Dumb, just as dumb as your father and his father before him!"

They don't make 'em like they used to. I suppose that's good.

Friday, August 6, 2010

World's Classiest Letter Jackets

Somewhere in this blog is a picture of Mike Lien posing in his letter jacket. I always thought they were the neatest letter jackets around, and as I grew older, believed that even moreso.

Whenever I planned to go somewhere with Phil Johnson, the last clarifying question from one or the other of us was, "Wearing your letter jacket?" It was the question that never needed to be asked because of course we'd be wearing the letter jacket. With pride.

As seniors, several letter-winners used the several hooks right outside the old study hall as a gathering point, so there would be perhaps 15 or 20 jackets hanging in a row, a sign of pride and ownership.

Several of us attended MCJC and during our sophomore year the NK Letter Jacket became the article of clothing du jour, for some reason, for other students who had NOT attended NKHS.

For reasons I don't fully understand, I had taken the letter off my jacket and it became a lesser piece of clothing; a couple years after getting out of college, I needed a jacket to wear while out painting on a chilly day, and that led to the demise (think of the definition of the word when used in conjunction with the death of royalty) of that jacket, unfortunately. And that was really too bad, because getting the jacket in the first place was a stressful situation, once again at the hands of Buddy Mounts.

At the end of the football season in our junior year, and fully anticipating I would be rewarded with a letter, I ordered the jacket at Gildner's. When it came in, I was proudly wearing it, sans letter, when I was accosted by Coach Mounts. Long story short, I was advised that ONLY LETTER WINNERS were allowed to wear the jacket and how the heck did I know that I was going to be getting a letter?

Well, gees. I had played most of every game and started seven of them. The one game I did not start I was forced to sit out because of a stupid drill that Mounts had put us through that week that resulted in a deep bone bruise in my right thigh, so I could barely run by Friday night. Was it much of a stretch to think a letter might be coming?

By the time the awards assembly was held, Mounts had changed his mind about my deserving a letter, or had decided he had done enough intimidating and I indeed got the letter. And going forward I did indeed wear it with pride. Who knows if it's as difficult to get a letter jacket today as it was back then, but whoever earns one needs to know it remains the World's Classiest.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's Viking Logo

Thanks to the magic of computers and today's marketing concepts, today's Vikings have a little different logo than the ones we had. This logo is posted on the school's website.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Drag Racing

Does anyone remember the red 63 "409" Chevy that my brother Gerald (graduated in 1960) had?

This is a quote from Mike Lien in 2002. "I remember Gerald's brand new red 63 chevy with a big "409" cubic inch engine in it and we went west of town at Aase's corner and raced. That's where all the guys used to go drag race back in those days. I had my dad's new 63 Pontiac and needless to say your brother's chevy won the race. It's a wonder back then that nobody got caught by the law or killed because that used to be a regular raceway in those day."

I wonder how many of you guys drag raced with that 409?

Senior Interview

Anyone else have their Senior Interview article? I might have one or two more.

NKHS Mens Locker Room

Friday, July 30, 2010

When Not Losing Is Still a Loss

We won our first football game of our senior season, hosting St Ansgar and establishing the norm that we will always miss at least one extra point. So we were pretty pumped going into the second week, another home game, this time against Forest City, optimistic about a good season ahead.

A party had been planned following the game, I think at Ann Bergen's house, and somehow Coach Mounts, who had a nose for these things, seemed to know about it. We were sitting on the bus before the game and Mounts was giving us the pre-game hype about the importance of winning, and said if we lost the game we better not be thinking about any parties afterwards.

Well, we didn't lose, we tied. 13-13. Another missed extra point. So the discussion after the game was short and sweet, to the point of "Hey, we didn't lose, did we?" And we headed off to the party, most of us probably still wondering what fate would befall us for our own interpretation of "lose - not lose". I think the party ended early, at least for me, because that was on my mind.

By Monday morning I had pretty much put it aside but I think I got an inkling from some teammates when I was about to hang up my letterjacket that Mounts was on the warpath. And sure enough, it was about that quickly that he showed up right there by the study hall where we hung our jackets and talked smart before the day started. He grabbed me by the shirt, got right in my face, and started talking about my lack of integrity and leadership. I was co-captain with Phil Johnson but that was ending right then and there, that since we didn't win that game, we "lost" that game, I was no longer deserving of being captain and like everybody else who attended the party, would have to pay the consequences.

Monday nights were usually a light practice because the fresh-soph team had a game and the coaches had to take care of that, but not this Monday night. We did all kinds of calisthenics and ran more than I think I ever had in my life, but so be it. We were paying the price.

I believe it was Wednesday night when we finally had "the speech." Phil was now the lone captain and he was leading calisthenics - until we were flat down on the ground and Mounts took over. It was the kind of speech you'd expect about commitment and integrity (my word, not his), and of course nobody but him said a word. Then he started walking towards somebody laying in the front row, and I don't recall if it was Mike Lien or Larry Holstad, but when he got there, he kicked him in the helmet. I cringed. Then he went over to the other of those two, and kicked him in the helmet, too. I cringed again - and quietly hoped that he was done kicking.

But he wasn't. He headed directly towards me and I thought, "Oh, Lord, help me!" The whole time he was talking, angrily, until "whammo" - I got it in the helmet. And I thought, "Sheesh, that wasn't that bad!" And it wasn't.

So he finally got over his speechifying, we stood up, were made whole and part of the team again, I was told to join Phil in the captain's role again, and all was forgiven. For now. But you just knew we had to win that Friday night at Buffalo Center.

Sure enough, the first half at Buffalo ended 6 - 6. ANOTHER missed point. At halftime we were on the bus getting verbally abused again, because obviously we did not have the commitment to be a good ball club. The good news was the second half turned out to be a lot better. We won 38-6, which means we scored 5 touchdowns (and only two extra points) in the second half to win the game.

NOW we had earned a party, but we never won at home again that season, unfortunately, and it just wasn't real practical to have a party after a road game. And if you're wondering why I never won that Nobel Prize for discoveries in chemistry or higher mathematics, now you know - it's because of that night I got kicked in the head.

I'll Have a Schlitz!

We'll keep the name out of this one because somebody who shouldn't know this might just find out about it. And those who know about it will know exactly who it is . . .

You saw the photo posted under the Photos - Old label of the group who went to Florida for the Luther League Convention. That trip happened during the summer before our senior year. Somewhere about Tennessee or Kentucky, and I don't know if it was on the way down or on the way back, a group of the conventioners wandered into a local tavern. The server came to the table to take orders, and if my memory serves me right, told the group they only served beer.

No problem for this classmate. He said, "I'll have a Schlitz!" No matter that he was on a church trip and that he was soon in training for the football season. So from that time forward, at least through the football season, his nickname was often "Schlitz", and may even be today, for all I know.

I wasn't there so can't vouch for the details, but I'm sure there will be those reading this who can firm up the story!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Billy Roberts, Part Deux

Billy was a really smart guy. And his "value system" for lack of better terminology, though in many ways just like mine, was totally different. Maybe that was because he had access to things that I didn't know much about.

Somewhere along the line when Eisenhower was president (there are fewer and fewer of us who can reference those days), he taped one of Eisenhower's State of the Union speeches on a reel-to-reel recorder about the same size as a cigar box. It was battery operated, so we were able to walk along the sidewalk in front of the high school listening to the speech. I don't think I even knew what a State of the Union Address was. But for some reason, Billy knew it was important. And my thought of the importance was all dialed into that recorder.

When we got into high school and had to prepare a project for the science fair, we somehow got teamed up to do this. Billy's role was to build a model house using balsa wood and other supplies. He even included indirect lighting from low-voltage bulbs secured behind a piece of balsa wood that caused the light to spill around the edges. I didn't even know what indirect lighting was, or that it existed. My only role in this team was to show up at his house from time to time and do his algebra for him.

He didn't seem to be able to make it to school during most of the few weeks prior to completion of this project. The notes from home probably said he was sick, but I suppose most of us knew better, and I sure wasn't going to argue. Right or wrong, it wasn't something that was going to happen at my house, I knew that.

And when we were seniors, one day I realized that I had screwed up not making arrangements to drive to Mason City for a doctor's appointment. When Bill heard that he said, "No problem, I'll take you," and away we went. On our way back home we stopped at Van Horne Auto Salvage, which I think still exists, right on Hwy 65 on the north edge of Mason City. Shopping the junkyard for auto parts was not in my routine, but Bill had the skill set including financial savy to be able to get what he needed. In this case it was the air conditioner from a late model Cadillac. He told the counter guy what he wanted, they said they had one available, and he asked "How much?" The price was $250 if he removed it himself. He agreed, and we walked away with one huge smile on his face.

He may have never installed it, I don't know. But that lifestyle was way unlike my own. He didn't graduate in the Top 10 but he was smart enough to have done it if he had seen any reason to do so. He was one smart guy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Billy Roberts and the Pea Shooter

We were freshmen. Billy and I both had study hall at the same time in that big room upstairs that doubled as a stage and doubled again as a library, as I recall. With good planning on our part we were able to seize the very last seats in adjoining rows. Probably not a good place for us.

One day Billy brought these copper tubes to school. I don't know how he had them and I don't know where they would have been used except for somebody's HVAC (today's terminology) equipment. Whatever the source, they were the perfect size for shooting BB's, and Billy of course had a supply of them, too.

Being a study hall, the room was always quiet, and when you shot one of the BB's, it would bounce around a few times up front, and we thought that was quite the sport. Until I shot one and Earl Mason, the principal that year, walked in the front door about the same time it landed. And bounced. You will recall that Earl was sort of a disciplinarian, and he had a nose for finding trouble.

He slowly walked the back of the room, and I suspect he never actually looked at us until he was standing right beside us. Long story short, he walked away with our shooters and BB's and we walked away with detention that night.

When we dutifully arrived at the appointed hour that evening, Earl pulled out the supply of BB's and said, "Count them." I don't recall how many there were. It could have been 50 or 100 or 200, I don't know and it doesn't matter. We counted and told him how many we had. He turned with his back to the desks and threw them over his shoulder. They bounced in every direction, and he said, "When you have them all back, you can go home."

You can imagine that was pretty much an impossible task, and when he got tired of waiting for us to make good on his demand he came back into the study hall, told us never to do that again, and told us to go home. We did exactly as he demanded.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Northwood Public School 1957-58, Grade 8, Mr. Gillmann

Northwood Public School, 1956-57, Grade 7

Northwood Public School, Grades 5, 6 1954-1955

West Elementary School Goes Down

From the Northwood Anchor June 23, 1999


The three-story, brown brick building that served up reading, writing, arithmetic and a host of other subjects to five generations of Northwood and Kensett children came tumbling down last week.

Shortly after 7 a.m. last Wednesday morning, a giant yellow backhoe owned by Metro Wrecking, Inc., of Des Moines tore into the southwest corner of the building which was known in successive eras as Northwood High School, Northwood-Kensett High School, N-K West Middle School and N-K West Elementary School.

By 5 p.m. that afternoon, the giant black claw on the working end of the machine's jointed yellow arm had pulled down all but the northern wall off the 1915 building, leaving four south-facing, second-floor blackboards visible above the jagged line of bricks that topped the west wall's ruins.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

45th Reunion

Northwood today

These are pictures of the Diamond Jo Casino located on I-35 west of Northwood. Who would of imagined there would be a casino by Northwood? When it was first proposed, I thought they were crazy!!

57 Chevy

Ready for Sunday School

All dressed up for Sunday School. Myself & my brother Gerald. I'm thinking I look about 4. Does anyone know the year of the car?

Country School Beginnings

In 1950 the country school maybe a mile up the road from the farm where I grew up was in its last year of existence as a school. Helen Coyle, a neighbor, was the teacher of this 8-grade school. Somehow she got together with my mom and a decision was made that my "kindergarten" would be 6 weeks at this school, and I would enter 1st grade in Northwood at age 5 going on 6.

I have good memories of that short span. It was fun to be around the kids up to 8 years older than me, was obviously low pressure, and it seemed there was plenty of recess time. We got to play Annie-I-Over (if that's how it was spelled, but I don't know) the schoolhouse and I don't recall we ever played that anywhere else. There was a lot of screaming when either side caught the ball and came running around the corner to claim some victims, like Dodgeball.

Over the next few years, until the school was abandoned, we used it for Bible School. Since we were pushing into June, the oats crop in the field at Mielke's farm next door was perhaps 3 feet tall and perfect for creating paths by crawling on hands and knees, pushing the oats down ahead of you with your arms. But Duane Mielke's dad didn't think so, and the message came back to stop doing that.

That fall it was time to go to the real school, but I did some protesting. I refused to ride the bus, so Mom drove me to town. Then I refused to go into the school. I did some negotiating to get a new coloring book and colors out of the deal before I finally went on in. The next day my Mom decided I didn't understand what was best for me so she physically dragged me down the driveway, threw me on the bus, and said goodbye. Today that probably qualifies as child abuse, but it worked, and I soon grew to love being at school with all my friends.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Vold Sisters

Top photo was in June of 1957 when the Vold's left Northwood for California. Stopped in Des Moines to say our goodbye's to cousins.

2nd Photo - Merrilee, Bonnie and Cynthia in 1949.
3rd Photo - Merrilee building a snowman in 1950 something
4th Photo - Birthday party for David Haight (bottom row)
Top row left is David's mom, Marge, my mom Rose and Mike Lien's mom, Elsie
Bottom row is "unknown girl" on left, Mike Lien, David Haight, sister Laurie,
Bonnie and Merrilee

Classic Cars

Let Me Entertain You!

Dick Clark - American Bandstand. Get home early so you can check out all the "hotties" although they weren't called that in those days. Check out the video after this picture.

Ben, Adam, Hoss, Little Joe. America the way it's supposed to be. Musical chords you won't forget.