Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Minnesota vs Purdue, 1961

My first Big Ten football game was at the old Brickyard in Minneapolis, Memorial Stadium. By my recall it was 1961, and the game was played on a cold day, November 18. (Thanks to Google for leading to historically accurate information.)

Fred Knauer was our counselor, replacing Jon Swenson, who had moved on to greener pastures somewhere. Fred was also one of the volunteers to drive us to the game, in the Drivers Training car, which I recall to be a white, four-door Chevy.

On the way to the game Fred seemed a little anxious, and it suddenly escalated even more for some reason. At the same time I suddenly noticed some pressure on my toes, increasing to a level that I had to jerk my foot - away from the brake pedal on the front passenger side where I was sitting, now pressing down on my foot just like he was jamming the real brake on the driver's side! This safety feature for the driver's ed instructor worked just the opposite in this environment. The car jerked when I pulled my foot because now the brake suddenly worked, and Knauer, not knowing why the brake hadn't been working, was a little steamed up. But no wreck, no foul.

He also got worked up once we got into Minneapolis - because we got lost somehow. But it made no difference because we finally made it to the game. In the 80's they tore down Memorial Stadium in favor of the Metrodome, and that was kind of sad, because Memorial was a beautiful building, at least aesthetically. It was November, the day was cool but sunny, and leaves had fallen all over, of course, so it was the classic fall day for Big Ten Football.

We sat on the bleachers in the south end of the stadium. I can only recall Mike Lien being among our group although we obviously had many of us there. And I'm sure it was Mike who got the bright idea to explore the stadium a little bit before the game. Somehow we wound up in a tunnel on the Gopher side of the stadium, and we were standing against a wall across from double doors when we heard a roar from inside the doors, the ground seemed to be shaking, the doors burst open, and Judge Dixon, the Minnesota fullback, burst out the doors and right towards us.

From where we stood, he looked to be about 8 feet tall and 600 pounds. And thank goodness he turned and ran down the tunnel and onto the field away from us, followed by all his teammates. His teammates that year included Sandy Stephens, Bobby Bell, and Carl Eller, all of whom probably looked even bigger, and went on to success at the pro level.

I wonder, could we have gotten into that tunnel today? Nah - because today the TV cameras are following the players from the locker room to the field, and us peons would have been herded away. So I guess we did have some advantages growing up when we did.

We were fortunate to see this game (the Gophers won 10-7) because the Gophers were coming off a national championship year in 1960 and wound up going back to the Rose Bowl, but it was kind of an end to an era because they have since fallen on hard(er) times. A couple years ago they wanted to honor Sandy Stephens on their tickets - and spelled his name Stevens. Another good reason to be a Hawkeye fan.

If you were in the group of players who attended, add your own comments and memories. I'll guarantee every Minnesota fan has memories of those years!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coach Midtgaard - a Successful Career

The 61-62 basketball team wasn't his first, but it did help Midtgaard in a successful 33-year career as a basketball coach. In those years he posted 420 victories. For a view of where he ranks among Iowa High School Basketball Coaches, go to http://www.iahsaa.org/basketball/Archives/bb_atcoach.pdf.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Great Chocolate Bar Battle

In the spring of our junior year the athletic department was selling chocolate bars, probably World's Finest, to raise money. You will recall the office was located up the short flight of stairs in that "closet" at the north end of the 2nd story.

Arlo Severson and I decided to buy and split one at the end of the school day on a Friday, and after making our purchase we were heading back down the steps to the 2nd floor. I had no more than split the bar in half and was handing his share to Arlo when Bill Mansur walked by, heading down the stairs in the direction of the gym, and he said, "That'll be 30 minutes after school on Monday, boys!"

I'm sure Arlo thought, "Whatever," like I did, and we went off for the weekend. On Monday morning I was curious enough about it to check the detention hall listing which was posted by the study hall across from the Principal's Office. Sure enough, we were both listed there. Somehow Buddy Mounts came along and asked what we were looking at. I told him we had been assigned detention and he asked "What for?" OK, yes, I knew it was because of the chocolate bar, but come on, it was a product being sold in the school for the benefit of the athletic department, so it was valid for me to say, "I don't know."

Mounts, you'll recall, was a bulldog, so he grabbed me by the arm and said, "Come with me." He pulled me across the hall and into the two-room principal's office, pointed at the bench in the small outer office, told me to sit there, and marched on into Mansur's office. I don't recall the words exchanged between the two of them, but I do recall it was loud, it was long, and I believe everybody in the study hall heard every word of it. Finally he stormed back out of the office and told me I wouldn't have detention that night.

He didn't give me the pass we were supposed to have to show up late anywhere but when I ambled across the hall and looked at Maynard Midtgaard I only motioned back in the direction of the Principal's Office. He quietly said "I know where you were," and I took my seat.

At some point during the day an announcement was made of a meeting with Mounts to be held in the music room after school for anybody interested in playing football that fall. I went. Arlo went. Ten minutes into the meeting Lowell Gangstad showed up at the door with a paper in his hand; he looked at me and Arlo, then turned to Mounts and mumbled something about a couple guys there who were supposed to be in detention. Mounts walked over to him, took the paper from his hand and looked at it, had a little conversation with him, then turned back and said, "Arlo, you go with him."

So Arlo took the fall. I have no idea what happened to that fundraiser going forward, but I'm sure the teacher lounge was buzzing about who had the real authority around here. And for me it was a lesson about that very topic.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where Dreams Began

When I started putting this together I couldn't help but be a bit wistful. From grade school on up we were perhaps most focused on our "first's" - first day, first teacher, first game, first musical, perhaps a first kiss or first girl or boyfriend at some point.

Today we might be looking at the "last's": the last day of work, the last time visiting Northwood, the last time we saw each other, the last time we had to crack a book (for study, anyway).

And now we are where we are, and more and more every day I see Northwood-Kensett as our rock, the place where our dreams began. My hope is that all our dreams were lived as fully as they could have been, even the dreams we didn't know that we held when we left.

We gotta get those Green Devils!

I wasn't in the room so I can't authenticate this story but it's a good one nonetheless.

We played Osage for Homecoming in our senior year. At some point during the game Phil Johnson suffered a shoulder separation and Gary Hengesteg suffered a pretty severe concussion that had him laying on the field for quite a while. Both of them were taken back to the training room at the high school, which you recall was a couple blocks away from the field at the fairgrounds.

Gary was laying on one of the training tables when he suddenly recovered and asked, "Where are we?" He was told to take it easy, that he'd had a concussion in the game, but he sat bolt upright and said, "No! We gotta get out there and get those Green Devils!"

Like I say, I wasn't there, but it's a great story, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Graduation for N-K Students

May 24, 1962 The Northwood Anchor


Sixty-five seniors graduated at the 1962 Northwod-Kensett high school Commencement exercises Wednesday night.

Special honors were awarded to 14 seniors. Carol Orman was named valedictorian of the class with Arlyn Morse as salutatorian.

LeRoy Leidal and Charles Hendrickson were named winners of the Swensrud scholarships. These scholarships are for $600 a year for four years. These four awards were announced by Robert Scheibe, high school principal.

Carol Orman received the Iowa Bar association award for school citizenship. It was presented by Floyd Ensign.

Phil Johnson won the Lee Reyerson Memorial award for athletic excellence. It was presented by Mrs. Earl Mowers.

A new award, the Worth County Teachers association citizenship award, was presented to Marilyn Jorgensen by Mrs. Helen Thies.

Eleven students were recognized and designated as “honor graduates” for maintaining a four-year grade point average of higher than 3.25. Receiving the distinction this year were Carol Orman, Arlyn Morse, Christina Helvick, Ann Bergen, Marsha Gaarder, Marilyn Weidler, Robert Smith, Jane Pacey, Janet Ashland, LeRoy Leidal and Steve Sawin.

The high school auditorium was packed for the graduation ceremony. This will probably be the last class to graduate in this gymnasium since the new high school will probably be used in future years.

The class marched in to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” played by Mrs. J. M. Mehaffy, Rev. R Roland Ritter gave the invocation followed by the class singing “The Halls of Ivy”, accompanied by Janice Ostby.

Unique for commencement programs in Northwood, four members of the senior class gave commencement speeches, replacing the traditional outside speaker.

Carol Orman spoke on “Citizenship: Privilege and “Responsibility”. Christina Helvick’s topic was “Hope Springs Eternal”. “Our Abiding Values” was the title of the speech by Ann Bergen and Robert Hickman chose “Ethics in a Changing Society” for his topic. All were introduced by Superintendent Donald D. Ambroson.

The class, presented by Scheibe, was awarded diplomas by L.G. Stevens, president of the Northwood-Kensett school board.

The Rev. H. A. Wilke pronounced the benediction followed by the traditional “March of the Priests” played by Mrs. Mehaffy.

The class motto was “For Courageous Hearts, Nothing is Impossible”. Class colors are blue and white and the class flower is the rose.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Upperclass "Class"

May 26, 1960 - Sally Tenold, Northwood, was named valedictorian and Carolyn Lucken, Kensett, was named salutatorian at graduation exercises. Dale Fisher, Kensett, and Elsa Groe, Northwood, were awarded Swensrud scholarships.

The Age of Sputnik

Back in our day, science was all the rage after the Russians beat us to the moon. Ergo, two of our finest continued their search for excellence:

May 26, 1960 - Maynard Midtgaard and Don Faris, science teachers at NKHS, have received summer scholarships for the National Science Foundation. Mr. Midtgaard's is in biolgy for six week's study at Iowa State Universiry and Mrs. Faris' for eight weeks at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in physics and chemistry. The scholarships provide free tuition plus $90 weekly plus $15 weekly for each dependent.

Large Semis, 3 Weeks, 3 Times - in the Ditch!

June 2, 1960 - For the third time in thre weeks, large semis have gone in the ditch near Northwood, first with a cargo of beer, the next loaded with eggs and now with watermelons. Several local boys were enlisted to transfer the undamaged melons and include Craig Pangburn, Jim Nelson, Monte Millard, Tom Watts, David Thoen, Jim Watts, Ralph Thompto and Larry Hove. Some melons were smashed, but the truck was practically undamaged.

from the Anchor - June 2, 1960

June 2, 1960
Members of the N-K Viking baseball team for this season, coached by Don Faris, are Lee Holstad, Rodney Lundgren, Albert Adams, Wayne Groe, James Tobiasen, Donn Holstad, Frank Adams, David Mikkelson, Craig Ensign, Phil Johnson, Larry Holstad and Robert Pike.

The Northwood Swim Pool

Found by Marsha Gaarder Hasseler in the ancient news section of the Northwood Anchor:

May 19, 1960
Four lifeguards were hired for the Northwood swimming pool for the season and are Craig Pangburn, Sharyl Knutson, Harry Rogers and Craig Ensign. All have earned the senior lifesaving certificate of the American Red Cross. Donna Davenport and Jane Pacey will be lifeguards at the wading pool.