Saturday, December 31, 2011

L T Dillon - Entrepeneur

Richard Holstad keeps feeding information about L T Dillon and the 1936 National Band Contest.  The exploits have been reported previously and at some point the numerous photos along with a recording made by the St Olaf Band of the song played in contest by the NHS Band will be posted by way of YouTube.

In the meantime, take a closer look at the above photo.  Click on it to open a larger view in a new window, then look carefully at the band members themselves.  They're all cut-outs!  According to the clipping at the bottom of the photo, it was made by L T Dillon, composed of individual photos of the various members munted on a base and placed on a small stage, thus "manufactured" by Dillon because the school in 1936 did not have an auditorium - and this apparently was the closest facsimile of a performance setting that he could come up with.  (The gymnasium used by the Class of '62 was built and occupied AFTER the National Contest.)

Pretty ingenious, that fellow.  He also is the photographer for the photo below, as reported previously in this blog.  Unable to be in the picture, he made it there as an inserted image in the upper left corner.  This almost makes you laugh, except for the picture of determination and dedication that he embodied as a "part-time" instructor for a national champ.  You may not find a more entrepreneurial spirit.

The band held a reunion in 2006; what a joy it must have been for those players to get back together again!
Keep your eyes on this blog for more information and stories on this group.  Many of them would have been parents of the Class of '62 or that era.  A son of one of the members, Richard has been reaching out to others to solicit their memories and photos as well.

Friday, December 30, 2011

One Last Holiday Greeting

The Hendrickson Clan on Holiday
We got this pleasant surprise today - an email from Janis with their Holiday greeting photo of their beautiful family.  They spent Christmas with the whole clan in Bradenton, FL.  What better site for a Christmas photo than a sandy beach?  We can tell it's not along the Shell Rock or at the Worth County Park - if that still exists.

We could congratulate Chuck for thinking of this and putting it together, but the rightful congratulations would be to say it's a darn good thing he married a woman with some creativity.  Click the picture for a larger view.

Lonna and I are heading for the Bradenton area for the month of April and Chuck and Janis expect to be there again at the same time so we look forward to hooking up with them.  And a Happy New Year to all of you!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blade and Seed - The Great Goose Caper

Another adventure, though the goose being cooked is themselves, in the lives of the Notorious Blade and Seed, direct from the pen (use your imagination) of Stan Arendts:

The objective was to create the most elaborate science project in the history of NKHS. What could be more impressive that to put together a skeleton of a full grown goose? How many bones in a goose? Who knows. How to get the meat and feathers off? I guess you boil it. Details, were never a problem for the dynamic duo.

Grandpa Morse's Favorite Goose
First, you locate a goose. Arlyn's grandfather had a few on his farm, but he was not interested in donating one to science......Then you capture the bird, put it in a milk can, so the bones don't break and put the top on so the goose makes no noise, revealing the theft. What could go wrong?

It was a normal night, with a lot of dew on the grass and weeds leading to the goose pen. It was also a lot longer of a trip (one mile) than originally thought. Additionally, an electric fence surrounded the pen. When we got into the pen, the geese went crazy, the dogs started barking and lights came on. The goose we caught was too big for the milk can. A hasty retreat was in order. On the way back, we got tangled in the fence with the milk can in tow. The dew solidified the connection and thus we were jolted into reality.

This was our introduction into "Murphy's Law" We ended up getting a C on the project, which sans the goose, concentrated on the properties of electricity. However, our creative instincts were intact. Such is life.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The January 22 blog post reported one Stanton Carl Arendts was first alternate to be appointed to the Naval Academy.  Sure enough, our very own SCA is the apple who fell not far from the tree.  He confirms it was  his father referenced in the 75-Year-Old Anchor News:

USS West Virginia Burning in Pearl Harbor
Yes, My Father had almost as many sea stories as me!! He did go to the Academy (The boat school / canoe club) and graduated in time to be on the USS West Virginia when it was sunk at Pearl Harbor. Fortunately he was on shore at the time. 

His room mate was Bob Lim who went on to become the president of Philippine Air Lines after serving in the Philippine ARMY, as a general (I think). The Lim kids used to visit our family in Kensett during the summers.

While at USNA he, along with 2 other midshipmen formed a radio station and played music for the academy. When they graduated, they flipped for the records and my father won, ending up with hundreds of the old 78's. I used them as clay pigeons for skeet practice.His description of Navy life was much the same as my experiences. "Years and years of boredom, with fleeting moments of sheer panic and terror."  Much has changed since I got out.


Rest assured the photo of the USS West Virginia is included here only with the greatest respect.  The Class of '62 grew up in a marvelous era following what can best be described as a dangerous era.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Changing Times

Gadgets and toys abound anymore, and many people love them - if they work.  There is nothing more satisfying than re-wiring all the components in the surround system, then clicking the "power on" button - and everything works.

There is nothing more FRUSTRATING than failure of connections.  But sooner or later, even if it requires a call to an "out source",  order should be restored, and victory claimed.

As a result of all the toys available,  however, one might be looking at a mess as shown here on an end table:  Weather Station, cordless phone, Kindle, "dumb" phone, Harmony remote, and wireless keyboard.  Just sitting there, waiting to release their power.  Normal in today's world.

We are spoiled, rightfully so.  There was a time when changing the channel meant getting up out of your chair, walking to the TV, turning the dial, adjusting the tuning ring as necessary, then returning to your chair.  At that point, somebody else in the family will complain about the selection, and the diplomatic response is to repeat the process.

And if you were lucky the antenna didn't need to be adjusted, although that was often a pure stroke of luck because somehow your body was somehow able to funnel the signal to the rabbit ears but ONLY IF you were standing close, and once you moved away . . .

Isn't it nice to have today's gadgets?

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Car Show Game

Marilyn Weidler Ulve passed this along, and many car nuts will enjoy it.  The goal is to identify as many cars from the 50s as you can.  Click this link to go to the Car Show Game website.  While you're here, "honk" if you like this '57!

(It's a record "shortest" blog post in the history of NKHS 62.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Here is a Christmas song taken from a television show, Studio 60.  Sometime later, this video was created as a greeting from New Orleans, a city extraordinarily diverse in culture and ethnicity.  We've enjoyed the song every year since it was the closing music in a 2006 episode of the old TV show "Studio 60" at Christmas, was posted online as an mp3 (see below) and wanted to share.  It's part of our Christmas Eve music routine, now including Christmas at Luther 2011.  This report regarding the music from the show was posted by Candace Lombardi:

A group of New Orleans musicians led by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews played the new version of the Christmas classic as part of "The Christmas Show" episode's story line.

The musicians are really Hurricane Katrina survivors as they played on the show. The vignette was coordinated by the Tipitina's Foundation, an nonprofit organization dedicated to helping New Orleans musicians affected by Katrina.

An MP3 of the song can be streamed or downloaded from NBC's Studio 60 music site.

Friday, December 23, 2011

To Be Happy

Posted on a chalkboard by the coffee pots at the old J. D. One-Stop in Northwood:

When I was five years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down "happy."  They said I didn't understand the assignment.  I told them they didn't understand life.

-- John Lennon       

It's not particularly deep philosophy but it does address a truth.  I mentioned in another posting that I don't know for sure which teacher, if any, ever motivated me to read books, or enjoy the ever-so articulate writers and orators.  Helen Thies certainly loved her symbolism, as someone pointed out, and for the love of me I wasn't  very good at finding the many interpretations that she uncovered, and this Lennon quote is pretty straight-forward if philosophical. 

One of the fellows I worked for in the 80's got all fired up about the symbolism in "Fatal Attraction," that spooky movie starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.  He expounded with enthusiasm on the water that showed up at appropriate moments, as it did when Glenn's character boiled the family pet rabbit.  A previous posting about Marilyn Monroe and her movie "Niagara" followed the same women/water symbolism, as I discovered when researching the movie a little bit.  Makes sense.  What more powerful water than Niagara?  More powerful woman than Monroe?  I don't think you even have to use your imagination . . .

The great writer and thinker Christopher Hitchens died recently.  He wasn't necessarily a symbolism guy, but he was a powerfully logical writer, and was cited by Ross Douthat, a conservative writer for the New York Times for his anguish over the existence of God, and his singular ability to debate an issue by citing circumstances and realities that few others may have considered.  It was as if Hitchens had a computer-like mind that enabled a constant "search" of "all things relevant to this topic" and then parsed the story to reflect it.

George Will is another author whose articulation is just fun to listen to, whether you agree with him or not.  Bill Buckley was awesome.  Lincoln was THE MAN of few more eloquent words.  Roosevelt.  Kennedy.  I wish I had paid more attention during English class and perhaps I would have loved them even more, symbolism or not, and somewhere along the way learned to be a better wordsmith.

Lennon, he of Beatlemania, may have just cut to the chase with the above quote, and I would confess to being one of those who would have thought he had not understood the assignment, being committed instead to the stated goal the student should achieve.  In 1963 Beatle music was becoming so popular, and though I had heard and loved the music they were playing, I had no clue who they were until I happened to be standing in Vic's Pizza in Mason City one night, waiting for a table or a person, I don't know which, glanced down at the jukebox near the front door that was playing one of their songs so I could find out exactly who was making that music, and realized that those four mop-headed characters were the source of the harmony that I, like everyone else, was becoming attached to.  

Continuing in my cultural heritage, narrow-mindedness, and inability to change with the world, I lacked the appreciation of the gradual transition of the Beatles to their adventures of living, the White Album, Paul's shoe-less walk across Abbey Road (symbolic or not), the hair that got longer and longer.  Some English teachers got with the program and used "Eleanor Rigby", "Yesterday", and various other Beatle titles as a teaching tool, and at least one basketball coach that I know would use their music to prime himself on game day, turning up the volume to a high level, then listening in a room by himself before his team took the court that night.

All while quietly, secretively attempting "to be happy."  And here's where we are today, in a state of retirement, reflecting on the past.

The path through this posting may not have been linear, but no matter - this ain't the New York Times.  But it is worthy to end where we started, with a quote from Lennon:  Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  And we'll leave it up to you to figure out the meaning and symbolism behind the whole posting.  Then send your thoughts to  My brain is near empty.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Old News from the Anchor - Stanton Arendts

The December 24, 1936, issue of the Anchor reports:

Stanton Carl Arendts of Kensett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl E. Arendts, has been nominated to be the first alternate to Gerald Carney of New Hampton for an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, according to word received from Congressman Fred Biermann, who made the nomination.  The appointment begins in July, 1937, it is said.  With the present world situation, Arendts is almost assured of an appointment to the Academy, it is understood.

The Stan Arendts we know, who often signs his emails SCA, also served in the Navy.  Stan, fill us in on this earlier version of SCA, please.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Old News - from the Anchor

Last week's Anchor reported on the band that performed in Cleveland in 1936.

Fifty highly elated musicians, members of the Northwood school band, together with their director, L.T. Dillon, Supt. E. A. Prehm and four chaperones, boarded a special train on the North-Western railway at Mason City at 5 AM yesterday bound away for Cleveland, Ohio, where t 11 AM Thursday they will perform in the national band contest.  Chaperones include Mrs. Iver Bidne, Mrs. Levi Cornick, Mrs. Mabel Madson and Mrs. Leon Barnes.

The photo here was taken from a Globe-Gazette report in 2006, marking 70 years in 2006 at a band reunion.  The success of this band was reported previously in this blog, primarily by Richard Holstad, whose mother was one of the band members pictured.

Dillon is pictured in an insert top left of the band.  The original photo of Dillon included in the earlier report has been "lost" from the archives short-term but will be returned when found.  Call it Operator Error.

This photo appears to have been taken behind the school.  The gymnasium would be on the right, assuming it had been built by the time of this photo, and the classrooms behind the band would be Senior English - Helen Thies - if indeed this was a scene from the East side.  A really really careful view would seem to show students peering out those windows.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home for the Holidays?

Home for the Holidays doesn't mean quite as much as it did in 1962 when college kids were approaching the end of the first semester, which in those days did not end until mid-January, or maybe those who had enlisted and would not be able to make it home until they had earned a leave.

Whatever the case, hearing the Perry Como tune inserted here caused some reflection on that first Christmas after graduation.  And I don't really recall a single thing about it.  Who I saw - what I did - what gift I received - NOTHING!  Bah humbug - maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be?  Call me Scrooge.

What I do recall is coming home the first weekend after classes started, and off and on after that point, frequently by hitchhiking.  Chuck Hendrickson and I did that often, and learned some lessons from it, plus picked up some life experiences.  

We'd find somebody to give us a ride out to the main highways out of Cedar Falls, like Highway 20 heading towards Parkersburg.  We always taped paper on the side of a suitcase with "Mason City" printed on it, figuring nobody knew where Northwood was, and once we'd get in a car we could somehow finesse the last 20 miles.  Often the drivers were heading north on 65 anyway, so it worked out.

Some folks went out of their way to help us out and sometimes we wish they hadn't because we'd be crammed into the back seat with some kid with a sucker, or something like that.  I think Chuck had a puppy throw up on him once and we'll have Janis grill him to find more about that - and add it to this blog.

One time I hitched over to Ames to see Phil Johnson and a semi driver picked me up.  I could not believe how that cab bounced around, but I still appreciated the ride.  I learned those guys probably retired with bad backs because it was really rough.  Phil came to Cedar Falls on a return visit and while there wound up talking to Norm Stewart, then UNI's basketball coach.

We were touring the campus, walked through the Men's Gym, and ran into Stewart, who saw Phil right away, recognized him, and said hello.  To Phil, not me.  As I recall the conversation Phil said, "Do you think he knows me?"  Of course he did, because he didn't greet me, that's for sure.  We turned around, Phil found Stewart in his office, and thus started the process that made Phil a Panther forever.  But that's another story.

I also learned that in hitchhiking you had to be instructive to drivers as to where they should drop you off.  One time we got dropped on one of the farm-to-market roads between 218 and Greene, and I thought we might die of loneliness out there.  Me, Chuck, a blacktop road, a gravel road, and lots of corn.  But if you just found out what route the driver was taking, you could set yourself up to get out at an intersection with traffic.  You always had to prospect.

On one occasion Denny Carnes and I hooked a ride home.  Somewhere out on Highway 20 a guy driving a big, long-finned Cadillac picked us up.  He pretty much looked like death warmed over.  His sallow face had a greasy mustache, baggy eyes covered by sunglasses, and a constant cigarette.  He regaled us with stories of Las Vegas, including his experience with Johnny Cash that we won't go into here, just to keep it clean.

To get back to Cedar Falls we turned the suitcase around with "Student to Cedar Falls" on the other side, and repeated the process.  I don't know how many trips we made like that but we sure wouldn't let the grandkids hitchhike today.  Too dangerous.  We grew up in a much better time.

So here it is at last - Perry Como.  This really looks like home, and it should take the Scrooge right out of you.  It did me.  Happy Holidays.

And if you have a wide-screen monitor, this newer and updated version is even better.  Notice all the trains.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Butter Shortage?

Everything's better with Butter on it?

Yeah, butter shortage.  Whoodda thunk?

Such is the word of what is happening over in the Old Country.  Seems there is a very adequate supply of product here in the States, and now butter is indeed hitting the bigtime, like at the Iowa State Fair, where a stick of deep-fried butter apparently fills all your cholesterol needs for the next 3 months.

On the Steven Colbert Report, the host went so far as to talk with awe about this everyday condiment - if that's what it is - as delicious even when eaten "on the cob," which he proceeded to do, only to pause long enough to spread more butter on it, because "EVERYTHING tastes better with butter on it!"

Officially, here is what the AP is reporting:  High demand for butter used in Norwegian Christmas dishes has caused a big shortage, leading to butter smuggling.  (Those DASTARDLY Norwegians!)
In fact, officers at a border checkpoint with Sweden recently arrested a man with 200 pounds stashed in his car.  (Aha!  It's the SWEDES who are dastardly, NOT the Norwegians!)
Butter consumption has steadily increased in Norway.  Growth in demand peaked at more than 30% in November, compared with the previous year.
But this year's wet summer caused poor quality milk yields, affecting domestic butter production in  a country with steep import tariffs.

And here we are wasting butter at the State Fair by selling it by the stick, probably over-using it in Decorah in their fall festivals, where you can buy anything Norwegian, or in Emmons, at their annual lutefisk supper.  If they knew about this, real Norwegians would be ready to share with the rest of the world, yeah, sure, you betcha, so I can hear Sven right now:  "Get da bot ready, Ole, I'll bring da paddles and we'll head on over dere to deliver some of our own, den."

On the other hand, they probably have more snow in the Old Country than they need and the forecast here in the midwest is for another brown Christmas, just like Caleefourneeya.  Perhaps Sven will negotiate a swap.  If not, Stan, Merrilee, and Arlyn will be enjoying weather as if they were actually at home.  But a little greener.  And warmer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Many of our schoolmates have talked about books they have read or are reading today.  Think back to your high school days - what teacher was prompting you to read back then?

Helen Thies - She Loved Her Lit
Perhaps in junior high you read some of the teen mystery books like Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins (72 books written by a syndicate between 1904 and 1979), or their ilk.  Or perhaps you read some of those fabulous sports novels, where fair play was more than a favorite term, becoming heroic by invoking the concept of fair play as the cause du jour.  In some of those novels the protagonist learned from the hard work of the Polish kid, whose name ended in "sky," or "ski," that being Polish was not a bad thing, that you could play on the same team, and that the nastiness of the kids at "Northern" or "State" was far greater than the undeserved ethnic disfavor heaped on the Polish kid earlier in the novel.  And there weren't any Polish kids in Northwood anyway, were there?

None of these books was included in the curriculum, outside reading that they were, and not until one encountered American literature as a junior, under the tutelage of Helen Thies, did one become erudite about great American novels.  Or did we?  Certainly we heard about Mark Twain, Emerson, Thoreau and others, but how many of them became part of your reading library - or inspired you to read more?  Perhaps the criticism is unfair, perhaps not.

As sophomores we were treated to an entire quarter of Leonidis Chimbidis reading All's Quiet on the Western Front, no doubt a great novel, but certainly an easy lesson plan for him to prepare just as it meant no homework for the students.  So it was like we were getting cheated on inspiration.

And then this writer discovered, through the Google, that Mr. Chimbidis died at age 73 in 2004, and found his obituary online.

We missed out on something, as you will discover if you click that link and read his obituary.  He was indeed a traveled man.  He never left you with any doubt that he was quite intellectual, but the depth and breadth of his life may surprise you.  It's just that he never seemed like the kind of guy who would come out to the farm and help you unload a wagon load of bales.  We knew him as having worked as a bartender at the Red Llama, as reported by Mike Lien after one of our proms, but his involvement in the development and operation of that and other businesses was never brought to the light of day.

What a shame.  The obituary reports that Leo was a teacher and philosopher in the tradition of those classical scholars of Classical Greece.  We could have learned much from the man,what with his repeatedly investigating the religious and archaeological sites in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia. . . .

Leo, we hardly knew ye.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Technology Brings

Logitech Webcam - about $50
A few days ago I was talking with the District Governor of the Wisconsin Lions about a workshop I will present at the March District meeting, and described for him how my brother and I are able to use technology to stay in touch with my Dad.  The next day I was reflecting on the Miniatur Wunderland posted yesterday, and the technological progress it has meant for all of us.  And I realized - it's all the same topic!

The Governor has asked me to write a story in the State Newsletter for our Lions, many of whom are aging, to encourage the use of technology now available.  Reviewing what I wrote, it is probably suitable as a story to post, and challenge each of you who are in need of staying in touch with your aging parents or elders, or even with your children/grandchildren if they are far away.  Here's what I wrote:

Dad in 1939

My dad is 94.

He has had a computer for close to 25 years, and as he has aged we have found ways to use the computer and internet to accomplish a number of things.  In late 2009 we added a webcam, and this past summer we upgraded him to a Mac.

We checked out a few options for video conferencing and finally settled on Logitech Vid software because it is the easiest for him to use.  We added a Dropbox folder for storing and sharing documents, and TeamViewer software so we can control his computer remotely.  My brother, a Mac guy, uses their iChat function.

Dad loves his music, which he plays using iTunes, and, an avid reader his entire life, he has a long list of e-books including several Zane Grey stories that are his favorites.  Using an online photo service we are able to share several photos and videos with him.  He has seen our oldest grandson performing at a jazz concert and now has enjoyed the youngest grandson running the train we set up under our Christmas tree, smoke, whistle, and all.

We are able to make all this happen by doing hookups and software setup when we are on-site, then connecting with him by video conferencing on a regular basis.  When he has problems with the computer or we need to show him something, we connect by way of TeamViewer and I can operate his computer remotely even though he lives miles away.

About three years ago I started helping him with his bank accounts, viewing them online, downloading transactions to Quicken, and providing him reports on a monthly basis.  He lost his right arm 50 years ago and has difficulty writing checks, so doing it for him online is a big help, and I am able to watch his bills and payments for him.

At the end of the month I put all the transaction and balance reports in his Dropbox, check in with him by video conferencing, take over his computer remotely with TeamViewer, and walk through each report with him, line by line.

From time to time I will tell him about the weather outside my window, and can take down the webcam, point it out the window and show him – the wind blowing the trees, rain sweeping across the street, or snow piled up by the snowplow.  When I do this he just giggles – at what he is able to see from so far away, at the marvelous changes in technology, how all of that is "live" and fed through, for him, a phone wire.  Progress.

In times of crisis the video feed is invaluable as a tool to check his mental and/or physical health; my brother, especially, may have a better handle on his needs than my sister who lives but a block away but works in Rochester.  

Dad used to complain about the cost of the phone and internet service, but that doesn’t happen anymore.  He loves the video chat, especially with his great-grandchildren.  And my brother and I are pleased that by way of his computer and the internet we are keeping him “out of the four walls” of his apartment. 

Technology provides so much – if you are willing to step out of your own limitations.  If you choose to do something like this I encourage you to "Keep It Simple Stupid" and let the usage grow as the comfort level increases.  You can set programs to load automatically if the computer is turned on, and set Vid to open simply by pressing the enter key when a call comes in.  

Demonstrate the potential by showing them a video conference you might have with your own children, and let them know they have that same potential.  Be bold.  You won't be sorry.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Miniatur Wunderland

While pondering what to post next, an email arrived from Marilyn Weidler Ulve.  Titled "Miniatur Wunderland", it sparked an immediate reaction:  "Hey, a Christmas scene to include!"  Not really.

The only requirement of this posting is to somehow connect this awesome YouTube video to the NKHS 62 blog, and that will be done primarily by reflecting on the comparative differences of today's technology versus what you saw in the 50s or 60s.  Remember, after all, the spaceshot to the moon in 1969 was handled by a computer no larger than a Radio Shack TRS80, which today would not begin to power even the typical cigarette lighter, probably.  If a person had only paid more attention during math class, right, Merrilee?

(For the record, this writer has every paper published by the Waterloo Courier in the duration of the flight of Apollo 11, from launch to landing.  Just another historian.)

Perhaps you had a train like the one sitting on the bookshelves next to our fireplace.  It is an off brand dating back to about 1952 or so, had little or no machining that would keep it on the track, and an engine that worked 50 years ago but today is best considered a relic, not a functional toy.  At one point it had a headlight and would smoke when you poured in oil, but its best days are history.  Only a remembrance.

So this Hamburg Wunderland could make you feel how far behind you were back then.  It is so expansive it requires a computerized control center staffed by several computer engineers, as you would expect to see in an actual transportation environment.  And you might just wonder why these folks can't get hired to handle the clogged up freeways in so many major cities?

Thanks, Marilyn.  And now, everybody show it to your grandkids.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Deck the Halls

Church choir would tour the neighborhood sometime in December, normally on a really really cold night and sing a variety of songs at the homes of the elderly, usually.  The selection process for identifying them wasn't necessarily a closely-held secret but then most of the choir probably didn't care unless they had a specific person they would want to entertain.

Goldy the Gopher was never one of them.  See what a University of Minnesota flash mob can do.  Click the full-screen icon for your best view, and use a 22" monitor or larger.  If you are receiving this posting by email, click the link to go to the blog site.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Old News from the Anchor

NKHS had hunters and outdoorsmen and the Anchor spotlighted Dave Randall, '61, in their November 30, 1961 edition:

Dave Randall, Northwood, bagged his third deer in three consecutive years with an arrow near Stimes Woods southwest of Northwood, last Saturday evening.  The deer was a four-year-old doe.  He is the son of Mr and Mrs Whitney Randall.

Dave was one of the upperclassmen to take Fabian, Stan Arendts, under their wing when the consolidation occurred, and if memory serves right, would have enjoyed watching this website video featuring cars and music from the era.  Thanks to Stan for passing it along.  It's a bit of a segue from hunting to classic cars, but hey, it's a blog and anything is possible.  Click that link.  Here's the cover info from the email:

Someone did an awesome job putting this together.  And with sound to boot.  At the very end of the video you'll hear the song "Thunder Road" sung by the star of the movie of the same name.  (Having a theme song that is the movie title) is not uncommon except this is the one and only song ever recorded for publication by Robert Mitchum.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Only In a Dream - at least these days

Sometimes you see some fantastic physical/artistic performances and wonder - could I have done this - 50 years ago ? ? ? ?   So when Merrilee Reid passed this along the thought was a vision, a dream, of perhaps being one of the performers, all the time knowing better.  Strength, flexibility, coordination - once upon a time, maybe, though in reality never at this level.  Still, dream along . . .

Once you've finished viewing it you may be asking yourself, "Why were all those people sitting on their hands with frowns on their faces?"  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Old and New

A weekend enjoying Christmas at Luther leads to a posting of the "old" with the "new."  The "new" comes from Janis Hendrickson, and features the "card section" of the Hallelujah Chorus, which was not performed at Luther last weekend, but in a prior posting was described as one of the traditional Lowell Gangsted tunes performed at the NKHS Christmas Concert.  This YouTube presentation comes all the way from Quinhagak, AK, if you know where that is. Don't worry about the dark screen - the music and video will come.  (If you get this posting by email you need to click the link to go to the NKHS 62 website to view it.  Thanks to Janis for sharing.)

The "old" is a familiar face and voice for those growing up in the 50s.  Tennessee Ernie Ford was a favorite with songs like "Sixteen Tons" and this YouTube comes from his TV show.  If you like kids, you'll love this one. It was forwarded by an old friend who has no kids but has memories of Ernie...  And you'll recall the simplicity of all those Christmas programs by Ernie, Andy Williams, Lawrence Welk, ad infinitum.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

News from 50 Years Ago

I didn't know he was a hunter, but Bob Wilder once bagged a couple of Canadians for Thanksgiving Day.  Here's what the Anchor reports in their Early Files of November 23, 1961:

Bob Wilder in Class
Robert Wilder, N-K industrial arts teacher, bagged a pair of Canadian Honkers Saturday near Silver Lake.  The geese weighed eight and ten pounds with the larger bird having a 67-inch wingspan.  It was two geese with two shots for Wilder after sneaking up on the small flock.

And he would have been using lead shot, for sure.  Two for two with steel shot would have been difficult at best, though we give him credit for his expertise in this shooting and I'm sure the birds were delicious.

Wilder was also a JV basketball coach for at least a couple of years, including our freshman year, the only time I think I ever played organized basketball, but I dropped out due to my inability to shoot or handle the ball.  Or play defense.  The one basketball memory that I can report is that Wilder reneged on a promise made to me in practice one night.  When I found myself in a jump ball situation with the much taller John Roberts Wilder declared, "If you outjump him, you start at center tomorrow night against Glenville."

I won the tip but Wilder took back his words, and I started on the bench, where I belonged.

JV Practice was held in the new elementary gym when it became available, the latest in a line of gyms we used.  You will recall from an earlier posting that the arched gym we used was 25 years old in our senior year.  Prior to its construction the gymnasium had been located in the lower level of the original building, later to became the home of Wilder's industrial arts classes, Ag, and Band.  That same gymnasium doubled as our lunchroom until the new elementary was built in 1953 or 54.  I have a memory of standing on a walkway next to a railing, overlooking the lunch tables of the basement gym below, and smelling the school lunch.  When the new gym/lunchroom was built, the memory is of the footrace to be first in line for lunch.  The lunch smell probably did not change, and to this day has probably not changed.

All these memories because the Anchor reported Bob Wilder shot two geese.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Music in the Air

We are preparing for our first ever trip to Decorah for the annual "Christmas at Luther".  Click that link to find out more about the history of this event, now in its 30th year.  Like I say, it's our "first ever" time to attend, driven by our grandson Bryan's membership in at least one of the performing choirs.  For the past four years we drove the 40 miles to his hometown to watch him perform in a number of musical events, and we're looking forward to this "upgrade," said with no disrespect to his high school choir.

Bryan's paternal grandfather was a Lutheran minister and a gifted singer in his own right.  At Reverend Waznik's funeral a dozen years ago, I was awestruck by the sound of 40 attending Lutheran ministers, primarily, I suspect, from small congregations in Western Wisconsin, as they sang along with the congregation on a number of hymns, reminding me of the Norwegian Lutheran heritage of rural northern Iowa.

Lowell Gangsted, a Luther alum, carried much of the Luther music with him, and our choirs sang a number of religious Christmas songs annually, including several from Handel's Messiah, though the programs distributed to the audience never included the important disclosure that was always posted in the programs at Bryan's high school: "We believe in the importance of a variety of musical exposure, which may/will include songs generally felt to be religious in nature."  Whether you regard that disclosure as important or not, times have changed and we change with them.  Or prior to them, perhaps.

I always appreciated Gangsted's commitment to the Messiah.  He had a goal to add a new song from that collection every year until the entire collection would be included in a program.  I don't recall how far we made it on that commitment during our time, but since we sang those songs every year, I can tell you that I still know the words and music for many of them, and probably could sing the "Hallelujah Chorus" in harmony without referencing the sheet music.  You may be able to do the same thing, although we would all need to admit that the job is made easier by virtue of the word "Hallelujah" being sung repeatedly.  Still, the Christmas music of our youth rings a memory bell as loudly as the music of Elvis Presley and others.  All a part of the heritage.

If you're in Decorah this weekend, we may see you there!  And be sure to say, "Hei hvordan har du?"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Penny Postcards

The Penny Postcard is before our time if you count pre-1952 as "before our time."  And when Marilyn Weidler forwarded a link to a Penny Postcards website, I couldn't resist adding it to the blog.

Go to that website for at least a little history on the penny postcard, and view some classic old pictures like those below.  Choose your state and county and you can see what has been submitted by historians and buffs.  Those below are the only four that have been submitted for Worth County, IA.

I also found a website providing the History of Postage Rates in America.  It confirms that the postcards, first authorized by Congress in 1898, remained a "standard" (with a couple years of exception) rate of one cent for the card.  The Penny Postcards site lists the evolution of the card, as you will see.

Arnold Lien was normally our mail carrier.  When we had a letter to mail but no stamps, we would put 3 cents in the mailbox on top of the letter and he would stamp and forward the letter for us.  At some point in time that neighborly practice was discontinued, unfortunately.  Nonetheless, enjoy these old old views of Northwood.

Old Baptist Church

Central Avenue Looking West - One Block East of Hwy 65 Turn

City Park - later Swensrud Park - 1941

Russell's Cabins on Hwy 65 North
All the postcards were scanned and donated for use on the website.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From the Anchor 50 to 75 Years Ago

This Week's Anchor had a report announcing Edsel Schweizer, Luther College Football Coach, as guest speaker for the 40 members of the football team at its annual banquet the coming Monday.  Howard Vorland, who was once a Junior High Principal and I believe Health teacher, was Lions Club Program Chair.  In another year, Stan Sheriff, then coach at Iowa State Teachers College, brought along Mace Reyerson, the oustanding athlete who graduated about 1957 or 58 when he spoke.

Both Schweizer and Sheriff were very successful at the college level, and Sheriff eventually left ISTC to become AD at the University of Hawaii, though I never figured out how he finessed that plum.  Not to say he wasn't a quality fit - but go from Cedar Falls to Hawaii?  Only in my dreams!

But the bigger news, to me, was in the 75 Years Ago category, where the Anchor had announced on November 26, 1936, the opening of the new high school gymnasium:

More than 500 people took part in the opening event held at the new high school gymnasium Tuesday evening when six Worth County basketball teams played three exhibition games beginning at 7 PM with music by the Northwood High School band between the games.  The new auditorium seats 1,100 and the building meets public expectations in every way.

Six county teams - let me guess:  Northwood, Kensett, Manly, Carpenter, Grafton, Joice, Hanlontown or Fertile?  I'm not sure when/how all the school consolidations rolled out but I do know Carpenter had its own school until we graduated, and Joice became a part of Lake Mills somewhere along the way.  If you have knowledge, pass it along.

Meets public expectations?  Not to be uppity, but I don't think the public ever spent much time in those locker rooms...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Space Age Trees

Life clearly changes in retirement.  Decorating for Christmas used to take two hours and now it takes two days.  In days gone by we'd go buy a tree a couple weeks before Christmas.  Then it became a tradition to drive to the St Croix Valley Tree Farm near Somerset for a Frazer Fir on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  When we finally bought the pre-wired tree from Gerten's a couple years ago we shifted to the weekend before Thanksgiving to put it up, model train, Snow Village and all, to a large degree because the grandkids don't come by as often as they used to, and we know they will be here for Thanksgiving.  So it's much more than decorating time that has changed.

During the process of setup this year I started recalling some of the trees we've seen over the years, including the one that Miss Butler, the vocal music teacher from our junior high years, would put up in the music room, 100% DRAPED with icicles.  The application must have taken hours to complete, and most of us would have destroyed the process by throwing the icicles onto the tree, an absolute "no-no" at our house.  If you get caught.

The Space Age Tree, probably an invention of Reynolds Aluminum, even showed up at the home of my paternal grandparents, which is kind of amazing for her, but very logical for him.  I mean, who wants to mess around with this Christmas stuff?  They even had the rotating colored lights that were popular, and visible in the YouTube below.

Since this blog is All Things 60s, you really need to check out the website from which these photos were "borrowed."  Just click that link to see more, and in the meantime, take a gander at this video from YouTube. Tell me if you were able to watch it without chuckling.  Be sure to click the "enlarge" icon, lower right.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joe Frazier - Part Deux

This really isn't about Joe Frazier.  It's about the world we lived in, and how little it resembled a cultural world that most of us probably still do not know or understand.

Primarily Norwegian Lutherans, we had little interaction in particular with the black world that Joe Frazier may have symbolized, sharecroppers trying to stay alive after the slavery of their ancestors.  What we saw was - entertainers like Nat King Cole, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and of course the sports figures like Frazier, although in the 50s, the southern athletic teams were white white white - with an occasional black, who was normally the fastest guy on the team and their running back.

When Martin Luther King became the voice of the oppressed who were seeking more opportunity, a common theme was that the blacks were "unappreciative" although we had little or no understanding of what they'd gone through.  And an uncle who came to visit opined that all the racial problems in Memphis were caused by Communists trying to create dissension.  Surely they must have been behind it.  J Edgar Hoover would have been leading that line of thinking.

I suspect that if any of us had brought home a black boyfriend or girlfriend, there would have been great apprehension and even hostility at home, though doing so probably had one in a trillion odds of happening  because of the church basement lifestyle instilled in us.  In Our Town we knew nothing of the culture.

When several classmates (Norwegian Lutherans, for sure) went to the Miami Luther League convention they routed through Washington, DC, staying in a hotel in a lesser section of town.  All were cautioned not to go out alone, or after dark, into the primarily black neighborhood.  Truth be told, whether it was actually dangerous or not, none of the conventioneers could have known.  But imagine you traveled away from the hotel, say to do your laundry, and you were the only white in the laundromat . . . might you feel uncomfortable?

Kathryn Stockett wrote The Help, later to become a popular movie, that underscores the plight of the black in America, especially in the south.  The low expectations, the "management" of a class of people, the limited mobility, are all something foreign to our own lives.  Hers is a story of blacks hired as "the help" in white homes on the other side of the tracks.  Talk back, you lose your job.  Do it twice and you're blackballed, and perhaps your family as well.  And no public complaining.  Unfathomable conditions for those of us from a small Iowa town.

The attitudes run deep, probably unnoticeable for a farmboy from Iowa.  But the discrimination is there, though subtle, and is sometimes felt even if not intended.  Attending grad school in Missouri, I experienced it when walking through the education building with two classmates, both black.  Having had one of them in several classes, I knew him quite well.  He was tall, smart, a handsome fellow, and charismatic.  He went by "Dude" and it was appropriate.

A professor of education, Dr. Bell, was approaching us, peeking into classrooms as he walked, as if he were looking for someone, and when he came up to us he greeted us with "How are you boys doing?"  The temperature dropped 50 degrees.  The Dude turned to his friend and said, "I don't see any boys, do you?"  And his friend said, "No, I don't see any boys."  Ouch.

At one point I worked for a company based in Atlanta, GA, and discovered that it, too, was lily-white, but these folks didn't know about "Uffda" or "Yah, sure, you betcha".  You had to listen twice to the deep southern accent of some of them in order to understand them, and while I enjoyed that, you could sense the quiet racial attitude.  The company finally hired a black rep in Chicago.  Carl once attended a regional meeting in St Louis with us, where our regional manager special-ordered a slice of watermelon to be placed on his plate.  Lonnie thought that was really funny, and several of us laughed, unfortunately.  Carl didn't make it in this career although this incident wasn't the cause.  Nor did he object to the watermelon, though I suspect The Dude would have, with little restraint.

Somehow you extract lessons by watching others, and though I have had black friends from time to time, my upbringing didn't do much to prepare or instruct me for the racism they experience, and the black friends were normally operating within my white world anyway.  I only know that in reading what folks like Joe Frazier grew away from - their home - my own home, while isolated, didn't create any baggage for me.  And the racism I have seen as a spectator, like those situations above, haven't broadened my scope very much.  It's still a life I can't really imagine.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Musical Memories for a Reunion

We of the jukebox era may enjoy this Music Time Machine available at, dedicated to music lovers - decades of songs to listen to.  The Everly Brothers.  The Marvelettes.  Dion.  Ray Charles.  Roy Orbison.  All of 'em.  You could stay up late (9:30, maybe 10 PM) listening to them.

You may find yourself smiling when you notice their homepage has ads for Medicare Plans, Humana, United Health Care, and Anthem.  Guess they know their audience, whaddyathink?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the Death of Joe Frazier

Smokin' Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier, the Heavyweight Boxing Champ, is one of many black men who were champion boxers, so his recent death prompts a review of all those greats - and some thoughts about the world we were raised in.  As lily white Norwegian Lutherans.  And we'll get to that in the next posting.

But first, some thoughts about some of the greats we have known in our lifetime.  Boxing was, to me, a spectator sport.  I couldn't see any reason to take the beating that some of them faced, like Benny "Kid" Paret, who was killed in the ring by Emile Griffith in March of 1962.  The cover of Sports Illustrated the following week showed Paret being beaten to his death; in First Hour Study Hall, Maynard Midtgaard pointed at the photo and said, "These guys are the best-conditioned athletes in the world."  True - but it didn't keep Paret alive.

On the other hand, boxing was a way out, of sorts, for a number of blacks dating perhaps first to Jack Johnson, who became the first African-American Heavyweight Champ in the early 1900's.  Over time, more and more blacks got into the ring, although my earliest recollection was of a fellow named Bobo Olson, a white guy who was at least moderately successful.  By the mid 50's Floyd Patterson took the title, leading to bouts with the Swede Ingemar Johansson, and I was hooked as a boxing fan.  Old 'tunder and lightning was a one-punch marvel but if it landed, he would win.  I listened to 2 or 3 of their fights over the static-filled AM radio stations, losing the call from time to time as the signal faded away.

Sonny Liston - "The Bear"
And then the sport turned brutal as Sonny Liston, "The Bear" became the Champ by defeating Floyd Patterson, holding the title until he met Cassius Clay, later to become Muhammad Ali, The Greatest.  Leading up to the defense of his title against Clay, one magazine photo had Liston resting on his forearms, his chin propped up by his fists, sporting the glare that was his trademark.  He looked unbeatable, but wasn't.  Clay was magnificent.

Over time, Clay was castigated for his conversion to the Nation of Islam and refusal to serve when called.  His decision to accept a prison sentence might have been the greatest statement of principle by anyone in our younger days, and gained fans for a lifetime.  His boxing skills were unbelievable, his mouth even more unbelievable, and he led the way for foes like Frazier, Ken  Norton, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, and even Leon Spinks, a real surprise winner in 1978, and the beginning of the end of the superiority of Ali in the ring.

Frazier vs Ali, date unknown
Ali and Frazier fought "The Thrilla in Manilla" in 1975, their final bout, and the boxing world never seemed the same again as these icons gave it their all.  Although it was not in this fight that we heard the memorable call, "DOWN goes Fray-zhuh!  DOWN goes Fray-zhuh!" (that was Frazier vs Foreman), Howard Cosell himself became an integral part of the boxing story, with his numerous interviews of Ali, sparring conversations that became promotional for all parties including Ali, Cosell, and the sport of boxing.

At the welterweight level we later saw Sugar Ray Robinson, Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns, Roberto Duran, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler battling each other in the 80's, and to my mind that was the beginning of the end of boxing as a sport of renown.  By 1993 when Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield were fighting, the biggest event of the night was the ultralight plane that crashed into the ring.  And that was the last boxing match I believe I watched on the tube.

So many of the boxers, black for sure and probably the white ones, too, came from poor backgrounds.  Sonny Liston was reputedly one of 25 children fathered by one man.  Frazier was one of twelve.  The family background was typically that of sharecropper, and for many who indeed made it to the Bigtime and a share of boxing wealth, the stories eventually came back of the wealth being frittered away through unscrupulous handlers, fast living, or ignorance, and the boxers ignominiously becoming Vegas "greeters" to support themselves.  But for many black men, there was little other choice.  More on that in Part Deux.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reunion Time

Cousin or Classmate?
Yesterday in Northwood we held our annual Holstad Reunion.  As our parents have dwindled away it has become a Cousins Reunion, and yesterday 25 of us including Larry Holstad were on hand to reminisce.

Aging is an interesting process.  Fifty years ago I seemed to have little in common with these, primarily older, cousins, and anymore it is a joyful and heartfelt gathering.  These folks are salt of the earth and I take pride in being one of them.

I probably haven't had a chance to sit down and really talk with Larry for 25 years, so this became our time to remember growing up together, riding calves, getting ringworm, grabbing the cow's tail as she headed out the barn door, hunting, sledding, laughing at our fathers and their friends as a single pheasant flew the gauntlet, so to speak, from one end of their line to the other without getting shot.

The days of our youth were a precious time, and Larry and I agree that today's youth probably won't have an experience like it.  Then again, we didn't go through the experience of winter transportation that included heated rocks under our feet, so no doubt some events that we experienced are events that today's youth could do without.

Larry recalled getting reacquainted with Mike Lien after growing apart after graduation, like we might be doing through this blog.  It's more than just the fun of it - it's a matter of recalling the bedrock from which we came.  Sadly, we also learned yesterday of the sudden death of Harvey Hanson, Gwen Hillman's husband, on Saturday, and last week I heard from Vicky Perkins that Dennis Boettcher had died in October.

Such news sobers the day.  Still, dying is a part of living, and living is made better by exploring all the options including a full review on occasion.  Which leads me to these suggestions:

1.  A full turnout at the Reunion next summer would be terrific.  In spending three or four hours with Larry yesterday we were both reminded of the need to get out of our circles and routine, expanding our horizons and lives.  Past practice has been to schedule events around the Fourth of July, so keep that part of your calendar open.

2.  You have stories to share, and this blog was created for them.  My personal well is running dry, if you will, so consider this a call to action on your part.  If you prefer not adding your story directly to the blog, that's no problem, because you can email it to and we'll get it on for you.  Don't worry about punctuation, grammar, or any Wilma Helgeland niceties; if they add to the story, they stay in, and if not, I have an editor's pen available.

And that old guy in the clip at the top?  Class of '61!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Salute to Veterans

Marines on Patrol in Viet Nam

Several years ago in Terre Haute, IN, during the course of a business lunch with 3 or 4 others, one of them, Dave, silently left the table.  Across the room there was a sudden commotion of sorts, and there we saw Dave standing at a booth, motioning to a fellow who had kind of a blank look on his face, to get up, and the man scrambled to do so.

Dave slipped behind him, performed the Heimlich, and a piece of meat popped out of the man’s mouth.  Without saying a word, and before the man could thank him,  Dave returned to our table to finish our lunch and conversation with little or no reference to what had just happened.

It should have been no surprise that he would do that.  A former owner of a steak house, he likely had encountered the situation on more than this occasion, and he sought no accolades for essentially saving a person’s life.  After all, he had done it before.

Later, while Dave was doing some paperwork in his office, I was studying a photo on the wall, of a patrol in Viet Nam, 6 or 8 soldiers in chest-deep water, rifles held over their heads to keep them dry.  “I am the second guy in the line,” he said from his desk.  “The two right behind me never came home.”

His comment was sobering, perhaps moreso today.  Maybe he didn’t stand directly in the line of fire protecting us, but he was there to serve, so in truth he really had “done it before” the incident at lunch, putting his own life at risk in the process.

Heroes seem to serve quietly, and today being Veterans Day we pause to thank the Dave’s of our world, who leave to serve, and continue to serve when they return.  From the class of ‘62, in particular, we pay our gratitude to Stanton Arendts, Arlyn Morse, Ron Van Steenburg, David Skellenger, Robert Smith, Mike Lien, and any others who served.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reunion Plans are Underway

We've just heard from Larry Holstad that the reunion plans are underway.  The committee has selected Yacht Island as the location.  This awesome facility is now being transported from the Caribbean to the mainland by way of the Gulf of Mexico.  By next March it will be heading up the Mississippi, fighting the chilly waters of dethawing ice.  Once it reaches the mouth of the Cedar River it will progress on up to the Shell Rock, arriving in Northwood by mid-June.

Utilizing its Blue Class Color, the Class of '62 has plans to turn the muddy Shell Rock into a beautiful Aqua, and paint beautiful clouds in the sky with its other Class Color, White.  Given the Class Motto, "With Courageous Hearts, Nothing Is Impossible", the Reunion Committee has determined the mission will be a slam dunk, to honor Mike Lien.  No word on whether the Island Yacht will be seen in the 4th of July Parade.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Angry Women - Twelve of 'em - Plus 3

Back: D Brunsvold, C Boutelle, J Gullickson, S Thoen, S Carlson, S Thoen and S Grundmeier; Middle: N Zimmer, J Dybvad, L Forland; Seated: L Brunsvold, J Tue, P Mueller, E Conner, M Hanson

The Northwood Anchor commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Junior Class Play in their Early Files (November 2, 1961) this week.  We salute the underclassmen (yeah, I know, they're all women) who were a part of the play.

I could be wrong, but I believe Carol Boutelle Johnson was the level-headed Juror #8 (no names, all numbers) who slowly led the group to the conclusion that the fellow in this "slam dunk" trial was indeed not guilty, including an argument had something to do with whether a witness really could have gone to bed with his glasses on.

The explosive final minutes of the play centered around the jury member who didn't like to be proven wrong.  There was some screaming going on and I'll leave well enough alone by not recalling who that actor was.  This may have been the reason the jurors had such difficulty:

Two Reasons Why It's So Hard to Solve a Redneck Murder:

1.  The DNA all matches.
2.  There are no dental records.

OK, it wasn't a redneck story.  The original stageplay was also made into a movie in 1957, you may recall, starring Henry Fonda in Carol's role.  Carol, you will need to correct that assumption if it is incorrect.  Good play, well done by the juniors!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Blondes and Niagara

By accident tonight I happened upon Turner Classic Movies, and the movie of the hour was "Niagara" starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotton, and Jean Peters.  Talk about bad dialogue.  Once again, the movies we always thought were outstanding seem to be lacking when replayed against today's movies.

Since it was filmed near Niagara Falls, I imagined seeing Merrilee and Jim Reid heading out on the Maid of the Mist, the tour boat used for the filming, and as you look at the attached photo and see how wet they are, you know they were indeed at Niagara Falls for this photo.  Jim and Merrilee were on a tour including a stayover at Marsha Gaarder Hasseler's home.

Merrilee and Jim - Misted Over!
Presumably their conversation was a higher level than what I heard in the movie, and I can't imagine that Merrilee would be told what to do like Jean Peters is instructed in the movie:  "Shake it off, honey, you know you were dreaming!"  Makes me think of the posting of a few days ago when we talked about expectations, especially of our women - they only come along for the ride, not for any significant contribution.  At least that used to be the theory.

Here's a YouTube from the movie.  Marilyn is singing "Kiss" and you're reminded why it was that JFK was all agog over her.  As usual, if you are getting this in an email, you will need to go to the blog to see the whole thing.

Jean Peters is the other young lady in the clip, and though I recognized the feIlow on the right, I did not know his name was Casey Adams.  His oft-repeated line uttered when he saw her in the dress in this clip was "Get out the fire hose!"  If you Google "Marilyn Monroe and Niagara" you will get numerous other clips to view, including the first 10 minutes of the movie, which I could have put in here but it has an annoying ad that pops up in the middle of the screen every 5 seconds.

For background on the movie, click this link.  You'll find out more about the role she played - a seductive adulteress and murder conspirator.   All in good taste, of course.

In any regard, it's all a fun memory of old movies - and how much they have improved.  Merrilee, hope your hair got dried out!  And now you have been featured in a story with Marilyn Monroe.  Happens a lot, I suppose?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Boogie Woogie

I've watched this several times and get tired doing so, but enjoy it all the same.  Perhaps sometime in your life you've had dance lessons and at one point you were able to perform like this.  If so, you have remained trim, for sure.

If you're getting this post emailed to you it probably won't show up in the email, so go online to the blog to view it.

The dance was popular in the 30's and 40's, thus the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy performed by the Andrews Sisters, and was not more than an image I kind of knew about during our decade.  Wikipedia has an interesting article on it, wherein it describes the "twelve-bar" blues format.

To watch the above, you really need to click the full-screen icon, play it on a 23-inch monitor, and use good speakers.  It's just fun.  I swear the dancers never break a sweat.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

J Edgar Hoover and the Public Enemy

Perhaps you're looking forward to the movie coming out next month starring Leonardo di Caprio as the Man himself.  Back in 5th grade Andrena Hanson Opheim was a big fan of J Edgar, the guy who reined in all the bad guys and made America safe, or at least in her worldview.

Had she known of some of the rumors regarding his kinky sexuality, she may not have been a fan.  In fairness, Wikipedia reports it may have been rumor only, though the rumors indeed circulated widely.  Regardless of those sins, if any, Hoover was not above wiretaps and the elimination of habeas corpus if it were to his convenience.  Just to keep us all safe.  Few have been so polarizing as he.

Though it's not related to Hoover, it was also when we were in fifth grade that congress changed the Pledge of Allegiance by inserting the phrase "under God" and to this day I still don't know if you need to pause before, after, or both.  Seems like the norm is to set it apart with both.  Either way, I remain a patriot.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Old News at the Anchor

This just in from the Anchor, October 26, 1961:

The N-K Vikings hung on for an 18-12 victory over the Garner Cardinals Friday night and go into the last home game against Belmond with two wins, one tie and two losses and in fourth place in the North Iowa Conference.  Coach Clarence Mounts switched Doug Fallgatter from guard to fullback, Jim Nelson from fullback to quarterback and the regular backfield men Mike Lien and Leallyn Turvold moved the ball for the Vikings a total of 164 yards rushing and 20 passing.

The report makes it sound like Doug and Jim were in the new positions for the first time but since this game was 2 weeks after Homecoming where we lost Phil Johnson and Gary Hengesteg for the year, I am pretty sure it was their second time to line up as they did.

The offensive production, especially on the passing side, doesn't sound like much, and I'd be willing to bet all 20 receiving yards went to Larry Holstad since he was our primary receiving threat.  But even more surprising to me was that the yardage was even reported, because I don't ever recall any emphasis placed on statistics like you read about today.

The two wins in the story above were conference wins, and this was the third and final victory of the season because we next lost 19-9 to Belmond, and tied Lake Mills in the final game 6-6.  No surprise - we missed three extra points in the Garner game, the plague of the season.  We obviously didn't do it very well, but kept repeating the same strategy for some reason.  Mike Lien was responsible for kicking the extra points, and was probably as puzzled as the rest of us as to those misses.

Lien vs Britt

In the game against Britt the previous week he was appointed co-captain and that may have given him a little more commitment than normal.  We had scored a touchdown, then let Britt score to get right back into the game that they finally won.  Mike had suffered a short term injury on their touchdown drive and was clearly upset that they had been allowed to score, so when he came back onto the field for their kick-off, I saw a fire in his eyes that was above and beyond what I normally saw.  I was hoping he would receive the kick-off, which he did, and though he didn't score on the return, he did run it back 35 or 40 yards and looked like he wasn't going to go down.

If nothing else, our team produced a couple of good coaches.  Phil Johnson was the basketball guy who took LaPorte City to the state tournament in the early 70's, and Larry Holstad did very well over a long period of time at Ventura and Forest City, today still holding down the Athletic Director position at Winona State.  If we just had a chance to re-play that 1961 season with either of those guys as coach, my guess is we'd be undefeated.  I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vikings go to Eight-Man Football

It should be no big surprise that the Northwood Anchor reports the enrollment of N-K is in a stage of decline, and the recent recommendation of the coach and AD to go to an 8-man program in 2012 reflects the problem.

Fifty years ago the graduating class was somewhere between 60 and 70 students annually, and today the entire high school will be housing 100-120 students for the foreseeable future.  If you're responsible for programs, as the board and administration are, you're looking at a significant issue.

How can you provide competitive services and curriculum at those levels?  Your high school staff has to be reduced at least 40% from the days of yore, and curriculum is probably provided through a sharing arrangement with other school districts, and that is not easily done for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that a top-notch math teacher can select whatever job he or she wants.  And traveling from Northwood to Manly or Lake Mills for half your assignment, on a daily basis, leaves little to be desired.

The N-K school district appears to have gotten boxed in or left behind for whatever reason, as other area districts did their merging.  So you're at the mercy of what's available, and in the case of the local gridiron heroes that means the JV will need to travel longer distance, possibly play both 8- and 11-man football, or even 9-man football against Minnesota schools just to have the program.

As freshmen, we had 13 players on our frosh-soph team.  That meant two available subs standing on the sideline and a coach, Jon Swenson, holding his breath and hoping nobody on the field got hurt.  Fortunately our team size grew as the Kensett guys came on board in the future, and the reflection here is to consider that at least for that year we faced what they face today - scarcity.