Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Year and Counting

We don't know when you started viewing this blog and in fact just discovered the first posting on the blog occurred a couple months earlier than we recalled, on June 5, 2010. The posting was titled The Northwood Swim Pool and read:

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.

Today it seems that was a lightweight story to kick this off but it is what it is, and now we are close to 150 posts later. And in need of more stories from all you readers. Most blogs last no more than 90 days, so there's a little bit of pride here, that we're one year and counting, and many of you have been extraordinarily helpful to float reminders of what we enjoyed 50 years ago, thus keeping this alive. And we ain't done yet, especially if you submit your own stories and photos.

The blog started out kind of by accident. After a few emails flew back and forth a year ago, Marsha sent a couple to us including notice of the above big event from 1960, with a note saying, "Wouldn't it be nice if we had a place to store all these stories so they're available at our 50th reunion in 2012." From that suggestion and a few personal questions like, "What if I . . . ?" we discovered the Google blog system is relatively easy to use, photo friendly, available for others to expound on any topic while restrictive in who can be let in, and best of all, free. And if you've been following the blog, you now notice a new background template - celebrating the first year.

We have heard a planning committee met last week to begin the process of the 50th so we can indeed expound on any of these topics and brag - if we want to. Bob and Vickie Hall, Cheryl Calabria, and Karen Abrahms met in Northwood and have since had communications with Larry Holstad. We're sure to hear more from them as the planning moves forward, and in the meantime you may want to mark your calendar for the four days of July 4 - 7 as they narrow in on best possible dates.

You might also contact them or with your ideas on how you'd like to celebrate. A variety show? That's what Merrilee Reid suggested once. Well, maybe not exactly a variety show, but she can fill you in. Personally, we think a Kangaroo Court is imperative, if for no other reason than to finally bring Stan Arendts to justice for his flagrant violations of the - er - law.

We're kind of rambling a little bit here, from the blog to the history to the committee to the reunion, but all of it leads us back to the same place, where we grew up - and dreams began.

Lee Leidal

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'62 Class Will

The Yearbook says, "We, the Senior Class of 1962, being of unsound mind . . . bequeath the following to the underclassmen (on a selected basis):

Stanton Arendts leaves his Fabian crewcut to Ron Tenold in hopes that he will have the allure that Stanton had.

Sandra Charlson leaves her ability to blush to Karen Huso.

Marsha Gaarder leaves her study habits to Jim Watts. May he use them and profit by them in his senior year.

Cheryl Grube leaves her ability to catch a man to Janice Folkerts.

Charles Hendrickson leaves his gentlemanly ways to Evans Olmsted.

Larry Holstad leaves his football suit to Bob Harris. May it fit him well and bring him to great fame.

Phil Johnson leaves his "scoring" ability to Obed Ladd, and his basketball shoes to John Ellingson.

Ralph Thompto leaves his favorite record "Hot Rod Lincoln" to Sandra Thoen.

After much consideration of how to address these observations, including the remainder of them in the Yearbook, we chose to let them stand as they are, for all to consider. Email if you don't have access to a yearbook with the full list and would like a copy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back Home Again - on the Farm

Last week I had the pleasure of a Farm Tour - of the farms where I grew up, or my ancestors did their homesteading, along a seven-mile stretch of the State Line. My dad, now 93, enjoyed getting out, and still has a million stories to tell, and perhaps I am finally getting old enough to ask them.

Our last stop was the farm a couple miles north of Northwood where I grew up. And when I saw this open barn door I couldn't resist taking a picture. The door is no longer a half-door and it seems about a mile wide when I consider how many times I got my knees slammed against the jamb by the horse heading to her stall. I checked - there is no flesh stuck on the door jamb. And then I double-checked the door itself and realized the opening has been widened and the door widened to match, then the half-doors were joined together, and suddenly in my mind this door was only two feet wide again and my legs indeed "felt the pain."

Perhaps your family would have similar stories to share with you like those I have gotten from Dad, and I encourage you to ask about them if you haven't already done so. On that seven-mile stretch of road that we toured there are eight locations that were "in the family" at one time or another plus a church, a creamery, and a neighborhood "convenience store" known then as a general store, the latter two razed at some point in the last 20 or 30 years. And the first two houses that I lived in? They were both razed in the last 2 years as well.

I should circle back to that general store - it was the Deer Creek Store, the source of anything and everything you could not raise on your farm, the meeting point for farmers to share some stories, and the oasis in the desert after delivering milk to the creamery across the street. Candy. Lots of it. And I had my share.

Since we took that trip I have used Google Satellite Maps to locate all the properties on the tour, and can quite easily identify each one of them. Then Lonna and I looked for her home in Lake Mills on South Winnebago; it was not as easily found, but it is there. I encourage you to find your "home" by that method as well. If it's a farm and the barn door is still open, bear in mind the consequences of riding horses while visiting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The SCA Water Tower

Stanton Arendts reported his adventures climbing the Kensett Water Tower and we now have photo documentation as to the difficulty of that climb, as submitted by Ruby Flaaten.

Wisely, Ruby did not choose to make the climb herself, and in fact took this shot from the safety of some distance. If you look closely you can see the diagonal wires that Stan negotiated on occasions when he was looking for a greater thrill in the climb. And you wonder, "What the heck was he thinking?"

The photo should open in a new window if you double-click it, thus creating a larger image for better viewing and a higher level of appreciation of the skills of a teen growing up in Kensett, IA.

Thanks, Ruby!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Haute Couture, 1962

Ah, the Yearbook and its revelations of culture. Here you see four of the Class of '62's finest, Serena, Julie, Betty and Gwen, the four Queens - at the Senior Tea on May 7, 1962.

I even decided I should write this as myself, not the Blogmaster, because it may be taken as a sign of mocking and we don't want or intend to go there because the Blog itself is pure. This story is, however, another commentary on the changing times and thus worthy of consideration.

Not until June 23, 1972, did Title IX change opportunities for the women, as discussed previously in this blog, and in the early '60s at least, the women were apparently expected to be lady-like, to hold the cup between forefinger and thumb, to sip, and to converse politely about polite things.

Not that they don't converse politely today, but my how things have changed, haven't they? I don't know what group sponsored this tea and it makes no matter, because it was indeed an effort on their part to introduce the young women to social graces and fine things. Then, that same summer, we all learned about Pool and its effect on the rebellious young men who would be attempting to sweep these women off their feet, nicotine stains on the hand doing the sweeping.

Just seems funny, doesn't it? How long has it been since this tradition was set aside?

"Number, Please"

Your phone number, that is. Just like Richard Holstad reminded us the operator would ask when we picked up the receiver.

To help you out, Mike McQuarters ('59) sent along this 1954 Northwood phone book, albeit with a few pages missing. But you may find your number or a friend's number in here, and it's a lot of fun to look. Here are some that we found:

Helgeland, Kermit 6-F22
Holstad, Arleigh 73-W
Johnson, Lloyd 463-W12
Leidal, Curtis 457-J1
Vold, C O 404-W

We have no idea what those numbers represent, but seeing them may bring back some memories. To get to the full phone book plus some ads from the Anchor, click on this link.

We especially liked the hints for handling your phone, i.e., "training", included as Northwestern Bell Telephone Company ads:

"If your receiver is off the hook, your telephone is out of service!"
"For extra fast Long Distance Service, call by number!" In other words, don't waste the time of the operator by forcing them to look up your number for you.
"Wait at least one minute for your party to answer the phone so you can avoid a callback."

Amazingly enough, there are two ads for Typewriter Stores, both in Mason City. You sure don't see those anymore.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not a "Superior Autobiographical Memory"

Maybe you watched the latest edition of "60 Minutes" in which five individuals with Superior Autobiographical Memory were interviewed. These people, including Marilu Henner of "Taxi" fame, have an incredible memory to remember the day of the week for any date in their lifetime - AND what they were doing on that day.

On May 16, 1961, what exactly were you doing? Any recall? How about where you were that morning? Or how you spent the evening? What about Commencement in '62? Do you know the day and date?

Perhaps you might recall YESTERDAY. And sometimes that's a stretch, so we limit ourselves to some generic memories in this blog, like these that Richard Holstad passes along from the summers he spent on the Forland farm with his friend Steve ('64): "(the memories) had to do with such things as a mouse running up one pant leg and down the other ….. riding their horse “King” …. baling hay and storing it in the barn …. electrocuting a mouse (for running up my pant leg) using the hand crank generator from an old telephone ….. climbing the windmill …. Eating watermelon until we wanted to float away …. Catching fire flies -- Ice skating in the winter time … learning to drive the Willys Jeep out in the pasture …. Mowing the lawn ….. Steve had a go-cart that we loved to run full-throttle on the gravel road and then turn 90 degrees abruptly at the corner …. On and on."

But he can't tell us the exact day that any of these things occurred. No matter. He also reminds us through his personal autobiographical memory of the local phone company operation, that calling someone meant turning the crank or picking up the phone to hear the operator say, "Number, please." And if you needed to call someone in Clear Lake, or Kensett for the Northwood folks, you had to say, "Long Distance, please," and you would say the name of the residence or business you wanted to reach. (Check the "Links to Our Town" page for a few slideshow memories of the phone book that was used.)

Phones, of course, all had wires attached both from the phone itself and from your home to the phone company, so if a bad storm came through and the lines went down, your service literally went down as well. In the attached photo from the collection he has acquired from the Forlands, Richard is on the phone with LaVonne and Steve looking on, along with an exchange student on the left, whose name will be entered here when one of the Forlands pass it along. Our question, of course, to tie this story all together is: what date was this photo taken? Let's see how close they can get. School year doesn't count.

Post-Note: you know that we have aged when the spell-check does not recognize the word "Willys."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bel-Air Drive-In Theater

This is an ad from a special section of the Mitchell County News. I had no idea the Bel-Air Drive-In was still open.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Then - and Now

Want to feel better about yourself? Check out the photos above of Grace Slick and Clint Eastwood, in these "then" vs "now" shots. They're pretty amazing, though neither of us, of course, has suffered from the same aging process as they have. See what you think, thank Merrilee Reid for passing them along to us, and email if you want to see more.

Amazing, isn't it? You and I have suffered none of their aging. Neither of us is suffering from:

1. Changing hair color.
2. Thinning hair.
3. Missing hair.
4. Hair growing from unusual places.
5. Wrinkling skin.
6. Sagging body parts.
7. Muscle deterioration.
8. Hearing loss.
9. Vision loss.

Good to be us, right?

There's a story coming up here, about our compulsion to visit our youth, our body beautiful, the past, all well highlighted in a new book by David Brooks, The Social Animal, wherein two unusual people, Harold and Erica, wander through life, while Brooks makes commentary about the socio-cultural influences they/we face. And one of the issues he brings up is the unique view that we all have of the "hometown."

Most people are deeply moved when they return to their childhood home, to the place where their mental models were first forged. When we return to the town where we grew up, it is the details that matter most - the way the drugstore is in the same place as it was when we were young, the same fence around the park, the angle of the sun in the winter, the crosswalk we used to traverse. We don't love these things for their merits, because the crosswalk is the best of all possible crosswalks. The mind coats home with a special layer of affection because these are the patterns we know. 'The child will love a crusty old gardener who has hardly ever taken any notice of it and shrink from the visitor who is making every attempt to win its regard,' C. S. Lewis once observed. 'But it is must be an old gardener, one who has "always" been there - the short but seemingly immemorial "always" of childhood.'

And here we are doing just that, talking about the dirt at the fairgrounds track, the Mel Horgan Light, and other memorabilia. Unfortunately, so much of what we remember is just no longer there, so the memories are all that we have, and just like the above celebrity photos show, things change, and we certainly prefer to cling to the satisfying memories of beautiful youth, and perhaps when we gather we only see/want to see the beautiful people we once were.

A macabre thought, perhaps, as we celebrate what we once were, but just a reflection on the purpose of all this blogging, reunions, and the reaching out process we may be going through. It's like one of us, maybe both of us, is "the old gardener who has always been there." And we look forward to seeing the other again. As we are, not as we were. And the difference in our own connection vs the David Brooks gardener is that we will embrace each other for the memories that we have.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Springtime - the Joy of Running, Jumping, Throwing

The Yearbook is a source of unique information, and sometimes it's unique for what is not included. Track & Field was a fun activity whether the photos show it or not, and there is absolutely no mention anywhere in the Yearbook of the record of success or lack thereof.

That may be irrelevant since the sport is pretty much an individual effort, even if we did enjoy winning a meet here or there - didn't we? The top photo in the posting shows one of the times the entire group got together, and other than the times we got on the bus to head off for a meet that probably didn't happen real often.

Arlyn Morse is the guy who looks totally fagged at the finish line in the middle photo, and it's typical Morse - able to take a normal event, yearbook photos, and make something fun out of them. We notice elsewhere in the Yearbook that he was also the Class Salutatorian, and knowing he went on to a successful career we forgive his clowning around, although he should have the courtesy to email us some of his other high school escapades because there is no doubt there were a number of them. C'mon, Morse, 'fess up!

Last but not least, a "corrected" photo as the Blog Master finally has a chance to turn a photo literally on its ear. When the Yearbook came out 49 years ago and we noticed this photo it was clearly "wrong" but we didn't know why. It's probably been troublesome for you as well over the years, but if you now compare this blog photo to the one on page 65 of the Yearbook you will notice the difference - at 90 degrees. If it hasn't troubled you over the years, well, that's OK, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On-Stage Culture, 1962

The choice for the Senior Class Play was "The Egg and I," a humorous memoir of the adventures and travails of the newlywed author on a chicken farm in Washington State. According to Wikipedia it turns into an anecdotal accounting of a "fish out of water" as the Seattle native attempts to make a go of it on this farm.

Apparently there is no real plot for the play given the nature of anecdotes, but we're sure all turned out well in the end - including the fate of the person (Julie Nelson?) shown in this posting receiving a corset fitting from Serena Shields. The caption under the yearbook photo says, "Everyone is wearing one, Lady!"

Norma Zimmer was the teacher who was also Drama Coach for the play, and is pictured here receiving flowers for a job well done. Miss Zimmer was a good sport, with a world of good intentions, and when her cast of characters preparing for their junior class performance acted out a little more than she could handle one night, she expressed
her anger and sent everyone home. For a few days there was a question whether there would indeed be a production or not, until she relented and the show, as they say, "went on."

She also was a benefactor for the Junior Class when fund-raising came along in the form of a Slave Auction. She unfortunately had made a commitment to Larry Holstad and Phil Johnson to "buy their services" to clean her apartment, and when the bidding turned strong, she felt she had to hang in there, ultimately paying a pretty good price. In those days a teacher probably grossed about $350/month, so whatever she paid was likely a substantial portion of her income.

We leave it open to Phil and Larry to update on us on how much cleaning they actually did and for how long they worked, but we never heard anything negative from Miss Zimmer. Like the newlywed chicken farmer, she was, after all, just trying to be a good sport.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Northwood Anchor

Click this link to go to the page with a Photo Slideshow of a bunch of ads from the Northwood Anchor published in 1953 or 54. Here are some comments from the original posting of the ads in this blog in 2010:

Richard Holstad said...

The Home Town News Paper ads are ever so entertaining --- The Quality Cafe must have paid extra to Mr Vanderlinden to have their ad placed so close to the Veenker Drug Store ad ... or would it be vice versa.

This BLOG routine goes on and on .... I just recalled that there is a photo of Mr Vanderlinden and Mr Whitcome here in the archives too.

Marilyn said...

Richard, where did you get these ads? My mom was a saver. I'll have to see what I can come up with. Do you or anyone else remember where they used to have dances. It was upstairs somewhere, I'm thinking above the Connor Drug or across the street. I think my grandpa may have played his fiddle some. I remember going to dances & all the kids would get in line and do the bunny hop. Anyone else remember this?

BadgerHawk said...

Vaughn Monroe used to have a 15 minute radio show that I think was on Sunday evenings? His theme song was "When the Blue of the Night Meets the Dawn of the Day". Just a regular crooner.

Richard Holstad said...

These ads are from the Northwood Anchor approximately 1953 or 1954. Ann Johnson sent them to me for use in the class of 1956 DVD program.

Regarding the dance hall? -- I know there was an "action spot" above the Ford Garage as well as another one on the top floor of the what is now the historical society building.

I recall my mother being a den-mother for the cub-scouts when my brother Donn (class of 1960) was a scout ....they had the scout meetings in the big open space above the historical society building.

That space was also ideal for having a dance like you are describing, Marilyn.

I recall talking with someone from the class of 1962 about about how it took so little to entertain us back then .... The cub scout meetings were in that big open space with literally nothing there except a couple of tables ..... but when you got a group of young kids together like that, all you need is a cardboard box and away you go.

How many ways have your seen kids have fun with a card board box?

Marilyn said...

My cousin said the dances that I recall were at the Odd Fellow's Hall a couple buildings west of where the old locker stood.

Phone Service and the Phone Book

Click this link to view the page on this blog that has scanned photos from the Phone Book from our era. From an earlier posting on this blog, here are comments made in discussion regarding the phone book and life with telephone service as we knew it:

Richard Holstad said...

The Class of 1959 - Mike McQuarters - forwarded the phone book above. Only selected pages are provided here but the entire 22 pages are available upon request. Notice the phone numbers above for the Paramount Cafe, Pats Super Service, and Mack Drug and Jewelry ... and the Quality Cafe!

For me, I didn't use a phone book, I just picked up the phone and asked if the operator knew where Leroy went today.

We always knew where our friends were hanging out by where their bikes were parked where their dogs were waiting by the door.

Marilyn said...

Just imagine, the kids now have cell phones. What a difference in technology. I think my phone number in the country was something like B-12 & of course you had to make sure someone else wasn't using the line.

BadgerHawk said...

Marilyn, we were on a party line, too. I don't know if we had a "number" per se but I do know we were "two longs and a short" or something like that. The party line was a good way to pick up some gossip or find out what was going on if something good or bad happened. On a long conversation we could hear the phone click from time to time when others would pick up to see if the line was "available."
It's a little vague but I think you could call others on the same line by turning the crank to correspond to their signal. Like rip-rip was 2 shorts, if you know what I mean.
I thought Mason City was really big-time when they put in the dial system, GArden 3- and GArden 4. Anybody born after 19?? wouldn't know what that was...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Was it Miss? Or Mrs? Arietta Leonhart

The 13-year-old granddaughter can type faster when she texts her friends than most of us could on a manual typewriter. It's the way things are. Arietta Leonhart was a pretty good instructor from what we can recall, rigid about not watching your fingers, watch the copy instead, minimize errors, and other bits of advice that serve well on a PC keyboard as well - but not on the blackberry, iPhone, or whatever device the granddaughter has.

The other day we got an email about "Remember when . . . " that included a photo of an old manual typewriter such as was used under the tutelage of Ms. Leonhart. For some reason that email disappeared, and thinking that a photo of a facsimile might be of interest for a posting, we found Google was good enough to produce a truckload of relics - for sale!

Pictured here - a couple of amazing values. Amazing that anyone would pay so much for what clearly is not functional, nor having any practical value, so only the "treasured item" category can apply, and unless
your name is Leonhart or you labored mightily in her classroom, you probably won't have enough sentimental attachment to pop for the prices being asked.

The Olivetti at top? $425 at Amazon. The Royal? $115 at Ebay. All so you could practice typing 50 wpm, using whiteout, listening to the clatter and the bell, ah the good old days before keyboards. And it wasn't easy when the keys had to be pushed about 2 inches to actually make the letter hit the page. You are probably familiar with many of the difficulties standing in the way of good performance . . .

We're reminded of the student who was extremely intense during a timed typing test. When the bell rang to indicate time was up, he leaned back, big smile on his face, and said, "Perfect!" He was indeed proud of having no errors - even when Ms. Leonhart asked how many words had been typed during that minute. "Eight!" he said.

God bless Bill Gates!

1953 Centennial

Northwood was hoppin' for the 1953 Centennial celebration. It was pretty much a matter of the circus coming to town with all the activity including the Carnival at the Fairgrounds and the Kangaroo Court pictured here, finding folks guilty of a variety of sins.

If memory serves us right, the men could buy one of two buttons, one to exempt from a beard (at a higher price, probably), and another to register a beard, all done as a means of raising money. But this memory is open to outside input because it's fuzzy at best.

So if you have knowledge of the workings of the court, please email with more information. According to Richard Holstad, the gentleman closest to the camera and intent on wreaking justice was one Woody Hudson. Let us know who any of these gents are.

The centennial was beset with a deluge of rain but it never dampened the spirits of the locals, who now likely are looking ahead to the Bicentennial. Can you believe it?

Photo courtesy of the L M Forland family.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Restoration of a Model A

Marilyn Weidler Ulve: In 1989, David decided to purchase and restore a Model A that originally belonged to his great grandfather. It was being stored in a shed on a farm between Northwood and Lake Mills.

Our son Michael just out of high school did the body work and our son Scott did the electrical work. After many orders and trips to "Little Deerborn" in Minneapolis, the project was finished. Eventually, the car was sold to David's cousin in Lake Mills.

Click on any picture to open a larger view. To re-play the slideshow, click the "Play" button in the center of the slideshow window.

Happy Birthday Richard!

It just doesn't take much to make some people happy. So when Richard Holstad celebrated his 64th birthday recently, he was thrilled to receive a Steve Martin Arrow, photo attached.

My office manager, Terra, gave me something I have always wanted - A STEVE MARTIN ARROW! She knows me, yes?

I'm also looking for a set of Chevy Chase Bumble Bee Antenna that fit your head like this arrow does. When you bee-bop it is best to have your antenna.

I am having so darn much fun with this $3.00 gift. I was wearing my arrow around the office last week and asked one of my engineers if the arrow was detrimental to my credibility. With a wonderfully straight face he said, "Oh, no, Richard, not in the least! I believe it is helping."

The website for his company, Spectrum Engineering, lists itself as (paraphrasing here) a reliable, straightforward, trustworthy company. It doesn't say anything about the arrow in the president's head.

At last we are able to be ourselves, and feel conspicuous if we want, now that we are in our 60's.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Competition Heats Up!

Richard Holstad (who else would have these photos?) emailed us after the posting yesterday, with the attached photo of the '63 Northwood-Kensett queen candidate for that year's band festival.

It's interesting that you and Phil are such compadre's and the Northwood 1963 Band Festival Queen was . . . Carol! You two go for the Queens of the crop, yes?

As this blog goes to show, old friendships remain forever. When we met for breakfast last weekend, Lonna and Carol jabbered the entire time, and I've been kidding her about it since.

The key issue on all this is that Phil and I should think of ourselves as the King of Queens - or something. More likely, we know somebody . . . who knows somebody.

The Year of the "Music Man"

The North Iowa Band Festival was a big deal in '62, what with the world premier of "The Music Man" in Mason City, Meredith Wilson, Robert Preston, Shirley Jones and others all in attendance. And I've heard that some upperclassmen may have been nearby during the shooting of the movie and have stories to tell. Perhaps we can get more on that later.

Being able to see folks of that fame from "up close" (curbside as their convertibles drove by in the parade) was pretty cool, and the energy in Mason City for the event was pretty incredible. I recall being struck by how pretty Shirley Jones was, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who felt that way. If you've already clicked the link above to the Wikipedia article you know she played Marian the Librarian and Preston was Harold Hill.

Reading in Wikipedia, I had forgotten the number of songs that came from the musical, many of which pop easily back into my head. Mostly I recall it was a beautiful day, and Phil Johnson and I were both decked out in white Bermuda shorts. Shows off your tan better, doncha know.

I always thought this Festival was scheduled for June but I see it's already completed for this year, prior to Memorial Day. I can't imagine that it will ever go away because the economic impact for Mason City has to be significant, especially for a town that seems to have lost some of the gloss of our era.

If you're wondering about the attached photo - I don't know who our queen candidate was, but I happen to have this one - of the Lake Mills candidate, Lonna Hoel, who swept me off my feet a couple years later. For me the Lake Mills rivalry ended long ago. It had to.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Runaway Pig

Since I don't have any stories to tell, I have to tell a story that my son Scott told me a month or so ago. He said that he and his brother Michael were messing around on the farm with a bow and arrow. Scott said that he was trying to shoot a chicken with an arrow. He aimed it at the chicken and apparently they were in the hog yard. He shot the arrow and it went between the chicken's legs and hit a hog right behind the ear. The pig was running around the pig yard squealing like hell. So here they are trying to catch the pig and get the arrow out. They finally caught the pig and got the arrow out. Their dad never saw the damage to the pig. After that, they went into the cornfield and hid for awhile. Now Scott is one who could tell many a story of his childhood and teenage years. He made up for his mother.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

More Farm Stories - And One-Up-Manship!

You can almost hear Richard Holstad now - "Stan, if you think YOU had it bad . . ." No doubt Richard has a good retort and here it is, edited in part:

I have a story somewhat similar to Stan, about helping Dr Forland vaccinate baby pigs -- pigs by the 100's hour after hour..... oh where oh where do all those pigs come from?

Steve Forland and I would chase and catch each baby pig then hold it up by the two back legs kind of spread eagle; Dr Forland would inject each pig inside the groin area several times with various meds. I think Doc had the kind of syringes that had hoses connected so he could keep on shooting without re-loading.

Of course, all of the pigs had "wallered" in the pig shit that covered the hog-house floor - that is what pigs do do, y'know - they love to "waller".

I do not believe that one can wash off the smell of pig shit. I swear to goodness it is not just "on" you, it is "in" you and becomes part of you. It must impregnate hair, skin, and worst of all "nostrils" for at least a week.

Stan, here is the "kicker"..... Steve and I did that for FREE to help out his Dad.

Telling this story almost makes me blush .... we never even thought of asking for money....

There are things in life that transcend "money" .... a good honest 90-degree days work sweating in the hog house .... makes one want to get a good education ASAP.

Just because some of us lived in town doesn't mean we didn't get to bale hay, shell corn, feed the cattle, drive the manure spreader .... there is another lovely job. Manure spreader driver = a character builder!

I love bringing back these memories again ..... no matter how I make it sound, these memories are irreplaceable and precious.

Richard Holstad
Farm Hand

On the day he sent this story, Richard also sent an mp3 recording of himself musing as he was drinking his morning coffee, telling us he was sitting there thinking about "absolutely nothing." Probably clearing his head of the odors of his childhood.

The Undefeated Season of '61-'62

We finally had a chance to get some input today on that roundball season that none of us will ever forget. At breakfast with Phil and Carol Johnson in the Cities, just before this photo was taken, Phil talked about a couple memorable games, one beginning the season and the other at the end.

I'd have to say Buffalo Center there is one to remember. They had those two big guys, Friesenberg and (another one whose name this author forgets), and that was big to beat them over there.

And on second thought, our last game at home, against Forest City may be the very biggest. We were not going to be beat. Not on our floor, at our place. Not in the last game of the season. We put it on them. I think it was 53-18 at the half, and their coach was yelling at us.

We're not sure the score was better or worse than Phil's recollection, because the yearbook reports it was 66-33 at the half. It's not often you double the score, but double it the Fab Five did. The final score: 93-73, with Phil and Mike Lien contributing 66 of the 93. Buffalo may have been a big one, but it was the first game of the season and it, too, was a rout, 72-41.

The action photo is from the Yearbook. Mike Lien is #30 on the right, and if memory serves us right, #45 is Mr. Friesenberg from Buffalo Center, and this game could have been at BC because they were wearing colors.

What City Slickers do to Raise Money

Where there's a will to raise a dollar, there's a way. At least for Stanton Arendts:

We were an organized group of strapping young men back in the late 50's. Our objective in life was to raise enough money for a canoe trip to Canada. It was wintertime, so de-tasseling corn was not an option. Besides, we needed more money than that could provide.

Turns out that Arnold Hogan had an extensive chicken farm operation that was rather haphazardly put together. The barn doors, where the chickens were housed, were not large enough for machinery access so everything had to be done by hand. Our job was to remove the accumulated chicken shit. It was 3 feet deep!! Had to be scooped with shovels and was extremely slippery.

After a while, we became inured to the odor, so we got on with it. It was somewhat strenuous, but the real problem was maintaining balance. I only slipped once, but it was like sliding into second with no base to stop momentum.

We were transported home in the back of a pick up. Maybe my mother smelled me coming, since she was waiting at the door and wouldn't let me in the house until I had completely stripped. All the clothes were burned and I was instructed to take an unusually long bath.

The good news is that we raised enough money for the trip and actually took it, but that is another story.

Such is life.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Did You Hear About Roy Rogers?

The old Roy Rogers Museum moved from California to Branson, MO, a few years ago but suffered the final fate of its fans growing old, went out of business, and all the memorabilia was sold including the stuffed Trigger, Buttermilk, and Bullet. We got a long email on it the other day, but for the fun of it you can just click on this link to go to an online story on the auction. The family wound up with $2.9mm, pre-tax, of course, but they won't have to tour anymore, or show up smiling at the Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Theater.

You on the other hand, will have to wipe a tear away as you recall your youth. Kleenex now on sale at WalMart.

I heard one time, maybe in 6th grade, that Rogers and Gene Autry were in heated dispute because Gene Autry was THE King of the Cowboys, gave the title to Rogers for safekeeping when he had to go off to war (WW II), and Rogers was reluctant to give it back when he returned. Remember this story - it goes to show rumors could circulate even pre-internet. Could even be the truth . . .

"City Slicker" - the Original

We hope Stanton Arendts (SCA) will keep his stories coming, because they are unique indeed. Perhaps most of us were "country" folks but we needed someone with Stan's approach to life to put it all in perspective. This might qualify for "country cookin'."

I am a city slicker or town dude, from Kensett. Never really had to do chores. Maybe mow the lawn, rake the leaves, shovel the snow, but nothing on a regular basis. So, I think my parents thought that I needed an education about what life really was about? Or maybe it was that I actually had friends that lived on farms? Which ever the case, I ended up visiting at two rural locations:

Robert Hall's home - My mother dropped me off and of course had to chat with Mrs. Hall. While waiting on the chit chat, I picked up a rock on their drive way and nonchalantly tossed it aside. Unfortunately, it hit a chicken on the head and killed it!! I was totally embarrassed and immediately wanted to go home. Mrs. Hall was very understanding, insisting that I stay and that they would have chicken for dinner that night.

Dick Brunsvold's home - They had a horse. I reluctantly got on it while my mother was looking on and probably thinking that I was finally getting a taste of the real world. The horse immediately took off for the barn. The barn door was what I call a dutch door with the top part closed. The horse was smart enough to duck, but I wasn't, I was holding on for dear life. It is only one of two times, in my life, that I have been knocked unconscious. The visit was cut short.

To this day, I have never liked horses, but chicken is one of my favorite foods. Such is life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sometimes You Gotta Be There to Appreciate It

We tried to get a photo of something at the Northwood Country Club by looking around the internet, but the attached shot from the 45th reunion was better than anything else that was there, and besides, it's a chance to memorialize these fellas, par-shooters that they are.

This story from Stan Arendts is a little bit longer than the previous ones, but I think you'll find it to be every bit as entertaining. Enjoy the view, if you get the drift . . .

About 15 years ago, my oldest daughter was married in Long Beach. My mother was still alive and attended the ceremonies. When taking her to LAX for the trip back to Iowa, we found ourselves on the flyway between the 405 and 105 freeways. I made a comment about the amazing view and she said to me "I can't understand why anybody would want to live in a place like this". I had never looked at it that way, but her statement got me thinking. Yes, there were places and things I did not care for also.....Connecticut, Ohio, refried beans and golf.

GOLF!! The gentlemen's game? Pastime of my ancestors? I was brought up with golf. Both grandfathers, my father and mother were all avid golfers and members of the Northwood Country Club. I accompanied them when I was a small child, when the greens were brown (sand) and sand traps non existent. My job was to smooth the oily sand in preparation for the putts. When I was old enough, I got an old set of women's clubs, since men's were too long. My favorite club was the 5 iron, which I used almost all the time. But my heart wasn't in it. There weren't many kids involved, it was boring, and to this day really made no sense. So other objectives arose.

I would practice early in the AM, when you had to roll up your pants because of the dew. I carried a 22 rifle in my bag and shot gophers whenever I saw them (taking care not to have the club house in the background). My main goal was to hit the club house (on the fly) from #5 tee. During the busier times, I would move other golfer's balls on #7 green close to the hole so they thought they almost got a could not see the hole from the tee and you didn't know where your shot landed until you climbed the hill.....and then listen to them lament in the club house.

As I said, not too many kids. Bill Roberts was the only classmate I remember that played. He was pretty good, as I recall. So I played with my family and their friends. One time in a foursome with Tom Fretty (a left handed golfer and owner of Tom's Damaged & Unclaimed Freight in Manly) he hit 4 consecutive drives into the river at #5 tee. After the 4th, he threw all of his clubs into the river, one at a time, and tried to get the bag in also. He then walked back to the club house in frustration avowing never to play again. After the round, I helped recover the clubs. My father had made a golf cart, fashioned from a meter maid cycle and I liked to drive that until I stalled it on a hill and it rolled backwards and ran over his clubs.

My golfing career ended about the time I got my driver's license....kind of ironic? Only played one more time, when I was in the Navy and stationed at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay Cuba) The course was unique since it had little grass and the golfers had to carry a square foot piece of artificial turf to put their ball on for each shot. Nothing better to do on Gitmo. Such is life.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fabulous Crown Vic

Richard Holstad reports he was home last weekend - Memorial weekend - and as is his custom swung by the Surf in Clear Lake just for the fun of it. And in time for the classic car show going on. The pink '55 shown here was the one that caught his eye initially, and then he saw the whole show, all ready to cruise around Clear Lake.

Although he took a picture of every one, we won't show them here, but will show this Black & White '58 (recall that Buddy Holly crashed in February, 1959) that had been hauled out every year for the Winter Dance Party and parked in front of the Surf (notice the snow) - until 2009 when the Johnny Cash tour bus backed into it, pushing it up onto the sidewalk and making a mess of it.

Marilyn Weidler Ulve's son was on the team that restored the '58 originally - though she now advises she is uncertain whether it has been "restored again."

Nevertheless, each car shown here is a classic.

SCA, the '40 Ford, and Officer Jackley

Another installment of the Stanton Arendts conflict with Officer Jackley, wherein Young Arendts wound up with a citation:

I normally worked on my cars after school and at night.

One night, after installing three-twos on my 1940 Ford, I took it out for a test drive. I had taken the hood off for access and had no air cleaners installed. It sounded like a jet revving for a Cat launch. By the time I hit the Kensett City limits, I was going 100 MPH.

I wouldn't go much faster than that, because it was too scary. Since I couldn't afford a dropped front axel, I extended the spring brackets, which created erratic steering problems. I needed the entire road, since I couldn't keep it in one lane. Wouldn't you know that Jackely was coming into town at the same time.

This was before radar and he had no proof of my speed, but he was sure it was over the 35 MPH limit. He turned around and pulled me over. By that time, I was aware of his presence and had slowed down. He completely inspected the car and could find nothing wrong. He cited me for disturbing the peace. This was about 2 miles north of Kensett, in corn field area.

I had to go to the Justice of the Peace, in Manly. I had removed the three-twos and about a block away had stuffed steel wool up the exhaust, so the car purred like a kitten. The charge was dismissed, I removed the steel wool and headed home. Such is life.

SCA, the Flag Pole, and Officer Jackley

It took a little friendly persuasion from several classmates to get him to allow this story on the blog, but Stanton Arendts finally succumbed. We think you'll enjoy the 2nd of the series of his run-ins with Officer Jackley:

I played a cat and mouse game with this sworn officer. I think it all started with the flag pole at Phillip Sigmond's house, which is on the northern edge of Kensett. Perhaps it is still there?

Being a notorious flag waver and general patriot, I agreed to construct a major flag pole for Phillip, who was a disabled war veteran from WW2. I loved to weld things and received excellent instruction from Orvin Ellingson (Sandra's father). Since the flag pole was large (40 feet) I received help from my father and Arly Thompson, (Arla's father), who was a master welder. All proceeded well until the transfer of the pole from my father's garage to the site at Phillip's home.

I secured a truck from my grandfather (Monk Boyett) and drove it to the garage using town streets. Since I did not have a chauffeurs license, I was reluctant to drive it on the highway. Arly agreed to do it and stated "That if anybody inter-feared, he would knock them on their ass."

Wouldn't you know that Jackley was on the ball, followed us and noticed that we didn't have a red flag on the flagpole which extended far behind the truck. Keep in mind that we were only going about 5 blocks. Jackley followed us up Phillip's drive way and cited Arly for not having the red flag. To say all hell broke loose would be an understatement.

Suffice it to say that we made Officer Jackley feel like a jerk, we thought. Nevertheless the citation was issued. We requested that Jackley should at least salute the flag as he drove by, in the future. I always thought that Jackley didn't really understand what we were trying to do and remembered each of us as perhaps "future offenders".

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