From the miscellaneous drawer - Looking back on 40 years

Looking back 40 years places me in recall of the dramatic change which was about to occur in my life in 1977.
Still in the early stages, the Echo staff was considering the purchase of the Ely Echo from Miles Aakhus. When the purchase didn’t work out as a group effort, it was me alone taking the economic plunge.
The Ely area was in a state of flux. There was a lengthy strike on at Reserve Mining in Babbitt where several hundred Elyites worked and the city which had been buzzing along was beginning to show signs of change.
Gibson’s (on Chapman Street) was changing its name to Pamida. The Echo issue of 8/31/1977 held two full pages of store items. Bobby John’s ran a half page ad for the college bound woman. Martinetto Drug had a half page ad for vitamins. JCPenney had a half page ad for its store on Chapman Street. Lampert Building Center had a half page ad on bathrooms.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Summer is over

And then summer was over.
This is Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer fun. If you’re like me, the best is yet to come. Bring on fall!
Our summer drew to a close with a flurry of activity. We transported our youngest, Evan, to college two weekends ago.
We packed two vehicles to the hilt with enough stuff to fill a dorm room and made the trek to Bemidji State University.
Hiding in the parking lot when we got there was our oldest, Jacob. Remembering how many times Evan helped him move, Jake drove over from Moorhead and surprised Evan. Freshman nerves were replaced by a big smile.
The vehicles were emptied and Evan’s half of the dorm room filled up quickly. It was a good thing he lofted his bed to give him some extra room. Dorm rooms haven’t gotten any bigger since I was in Griggs Hall at UMD 32 years ago.
We took in a student-parent orientation program at the football stadium and even met Faith Hensrud, the president of BSU.


He's not in the photo, Steve writes

In a note from Steve Kapsch I found out that at least one of the men identified in the Sandemar photo and article last week was wrong. Here’s what Steve wrote:
“I enjoyed your piece on Sandemar, which was, indeed, a gathering place for Elyites, including my dad and my uncle Matty and Swanson’s often illustrious guests. Swanson’s name came up so often in household conversation when I was a kid that he was something of a “mythical character” because it was like I knew him well, but I didn’t know him at all and never met him.
Anyway, uncle Matty was there at Sandemar often but he’s not in the photo.
The man whispering to Johnnie Bucca isn’t Matty but I don’t know who he is. (Johnnie looks like he’s either getting ready for Roaring Stony Days, or RSD is over and he’s decided he likes the look!).


From the miscellaneous drawer - The charm of Burntside Lake

VISITING AT SANDEMAR in July, 1946 were dignitaries and friends of Otto Swanson. Shown are, l-r: Lawrence Smith, Tony Struna?, John Buccowich, Matty Kapsch, Swedish Ambassador (Erik Boheman?), Otto Swanson and Minnesota Governor Luther Youngdahl. Photo courtesy of Larry Smith


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Methodists celebrate

Our little church had a big celebration last Sunday. The Ely United Methodist Church celebrated its 125th year with a full service and a special dinner.
“The Little Church With A Big Heart” is located in the oldest church building in Ely, started in 1892 and completed in 1895. The land was donated by the Oliver Mining Company.
In 1907, famed Ely mine captain Charles Trezona made a sizeable donation so the church could have actual pews. He played a key role in the church’s development. And, he lived just down the street.
Like other churches in Ely, during the Great Depression there was a good chance the doors would be closed forever. If it wasn’t for the women beginning to make pasties to help meet church expenses, that just might have happened.
Eighty years later pasties are still made by a team of volunteers (both men and women) and those funds help keep the doors open.


Native Son - Bookworm #4

by Charles D Novak
The floor around the recliner in my living room looks like a small library. Here are some of my reviews of recently read books.
WINTER IS COMING by Garry Kasparov - subtitled “Why Valdimir Putin Must Be Stopped.” The Russian author, now living for safety reasons in the United States, spent twenty years as the world’s #1 chess player. In 2005 he retired from professional chess to lead the pro-democracy opposition against Putin.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Up on Basswood

Running out of time to get boats, motors, gear and everything else together for a trip to Basswood Lake, it was time to call for help.
“LaTourell’s,” said Bob when he answered the phone. Just the guy to talk to.
A few minutes later we were set for our trip into the BWCA on a sunny Sunday a few weeks back.
Five of us unloaded our gear on the shores of Moose Lake into the two boats Bob had set up for us. Evan and Nella were in Bandit One while Mary, Megan and I would be in Bandit Two.
From one LaTourell to another was what happened when we wove between the islands and made our way from Moose up to Prairie Portage on the international border.
Mindy backed the trailer into the lake with the Chevy pickup and hopped out to chat for a minute. We talked fishing and life in general but she’s got to keep the traffic moving so we rode along the portage down past the old cabin to Basswood Lake.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Where’s the internet?

Curse it. Coax it.
Un-plug, re-plug. Still nothing. Repeat the formula. Same results. Start over. Re-start. Where’s the internet?
I can imagine what it was like in the early days old Ely and Winton, when there was no indoor plumbing for bathrooms. During long ago summers on a rural Illinois farm, there was a pump in the kitchen for water, but other needs of humans took place down a brick path to the outhouse.
I can imagine when electricity and phones became a staple of rural civilization and finally there was safer lighting in homes and the ability to communicate with family and friends.
Phone lines were shared at first and courtesy had to be remembered. “I’d like to use the line. Sorry to interrupt your call. I shouldn’t be more than a few minutes..” I remember people saying that on a party phone line.


Trout Whisperer - Boys of summer

Boys of summer
At one point, there were seven of us there. Two had arm chairs under their backsides, one had a garage sale bar stool he was tottering on. The rest of us, including the owner, were just leaning on something. All of us were discussing: the weather, the Minnesota Twins, and one large velvet-headed buck, the majority of us had seen, that seems to have taken up residency at the local cemetery.
The owner’s dog is working the crowd. He nudges each of us in turn looking for a free ear scratch. After the pooch gets what he wants he goes and lays down on the concrete pad where the morning’s sun is just starting to creep in.
The room smells of a mixture of brewed coffee and sort of ripe or boiled minnows. The bait store owner says he needs to clean the minnow tanks today, but not until his wife shows up.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Hard choices for graduates

How does one plan one’s future?
When one is over 80, it may not seem that should even be a question.
But it is. Folks my age may have thought that major decisions about life were only challenged and addressed in the age 12-20 years. Not so.
Back then, the life/living tests were rudimentary and oldsters often misinterpreted what they thought should be obvious to youngsters.
For instance, because I liked to know how things worked, it was suggested I should be a mechanic.
Because I liked to sing, I was told to be a performer.
For the first proposed choice, there was no understanding that my interest dropped off dramatically when imagined solutions failed to work to solve problems. For the latter, there was no accounting for extreme self consciousness, for stage fright.
Each 12-20 age group has so much pressure upon them.


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