From the miscellaneous drawer

by Anne Swenson

So my secret’s about to be out. I’ve been with the Echo for 30 of my soon-to-be 70 years. The amazing thing is that I’ve enjoyed or been challenged by almost every one of those years. <BR><BR>I wouldn’t say that about the early part of my working life.<BR><BR>I’ve worked since childhood. When there was a war going on, my brother and I were dad’s in-house labor force for preparing a metal part for manufacture. <BR><BR>During my teenage years there was office work in the factory in Indiana. That was followed by being a waitress at a Maid-Rite in Iowa during college years, a summer camp counselor in Michigan, a nanny and store clerk in California, a couple stints with Mafia-owned record shops in Illinois and later becoming a book buyer <BR><BR>When not working I went to schools or classes in Iowa, Illinois, California and Minnesota. College registrars had this thing about completing a degree in a particular field but I chose subjects, not majors. You just never know when Profile Painters of the Early Italian Renaissance might come in handy or the Monadnocks of Confucianism in Emerson and Thoreau.<BR><BR>Additionally, I was a terrible student. Absolutely deficient in memorization. Couldn’t remember dates, time sequences or details as a child. Can’t remember them now - not history, not math, not science, not politics. Nothing. Those subjects had to metamorphose into my consciousness and rarely succeeded. If pushed I could concentrate nonstop prior to an exam and 24 hours later have almost no remnant of knowledge on the subject remaining.<BR><BR>Sometimes I think my memory is rather like my desk. Filled with all sorts of buried trivia, very little of which is of importance to the moment.<BR><BR>When we’re in any point in time, living moments as they arrive upon us, are usual to us. Each event evolves upon the most ordinary of days. So in those early days of living full-time in Ely, little seemed out of the ordinary. There had been controversy over the Boundary Waters in the past and the controversy which was beginning to boil went unnoticed by me and many citizens of the Ely area.<BR><BR>In March of 1975, El Lustman had been named the new administrative director of the Ely Chamber of Commerce, Ely Memorial High School was getting a Media Center, guided by librarian Doug Dreschler, and copper nickel hearings were being held in town. <BR><BR>First National Bank (now Wells Fargo) was planning to build a drive-in facility on Chapman Street, the Red Garter Dining Emporium opened and a fresh young cast was working on The Man of La Mancha.<BR><BR>A year later Lt. Governor Rudy Perpich was giving Winton a Bicentennial Award, Sig Olson was giving a book on trees to Girl Scouts Laura Ravnikar and Annette Frissell, the Echo’s roving reporter was asking people on the street, “What do you think of Nixon’s trip to China?”<BR><BR>Ely Concerned Citizens were preparing to fight crime, Jerome Skraba won a gold medal in ski jumping in Duluth, bowlers of the week were Carol Norby, Edie Tedrick, Bob Koivisto and Dave Banovetz, and Echo publisher Miles Aakhus was celebrating that “Justice Triumphs” as he won his legal case against Larry Asbach of the Mesabi Daily News and members of the St. Louis County Press Association. Little did Miles know that when the association’s records were abandoned some 20 years later a conspiracy against Miles and the Ely Echo by other publishers were clearly revealed just as Miles had suspected.