From the miscellaneous drawer - First 40 years

In the Ely Echo of November 30, 1977, it was announced that there was a new owner of the Ely Echo. That wasn’t part of my original plan which had been to share ownership with other Echo employees. That idea didn’t work out then.
In the intervening years, that HAS happened with son Nick Wognum now being the majority owner, followed by myself, Tom Coombe and Lisa Vidal-Sainio.


East of Ely - The Joe Meany Breakfast

The year I turned twenty-one, a friend and I paddled the entire route connecting the lakes and rivers of the Hunter’s Island escarpment. Our canoe was a heavy aluminum Grumman. Our food was a combination of freeze-dried dinners, pasta noodles, powdered eggs and any other lightweight stuff we could easily portage.
We planned to be out for over two weeks. Weight was an issue.
I’d lost a few pounds by the time we reached Lac La Croix, dead tired and in need of a quick place to camp. A thunderstorm was closing fast from the southwest.
The pines have grown much taller since that day at the Quetico Provincial Park Ranger Station, when a man standing at the dock waved us in.
The lean fellow in a dark green jacket with a cigarette dangling of the corner of his mouth was the ranger, Joe Meany, who ushered us out from the lightning into his cabin.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Homeless

Times are indeed changing. I’m grateful to live in a place that is warm, quiet, peaceful and in the woods.
I also appreciate being able to work at a job where I am in contact with many people and I am useful answering the phone and staying in touch with subscribers and readers.
It wasn’t always that way for me.
In my youth, though I had a family in the States, there came a time when I was homeless in Rome. The circumstance was due to some basic funds not arriving because of a mix-up in the postal system. It was an awakening as to how vulnerable I was.
Fortunately, a kind American military family, stationed at the embassy in Rome, Italy, took me in and offered me the tiny room sometimes occupied by a maid or other servant.
From that experience came the expectation that it might not be the last time I would be homeless. Events beyond one’s control are a reality for many.


East of Ely - Blizzards

by Dave Krikorian

On the other howling creature of the north woods - Blizzards.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Deer? Not yet

Camp Cholesterol was up and running in full swing by Friday night before deer season. From a quiet spot in the woods to a deck full of coolers, ATVs parked outside and wood smoke curling out of the chimney - we were back in business.
Our travellers came from the Twin Cities area, Bemidji and the North Dakota border to make their way to our neck of the woods. Pick up trucks were tucked between the pines and every bunk had a sleeping bag spread out for when the lights were turned off.
With supper percolating in the oven, a deck of cards appeared, a game of smear started and never really seemed to stop. There were a few bathroom breaks but when 21 was reached, the score was circled and the game started over.
I stopped by the Wilmunen Shack when I left town on Friday and visited for a bit. There were just three hunters when I was there. Casey was still unloading her vehicle, Pat Farha was telling stories and shackmaster Rob was taking it all in.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Memories

People often say they remember where they were when they heard some dramatic event had occurred. Not true for me in regard to the JFK shooting in Texas. I might have been traveling and away from news sources.
There is only one event I can pinpoint in time and my memory. What’s especially odd about the memory is how vivid it remains and my age at the time. It was Sunday, December 7, 1941. I was six.
My family had gone by car to nearby Homewood, Illinois to the Auditorium there for Evelyn Klein’s Student Piano Recital.
Miss Klein was a German Jewish refugee and she came every week on the Illinois Central railroad to give piano lessons to we three children. My sister, age 11, had taken to the lessons far better than my brother or me.
The large auditorium was filled with parents and relatives. Washington Auditorium in Ely is quite similar in its interior.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Prep for deer opener

Having some help at the shack on the last weekend before deer season was great. Having two friends from high school out in the woods was awesome.
Joined by Megan’s dog Millie, Steve Jacobson, Jim Ronn and I tackled some of the last-minute projects out at Camp Cholesterol.
Our main project was to finish putting up a tower stand including putting the canvas top over the metal frame.
This is definitely not a one man job and it took all three of us to make it happen. Some would say it takes three of us to do the work of one man, but that’s besides the point.
We did manage to get the stand completed without falling off, a major accomplishment to be sure. There was a few minutes along the way I was worried Jim’s back was going to go out or Steve was going to point out there was an easier way, but all’s well that ends well.


My haunted house

The lightning is flashing and the rain is coming down in sheets. My husband is out. It’s just me, my cat, my canary and my imagination, which is no small thing.
Full disclosure: I love reading mysteries and watching mysteries, but I’m not reading or watching one now. I’m in my office working, when suddenly I hear a sound. Whoosh. And then it’s silent. What was that? It wasn’t the canary. He sings better than that. It wasn’t the cat. He’s sitting at my feet, the hair raised on his back. And it certainly wasn’t my imagination. Was it?
One thing I’ve learned watching whodunits is that if you hear strange noises in another part of your house, you should never go investigate, especially if you’re home alone, it’s a stormy night, the power is out and there’s scary movie music playing. Actors do that all the time, and it never ends well for them.


From the miscellaneous drawer - Speak up

It’s a strange and ever changing world we live in. And the perception of a polite society may evolve to the appearance of a more dignified plane and then may loop-de-loop, crash and recover long afterwards.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, famines and wars perhaps dictated some short cuts and verbal shortness, impatience to get the job done, and to survive.
Women and children took on new roles, moving too rapidly into adult jobs and responsibilities and the reality of the times. Too often unprepared for brusqueness and brutality, verbal or otherwise.
Some of that hasn’t changed. People in power due to money or position, declared new rights, not as human beings, but as bullies. We still see that today as recognition of the inhumaneness affects us and the news.


Home on the Range

Where are you from? An innocent enough question, and for many an easy answer. Perhaps they spent their whole life in Ely, only leaving for a few years for college. When I was in the Army and asked, my answer was Minnesota. That pretty well covered it when meeting people from all over the U.S. Maybe adding the detail of “grew up in Northern Minnesota” if they were at all familiar.
Born at Ely Bloomenson Hospital, raised in Ely, graduated from Ely Memorial High School… but graduation was 20 years ago. Living in Murphy City, between Finland and Isabella now, but there are way more than 50 miles between Ely and here, and memories too numerous to count.
Central Minnesota, a few months in South Carolina for basic training. Back to Minnesota, out to Montana, then California and Oregon, only to return to Montana. Then, probably the biggest shock to all who know me, I return with my growing family to Minnesota.


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