From the miscellaneous drawer - Searching for his roots

Is there a resurgence of interest in family origins? Not so much a connection to things from the scanty past. Now there is too much variety of new and improved things which are preferred. So those “treasures” which were connected to past lives are now unwanted.
People-knowledge is different. Wanting to find out something about one’s heritage still has an appeal. Hence the interest in Ancestry DNA kits. After debating about it, I have now sent one in. Not knowing my grandparents has made me curious.
A phone call at the Echo this week revealed another person looking for his roots. The Californian was making his second step in “six degrees of separation” and seeking information about his unknown (great?) grandfather, Juri (George) Majerle, who died in an Ely mine on Nov. 14, 1889.
A quick check of the Echo’s book: Ely, Since 1888, found this to share with him:


Memory Tips from Old What’s Her Name

by Dorothy Rosby


From the miscellaneous drawer - What's with volunteering?

There’s never enough time to accomplish all the goals one sets for oneself. But it’s good to try.
There is a belief by some that women are part of the human race and on an equal footing with everyone else. Maybe that is not well known, nor comprehended.
To me it means that there is no need to rely on or become dependent on any exclusive women’s group.
Doing so appears to make one subservient, in a lesser position, perhaps needing reinforcement through numbers. There is an apparent need by some for the protection of those who are anatomically alike.
I don’t go along with that and sometimes that gets me in trouble.
Nonetheless, I’m an individual, a person with a voice. A person with goals to achieve much like any other human being, male or female.


Native son: holy week, easter 2017

For those people who believe, no explanation is necessary.
For those people who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.
I have a story about something that happened to me in 1960. I’ve never told this to anyone.
In February of 1960 I entered St Pascal’s Franciscan Monastery located in Westmont, Illinois a half hour drive from Chicago. I wanted to become a Franciscan Brother. I thought about being a priest but Father Mike, the parish priest in Ely, thought this would be a better fit for me. St. Pascal’s is located on property a millionaire gave to the Franciscan Order when he died. It was big enough for three man-made lakes.
In the middle of the property was the former owner’s mansion which the Franciscans turned into a retreat house. Next to it was a small farm. On the Western edge was a seminary large enough to hold 300 students.


Pickarooning at the Hook and Bullet Club

The fall of the year may be the best time to be in the woods, especially when you can carry a shotgun and bring home supper. But there’s usually three or four weekends in the spring that are nearly as good.
We spent the weekend at the shack, riding wheelers, putting up trail cameras and gathering firewood. The weather was perfect and we didn’t see a mosquito until late Sunday afternoon.
Steve and Bev brought out their new Arctic Cat two-up wheeler and we broke it in right.
The funny thing was I had been out visiting Tom Wetzel at his shack earlier in the week and had rode his wheeler which was identical to what Steve bought. If you haven’t driven a wheeler with power steering, you are missing out. What a difference.
A the shack we brought along the snippers and the chainsaw to open up the roads that had trees across them. Luckily nothing big had fallen and we made quick work of each blockage.


Trout Whisperer - Holdin’ my nose

Holdin’ my nose
When he looks across the field, I don’t see what he sees, but I smell what he smells.
He just took the last load of cow manure out from the barn and let it fly with his manure spreader.
He says he likes getting the last load of fertilizer on the field before the frost goes out.
I ask when he thinks the frost will be gone.
He says, “The way this spring is shaping up, it is probably gonna be sooner than later.”
I ask why.
He says. “Look at the snow pack, there aint any. It’s all gone. We’ve had some mighty warm days already. If folks aint careful, with all these dry conditions, we could have some serious fire danger this spring.”
Then, as if to hammer home his point, four Canadian geese flute over his field, the first ones I’ve seen this spring.
He points up, “See what I’m talking about, everything is coming early this year.”


People make the difference

When I was living in the Chicago area, street sights were steel mills, oil refineries, manufacturing plants, railroads and lumber yards.

I’ve also lived in the San Francisco bay area of California and in Rome, Italy. Each offered different views, different perspectives.

Moving from Mount Vernon, Iowa to Chicago to Ely, Minnesota, each place, large or small was stabilized and bonded by its people.

The street sights are startling, intriguing or lovely, but it is the people who live there, people known there who remain in my thoughts. They taught me some life lessons and the rudiments of how to adapt to each new place.

In Ely, there were more lessons and sights to be learned.


Miscellany from the Miscellaneous drawer

Atikokan is a township in the Rainy River District in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The population was 2,753 as of the 2016 census.
According web sources, “Through the years Atikokan has seen many industries come and go, but one thing remains is their fighting spirit. They continue to succeed in bringing business to the small community.”
I’ve never been to Atikokan, but each week I read the Atikokan Progress newspaper. It was because of its owner/publisher Mike McKinnon that the Echo’s email edition was started. Setting it up was the easiest way to trade newspapers across the border.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum _ On the trail

A buggered up knee has meant no snowmobiling so far this season. With rain in the forecast for Monday, Saturday was the chosen day to hit the trails for the first time.
Even though it was President’s Day weekend and there was bound to be hundreds of sleds out, we decided to take the state trail. I was in the lead, friend Kelsey Pearce was next with my wife Mary the trail sweep.
Our first issue was the smoke rolling out of my sled every time I pressed the throttle. We stopped just outside of town and I opened the hood. There was oil in the exhaust and some near the spark plugs. But we decided to press on. It was too nice of a day not to.
We met plenty of riders out on the trails. Groups of two, groups of 12. Everybody with a friendly wave or the universal sign of holding up the number of fingers equal to the number of sleds behind them.
We hopped off the main route and took back trails, over lakes and though the woods until we reached the shack.


From the miscellaneous drawer - View from the past

From the miscellaneous drawer by Anne Wognum in the Feb. 17, 1997 Ely Echo -

The car engine would struggle to reach the top of Miller Creek hill, passing an antique shop as the climb started, the noisiness of the old bridge from Superior, so close to the water, behind us. It seemed there were always huge, billowing clouds crowning shades of blue in the northern sky. The plateau at the top extended on to Canada, but it wasn’t until Virginia was behind us and the crest of that ridge was breached that I could exhale. Or traveling on County 4, straight north from Hoyt Lakes before the road was moved, having the valley of Embarrass before me.


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