Rambling of an old telephone man. Donald Merle Gjevre
As of today I'm assisting those that have been reading my ramblings by putting the date in RED that I'm adding information on the left border and at the end of that material I will place a line of *****'s indicating the end of the added material. After 2 months of having that added portion, I will remove the date and the * It should make it easier for those that are faithful in reading this gathering of memories.
Born in Huron, South Dakota July 30,1938
Father - Merle Adolf Oleson (December 25, 1913 / July 31, 1990)
Mother- Mary Evelyn Marso (January 2, 1916 /September 17, 1998)
They were married June 4, 1938 in Alexandra, South Dakota. Witness to the marriage was Lucille Marso and Donald Marso. They were separated legally on October 19, 1940 and legally divorced April 17, 1941 He went into service in 1942 and was wounded in action with groin injuries and lost his left eye by a 25 caliber shell during the invasion of Guam, Mariannna Islands on July 29, 1944. Awarded Purple Heart September 18, 1944
Mother married Gladstone Arnold Blix Gjevre (May 5, 1910 / October 12, 1998) on April 24, 1941 in Huron, SD. The couple that stood up for them were Herb and Mary Seveland. Gladstone worked for the Great Northern Railroad and retired 1975 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Grandparents Joseph John Marso and Marguerite Brekke Marso. His first wife was Mary Altman (had 5 children, 1 my mother) and Mary Altman died during the flu epidemic of 1919. Had 5 additional children with Marguerite. He was the Sheriff in Pierre South Dakota in 1932. The family lived in Harrold South Dakota, then above the Court House in the jail at Pierre South Dakota, West of De Smet South Dakota and then moved to Huron South Dakota.
Remembered a saying of my grandfather.
"If my word is worth nothing, my signature is worthless!"
One of my first memories was my Grandfathers ranch just East of Huron, SD and their female collie, Sweetheart and her puppies. I also remember being inside a old pop cooler on wheels and getting pushed around inside one of the old empty buildings by my uncle Jim. Later, I remember having rheumatic fever and being in bed and my grandfather bringing me one of the puppies. We called him Spot or Spottie. I have several pictures of him and my mother and me standing on my mothers feet as the cement was very hot and I'm barefooted. We were living in a little house on 10th Street in Huron. Was visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Mitchell, SD when one morning I could not walk due to pain in my legs and was in hospital for 4 weeks while recovering from the rheumatic fever. It was a catholic hospital and the only thing beside having nuns for nurses, was a overabundance of box-elder bugs in the hospital and they were my only playthings. I kept them in a matchbox. I also remember fishing in the James River and catching some sunfish and the little Jewish lady that lived on the 1st floor of the Cloverleaf Apartments fixed some of the fish and brought them up to us when we lived on the second floor. She cooked them with their heads on as that was her way of frying fish. My grandpa Joe died 6/8/43, of heart problems and my grandmother and aunts and uncles moved over to the 4th Street house. I remember the 1st Christmas after my Grandfather died and that Christmas eve singing Silent Night with them. My aunt Jackie was 2 months younger than me and Uncle Eugene the oldest of the 2nd family was only 12 years older than I. I also remember living in a corner house across for the Huron College. The bathroom was painted a bright orange color. When we lived at the Cloverleaf Apartment on the 2nd floor. I remember going across the busy street and playing at a friends house. We chased some pheasants under part of the porch of the house and I crawled under the porch and caught a male pheasant and brought it home, holding onto the head of the dead pheasant so everyone could see it. While living at the Cloverleaf we had an Irish Water Spaniel called Brownie but he was hit by a car and died. Later, while at the Cloverleaf we had a Irish Setter called Duke. We brought him to Minneapolis when we moved here in 1943. We stayed with my uncle Ernie and aunt Muriel at their house at 3700 5th Ave South. We lived with them several months until they found a one bedroom basement apartment at 3536 Emerson Ave South and they did not allow pets so Duke stayed with my Uncle and lived for about 13 years. More on Duke later. I remember my grandmother Marguerite fixing horse radish out of the plants by the North door of the 4th Street house in Huron and swinging on the low tree branch of the tree out by the street. My aunt Jackie would hang by her bent legs upside down which was something I would not do. That house was a short ways from the State Fair grounds and the Huron Zoo was there also as I remember going over to see a old family pet called Billy the Badger. I have a scar on my left eyebrow from a scratch from Billy and he was relocated to the zoo. I also remember one of my aunts boyfriend coming to visit with his motorcycle. Another memory was the fish holding tanks that they had at the Fairgrounds for the fair. They were deep concrete pools that were lit at night and they held large fish of all types swimming in the shallow water. I remember my uncle bringing one of the large fish home. We also lived above Skezzics grocery store and right next door live a little girl named Sandy Erickson and she had a small long haired little dog.
The reason we moved to Minneapolis is my father was bumped. The railroad allowed their people to switch jobs according to seniority. It did not matter if it required the parties to leave one location to move to another. There was only one yard clerk in Huron and one yard master. A senior yard clerk in another town wanted the position in Huron and he bumped my father and the only position he could move to was in Minneapolis and that required him to move and my mother and I stayed at my grandmothers house in Huron until we could move to Minneapolis. I went to kindergarten in Huron. For some reason I can remember one morning (had to be a Sunday, December 7, 1941) we were having breakfast and my dad telling me of a very bad thing happening and how sad it was. I believe it was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I also remember going across the street from the cloverleaf and into the hatchery and behind it was a pile of stuff from inside and many little chicks running wild around outside the building. Another memory was while walking with my mother down by the railroad yard to see my father we crossed paths with the one and only black lady in Huron. She must have been picking up coal that had dropped from the railroad cars. She was like a bag lady of today's world. I must have been starring as she was the first black person I had ever seen. Her words to my mother was "What a little man sees when he doesn't have his gun!" I did go to Kindergarten at Huron and the school was 2 blocks North of the Cloverleaf.
3536 Emerson ave S. We moved into 1 bedroom basement apartment in 1944 and to 2nd floor rear (1 bedroom) apartment 1950 and move 1956 to 4745 Grand Ave S.
Living in the 2nd floor front south apartment was an older couple. Celia and Ezra VanCamp. He bought me my 1st baseball glove, taught me cribbage and they had the 1st television in the apartment and would ask me to view it with them in the evenings. We watched wrestling, basketball and anything that was on the few stations at that time. Ezra had been a horse trader in North dakota in his earlier years and Celia told of one day he sold a horse to a fellow and while the guy was bringing it home, it died. He came back to request his money back because the horse had died on the way home. Ezra said NO!, because the horse had never died while he owned it. Celia died 8-15-53 at the age of 84 and Ezra died 4-16-63 and was 92. What a great couple they were and I spent many hours with them.
While living at 3536 Emerson Ave S. I went to Calhoun-Grade School Minneapolis. Many of the same students that attended Calhoun with me continued throughout my schooling years. I walked the 8 blocks and one of the students had lost his sight and even though he was a two years older we all played together on the playground. I got to know him quite well and later in life I happen to get on an elevator with him and recognizing him as he also had his seeing eye dog with him. I said "Hello John Ross" He turned to me and said "Jeffrey, is that you?" John turned out to be in the telephone building as he was helping to develop the sport Beep Ball with the NWBell Pioneers. He also was the only blind wrestler to wrestle in the Big Ten and wrestled for the University of Minnesota. He also is claimed to be the last person to interview Babe Ruth.
While at Calhoun I was also on the School Patrol guarding the street crossings for students as the arrived or left the school area. The city of Minneapolis would reward those on the patrol with a trip to Excelsior Amusement Park towards the end of the school year. Later on in the mid 60's while as a member of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Rescue Squad, later had name changed to Hennepin County Emergency Squad, our group had the opportunity to assist with first aid when the patrol group was treated for a day at the park. One interesting thing occurred that day. Several parents chaperoned the students and were allowed to enjoy the rides and amusement features. One of the rides being a large spinning cylinder that people would walk or run through as it spun. I seemed that several of the parents were large and I mean large, black women that for some reason fell and the cylinder kept spinning and they attempted to get up but were having a hard time getting to their feet and out of the cylinder. After much spinning and rolling they got out and required a few bandages place on their knees and elbows where the skin had worn away due to the skin damage. After the first aid was completed and they left the area, one of the nurses exclaimed that she was surprised they were flesh colored under their skin. Like she thought they were black all the way to their bones. The nurse was the wife of a very close friend of mine.
Roy Montana 1946
Black Butte Ranch 1946
My uncle Don and aunt Marguerite Marso left South Dakota right after he got out of the Air Force after WWll, and started ranching at the foot of Black Butte Mountain in Montana. The ranch was about 9 1/2 miles south of Roy and ½ mile from Black Butte Road on the North slope of Black Butte Mountain. As you came up to the large swinging gate, on your right was a small gate which let you into the yard area for the house and storm cellar. This was to keep cattle, horses, chickens, geese and any other creatures that would cause any problems out. The house consisted of a small kitchen, bedroom and living room. It did not have electricity or running water. Just West of the house was the storm celler used to keep food cool in the summer and not freeze in the winter. On the other side of the large swinging gate was a large fenced area that was about 400 X 400 ft. Inside that open area was a windmill and stock tank. On the Southwest side was a chicken coop. On the corner of that building going East was another large swinging corral gate and then three connecting buildings. One for the horses, one for harnesses/saddles and work/shop and one milk cow stable then connected and going to the North was a small pig building.
Several years later on they built a small garage for the pickup and then a year or two later, to the North across the drive area, they added a small building that served as a sleeping area for me and later for Marguerites nephew, Buckshot when he came for the summer. You have to remember there was no electricity or lamps. You went to bed when it started to get dark and hoped the moon was bright that night. His name was Ronald Cavanaugh or Ronnie but got the name Buckshot by my uncle. Ron was born October 28, 1939 and sometime thought he had been born in 1929 as he was very cocky and at times thought he was able to complete much more than he was truly able. He had not been around during branding so he kept insisting that we do the branding on Marguerites grafted calves. Well uncle Don had had enough so he told us we had to do the total job all except for heating the irons, which he would do. We separated Judy from her four calves and kept her in the big yard and put the calves in the area used for branding. It had a center post which would be used to bring and hold the individual calf to the center of the smaller corral with the lasso until we could get it hobbled and then dropped on it’s back for branding. The first critter was smaller, so I let Ron lassoed it and bring it to the center area and I helped get it on it’s side and went and got the branding iron, while Ron had the legs tied and was hold the calf. I branded the calf using my uncles brand which was 969 and could be done with just one super red hot iron. Ron was up holding the calves head and I was kneeling on his legs while branding. I brought the iron to Don to start it heating up and went back to help Ron untie the calf. He wanted to brand the largest one and it weighed around 500 lbs so I got it lassoed and had all I could do to get it to the center post and still have enough room to put it on the ground. We got it down and the legs tied. Ron went and got the hot iron and was leaning too far over the area as he was putting the hot iron down on the calves hide and when he set the hot iron down, a huge puff of burned hair and hide rose up into his face apparently as he was taking a breath of air but all he got was the stench of the burned hair and hide. Then he got sick and started to throw up and I grabbed the iron and finished branding the calf and Ron went to the corner of the corral to throw up again. I untied the calf and let it go and by then Ron was able to talk and had stopped losing his lunch. We let him gather his composure and go get a drink of water and I told him I would do the branding but he had to help with the roping and hold while I branded the other two, but to keep upwind from me.
More on Ron and my adventures later but to let you know he (Ron) did pass away June of 1976.
I have to say that for the three months we were together, we did not have any arguments or times that we were separated or sent for a “timeout”. We were both treated equally the same by both Don and Marguerite. They took us to Lewistown for a rodeo on July 4th and we had ice cream which was a real delight. Remember that without electricity you are without the modern conveniences we assume these days. Marguerite was a great cook and we had the same thing for breakfast every day. Fried eggs, pork sausage and toast without butter and cool milk. For lunch we would have a sandwich and cool milk and for supper we would have either fried chicken, sage hen, cooked potatoes with gravy and cool milk. The sage hen is a wild bird in that area, and they group up, so we would drive out into the ranch and you could see the group of adult birds due to their larger size and we could drive up close enough to them to see and identify the small juvenile birds and with a 22 pump with shorts, shoot a few of them. After hitting about 3 of them, you would have to hurry out of the pickup and get them picked up while they were stunned or dead. The rest to the group of birds would run or according to their age fly a short way from us. We would field dress the birds’ right by the pickup, out on the range. We had to make sure we had taken the heart, liver and gizzard and put it in the cavity of the bird, as they were part of the great meal we would be having. She would put a breading on those sage hen pieces and when cooked, it was enough to die for. I have to mention that my uncle had to have fresh water in his water glass for every meal and that meant that water had to be retrieved three times a day and just before eating and there were no ice cubes or refrigerator to keep it cold. Remember the pump or windmill was about 400’ away and you had to carried a 5 gallon bucket for the water. No problem going to the pump but coming back meant about 35 pounds as Marguerite would use the rest for dish water later. We took turns that summer, but not the other summers as it was just me. Just about every time, since carrying that bucket, my mind does a flashback whenever I turn on a water faucet. I might mention that nowdays, I do not just let it run and run and run.
I have to add one of my thoughts and what I have observed over these 70 years. After my senior year of high school and coming back from Montana after spending four month with Don and Marguerite.
In 1956, right after finishing high school, I went Montana. My uncle wanted to help me get a ranch. out there and that summer they had a 17 county dry spell and I told him he did not have enough hay and water for his own cattle and that I would go back to Minneapolis and get a job there and when it got better I would come back to ranch. Got a job with Great Northern RR and then with the telephone company. In 1968 I told my uncle I would come out in the spring and help with the calving. He died in February and was buried in DeSmet SD and I drove my aunt back to the ranch and took 3 weeks vacation and 3 weeks leave of absence and helped 85 black Angus heifers have their calves plus feed another 30. She offered to sell me her whole spread, 600 acres plus another 600 with 95 years on the lease, a modern 2 bedroom home, 2 complete haying rigs, 2 barns, 2 pole-barns and a brand new 4 wheel drive Ford pickup. I could pay her off as the ranch prospered. Her price for the total package $80,000.00. I had to turn her down as I was going through my divorce and I did not want to lose my kids or the opportunity to see them grow up with them in Minneapolis and me in
Montana. She sold the ranch to a neighbor a few months later and moved to DeSmit SD
I had several years (four) playing sports, bowling and spending money on beer games and beer frames. Remember, I do not drink beer. I decided, I had to put something in my head that would help me, like an education, so I started going to evening school while working full time for the telephone company. While going to the University of Minnesota, I noticed that those that were paying for their education were working so much harder than those that were having that education handed to them. I ended up with 72 credits of which 69 were paid by me and Northwestern Bell paid for the last 3 credits as they finally started providing an educational aid program. Due to making management, I could not continue going as I had a line crew that was was working a lot of overtime requiring my attention. What I'm saying is, I feel that when you pump and carry the water, you do not waste it when you have it, you treasure it.
Getting to Jefferson was real easy as we lived on Emerson Avenue and 36th Street which was a one way street going South. To the East one block was Dupont Avenue, which was a one way going North and very busy with people driving downtown. 36th Street was a four way stop and my friends and I go over there about 10 minutes to 8 a.m. and would stick out our thumbs and hitchhike down to Jefferson which was on 26th Street and Emerson Avenue. We would get down there in about 10 minutes. It was really slick and many times we had the same people pick us up although I only did it for 7th & 8th grade. Will give you the reason why not 9th later.
My homeroom was the same room used for teaching sewing for the school. Besides many sewing machines it had eight (8) large tables that were about 10 feet square with a stool under each corner for the student and on each edge of the side of the table were inlaid wooden yard sticks for measuring material. The boys discovered that when you stuck a sewing pin into the yardstick in a vertical position, you could flick that pin over 20 feet with your finger. That was probably the greatest part of going to homeroom every day for attendance and announcements for the days school activities. You did not forget it. You watched to make sure you were not the target or felt one stick you later in the day and discover you had several in your clothes.
We were required to take English, Social Studies, a math course, Phy Ed. and Health and the school had many shop courses which at the time were mainly male attended although we had several girls take them. The girls took sewing, cooking and I forget any other courses offered to them beside choir and band plus languages. The shop courses were interesting courses. It had a fine wood shop with great new machines. The metal shop had old equipment and the instructor was Mr. Luemen and many guys had a hard time pronouncing aluminum and having to ask Mr. Luemen for aluminum without getting tongue twisted and embarrassed. The school had a printing shop which used the lead type method of printing and we all had our own drawer of type and it had to contain an exact amount of every letter or printing piece and they had to be in the correct location or we had to empty the drawers make it correct and complete.
I have to make mention of my gym classes. Besides having to line up within 5 minutes of the first bell ringing us into class we had to make a complete change into assigned gym ware including having our shoes tied. Back in those days they were ankle high basketball shoes. The first day of gym you were assigned a number and you had better be standing on that number when your instructor was ready to take attendance. For some reason the total three years I always had Mr. Perpich. Mr. Sandell was the other instructor but I never had him. We were all assigned a combination lock and we had better remember the combination and our basket location number or all hell would be directed towards those dummies that required the assistants to take their time to get them located and available. For some reason we had several thieves or people that would steal while we were out on the gymnasium floor and when we were all ready to leave there would be a loud ring of the bell and the announcement that there was to be a “strip down”. Everyone had to stand at attention on their number going around the gym and stand naked with their the content of their pockets, shoes, socks, shorts, pants, tee shirt, shirt, sweater laid out directly in line from your feet to the middle of the floor. Then Mr. Perpich would inspect you and your belongings to make sure you were not the one caught with the “goods” this happened maybe 20 or 30 times during the year. One time I remember we were all at attention completely nude, when one of the school delivery or messenger girls walked into the gym and got about 20 feet before she realized the whole group was lined up nude and watching her walk towards the office as they had nothing in their grip to try and cover up. Never saw her come into the gym after that. Either in the 7th or 8th grade our school received a trampoline which was a brand new thing and with the number of boys in the class it means that you did not get much time jumping and you would have to get off so someone else could have maybe two minutes on it. Another activity offered at Jefferson after school hours and in the evening was GrayY. A YMCA program that allowed the male students to play basketball. Ironically one of the instructors was Ted Shirley who later on married a friend of Caryn's and became a friend of ours, later in life.
My summer between 7th and 8th grade.
When I was 14 years old, I went out to Mitchell SD for the summer, to work with my 13 year old cousin, Joey Montgomery. My uncle Monty, was a salesman for Nash-Finch in that area and their semi driver that did the delivering of products from Sioux Falls had hurt his back and could not lift so we would meet him every weekday and travel with him and unload his truck at all of the stores served by Nash-Finch. Back in those days a store would run a special on hard to get things like sugar but it was in 20 lb. bags. Have you ever carried a 20 lb. bag and have the temp outside about 95 degrees and have a bag break while on your shoulder and the sugar find itself in every crevice of your body and not be able to take a bath until you finished the day. My pay was $1.00 a day, with room and board. I find myself sometimes measuring the value of 8 hours of my work, back to those days. Not only that but another error I made then was to buy fireworks. A kid could not buy fireworks in Minnesota, but could in South Dakota and I'm sure I wasted several weeks worth of income, just on fireworks. It was a real learning experience and there were several additional things I learned, while working there. NOT ALL FREE THINGS ARE GOOD! 1. We could have all of the fresh green grape we wanted. After the second day I found out I was allergic to them and my eyes would water. 2. We could have all of the orange marshmellows candies we wanted. After several days of enjoying them, I discovered that we did not have or carry any water and we could not stop to relieve my thirst, so stopped eating them. I really enjoy that summer, Joey and I slept out on the front porch, played all kinds of games, we (the whole family) went to Mitchell baseball games in the evening and my aunt Gen would make popcorn for the game and we would tease my younger cousin Sandy, whenever possible. As I said earlier, I find myself sometimes measuring $1.00, as the value of 8 hours of my work.
Nothing in the 8th grade sticks out except that I had a paper route that I also had during the 7th grade and it included two sides of Emerson from 35th to 36th Street . At the end of each side was a single house and all of the others were apartments. Some 4 plexes and others had 14 units. It also included one block on the East side of Fremont Avenue 35th to 36th Street which were all single dwelling houses. The usual Monday through Saturday evening paper amount was around 110 papers and I think that I got around $0.015 a paper. My Sunday delivery was around 115 or 120 and I received around $0.03 a paper. I had to collect every other week and on my route there were several Jewish people which always gave me the reason they had to wait until their husband gave them the money or the other problem was that in several of the apartments were young women that had to wait until their roommates gave them the money. The same people always had the same excuses and I had many great customers and very little no-pays. On every other Saturday morning I had to bring my collected money up to the paper station which was in the alley between Hennepin and Girard just North of 31st Street. Mr. Jones was the manager and I got along with him fairly well. One of my memories of having the route was one week I also accepted doing the route East of mine for a week and during that week had gone to the main beach of Calhoun and while playing tag I slid across the wood deck to go into the water not knowing there was a nail with it’s head sticking up around 1/3 of an inch and while I had my toes sticking up and sliding on my heel I went across that nail and tore a 2 inch long wound in my right foot. Landed in the water and made it to the beach and tried to get the bleeding stopped. I got some tape and tapped it shut and rode my bike home. I could not put any weight on the foot so had to walk on my tiptoes on that foot. Another friend had asked me to deliver his route so that day I had to deliver twice what I usually would deliver and I developed a real pain in my calf that hurt more than the wound on my foot.
9th Grade The summer before 9th grade, I met my folks in Roy Montana as I spent part of the summer with my aunt and uncle and then my folks came to Roy and after visiting for a short while we continued west to visit my dad’s sisters Bertha and her husband Casper Murdoch in Klamath Falls Oregon. His other sister Tinny, who had lost several husbands and kids during her life. We took a special trip to see Crater Lake which was a real treat and such a wonderful sight to the eyes. We visited a Warehouser Lumber Mill and watched them handle large timbers and turn it into lumber. We proceeded via train down to Oakland and were on our way to San Francisco and while on the train the conductor notified us that we would have to get off the train to take a ferry across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco which for some reason my father did not know or was he aware we had to get off at Oakland. We stayed at my aunt Kay and Sids in San Francisco and visited the aquarium and the zoo plus went down to the waterfront for dinner one night and saw the Japanese grocery stores with the dead hanging chickens and ducks in the windows. My Grandmother Margurite Marso’s father was sick and she had been taking care of him in California and my folks agreed to have my Aunt Jackie stay with us for a year and go to school with me so she traveled with us back to Minneapolis. We traveled on the train back to Minneapolis. The train was coach so we had some times sit on just 2 benches as the seats would swing to the back and forth so there could only be 2 persons facing forward or to the back and you would have four people facing each other and depending on how crowded it was you sometimes had to all be together. It took 3 days to get back home to Minneapolis. We walked to school and as the year progressed we walked to Hennepin Avenue as several of her friends would meet on the way. I think the only classes we had together were choir and band. She played percussion stuff, drums and symbols etc. I played the trombone. Not 1st chair, that was Grace Woods spot and she was better. My mom had strict rules and our chores included doing the dishes. One washed one week and the other washed the next. Needless to say we also had many dishes passed back and forth as needed to be redone before they could get dried and I may have passed a few back more than she sent back for me to rewash. Now that I look back on living at 3536 Emerson Ave, I have to expound on a few things. When we moved over move over from my uncle Ernie’s we lived in the basement apartment which included a bedroom with bath room. Bathroom had stool, wash bowl with mirror above and shower head with drain below. No tub. At this point I have to interject a short story about when Gladstone was having a TUR Trans Urethral Resection. (a prostate ream job) Dr. Engel had offered me the chance to observe the procedure but he required Gladstone to give his consent. When I informed him that Dr. Engel said I could watch the procedure. His words were…..”You just want to see my prick!” I said. “I have seen them both!” “BOTH, what do you mean? BOTH”. Well I said, “I saw the little one you had when we use to take showers in the basement at 3536 Emerson and then I saw the big one you had when you would chase mom around the apartment at night! He laughs and said I could observe and I must say it was very interesting. That plus watching the male patient before him pull out his Foley Catheter while waiting in recovery and hearing the nurse tell him that he would be sorry because it was going to be replaced, which she did!. And he was! The apartment also had a kitchen with eating area and living room. We moved from the basement apartment to the second floor rear apartment which was just a bit smaller in that it had a longer kitchen and a full bathroom but still one bedroom. The bedroom had one double bed and a set of bunk beds and one dresser and a small closet. Four of us slept in the bedroom while Jackie lived with us and our couch in the living room made into a bed and many times we had cots and sleeping bags on the floor in the living room.
We had an icebox that would get fresh ice once a week. Our only means of transportation was walking, streetcars and my bicycle, which I bought a new RoadMaster on my 8th birthday, with my savings. Gladstone did not buy a car until he was 38 years old (in 1948) and that was a 1936 Plymouth that eventually my cousin Dick bought from him when Gladstone bought a 1946 Ford.
Another memory of 9th grade was sitting in class during the afternoon and knowing that a close friend was at the 1st game of the season for the Minneapolis Millers and feeling glad for him. His name was Preston Townley. Pete or Preston was one of my grade school friends. His father was really interested in his son's activities so much that he formed a baseball team made up of Pete's friends at Calhoun. Mr. Townley would have us practice at Calhoun and then on Saturday morning he would drive us to many different locations to play ball with other grade school groups. Many times it was at the St. Joseph School for Boy's located at 46th and Chicago Ave S. I remember one game that Ron Gazette hit a home run to win the game. If you look up Preston Townley, (on one of the search machines) you will find that he died in Florida in 1994 but had a very busy life after school at Harvard. He went with General Mills, left an executive position and went to the University of Minnesota, where as dean of the Carlson School of Management, was responsible for getting the largest donation to the institution from Mr. Curt Carlson. He left the U to go to New York City and took over the Conference Board and made it into a flourishing organization.
Other sports I followed were watching the Minneapolis Lakers play basketball on TV at my Uncle Ernie’s house and hoping it would have good reception instead of a snowy picture.
Senior High-West High School = 10th Grade Sophmore year
Was invited to the Captain Football practice two (2) weeks before school started. We were bussed to the West side of Calhoun Lake and 31st Street for the practice on a field that should have been filled in as it was very soft and uneven ground that may have grass or a brown spunge area. Several of the graduated players from years passed also were there (beside the Juniors and Seniors) for the assumed purpose to give us guidance and help us to develope into the best we could be. One of these was Bob Hobart. He played at the University of Minnesota and later was an All American tackle. Needless to say he was about 250 or 260 pounds and had much pleasure giving forearms and hard blocks as he slipped in during the practice plays. I do not remember what I weighed when in the 10th grade but remember as a junior I weighed 185 and played both guard and tackle positions at both offense and defense. As a Senior, I weighed 157 (guess I found out about girls) and still played guard and tackle, again both offense and defense. During my senior year the other tackle was Mike Mason and he weighed around 220 which was normal for the usual high school tackle those days. The football teams practiced together for the captains practice and then as the regular season started the "A" Squad, coached by Mr. Ancil Ilstrup, would seperate and practice as only juniors and seniors were on the team. (MORE ON ANCIL LATER) Their record for the year was 5 wins, 1 tie and 1 loss (West 14-Central 20). The "B" Squad had 30 players and seventeen (17) of us went on to play football our junior year. Our coach was Eric Lindberg. My homeroom teacher was Junior Skoglund and as the year progressed I was approached by Mr. Don Houck to be the manager of the "A" Squad hockey team. He was my biology teacher and I was not involved with any winter sports so thought I would help out. I might mention that the final game against Edison, West scored 3 goals in one minute to win 3 to 2. Mr. Houck also asked Tad Gates and I to be the "A" Baseball team managers. Tad had been our football manager.
Cars and driving
My first driving, besides tractors, was in Montana as I was allowed to go into town alone. Roy was about 9 + miles away and it was a gravel road that was not traveled much because it was a dead end road to West side of Black Butte Mountain and there were not many people living between town and the end of the road. I was about 12 or 13 years of age when I would go into town to get the mail and small bits of groceries. It was an old ford pickup and I remember the first time my dad or I should say Gladstone. I thought he was my dad at that time. More on that later. On the way back, after getting on Don’s property, he had me stop on a hill, shut the truck off and then restart it. I had never had to start it on a hill and being a clutch type vehicle and a rather steep hill I killed the engine several times trying to get it started. He tried to instruct me as to how to slip the clutch and release the brake while quickly stepping on the gas. After the third time stalling the truck I ignored his instructions and allowed the truck to roll backwards until it was level and then started the truck. He started chewing me out for not following his instructions. I drove the truck back to the point he had me stop on the hill, stopped the truck, put it in low, set the parking brake and shut it off, got out and told him to do it. He got out and got in the truck while I got in the other side. He tried to get it to go up the hill but killed the motor when trying to get it to go up the hill. He started it about seven or eight times but could not get it to move forward and up the hill. Finally he backed the truck down to the bottom and started it and promptly drove it up the hill and the rest of the way to the ranch, but never told me how to drive again.
One of my summer jobs were working for Denesen Awning Company. I would report in around noon and work in the manufacturing section of the building and around 4 pm the trucks that were used for blowing insulation in houses would begin arriving and being empty I would then drive them to the railroad tracks below 29th Street and drive down to the warehouse and load them with fiberglass insulation bundles for the next days work. They had five trucks and I would pack them full of the bundles of fiberglass and then drive them back to the parking lot, lock them up and bring the keys to the office. If you do not know about fiberglass insulation, I have to tell you that it is very itchy when on your skin and after loading five trucks and during the heat of summer it was not a pleasant job. I had to walk home and we did not have a shower. Believe me when I say a bath tub does not remove fiberglass that a shower can remove. I had an itchy summer that year. They never asked if I had a driver’s license, and I did not tell them that I did not.
I studied for my written test and passed it so had the paper but no car. In the spring of my senior year I took the driving test over in St. Paul at the University Avenue Testing Center. My dad (Gladstone) was driving a 49 Packard and he drove me over on a Saturday to take my test. I passed the test and he drove us back home. He then instructed me that in order for me to drive his car I would have to pay the additional insurance required for me to drive his car. Three months cost $45.00 due to being under 21 years of age. I gave him the $45.00 and during that time I was able to drive it exactly (3) three times. In other words It cost me $15.00 each time. The week after it graduated from West, I went by Great Northern Rail via Gladstone’s railroad pass to Montana.
When I got home from Montana (more on why I came back later) in September, a couple had a 1940 Buick 4-door, for sale. They were friends of my parents and had this Buick that needed a muffler and a clutch. They only wanted $32.00 for it and I had the cash. Brought it home and had a friend that knew how to do the clutch job and had the muffler replaced and got it insured. Started working for the Great Northern Railroad as a switch-tender for $2.32 and hour. The Buick was a straight 8 and was super long with a back seat area like a limo. It was jet black nice and shiny without any dents. The shocks were not working but the rear springs were, so when I went over a hump in the road, the rear of the car would bounce up and then down, up and then down and would do this for several blocks. I solved this by putting 10 bags of lead (40 lbs. each) that was used for closing lead telephone cable joints, into the tool compartment of the trunk It had an under the front seat heater and at that time antifreeze was very expensive. The heater core was leaking so I located a core at a junk yard down on Washington Avenue and bought it for $8.00 and replaced it. Refilled the antifreeze and got about 2 miles and discovered the “new” one had a leak so I bypassed the heater core with a piece of copper pipe and went through the winter without a heater. It had a defroster and I had it on high all of the time, to keep the windshield warm and dry during the winter. While working at the telephone company, I do not believe I was ever late, but I remember one morning when I went out to go to the 42nd Street Garage, I found that the Buick had a flat back tire. Jacked up the rear and took off the tire and when I took out the spare, found that it also was flat. Went into the apartment as Gladstone was eating breakfast and was not ready to go to work for another hour and told him I had a flat and the spare was also flat and could I use his car to take the tires to get them fixed and I would leave one tire there and pick it up later. He said no. I explained the problem to him again stating that the spare was flat. His words were “You have a car!” and added these words. “You have to make sure at all times that your spare has air. Knowing that I was not going to be able to use his car, I got the spare and rolled it the 6 blocks to the station and they put air in the spare and could not find a leak, so I rolled it back and place it on the rear and went to work after dropping the other tire off at the garage. From that day I have always checked the air in my spare. More on “You have a car!”, later. I had the car for about a year and on a Lake Street used car sales lot, happen to see a 1951 Ford 6 cylinder, with the side stripes of a 1956 Ford. The top of the car was black and the lower portion was yellow. They said I could buy the car for $250.00 outright. I asked them about a trade-in, and they said they would give me $100.00 after seeing my Buick and I said "deal".
51 Ford – 6 cylinders, 2 doors
I thought it was a neat custom job. Later on I found out that it would really backfire when it was in gear and while moving. I would turn the key to the off position and then turn it back on and a loud backfire would occur. I remember one time while driving East on 36th Street and just before Nicollet Avenue, I shut it off and then back on. It made a super loud noise and for some reason I had not seen the old lady standing on the street corner and holding two bags of groceries, waiting for the light to change. When the car backfired it scared her and she dropped the groceries as I was passing. I will always remember the look on her face and her groceries rolling all directions from her feet. Another unique thing I learned was that once in a while when I attempted to start it, nothing would happen. No clicks or anything but after having a tow truck push me all around the Southdale circle around Southdale and no success the driver said he had experience that just one time and suggested that he just gave me a short push from the front. When he did that the car would start. Seems there was a broken tooth in the starter and from that day on I always parked it on a slight incline, so I could let it roll enough to pop the clutch and start the car. I traded it for a green 1954 Chevrolet.
1954 Chevrolet – 6 cylinders, 2 doors
One of my memories was driving East on 70th Street and stopping at the stop sign at Nicollet Avenue. I was dating Janice Lee and while we were stopped at the sign facing East, I witnessed a 52 Oldsmobile across Nicollet attempt to cross the intersection but for some reason they did not see the car coming from the North at a fast pace and it hit the Olds in the back half of the car, throwing it into the front of my car. The impact had such power that Janice was thrown into the windshield and broke that and when she recoiled back she broke the seat bracket holding the seat. I had the window open and my arm on the sill. For some reason I had a suit on and the impact caused my arm to slid on the upright separation of the window and the vent window and ripped my sleeve and drew some blood but not enough to require too much attention. My knees banged on the front dash but not enough to dent the dash or cause problems with my pants. Both of the other cars were insured with State Farm Insurance Company and mine was with American Family. They towed my car away and I had a 1957 Chevrolet as a loner. Talk about a fast car. My insurance company did not feel my car was totaled but was going to be repaired and during that time provided a loaner. The State Farm insurance Company adjuster made an appointment with me to get the issue settled and while he and I were meeting he made this statement. He felt that his drivers were insured and that they would be taken care of by State Farm and that as long I was insured with American Family that American Family should take care of me. He said State Farm would never replace the suitcoat and that they did not feel I had experienced much pain even with the black and blue forearm. I explained to him that he had two options. One was to get up and walk to the stairs and to his car, and at the first contact with his supervisor inform him that he would not be having any additional contact with me. His second option was stay for an additional 30 seconds and I would be throwing him down those stairs. It was up to him but the seconds are ticking. He left and his supervisor called me a few days later and with many words of apologues, we were able to settle the claim. I was saddened to have to return the 57, but they did a great job on the 54 and it looked like new both inside and out.
59 Volvo 2 door PV544
Before I got married to Jan I decided I wanted a new Volvo so I went into the only Volvo dealer in the area. Looked at all of the models and decided I wanted a candy-apple red Volvo. They said they would give me $700.00 for my 54 Chev and I would owe them $1995.00. After about three weeks they called to tell me they could not locate a candy-apple red Volvo in the states. The salesperson said he had a light green one right now, in the salesroom that he would reduce $1999.00 $25.00 to $1974.00. I told him “I do not like green!” He said he would reduce the price to $1949.00. I again said “I do not like green!” He said he would reduce it to $1924.00. I said again “I do not like green!” He than said he would reduce it to $1899.00. I said I would be right in. I should have said no, for several reasons, but I truly “Do not like green!” It was almost Bell System Green which I also do not like. I truly loved the car and the 4 cylinder motor plus the dual carbs, but due to it’s size was not visible for many people and for others they just did not pay attention. The first accident with it was on our honeymoon and we had driven from the Lutsen Resort where we were staying up to Grand Marias for lunch. On the way out of town you have a stop sign and then go uphill to the southwest on a 4-lane highway. I had waited for a bottle gas truck before entering and following behind him in the left lane. I was going the same speed and he signaled that he was going to make a left turn. I moved over to the right lane and was just passed his back tires when I noticed the truck was moving into my lane. I stepped on the gas and started moving towards the right hand of my lane. His front bumper hit the opening of my back tire area and it ripped the lower section of the fender off and when we finally stopped the fender hung from the rear lights wiring. We exchanged information and there were no phone around and in those days there were no cell phones and we were a mile away from a payphone. He admitted that his intensions were to turn left, which he had signaled, but decided to handle several customers on the right side and did not signal but just turned to the right. Being that the only Volvo dealer (O I Borton) was the one that sold it to me and that they were the only supplier of Volvo fenders I decided to have them do the repair work. Travelers Insurance Company was the bottle-gas company’s insurance company and their adjuster came out and this representative decided to say that they would take care of their damage and that I should take care of mine. I again had to give him two options, one, get up and go or wait and within a minute he would be throwing him out. He left and later that evening while talking to my father-in-law, Donald Blomberg, he asked me what insurance company it was and I told him Travelers. He said to wait a few days and sure enough I had a call from Travelers saying that they were covering the total bill. Seems that he knew some top level person with Travelers and persuaded him to look into the circumstances and sure enough they settled.The second accident was while I was taking evening classes at the University Of Minnesota and while on University and 19th while waiting for traffic to clear so I could make a left hand turn I noticed that there was a car was coming towards me and he was way over the centerline about 3 feet and sure enough he hit my little car on the left fender but he continued going West. I quickly turned my car around and caught up to him about seven blocks away as he was in the right lane and I moved along side of his car and his side was by some construction barriers. I got out and he rolled down his window and I asked him why he hit my car and drove away. He said he did not hit my car. I reached inside and pulled out the keys and got in my car and drove to a grocery store and called the police on a pay phone giving them the info as to where he was parked. I drove back to where he was sitting in his car. Waited for the police to arrive and when the policeman arrived I told them the circumstances and explained where he hit my car and the cop said to sit I my car and he would call me to his car. After a while the other driver got in his car and drove off and the policeman signaled me to come to his car. I asked him why he let the other driver drive off as he was drunk and his remark was that he got hit hard enough with a leaving the scene of an accident. I got the info for my insurance claim and again had to have the car fixed at O I Borton. The insurance company took care of the front fender and then about 2 weeks I received a summons to appear in court downtown Minneapolis in two days. It seems that he had claimed that he did not leave the scene and pleaded Not Guilty, so I had to appear in court the next day. I sat there for the morning cession and when they finally broke for lunch I asked the Clerk of Court, when was his case coming up. He said that he had already pleaded guilty and had paid his fine and the case finalized. I lost a days vacation and he should have been hit with drunk driving but got off real easy
5's or FIVES
In 1969, while driving my kids home from 4290 Queen Ave. S I had my step-dad Gladstone, Stephen and Christopher in the car and pulled up their driveway at 9141 Toledo Rd.. The kids got out of the car and up into the house. I back into the street, stopped the car and blinked the headlights lights, one time and then four times and finished blinking three times. They blinked the front light one time and then blinked it four times and then three times. We drove off and he says "why did you do that?" I told him that was a code that means 1=I, 4=LOVE, 3=YOU. We drove on and after a short while he said, "You could shorten that to five blinks which would mean 5=I-LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!. I thought that was a great suggestion and told the kids the change of the code and also we started to use our hand as the message with our thumb and four finger showing 5's to mean.....I-LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!
When saying "good bye" we always close with saying 5's or give a hand signal with five fingers. We have shared the message " FIVE" with many friends and family members they have shared it and it goes on and on, Now to the extent of "High FIVES!" which is now being used as a greeting for something good.
Attended-University of Minnesota evenings (72 credits) 1960-1967
The Hennepin County Sheriff's (Rescue) Emergency Squad
The group started out as a Rescue Squad associated with the Civil Defense Department in Hennepin County. Sheriff Ryan saw the opportunity to absorb the group into his authority and deputized the members
The requirements for membership were,
1. Over 21 years of age.
2. Clean criminal record.
3. Valid Minnesota drivers license.
4. Have one day (24 hours) a week to donate to the squad.
5. Obtain advanced American Red Cross First Aid Card.
6. Qualify with a score above 70 on the FBI PPC course, so as to carry a handgun.
7. Take all required training courses provided.
8. Attend 75% of the monthly Sunday night meetings.
9. Family and employer would not suffer by loss of the individual.
10. Take selected tests before being interviewed. (Psychology tests)
11. Be interviewed (with family) by the staff officers and other selected personnel before presented to the group for acceptance vote.
I joined the group in 1962 and served as a patrolman on Saturdays for one year and then I was elected to be the Saturday Sargent. Our group was responsible for assisting the Sheriff in all activities. The Sheriff provided and required us to have training the same as his paid deputies. We assisted providing security for presidential visits as VP Humphrey live here, floods, tornado's, the riots of 1965 and our group was responsible for body recovery on drownings in the county and assisting community fire departments and police personnel in all types of emergencies. Our group had two (2) vehicles, equipped for most emergencies, patrolling the county with two (2) deputies from 5 pm until 2 am on weekdays and on Fridays we would cover from 4 pm until 3am Saturday morning and we would have coverage with one (1) vehicle from 10 am and the second would come on at 4 pm and both vehicles would run until around 3 am Sunday morning. the Sunday crew would then cover from noon until around 2 am Monday. In 1965, I was appointed Operations lieutenant and served in that capacity until July 31, 1975. I was asked to be the Captain in 1970 but due time involved I could not devote the time that position required. The name of the squad was changed to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Emergency Squad and in July of 1975 our Attorney General Warren Spannus attempted to pass a bill that would not allow the ordinary citizen to carry a handgun. The position of sheriff had changed and for some reason the new sheriff under someones advisement, decided to remove the handguns from our personnel. I received a call from our the lieason officer Sgt. Gordy Purdem as such. I told him that would be a poor decision as the group would probably desolve and I would be one that could not continue and he should get back to the Sheriff. On July 28th, 46 of the 56 active members gathered and after much discussion we decided to cease to exist, as a emergency squad If we were not allowed to wear or carry sidearms, while on duty and in uniforms that identified us as a deputy which was identical to a paid officer, except for a small rocker saying emergency, we were through. On July 31, 1975, the Sheriff asked the other Lieutenant, our Captain and I to come to his office. After listening to our reasons as to why we were refusing his orders, he removed our commissions. Twelve (12) members of the squad continued to serve and they later added to their membership by accepting some of the persons we had rejected as not being acceptable to serve.
I helped the group when it celibrated the 25 year anniverary because I had much of the history of the locations of past members. I also went to the celibration event and sat at the same table as Sheriff Omont and the previous Sheriff that swore me in, Sheriff Ed Ryan.
Northwestern Bell Telephone Company December 17, 1956 to January 10, 1986
Some of the people I knew during those years and later.
Norman O. Henningsen 2-24-1923/12-22-1994
I met Stormin Norman/NOH/Norm, when I left the Beard frames and reported to the Mpls 4A in the main building (11th & 12th floor). I reported to Earl Brittian and the other supervisor was Wendel Triechel. 2nd level was Clayton Nelson, 3rd was Ted Nelson. The week before I arrived, Robert Doltz reported to 4A. The Toll District went by departmental seniority. Doltz and I worked the frames and they had decided to have a CAMA school with Wendel teaching the school so they brought in Cal Howe to supervise the frames while the school was going on. Norm was the person that worked on the 4A motor generators on the 12th floor and he also did the driving for the Omaha based NWB President, A. F. Jacobson, when he would come to Mpls. Norm always wore a white shirt and tie at work. My 1st real exposure to NOH was when I came back from going to 4A school in Omaha in December 1964 and ended up working the trouble recorder being paired with Norm and Christopherson. Chris was from the “old school” meaning that when he read a trouble card he started at the very beginning of the progression of the call and continued on to where the failure most likely occurred. Cards would be dropping very fast and instead of picking up four or five to see if there was a particular piece of equipment causing the trouble he would continue to try and diagnose each card. We would tell him to go and look at particular pieces of equipment while we busied the equipment causing the trouble. One particular day when it was real quiet and Norm was sitting at one of the office desks about 15 feet away and I was at the trouble recorder sitting on a higher operators chair for some reason we were discussing something and I got him so mad that he threw a styrofoamed enclosed relay at me and I caught it with my left hand as it was about to hit my lower left leg. I then threw it back at him, hitting him in the right hip. He picked it up and from that point on we were friends and we threw many nasty comments at each other over the years but we were really close friends. In 1966, I was promoted to management and after six months came back to teach a 4A school for 16 weeks and then I replaced Earl Brittian, as he was retiring.
One of the locations used for evaluating potential person to management was (S_SARB), Special Service Auxiliary Reports Bureau. Norm was moved to S-SARB to be evaluated and he would be reporting to Chuck Westling. One Friday Norm called me and said he had to come back to 4A as he could not stand to work in S-SARB as he had a problem with Chuck Westling. I then asked another candidate to go the replace Norm and had the change to be effective the next Monday. Shortly after getting that change made and the district office notified I received a call from Norm saying he did not want to return as he had changed his mind. I told him I would take care of it but to never change his mind with me, ever! Then I had to inform the district office and the other person that there would be no changes taking place.
While at the S-SARB (Special Service Auxilary Report Bureau) center, I was working for Burrell Million (my 2nd line) and I mentioned to him that we should change the S-SARB centers name and call it the Special Help Installing Telephones center and we should get some tee shirts made with the centers initials put on the front and back. He was not what I called a fast thinker but said we could not afford to spend the money for tee shirts. I then had to ask him what the shirts would have on the front and back. He was trying to remember what Special Help Installing Telephones would be and I had to tell him....SHIT. He did not see the humor.
While I was supervising in the Special Service District Direct Distance Dialing 4X-bar machine I had to go to Dallas TX as the System was starting In & Out Watts service and at that time there were 44 machines in the USA and due to code converting and routing codes, they assigned a code (1st three numbers) to each machine. I was handed a card with the code for our machine. If this code and any seven digits were dial into the network it would ring a phone on the desk of the person it was assigned too. The code assigned to me was before James Bond was created, the code was 007. After about four years I was called by AT&T traffic asking if I was still using 007 and I told them no. Wonder what the would have done if I said NO. A few years later James Bond movies came out and at that time I wished I had said NO to see.
BESTLINE -- Before Caryn and I got married I was introduced to a company called Bestline buy an old neighbor and friend Bob Pike. It had seven products that it manufactured and promoted and they were biodegradable and that was a new feature (at that time) plus they appeared to be great products. To join you had to purchase a certain amount of the products and introduce others to join. One of the products I purchased was a case of Hair Shampoo concentrate and floor wax. I and my all of my dogs have been using Bestline hair shampoo since that day and I do not believe I will ever run out of my supply during my lifetime. The company was later identified as a pyramiding business and Pyramiding is a marketing technique based on strudel-like layers of “distributorships” AMWAY – Caryn and I were invited to a presentation, in the home of my dentist and true friend, George Rachie. His son-in-law had signed him up with Amway and he wanted to show us the Amway business. Caryn, before we were married, had gone the route with Tupperware, which we still have enough to store part of the state of California. Home Interiors, which had products and many of them were much too big and heavy for her to carry and lug around to home parties. With the Bestline experience I told George that I could not do Amway as it appeared to have the same approach that Bestline had projected and I had been stung once and did not want it to happen again. About 6 months later, Caryn and I were invited by Jack Crelly (more on Jack later), to a presentation. He did not tell us what it was but he asked us to observe and tell him what we thought later. It ended up to be an Amway gathering of about 800 people and Dick and Bunny Marks (1st Crown Distributors) were giving an Amway presentation. It was not all about making money but more on helping others make money and use great products (at a reduced price) without having to invest or purchase any or have to keep a supply on hand. The Mark’s organization was very unique in that they held many conferences at many different locations. We used our profits to attend these conferences which ended up as business expenses, thus tax deductions. We were able to go to Hawaii for 23 days, Chicago, Winnipeg and the best thing was that some of our best friends were also involved and we were able to be with them during those trips. I had George Rachie come to one of the presentations after we had been in for several months as he had stopped being active in the business and he was so impressed that he wanted to join that night but had to resign and wait 6 months before he could become part of our group. He and Lucille were able to join us at Winnipeg. I believe that one of the most important decisions I made in my life is because of Amway. My reason for saying that can only be explained by saying that at one of the presentations they were talking about making goals and how important it is to make them and to keep them before you for several reasons. Once you have reached or obtained that goal BE THANKFUL and set another goal. At one meeting, I made the following goal and now you know it, you can’t use it. I made a decision that if someone asked me for help to do something, I HAD to do it and I could not refuse or come up with an excuse (making soup). It did not make any difference who it was or what it was, as long as it were not against the law, my intuition, beliefs or faith or my common sense.
Making soup……Charlie was sitting on his porch on day and a neighbor came over and told him that the storm the night before, had knocked down several branches of his trees and he could not find his axe and asked if he could borrow Charlie’s . Charlie said when? The neighbor said “tomorrow!” Charlie said he could not borrow it because he was “making soup!” “Making soup! What does me using your axe and you making soup have anything to do with each other?” “Nothing, but one excuse is just as good as any other!”
When I had the 38th Street frames, I had a Native American as one of my frame people. His name was Dennis Ricebird. He was a dependable quiet guy with a pock-marked face. He was from the Red Lake Tribe. He had been to Vietnam with the Marines and finally ended up working for NWB. While going though his job evaluation I told him that it would appear he might be starting to have a alcohol problem as after paydays he would call me asking to take a vacation day. He said to me "If I have a alcohol problem, you will be the first one to know!" About a month later, I got a call from him stating, "I want to quit my job!" I said, "Dennis, I think that is the alcohol talking!" You have two options, one is that you will go through the companies program to help you with your chemical treatment for 30 days and still get paid, or you will go straight to HELL!. The reason he was having the problem was that he was smart enought to realize that if he went out drinking with his indian friends, they would drink his money away. He did not mix with his fellow telephone friends as they did not appreciate him as a friend. What he would do is every night is he would pick up 2 six-packs of beer, go home and watch television, play his guitar, sing and drink the beer. I asked him if he would be willing to meet with me and one of the company chemical treatment people. He said yes and I got in contact with a friend of mine that was an advisor and he was available to go with me to and explain the program to him. Dennis agreed to go to the treatment center with us and packed his clothes in a shopping bag and grabed his guitar and we dropped him off at the treatment center in Golden Valley. The following morning he called and said he had a problem. I said we knew he had the problem and that is why he was there for treatment. He said that was not his problem.. His problem was that everyone going through the treatment had a "concerned person", and would I be his concerned person? If you remember my promise, to myself, I could not MAKE SOUP! I had to say "YES". I had to go on Wednesdays and meet with the concerned persons group and then go back Friday afternoons to the regular group meeting. While at one of the concerned person meetings there was a lady and her two daughters at the meeting and after listening to them tell about one of the guys in there for treatment, I could see exactly why he had a drinking problem as they would have driven me to drink. One Sunday I brought my son, Stephen to visit with Dennis as he did not have anyone to visit him and I thought it might be an eye opener for Stephen. On one of my visits I asked Dennis who he really admired. His responce was he liked James Rockford. I asked him what he was going to do with all of the money he would be saving by not buying beer. He said he was going to buy a car like James Rockford. After he returned back to work he went out and bought one just like James Rockford drove in his show. While at the treatment center he would entertain himself and others with his playing the guitar and singing. I asked Dennis if I were to provide him with a audio tape when he got home, would he record some of his songs for me? He said he would and after he was back at work I would ask him if he was working on my tape?He said he was and after a month or two he brought me my tape. On the tape, while he finished a song, the theam song from the Rockford Files comes on, you hear a phone ring and a ladies says, "Jim, this is Sally down at the station, You can't use our bathroom for two days as we are painting the floor and walls! Sorry about that!" . It was Dennis's way of reminding me of his liking James Rockford.My parents love to go to the Country Buffet in Richfield and once in a while Dennis would be eating all alone and I would go over and converse with him. Later on I converted the tape to a CD. Once in a while after I retired I would talk to a few telephone persons that knew Dennis as he was at the Beard office and get an update of how he was doing. Dennis was dry for about 8 years and then he started drinking again as several of his drinking friends told me later. At his memorial service, I found out he had fathered a boy with a girl from the White Earth Reservation and that boy had also fathered a child. I received a ThankYou card from the mother of his son and sent her a letter and included two copies of the CD so they could have a momory of Dennis Ricebird. I still enjoy listening to Dennis and reliving some of those memories of him.
Health issues during these years.
While I mentioned the rheumatic fever while I was young. I was in Mitchell South Dakota visiting my aunt and uncle in 1944 and in the morning I could not walk or stand up. They brought me to St. Joseph's Hospital and I spent a few days. The bill from the hospital was $25.62 and I have the receipt from when it was paid. I also had a bad case of strep throat my senior year and spent five days in Midway Hospital, St Paul MN. While splicing for the NWB, I was raising some aerial cable up to the strand while working on a ladder platform and in the process pulled some back muscles and called my supervisor and he brought me to the company doctor at Idel Hospital for a cortisone shot in my spinal area of my back and I was put on light duty for two weeks.
In 1965 I had Bell's Palsy and the left side of my face was paralyzed and eyelid would not close over the eye unless I would put it closed. I had to take pills and could not drink very much water or have salt. It took about four months to get over the problem but my left eyelid was and still drupes when I'm tired.
In 1982, I had double Hernia surgery (2-7 inch openings) an off work for six weeks. In 1982, I was also informed that I was diabetic and started taking medication and was testing 5 or 6 times a day and finally injecting insulin twice a day.
In late 80's I got up in the middle of the night to relieve my bladder and felt great pain in my left foot and knowing I have neuropathy in my feet and had never had that kind of pain before. I thought about taking a portable urinal back to bed in case I had to get up again as the pain was bad. Called my Primary Care Doctor and went in that afternoon and he said I had Gout and gave me a prescription for allopurinol which I started and within 2 hours the pain was gone and I have not missed a day taking it.
In the 90's I also started to feel very tired and the only way I can describe it is I would be sitting on the couch and think that a glass of water would really be great but I will get it when I get up as I did not really have the energy to get up. Went again to my doctor and this time he tested me and said I had H-Pylori bacteria and put me on 8 pills a day which cleared it up.
Caryn and I took a trip down to Shreveport LA and on the way, stopped at Little Rock Arkansas and played a game of golf. While slowing down the cart I became aware of the fact that the 3-wheeled cart was starting to tip over on my side and I put my left leg out to stop it from tipping and jammed my left hip. It hurt for a few days and I ignored the pain and eventually got use to it for a few years. Later in the 90's, my parents had their medical problems I could not see me going through a hip replacement. After they passed on I decided that I was tired of dealing with it and had a hip replacement done February 1999. I also dislocated it 6-3-05 (Caryn's birthday) while rubbing lotion on my left calf and was transported to ER and again (10-30-07) while sitting on ice-fishing seat, I bent down to pick up a few nails I dropped and popped it out and had my cell phone to call 911 for another trip to ER.
On January 25 2002, I had coronary bypass surgery. They did repair two vessels but could not do one in the rear area of the heart so now have a small area that shows up on yearly test.
When I had my annual heart test in January 2011. My doctor added 10 mg of Lisinopril with 12.5 mg of Hydrochlorothiazide. I was already taking 12.5 Hydrochlorothiazide so stopped it. Started the Lisinopril in the beginning of February. I had some dental work and developed a abscess tooth. Dentist prescribed a med to help with the infection for 10 days and shortly after stopping it I started to get swollen areas and itching on the area. Thinking it was due to that I ignored it and thought it would go away after stopping it. Caryn had her second knee replacement the end of January and while driving off for therapy the morning of April 14th I waved to her as she drove off and noticed that my tongue was starting to swell along with the area below. I knew her cell phone was off and she would not be available to take me to Er so I called both of her numbers and drove to Southdale ER. Walked in the door ans started to explain my problem ans was quickly rushed odd to a room with several people attending to me and explained that they my have to put me under so they could put in an airway. Gave me several shots and it started to improve. Moved me to another room and had me hooked up to monitors and I called Caryn to tell her what was happening an not to come to hospital and I would update her as things improved. Sure enough she showed up and while it appeared that things were improving another group of medical staff arrived in my room and stated the were planning on me staying the night in ICU. After a long and fruitful discussion on the possibility that I could die in my sleep due to the reaction and the area getting much larger and me saying I did not want to miss my day in court the next morning due to my truck getting a citation for having tinted side windows that read 35 % light transmission. They said they would write a reason formy not being able to go to court the next morning and Caryn brought it to to court and got the date changed. I spent the night in ICU and got about 20 minutes sleep due to roomate having difficulty all night. My doctor came in and gave me another Epipey pen shot a prescription for two more pen which we picked up at Rx store for $160.00. Stopped taking the Lisinopril and back on the 12.5 Hydrochlorothiazide. Only had one brief swelling of tongue since and that went away but not sure of what caused it. When I finally explained my case I had learned that in 1998 & 1999 there was a group of experts trying to change the rules for side windows but got dropped for some reason. Attourny for Edina listened to my case and said I had to pay $50.00 court cost.
On Thursday/Friday night I went to bed and could not go to sleep because of pain or right side of stomach. At 3:00 am I woke Caryn up and asked her to drive me to hospital. Got to the emergency room and was examined and brought to a room. Spent Friday in a room on 6Th floor and had many medical persons come and evaluate my condition plus plugged into several tubes and sen sores. The gallbladder was infected and they got the infection down and did laparoscopic gallbladder surgery. Usually it is same day surgery but they kept me for two additional days. I have been addicted to food all of my life but since then I have no appetite.
On 1-6-12 had a colonoscopy, and one sessile polyp was found and removed and result of pathology report revealed an adenomatous polyp which is considered precancerous and have the potential to become cancer if not removed. He changed the interval to three years instead of the usual five years.
1-12-12 Went to heart doctor and blood test revealed bottom line sodium reading (136) and potassium reading at 2.8 and should be above 3.5 and the next week after potassium pills it had risen to 3.9. Have another blood test in two weeks.
1-24-12 On 1-13-12 I started having extream left hip pain that was worst the before I had the hip replacement in Febuary 1999. Got appointment 1-24-12 and after x-rays of hip and spine the doctor decided it was bursitis and proceeded to give me a cortizone shot in hip.
My normal routine while on Levoxyl (thyroid pill) was to take it 1/2 hour before other meds and with 8 oz of water. On Feb 12th, I did just that and sat down and laid out and put the remaining 12 pills into the two containers for b/4 breakfast and b/4 supper as they require them to be taken with food. While sitting there I started to heave but had a plastic bag close by to barf up the water (no pill). Had several barfings but nothing came up after the first time. The next morning, which was a Monday and Caryn had to got to work. I started with the same problem again after taking the pill, except that I starting to have my hands shaking and could not control them from the shaking. Showed the problem to Caryn and made an appointment with the doctor that prescribed the Levoxyl and got the appointment for 1:45 pm that day. Caryn went to work and Dr. Rivers said that excessive Levoxyl would cause those reactions. Went to the appointment and gave a blood and urine sample. When I came home I opened the mail and there in the pile was a crumpled up letter that was from the doctor saying I should stop taking the Lovoxyl as reading was good. The date of the letter was October 2, 2011. He also Cced the letter to my primary doctor. I checked with his office and they did not receive a copy of the letter. Five weeks 11-11-11 later I had the gallbladder problem and woke Caryn up to take me to hospital due to the pain during the night 3 am Friday had my gallbladder removed as it was infected so bad they waited to removed it on Saturday and was not released to go home until Monday afternoon.
This time IT was the day before Caryn's 73rd birthday and we were going out with Nicole and Jason for their "night out without the kids night" and about 4:30 in the afternoon, while sitting on the edge of her reclining easy chair in the family room, I had my right sandal on and leaning down to lift up the back strap up on my heel, my left hip popped out. Caryn was down taking a shower and could not hear me calling for help. There was a pillow in the chair and after getting it out I tried to move back into the chair so I could recline and wait for her to come upstairs. I could not lift up the legs with the lever and had to lay with legs on the floor. I called Nicole as Jason did not answer his phone and told them we would not be meeting them and that I was going to call 911. Caryn came upstair and I told her I was calling 911 and she started drying her hair and getting ready for the medical group. I called and notified them of the situation and NOT to use sirens this time but that I needed transportation to Fairview Southdale and it would take four people to transfer me to strecher. It went better then the other times I had it put back in place. I now have some pain to remind me to not over-extend my left hip joint.
On Friday, 9-6-13 I was going to my primary Dr. for tests and when I got out of my truck I noticed my left sandle back strap was loose and I raised my left foot up to the foot rail and leaned down to redue the velcro position of the strap and popped out the hip, but had most of my weight on my right leg so I leaned on the truck seat and with my cell phone called Caryn to tell her to call the doctors office and tell them I would not be there for the appointment and to go to the SouthDale hospital as I was calling 911. Made that call and told them where I was and that they did not need sirans ar lights. Caryn also called Jason to notify him where I was and he got there to take my truck keys and Maxwell could watch me get loaded and off to the hospital. Caryn met me in ER and the first attempt to get it in did not get accomplished so they had to put me under again and got it into the socket. I was released after five hours with a full leg cloth splint to restricted my leg from moving which I do not know why the thought it would help and they did the same thing the last time. I still have pain but think that is to remind me not to do it again. 16 month ago was the last time. I take one Vicodin at night for pain so I can get sleep.
Sorry for not adding anything for a while but appreciate your reading plus I will have to spend some more time adding before I forget it. **********************************************************************************
Thanks for reading and please check here once in a while as I will be adding to it as I continue on this journey......if you want to contact me via e-mail use my email@example.com address.
For those of you that do not realize or know why my address and truck license refer to 2lazy2p or toolazy2p etc. etc. It is to honor my aunt Marguerite Marso. My Uncle Don and she had several cattle ranches in the Roy Montana area and my parents decided that to prevent me from getting or contacting polio, which was really a serious infectious disease in the 40's, they would send me on the Great Northern RR as my father would get me a free pass and I would stay on the ranch for the summer. We would graph calves that had lost their mothers onto Marguerite's milk cow Judy. She (Judy) was a real productive milk producer and would have six or seven calves following her around for their daily supply of milk. My uncle had a best friend from childhood at Harrold South Dakota. His name was Bill Winkler and he was a cattle buyer in Montana and one day he told Marguerite that she needed to get a brand for the calves that Judy was feeding or Don would get all of the money they brought. She said she did not have a brand. He told her he had a great one that would only require two (2) irons. A number 2 and the other a P. She would have to go and register the brand so it would be her official brand. He took a piece of paper and wrote the brand with a 2 on the left then he turned a 2 it's side with the top of the 2 turned on it's left side pointing towards the original 2. Then on the right of the bottom of that 2 he placed the P. She than planned to go and get it registered and he told her to read it out-loud. She did and then got mad when she realized it read..... too lazy to Pee. She then had to laugh at the results of the interpretation. In honor of her I have continued to use it many ways and I truly mean it as an honor to and for a wonderful aunt who could work as hard as any man I have known and she was only 5 feet tall and as tough as a South Dakota blizzard.
Additional items to add....
croquet mallet hit on head
Lake Calhoun, Main, 32st, 36st hump and chain,Thomas & turtles
Houck Hockey, Baseball, cabin with seniors, Aldrich goal judge
Casserly metal shop 7 semesters
NavCad program Florida
Lynn Phillips Mining
Dave Primrose, Chuck Voss and Joey Hutton Jr
Charlotte Westby - John Ziltch
Sig and Borgney
Great Northern Railroad
Frank Doyle Family
Norman O. Henningsen (friends on one hand & bring friends home)
Bloomington -CC Ambassador
Minnesota Orchestra Guarentee Fund
Gil Holmes, Palm Dessert & the Foundation
Janice Lee Blomberg 1/7/38---7/28/04
Stephen Blake Gjevre 7/8/61
Bridget Ann Connell Gjevre 7/11/63
David Blair Gjevre 6/17/64---3/8/65
Christopher Jon Gjevre 8/17/65
Shiela Corrine Hurd Gjevre 7/1/66
Alexandra Chloe Gjevre 11/7/92
Benjamin Lyle Gjevre 5/14/94
Caryn Sue Ingersoll Risch Gjevre 6/3/39
Amy Suzanne Gjevre 3/7/73---11/26/91
Jason Donald Gjevre 5/20/75
Nicole Sue Bettcher 3/10/73
Sylvia Claire Gjevre 3/10/07
Maxwell Henry Gjevre 1/24/10
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