Howard Lake Herald, September 1, 1997

Mauk triplets turn 50


Harvey, Lester, and Eileen Mauk: they were born in that order. Harvey and Lester are identical twins, and Eileen is a single in the set of triplets.

Friday, Aug. 29, was their 50th birthday, and close to 50 friends and relatives attended the party at Lester's farm.

The triplets were different in that only the boys looked alike.

Their personalities differed, too. The boys were outgoing to the extreme, said Eileen. She was quiet and studious, said Lester.

In an interview that went totally out of contro and off the subjects presented, the Mauk brothers talked about their love of tractors, farming, hunting, the recent storms, and the trouble they used to get into in school.

Unfortunately, much of it was not for print for one reason or another. The genuine laughter in the kitchen around the table was contagious, and the talk went on for hours.

School was a problem for both boys. Teachers and administration were not as focused on success for everyone like they are today, said Harvey.

Typing class in particular was a bad experience, they said.

Their teacher, Dolores Lang, hauled them into Principal Ridgeway's office one day.

She told Ridgeway, "They look alike, they dress alike, they act alike, and I just can't deal with both of the Mauk boys in the same class."

Lester said, "I can solve this easy. I never asked to be in this typing class."

He said that didn't go over very well.

Harvey said his hands were used to milking cows. They worked together. Now the teacher wanted them to work independently.

"I just couldn't do it. I typed 11 words a minute," he said.

Harvey said he got up to 13.

It seems they switched seats regularly; no surprise. They answered questions for each other and took tests for each other.

They played cards on the bus each morning, and were accused of gambling.

"We didn't do anything wrong, but no one would believe us," said Harvey.

In general, they were always into something. At 50, they haven't changed much, said Lester's wife, Rita.

Eileen works for a paper mill in Cloquet, and has lived there since 1969.

She said although the three of them were close growing up, she doesn't get home very often.

She also stated that she stayed completely out of the way when things got interesting with the things Lester and Harvey did.

Lester has been employed by garbage hauler Blackowiak and Son in Mound, for over 10 years.

He said you could completely furnish a home every six months, when he first started.

Now recycling has stopped most of that. "There just aren't any good washing machines and flatware out there any more," he said.

Harvey works at Littfin Lumber in Howard Lake, and he farms 340 acres. Lester helps when he can.

Harvey's son, Harlan, milks 74 head of dairy cattle, and Harvey helps on the weekends. It is truly a family operation.

Lester, Harvey, and Eileen humored the family with the birthday party plans.

They each said it was just another birthday for them.

"But, it was a good excuse for a family get-together," said Lester.

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