Herald Journal Columns
July 4, 2005, Herald Journal

A stack of memories

By Aaron Schultz

Many people, including myself, clip, cut out, save, store, and box newspaper items, old pictures, awards, etc. from their youth.

While I am not sure where all of my things are, I know they are in a box somewhere in either my parent’s basement or garage, right next to all of my old baseball cards.

Some of your memories may not be saved anywhere but in your head.

During the Good Neighbor Days Tournament in Howard Lake, I stood by Ken “Fossil” Norman of Winsted, and Vic Gruenhagen of Howard Lake.

Within just a couple of minutes of standing there, I got to hear at least a couple of stories from each of them.

Well, anyone who knows Fossil, knows he is like many of us – he saved a lot of things from his younger playing days from the 1930s and ‘40s.

Where he isn’t like many of us is that he carries these items around with him.

Pretty much any time you run into Fossil, he will have some old clipping or news item that he can pull out of his pocket and show you.

I guess it must be over two months ago now, when his son dropped off a stack of these old newspaper clippings on my desk.

Fossil just passed along the message that he thought I would like to take a look at some of these.

Well, between high school and amateur baseball, work, and everything else, I didn’t get a chance to take a look at his stack until last week.

While it took me a while to get to it, I am sure glad I finally did, because it is some of the most interesting stuff to look at.

I was expecting just one thing after another of Fossil’s accomplishments, but that was not the case.

Sure, he had his fair share of items with his name in it, but there were also a lot of clippings of other items, as well as a few pictures, and some random Christmas cards.

Many of the pictures are faded, and it is nearly impossible to make out some of Fossil’s writings, but it still is some great stuff.

So, below is an inventory, item by item, of what Fossil has in one of his stacks of memories.

• A team picture of the 1939 Lester Prairie baseball team (including Fossil).

• An old Winsted Wildcat team picture, no year or names given.

• An old clipping of the 1940 six-man All-State High School Football team (Fossil was all-state for Lester Prairie as a fullback).

• A bunch of pictures of high school athletes out in the community of Lester Prairie, working and such.

• A picture of the 1941 Lester Prairie high school football team (including Fossil).

• A picture of a basketball pep fest in Lester Prairie, along with a number of baseball boxscores.

• A picture of Wayne Gutzmann, Red Miller, Bruce Birkholz, Fossil, Bud Birkholz, and Orland Kruschke as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Lester Prairie basketball team making the state tournament.

• The front page of the Lester Prairie News after the Lester Prairie High School basketball team defeated Redwood Falls and Marshall to advance to the state tournament.

• A newspaper story on Dizzy Dean.

• A card from the 1999 Buffalo Lake-Hector high school volleyball team which took second in state. The card has a picture of the team which says, “To Ken Norman.”

• A picture of Fossil umpiring with grandson Todd Norman.

• A picture of Fossil with New Germany’s Beans Roepke.

• Two Happy Holiday cards from high school athletes from out of the area, that he umpired games for.

• A picture of Lester Prairie’s German Band, along with a number of clippings of basketball games.

• The 38th annual Angelo Giuliani Award, which was presented to Fossil by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association in 1999.

• Some random, old time, boxing and college basketball clippings.

• A number of clippings of World War II.

• An old clipping of former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football coach Bernie Bierman.

• A clipping of boxing legend Joe Louis.

• A few high school pictures of the Fossil, along with a few more boxscores.

• Baseball game clippings for Lester Prairie and Winsted, no dates stated (Fossil is in the stories).

• Clippings with pictures and stories of Lester Prairie losing to Minneapolis Washburn in the state high school basketball tournament.

• A bunch of random clippings of St. John’s University basketball, Rogers Hornsby, the Fort Snelling boxing squad, University of Minnesota’s Bruce Smith playing basketball, and of the women’s national figure skating championship team.

• A baseball game story of Lester Prairie topping Winsted 3-2. This one seemed a little weird to me because in the boxscore, Lester Prairie had two Normans and Winsted had three Birkholzs on the team. I grew up with Norman as a Winsted name and Birkholz as a Lester Prairie name. Weird.

• A team picture of the 1938-39 Lester Prairie High School basketball team (Fossil is included).

• The Olivia Times All-District team. Agmar Spleiss, Orval Birkholz, and the Fossil were on the team from Lester Prairie.

That was just one of what I am sure is many stacks of memories that the Fossil has, and I am glad he shared them with me.