Feb. 19, 2007

Delano resident wins '50s costume contest

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

A passion and enjoyment for the 1950s recently found Carolyn Hirsch of Delano winning a costume contest at the last place ‘50s icon Buddy Holly performed before being killed in a plane crash in 1959.

Hirsch’s costume was that of a car hop from “Junior’s Diner.” The event took place at The Fifties in February celebration at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa earlier this month.

“We like to get out and dance to rock and roll music whenever we have the chance,” Carolyn said.

She also takes tap dance lessons at the Dance Company in Rockford, and has lived in Delano for 17 years with her husband, Del, who has lived here for 26 years.

“I left Sioux Falls to come to Delano when Del asked me to marry him,” Carolyn said. “We lived out in the country on (Wright) County Road 30 on a hobby farm for all those years . . . Del first, and then I joined him.”

The couple moved to a twin home and sold the farm a year ago so they can travel more and enjoy a cabin up north without worrying about maintenance here in Delano.

“Del retired from Federated Insurance as a regional marketing manager three years ago (after 33 years with the company). He has since started his own hydro seeding company and works very part-time as a salesman for Corn on the Curb, a local company that offers a corn delivery service for corn burners,” she said, adding his hobbies are hunting and fishing and spending summers at their log home on Leech Lake where he fishes plenty.

Del and Carolyn have four children, all “grown and gone,” she said.

Their sons are, Andy Nelson, a lawyer in Missoula, Mont., Troy Hirsch, who is a television sports anchor in San Diego, Calif., and Matt Nelson, who left his career as a video producer in Minneapolis to travel the world for a year in December.

“He’s presently reporting from Sydney, Australia,” she said. “Matt’s company did post production work on the movie, ‘Sweet Land,’ which is now showing nationwide and locally in Edina.”

Daughter Kelsey Hirsch graduated from Delano High School and lives in Florida now. She is a vice president for a property management company.

“We have four grandchildren, too, and eagerly await their visits,” she added.

Del and Carolyn also belong to the Paradise Cruisers Car Club, which is a local vintage car club.

“We have a lot of interest in ‘50s things,” Carolyn said. “Del owns a ‘67 red Camero convertible. We both belong to the Paradise Cruisers Car Club, and like the opportunity to promote it to local car enthusiasts. The annual Paradise Cruisers Car Club car show in Delano in August is one of our favorite events.”

Carolyn teaches part-time at St. Michael-Albertville, where she teaches English as a second language to foreign-born adult learners.

“It’s fascinating, and I always learn as much as I teach,” she said, adding she also enjoys reading, gardening, and playing tennis. She also belongs to a local book club.

“Our monthly book club has no name, but was started by a group of Delano women several years ago, and has about 15 really committed members,” Carolyn said. “I am the newcomer, joining about five years ago.”

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