Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.
 Feb. 17, 2001

Dear Readers,

I hope you won't be disappointed by the lack of news items for this issue. Some of us are actually comforted by quietude.

The younger among you, though, may crave excitement, like the kind found in "the cities" with lots of love triangles, loud music, plays at the Guthrie and "News, Weather and Sports" from the Twin Cities.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is packed with news of the cities. I read it every day on the Internet and keep up with Minnesota that way. The first thing I look at is the obituaries and the weather is always a big issue in the cities.

Have you ever thought how nice it was to live in a place where you knew instantly when someone mentioned "the cities" that it was "the cities?" It was like that for "the U" also. (Or as some around Waverly say, "Da Yoo!")

There is only one "U" and respect for that "U" stretches from "the cities" all the way to the farthest reaches of North Dakota. Their school song is "Minnesota, Hats off to Thee" to which I say, "Amen."


"Minnesota has managed to remain versatile without shucking its past. It still supplies 60 percent of the nation's iron ore, is still a leading producer of wood adn forest products, still a major supplier of agricultural goods, still home to the world's largest inland shipping port, still a center for high-tech manufacturing, even as it has diversified.

It is the biggest publisher of law books. It is the home of the world's premier medical facility. More people visit its Boundary Waters wilderness than any other wilderness preserve in the nation. It is the capital of public radio and of corporate philanthropy.

If Fortune 500 companies were distributed on the basis of population, Minnesota would have one; it has two dozen. Only New York sells more theater and concert tickets than inneapolis-St. Paul. More of its citizens graduate from high school and go on to college than any other state in the union.

It is prized for its clean and progressive politics. If it is a state that has worked, it has done so because it has never let itself be reduced to just one identity. It has known, like a healthy ecosystem, the strength and resiliency of diversity.

That isn't to say that it has always felt invincible. It has frequently doubted itself, which is, perhaps, one of its secrets. Whenever its boosterism threatens to overwhelm it, it needs only to be reminded that it was one of its own sons - Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win a Nobel Prize for literature, taking as his model the city of Duluth - who gave boosterism the name Babbittry, from which it will never recover."

- Minnesota Monthly


People we have loved and people who have loved us, not only make us more human, but they become a part of us and we carry them around all the time whether we see them or not. In some way we are the sum total of those who have loved us. And those we have given ourselves to.

Every day, in my mind, I visit Waverly - and see again the steeples - and the lake. And see again the people who taught me kindness because they were kind. And see again the people who taught me honesty because they were honest. All of them, all of them. I miss all of them, living or dead.


Cathy McDonnell Westrup of Winsted grew up in Waverly after moving back there from Minneapolis when she was 12.

I called her for advice on my ambition to revive THE WAVERLY STAR because her uncle, "Marks" McDonnell, was the publisher during the time my mother was his Waverly stringer.

"Marks" had hired Catherine to proof-read and operate the linotype when she was 14. Her younger sister Mary also served as proofreader, beginning at age 12. "Marks" thought that if they learned to linotype they could fall back on it any time if their college degrees wouldn't net them any wealth.

THE WAVERLY STAR was brilliant at the time, even though Jack Moll complained that after he had been in the Pacific for three years in World War II, THE WAVERLY STAR was still reporting in every issue that he had come home from Minneapolis for the weekend.

Cathy advises "Go for it." Her husband Don Westrup bears the responsibility and maybe the blame for introducing me to the computer world. I must admit that part of the reason I loved Waverly so much was that the McDonnells lived right across the street.

Maybe I have known more wonderful people in the world than Mrs. McDonnell but if I have, I can't remember. Mrs. Mary McDonnell never met a teenager she didn't like and when we were teenagers we all benefited from that kindness. Her clean, sparkling house was always open and she was forever hospitable and welcoming and witty and charming like her daughters are to this very day.

Catherine and Mary were both at the St. Mary's reunion August 26th. If they got tired of my following them around like a lovesick puppy that day, they were too nice to tell me so.


Cathy Westrup will be visiting her sister Mary McDonnell Anderson in Florida in the coming weeks, for their annual get-together.

(My own wife Jeanne will be visiting her sister in Florida at the same time as Cathy visits Mary. Jeanne's sister is Mary Moosbrugger Stevens who lives in Altoona, Wisconsin, but goes down to St. Augustine, Florida, every winter. During Jeanne's absence in the coming weeks, any donations of food or drink will be most gratefully accepted at 461 Claremore, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412. I will print donor's names in the next issue of THE WAVERLY STAR. Thank you. The editor)


Barbara Tuckenhagen Reeves was most recently in Waverly for the final days of her brother George's life and for his funeral. George died on January 27, 2001. Barb and Susan are the only two left out of the five children in the Jack Tuckenhagen family.

She writes:

"My feelings have always been that Waverly was my HOME. It is where all my memories start from, having been born and raised there. I have been gone from Minnesota for 30 years now but I have always made it back once or twice a year for a visit, more so in the last six years since I lost my husband.

If it wasn't for the fact that most of my children live right here in Kentucky, I would go back up there, cold weather or not. Waverly will always be home. Even though I have lost touch with school-mates and old neighbors, I got to see some of the closest ones on my last trip when I lost George. So keep the news coming. I enjoy it and I don't mind if you share my address. There is nothing I enjoy more than mail from old friends."

Barbara Tuckenhagen Reeves
1530 Hightop Dr.
Corbin, Kentucky 40701

(She says Corbin is in southeastern Kentucy, 25 miles from the Tennessee border on Interstate 75.)

Barbara has one of the best websites of its kind that I have ever seen. Visit it and enjoy. And sign the guest book. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Farm/4423

John Althoff writes from Greeley, Colorado:

"George Tuckenhagen could hold on to a basketball like nobody I have ever seen. He would wrap both arms around it and even with several people hacking at him, trying to take it away, he never let go and he never lost it. He made an unforgettable impression. He was a very nice guy besides. You can tell the Waverly crowd that I am still skiing. One of the best 73-year-olds on the mountain. More later."

His E-mail is: JJACCA@aol.com and his address is: John & Catherine Althoff, 4250 W. 16th St. #46, Greeley, CO 80634.

John recently retired from being a District Judge but he is still working as a visiting judge all over Colorado. He and his wife Catherine were at the reunion August 26th. They are grandparents and are fortunate in having all their offspring nearby.

Jeanne and I owe John and Catherine for some great hospitality when we saw them in Colorado. We are also indebted to Bern and Peggy Althoff for the good times we had with them when we saw them at their home in New York. Bern is in practice in New York City. He and Peggy live in Rye, N.Y. Both their daughter Gretchen and their son Jay are attorneys and both are now married. Bern and Peggy are pretty happy that Gretchen and her husband have just now moved back to Rye.

Jim (Keith) Kemp from Maple Grove, MN:

"Hi Jim. We just returned from our winter vacation in Palm Springs. Thank you for putting me in touch with THE WAVERLY STAR. I will really enjoy it. Thanks for everything. Your pal, Jim."

Jim doesn't mind my giving out his E-mail address: diann-kemp@webtv.net


My friend Ken Hausladen was elected to the Waverly Village Council in the elections just past. I would like it if someone could give me the names of all the elected officials in Waverly and Howard Lake. I would also like to know how Waverly and, indeed, all of Wright County, voted in the presidential race.

When Allan Le Page died on September 23, 1998, he was running for mayor of Howard Lake. Bob Decker told me he would have won by a landslide.

Allan is one of those Waverly treasures we will never forget. He was a favorite son and so was Hubert Humphrey.

Around the country, whenever Waverly, Minnesota is mentioned, just about everyone I meet can connect it up to Humphrey who lived there during his life in the Senate and later as Vice President.

He became an active member of the community and it was a welcome sight to see him driving around in his Model A, stopping to talk with everyone he saw. It was a great loss to Waverly that the Humphrey Museum had to be closed down and the artifacts shipped to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Well, readers, that's all for this week.

My greatest joy in life is putting people in touch with each other, especially people from Waverly, Minnesota. Please help me to do this.

You will be receiving another issue of THE WAVERLY STAR next week unless you ask me to cancel it. You can do this without offending me and I won't print your name, unless, of course, you ask me to do so. Thanks, and have a nice weekend.

Jim O'Leary
461 Claremore
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
(361) 992-2618

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