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.

March 10, 2001

Dear Readers (all ten of you):

For the first time in my life I have a deadline. It was arbitrarily imposed upon me by the Howard Lake/Waverly/Winsted Publishing Company.

It's hard to meet this cruel deadline because, as my mentor Dick Mattson tells me, it is really tough to make out a schedule when you are retired and have nothing to do. I hope you have something better to do than read this, but in case you don't, here goes.


WAVERLY PEOPLE I REMEMBER

Jim Kemp, who probably loves Waverly as much as I do, started off his list of "Waverly People I Remember" with "Ches" Ogle: "Ches coached all the Waverly boys in baseball, football and basketball. I was about eight years old when I first got the feel of the bat on the ball, the first sound of the basketball swishing the net and the thrill of scoring a touchdown and I was hooked on sports for life. It was my salvation.

I played all through college and beyond, including in Korea. Ches also supervised the recreation room in the basement of St. Mary's Church, where we played darts, table tennis and had boxing matches.

My friend Eddie Paul was the one I remember boxing the most. Everybody who knew Eddie knew he would never quit, and would bounce right back up if you knocked him down. He would just keep on slugging.

We pounded on each other, and then we would walk home together, friends as always. I will never forget the goodness of Ches Ogle, who did all this for free, and if you were lucky enough to have him make you a malted milk at Ogle's Cafe, you know what I mean.

I thank God for people like Ches during my Waverly years. Ches nicknamed me "Cowboy Kemp" but it never stuck.

And by the way, Jimmy O'Leary, down there in sissy Texas, Minn., is the greatest - for seven months of the year."

Jim Kemp was raised in tough circumstances but he says the whole town nurtured him. I don't know if you subscribe to the idea that "it takes a village" but in Jim's case it did.

He is a successful businessman and family man, and he gives Waverly all the credit. He also credits Tom O'Connell, the Constable at the time, and Jimmy Fitzpatrick, whom I remember as my boxing coach. Jimmy Fitzpatrick disapproved of the time I hit "Chuck" Gagnon with that sucker punch Now that I found out that Chuck had stolen and buried my wagon I am no longer sorry.


WAVERLYITES IN THE DIASPORA

Pflugerville, Texas is a town 200 miles north of here in Corpus Christi and that's where Dan Antil lives. I met him for the first time at the St. Mary's reunion Aug. 26, and since then, we have threatened to visit each other.

I told him about a restaurant here called Snoopy's, which sits outside, right on the water (but don't feed the seagulls), and he is planning to come and dine there with me and see Tim and Tom Painschab, who also live in Corpus Christi. His brother Ken Antil is married to their first cousin, Patty Painschab. Last Saturday he had lunch with Dick Borrell of Waverly who came down to Pflugerville, Texas to pick up a 1961 Buick.

Turns out Dan is as sad as I am that the J.F. Anderson Lumber Company building was completely destroyed by fire a couple of months ago. Sally Stifter Pususta was right across the street and said she slept through the whole thing. Dan's father, Larry Antil, who just turned 78 today, March 11th, had worked in the lumber yard along with my father, Ed O'Leary, and my father thought the world of him. Dan's mother is Irene McAlpin of the Maple Lake McAlpins, good stock all around

Larry and Irene live just past the old Humphrey place on County Road 8. Larry worked with my father right after WWII. Then he managed the liquor store and later became a rural mail carrier. Dan's grandfather, Joe Antil, had worked at the Maple Lake lumber yard and built many barns around the area which are still standing. Dan married into the wonderful Berkner family, famous in Waverly history from Adam onward (Adam Berkner that is). Dan says:

"Here's a little story for you. Do you remember the Doc Roholt house in Waverly? The side of the lot facing the lake has a retaining wall made of field stone. My grandpa McCalpin hauled in the rock from his farm north of Waverly and built the wall. Apparently he didn't have the money to pay the Doc for delivering one of his babies. The wall is still there. Here's another one for you: My grandpa McCalpin saved my wife's grandfather's (George Berkner's) life. He was drowning while duck-hunting and my grandfather McCalpin jumped into the water and saved him."


MORE HOMESICK MINNESOTANS

Angelina della Mattina is a Minnesota girl who now breeds Dobermans in Florida after a stint in the U.S. Army. Her son Josh, an army sergeant, recently returned from Kosovo. Her dogs even have their own website, Paradox Kennels. Not long ago a Doberman stud went for $30,000.00 in Japan but it wasn't one of Angelina's. Growing up in Bloomington, she had, as they say in "the cities," been "out to Waverly." She writes of her memories:

"I recalled the first time I saw Hubert Humphrey. He was shaking hands and hugging babies, young, cocky, full of life and energy, running for mayor of Minneapolis. His vision was long term even then...Minnesota: I remember the beauty of the snow...the heavenly hush of the world after dark on a winter night, after fresh, unspoiled snow...the crunch of it underfoot...it was mystical, balm for the soul...who could not believe in God?

I remember when the Twins came to town and then the Vikings, to the old Met, a time when you could afford to go to a ball game...Minnesota is a special place. The people are vibrantly alive and smart and savvy and educated. An ambitious and hardy lot...I thank God to have been born and raised there. I have advantages from that circumstance that others around me are sorely lacking. I learned to love reading there. Reading is salvation, something the video age has tampered with. I learned to appreciate the arts and music and value education. That's Minnesota for you. And by the way, THE WAVERLY STAR is way cool."


LETTER FROM ENGLAND

There's a sad headline in the New York Times today (March 10, 2001): FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE WRAPPING BRITISH FARMERS IN ISOLATION.

Former Waverlyite Richard Sheppard, now living in England, gives us his take on it this week: "I didn't know what foot-and-mouth disease was, but I first learned that it affects animals with hooves. The symptoms are that their feet and mouths become riddled with blisters and lesions and although it is not deadly in every case, the animal loses large amounts of weight. It's also extremely virulent and contagious. Much of the countryside is quarantined at the moment. The course of action they take is to destroy whole herds of animals and burn the carcasses. It is the gravest of times for the British farming community, worse than any depression and worse than the Mad Cow disease scare. There has been a case reported in Ireland as well. The price of beef, pork and lamb has risen and the British consumer has now switched to poultry and fish, after the initial hoarding of beef, pork and lamb immediately after the first cases reported. All of Europe is very nervous about this epidemic.

If you would like to know more about what's happening in Britain, I highly recommend the BBC Website at www.bbc.co.uk

The BBC's site is extremely comprehensive, easy to use, interactive and covers all aspects of BBC programming. You don't have to live here to enjoy it." Richard Sheppard

richard@siliconmeadow.co.uk


A THOUGHT FOR MATHEMATICALLY CHALLENGED

I myself am a victim of Foot in Mouth disease. Recently I was in a convenience store and when the clerk asked me if I wanted to buy a Texas Lottery ticket because the jackpot was now up to 77 million, I told her no thanks because the lottery was just a tax on the poor and stupid.

I hadn't seen the nice lady behind me who glared at me and then bellied up to the counter and bought $40 worth of the tickets. The odds against her winning were way over 5 million to 1. People, including myself, are not very good at statistics.

In graduate school I squeaked by a statistics course by sheer luck. Figure the odds on that one! And ponder this while you're at it. There are at least 400 billion suns like ours just in our neighborly Milky Way galaxy, not to mention the rest of our universe. 400 billion grains of sand would fill a dairyman's silo.


ECUMENICAL SPORTS

An irate reader took strong exception to my remark that I liked the St. Olaf College Choir better than the Notre Dame football team. He must be related to the St. Paul family who dressed their mother in a Notre Dame football jersey before they laid her out in her casket at O'Halloran and Murphy, Rosary clutched in her hand and ready to tackle the devil himself. How's that for an Irish wake.

It reminds me of a dream a friend told me about: There was a football game in heaven between the Protestants and the Catholics and Jesus was running up and down the sidelines as a cheer leader. When the Protestants would score a touchdown, Jesus would jump up and down in celebration and when the Catholics scored one, He would do the same thing. My friend asked Him: "Which side are you on?" And Jesus said "Oh, I'm not cheering for the teams; I'm cheering for the players."


THE IRISH ARE COMING

It is not yet St. Patrick's Day but brace yourselves. There is a dark side to the American Irish as I so well know. I have an Irish woman

friend who spent her childhood days in a Catholic school and will always remember the taunts on the playground at recess: "Fatty, Fatty, Two-by-Four. Couldn't get through the kitchen door." When I suggested she forget about it, she said, "When I see them burned in hell, that's when I let bygones be bygones."

Which reminds me of the definition of Irish Alzheimer's, forwarded to me by the King of E-Mailers, Dick Mattson: "Irish Alzheimer's is when you forget everything except the grudges."


ELEANOR ROOSEVELT'S ADVICE TO WOMEN

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission."

I need to remind you that this is International Women's Month. One of our Minnesota heroines is Ann Bancroft. Unless you have been away from the planet you must know that she and two of her women friends just toured Antarctica by dogsled in ice, snow and cold severe even beyond Minnesotans' understanding.

You can read about her every day in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. What you probably don't know about her was that she had raised lots of money for a alcohol residential treatment center for Indian women run by St. Stephen's Catholic parish where she attended. She told the people there at that time: "What I do with my dogsleds and other sports takes only physical courage. What you women recovering here from addiction are doing takes moral, spiritual and psychological courage which is far, far more important."

That was long before her international fame. She says she was inspired by the expedition of British polar explorer, John Shakleton.

In 1906 the following ad was placed in a London newspaper by Sir John Shakleton: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success."

There were hundreds of responses. Shakleton knew that people needed a greater sense of completeness or understanding about their life, and he knew that a great adventure is a transformative experience that gives birth to flashes of insight in which the meaning of life comes together.

Ann Bancroft looked for women who sought such a hazardous journey - and she found them.


WHY MINNESOTA DOESN'T HAVE THE DEATH PENALTY

1906 - "The botched hanging of William Williams took place when the Ramsey County Sheriff miscalculated the length of rope for the execution. The rope and Mr. Williams' neck stretched and the murderer's feet touched the floor. Deputies had to pull the rope upward causing Mr. Williams' death by strangulation, which took over fourteen minutes. This was more than spectators could stomach. After the execution was publicized in local newspapers, public sentiment started the legislature in a course that led to repeal of the death penalty in 1911." (Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Corrections)

A recent poll in Texas shows a whopping 80% of Texans favor the death penalty even though the opposition has the facts on their side. The opposition to the death penalty here includes a roundup of the usual suspects: all nuns, Lutherans, liberal Catholics, Jews, the Catholic bishops and (here's a surprise) the very conservative Salvation Army. The Salvation Army majors are famous for their work in jails and those men who have witnessed an execution, even with the "humane" lethal injection, say "Never again." If the juries could have "life without parole" as an option to sentencing in a capital crime, maybe they would think twice. If anyone killed someone I loved, I wouldn't give a Dukakis answer. I would lock and load. But it's wrong for the government to do it. We are the only country in the world, practically, that does this, certainly the only country in the western hemisphere. I will never understand it. Maybe people can't read. Or maybe people can read but they don't like to read. This is not an editorial: It's a plea for help and justice.


THE ULTIMATE SMALL TOWN

This has been making the Internet rounds:

"In a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this.

There would be:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male.

70 would be non-white

30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian

30 would be Christian

96 would be heterosexual

4 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in sub-standard housing.

70 would be unable to read.

50 would suffer from malnutrition.

1 would be near death.

1 would be near birth.

1 (yes, only one) would have a college education.

1 (yes, only one) would own a computer.

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent. It should get us all glaring.


Back to Waverly Star menu
Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries
Community Guides | Special Topics | Cool Stuff | Search | Home Page