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.
April 14, 2001
BIENVENIDOS AL CONDADO
Soy contento oir que Hispanos se cambian a Condado de Wright. Mis abuelos eran inmigrantes tambien. Se venieron a trabajar en America tambien. Espero a la gente de la marca de Condado de Wright que ustedes se sienten muy bienvenidos.
Right now, the minimum wage in Mexico is $3.40 per day IF you have a job. The minimum wage in the USA is $5.15 an hour, but usually the pay is much higher because of the shortage of workers willing to do "menial" jobs.
Just south of Corpus Christi, there is a cemetery for "illegal" Mexicans who die unidentified trying to walk across the desert to evade the Border Patrol and get "menial" jobs in Houston and elsewhere so they can send money home, like my grandfather "Red Pat" O'Leary sent money home to his mother in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. Same difference.
A priest, who is himself a Polish immigrant, Fr. Piotr Koziol, conducts the burial services for these people, along with the County Sheriff, who finds the bodies.
That's why my message in Spanish.
No apologies to immigrant bashers.
OUR IMMIGRANT ROOTS
"We are a nation of immigrants. (John F. Kennedy)
Some of our grandparents and where they were born:
Henry Lammers - b. Westphalia, Prussia, in 1827. m. Anna Gardner
Moses Perra - b. Canada, in 1804. m. Harriet St. Mary
John Lauzer - b. Austria in 1830. m. Anna Brabec
Louis Borrell - b. Bavaria in 1844. m. Katherine Knaeble
Adam Berkner - b. Bavaria in 1832. m. Barbara Wise.
John Fitzpatrick - b. Queen's County, Ireland in 1836. m. Eliza Walsh
Peter Schroder - b. Sweden in 1844. m. Anna Nord
J.F. McDonnell - b. Galway, Ireland in 1842. m. Kate Cullen
Wensel Brabec - b. Bohemia in 1826. m. Aneska Navaratil
Patsy Johnson saw the Kreitlow name in "The Waverly Star" and wrote this to me:
"Pat Kreitlow is a wonderful young TV news anchor in Eau Claire. When I was in charge of First Congregational's semi-annual blood drive in Eau Claire, I couldn't believe our luck one year. He signed up to donate blood. Our biggest lure to increase blood donor loyalty was a chance to win one of several luscious homemade door prizes provided by our congregation's best cooks, but of course (being a church and all), we had to conduct the drawings impartially.
"I was torn. Should I cheat and finagle the numbers to arrange for him to win and perhaps get a return visit and some more publicity? Well, you can believe it or not, but he won a tin of ginger cookies fair and square. And, impressed with his luck, he did mention our little event and his prize that very night on the news. What a coup. But then, alas, because he lived in Chippewa Falls, he decided to donate his blood up there. He became one more donor for our cause.
"Speaking of which, did you know that the Upper Midwest, Minnesota in particular, has the largest supply of safe blood in the country? And that blood products from the Midwest go all over the country? So that it's really scary when the Upper Midwest runs short of blood. Many folks don't realize that there is no longer an upper age limit for blood donors or that diabetics are no longer turned away from donating."
Pat Kreitlow, of course, is related to our Kreitlows. And Patsy Johnson is a fellow Minnesotan and good friend. Her brother, "Moose" Lee, lives in Willmar and knew and liked Wayne (Wayland) Kuka.
About the blood: I think it must be the mosquitos which improve the quality of our blood by constantly recycling it. Who ever would have thought that Minnesota's famous mosquitos could have been good for something.
I am also proud that most Minnesotans don't think like our governor who claims he doesn't have time to bleed.
Speaking of our governor, last night I attended a Battlefield Band concert here in Corpus Christi. They are a folk band from Scotland, the best of their kind. They mentioned they are headed up to Minnesota to perform on "Prairie Home Companion" this Saturday night. The bagpiper said they can hardly wait to get there because they heard we have a governor who is a professional wrestler. He said,
"Jesse Ventura is one of those American phenomena which makes you Yanks so very fascinating to the rest of the world. Imagine a governor like that one!"
He also said something I never knew before: that "Jesse" is the Scottish slang for "sissy."
Are you going to tell him or should I?
Lori Daigle Jolicoeur writes from Ventura, California to ask readers for help in clearing her name.
As a shy (ha.ha.) teenager, Lori (aka "Blondie") was falsely (she says) accused by none other than Mother Augusta as being the ring-leader of a criminal enterprise which desecrated the front steps of St. Mary's Church by placing thereon an outhouse.
The august Mother Augusta, principal of St. Mary's High School at the time, confined Miss Daigle to the tiny glassed-in office precincts for one whole day in the hope of wringing a confession from her and forcing her to name her confederates.
Lori wants to get to the bottom of it by answering two questions:
(1) Who really did do the crime.
(2) Who gave Mother Augusta her name as the perpetrator-in-chief.
This happened fifty years ago but Lori is still steamed over it. My own madvice to her was to 'fess up to it now, before it's too late.
I also think she should tell her 21 grandchildren about it. They would think it's pretty cool to have a grandma who would do such a thing.
There is reward money out and your identity will be protected. At least by me. I can't speak for Lori.
Standing on the church steps, I asked a priest who had just straightened me out what he recommended for Lenten reading.
He said, "I wouldn't know" and turned around to lock the door.
Then he stopped and said, "Oh, of course I know the book to read. Read the Gospel of John."
He turned away again and then he hollered back over his shoulder as he walked away, "And don't forget the psalms!"
Nothing else. No best sellers. No self-help books.
This reminded me of a priest here in Corpus Christi who tried not long ago to urge people to read the Bible.
In his sermon telling us Catholics we should read it every day, he added that if we thought we were too poor to buy a Bible, we should just "go to the nearest Baptist church and tell them you are a Catholic and they will give you one free!"
We laughed but we all knew it was true.
Speaking of the Bible, in an April 7 story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, there is the disturbing news that Bible reading has declined from 79% in the 1980s to 59% today and that only 16% of Christians polled said they read the Bible daily.
This was borne out dramatically on the Jay Leno show recently when Jay walked about among his studio audience and couldn't find anyone who could name any one of the 12 apostles. When he asked if anyone could name one of the ten commandments, the only answer he got was "God helps those who help themselves."
(Applause and Laughter - Cut to Commercial)
MINNESOTA: THE WILD BLUE YONDER
"The Readers' Digest" used to run "The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met" as a regular feature.
My most unforgettable character is Ralph Hunt, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who had a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army despite what he says. He is now retired in Alexandria, Virginia.
Here is his memory of our fair state:
"My experience with Minnesota dates back to the fall of 1941 when I descended out of the blue to terrorize Minneapolis Honeywell Corporation on behalf of the U.S. Army Air Corps (ostensibly) as a technical contract enforcer, even though I never got to read the contract - until much, much later.
"As a newly-minted second balloon, I was ensconced (being on extended temporary duty) in the Nicollet Hotel and revitalized my evil social training at the Jolly Miller Bar located so conveniently there next to the Hotel. It was especially convenient when the outside air temperature could freeze the nuts off a jeep, a fact even more self-evident the closer we came to Christmas. In fairer weather I used to borrow a Cessna 150 and fly all over the state out of Wold-Chamberlain (as it was then known). Many times I flew north of Bemidji, fishing many of the 10,000 lakes whenever we could borrow a float plane.
"I got to go pheasant hunting one time when I flew to Aberdeen, South Dakota with some other "soldiers."
"It was the only time I ever saw the spectacle of very senior military types banging away at suddenly untethered pheasants flying all over the place. I was more interested in ducking down, what with the way those clowns were waving their guns at everything in sight.
"I empathize with Waverly folk since I come from a small town in Massachusetts with a population of 7,000, 5,000 of whom live in the Massachusetts State Prison for the Criminally insane located in that town. It is a town like Waverly where everybody knows everybody else's business better than their own.
"So far as your so-called column goes, I would advise you to furnish them with a picture of yourself from your high school yearbook like everybody else does.
"I say this only because your multiple chins seem unnecessarily exaggerated in the mug shot they are running along with your column."
[Ed. note: This will soon be taken care of by another air-brush miracle.]
BRAD SMITH AT FORTY
Although he never left home, they still killed the fatted calf for Brad when his girl friend threw a 40th Birthday Party for him at the Golden Goose in Waverly on the evening of March 31 and the morning of April 1.
His father, Don Smith, and I are both turning 70 in August and you can be sure no such fuss will be made over us.
Over 250 guests were in attendance, including the entire Stan and Lorraine Kittock family (minus Colleen Kittock who was in Florida at the time).
Hallmark gets rich on 40th Birthday cards but it's mostly all the same joke about declining faculties. By the time you reach 70, it's no longer funny, is it Don?
As of April 12 (two days ago now), there was still a lonely, elderly male perched atop a bait pail peering into a hole in the ice not far from shore. There are still snow piles here and there and it's been raining all week. The man on the pail was fishing in the rain. I never saw that done before in my ice fishing days. The ice, of course, isn't safe. Did you know it was against the law to leave your house on the lake after the end of February?
HELP WANTED COLUMN
Immediate opening for fact checker for "The New Waverly Star." Must be a resident of Waverly and familiar with streets, avenues and business locations. Salary competitive with other unpaid columnists' salaries.
Respond to email@example.com
In the last issue, I mentioned Father Guilliot without telling much about him.
Father Guilliot, pastor of St. Mary's for the last decade of the 19th century, lived to be old. He spent his final years at the Novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and many of our local women who became sisters in that Order, knew him very well when he served as their chaplain:
Sister Resignata May, Sister Mary Luke Copeland, Sister John Ellen Rogers, Sister Rose Leonard Galvin, Sister Eucharista Galvin (who was baptized by Father Guilliot when he was pastor), Sister Ellen Joan Malone, Sister Ancella Gagnon and Sister Rose Fitzpatrick, all CSJs.
They all knew him. My mother and I both met him before he died.
He died in his 90s and kept his mind active until the end. He is buried now in Calvary Cemetery in St. Paul, along with many other heroic French missionary priests such as Father Augustin Ravoux whose leg was frozen off on a ride on horseback from Pembina, North Dakota to St. Paul when he was caught in a March blizzard.
After Fr. Ravoux survived that blizzard, he carved himself an artificial leg that spring and hopped around on it for many years after at the St. Paul Seminary where he was Spiritual Director.
He was the man who said that the priests of today say Mass with golden chalices but have hearts of wood. The missionary priests to the Indians said Mass in chalices of wood but had hearts of gold.
And Father Guilliot had a heart of gold.
There should have been a marker on Father Guilliot's grave that said,
"Sa mort a ete la fin d'un beau joir."
("His death was the end of a fine day.")
I answer all my E-mail.
I return all telephone calls.
I answer all personal letters coming in the regular mail.
This is no problem for me at all because:
I get no e-mail.
I get no telephone calls.
I get no letters.
I must be doing something terribly wrong besides never getting my facts straight.
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
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