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.

Nov. 4, 2002

If wishes were horses, then beggars could ride

Dear Readers of the Waverly Star (that is, what's left of you):

I have a most urgent wish. I want old copies of the Waverly Star.

I search and swipe, as most columnists do, but my columns have to be made up of plagiarized items that have a Waverly angle.

Of course, you know that I have run smack dab out of ideas. It is a dirty secret that I am a non-resident of Waverly with the arrogance to write about Waverly as if I were living there.

Think of the poor people engaged in genealogy who write to me expecting that I will know whom begot whom. I have to refer them to the Mormons.

I am an illegal alien, if you will, and I have no business writing about Waverly. The only thing I can get away with is writing about the dusty, distant past.

I don't even qualify from that point of view, since I wasn't born in Waverly and I have no relatives there.

My father advised us, when we first moved from South Dakota, "Don't ever kick a horse apple. It may be somebody's cousin." He had noted that everybody seemed to be related to everybody else, except for us.

While it is true that my closest friends live in and around Waverly, they avoid me when I start to ask them for help. They have the unholy small town fear of getting their names in the paper, and I don't blame them.

For the likes of us, the only time we get a good story with our name in the paper is when we die.

I decided I am taking out an ad. It will be an ad like the ads that ran in the Waverly Star back in 1933.

The way we were

Waverly Star and Tribune want ads from 1933:

Rates: one cent per word per issue. Want ads must be in by Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Aside here: Like all Waverly businesses, "Marks" McDonnell, publisher and editor of the Waverly Star and Montrose Tribune, stayed open until 6 p.m. every day. At 6 p.m. the Angelus bell rang from St. Mary's Church and that signalled the end of the working day, just as it did for French peasants working in their fields.

Remember that this parish started out French. There is a famous French painting titled "The Angelus," which shows a French couple, he with his hat off, with their heads down, praying in the field at the end of their day. Millet painted this in 1889, and it is now, of course, worth millions.

In more modern times, the fire siren beside Joe Decker's Liquor Store started wailing at 6 p.m. also, like a factory whistle, calling the end of a shift, but the siren waited respectfully for the Angelus bell to finish its work before it cranked up, making all the dogs in town howl.

All the siren told us, though, was the redundant information that it was 6 p.m., time to quit work, and stop in at Decker's Liquor Store on the way home for supper.

The liquor store, unlike liquor stores in the cities, had bar stools, booths, and pool tables in the back where my father and I would often play a game or two on the way home from the lumber yard.

Card of thanks

The Farmers Union wishes to thank the people of Waverly for their cooperation in helping us put out the big annual picnic. We especially wish to thank those Waverly merchants for their hearty welcome and the Waverly Star for the valuable service rendered in boosting the picnic.

Signed: The Farmers Union by Axel Mattson, president.

(It is unclear at this distant time to know if "Marks" gave them a break on the penny a word charge, since Axel worked in a thank you to the Waverly Star. Marks should not have charged him for that.)

That ain't hay

Wanted: 500 tons of alfalfa, must be pea green and dry for grinding purposes. Bednorz Feed and Implement Company at Waverly, Minnesota.

Baby chicks for sale

Minnesota state accredited and personally blood tested. Light breeds 4 cents. Heavy breeds 5 cents. Lake View Hatchery, Buffalo, Minnesota

(The sound of chirping chicks in the post office was the surest sign of spring in Waverly. There were boxes and boxes of them, stacked up to the ceiling, awaiting their fate in their new Waverly homes.)


A purse. March 13, 1933, about 9 p.m., Highway 10, 1 1/2 miles west of Waverly. Please return to this office for reward. Spectacles and hospital cards badly needed. Also money. Mrs. Otilia Boehlke.

For sale

Two purebred Jersey bulls, one past 2 years and the other 4 1/2 months. Frank Wandersee, Waverly, Minnesota

For sale

Young pigs, about 8 weeks old. George Scherman, Waverly, Minnesota


The old school board members of District 101 regret that there was trouble between the teacher and the board. The trouble was caused by a misunderstanding between the school board members.

(Maybe the misunderstanding came about because the old school marm tried to tell them that "between" takes the singular and "among" takes the plural. Or maybe one of the board members whispered to her confidentially, "Between you and I . . ." That would do it.)


Copies of the the Waverly Star for the years 1940 to 1960. Send them to James E. O'Leary, 461 Claremore, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412. You will be paid handsomely. (Liar, liar, pants on fire.)

Job available

Stringer for this newspaper. Must be a resident of Waverly. Must be a gossip. Will receive a one year free subscription to the Waverly Star online. Must furnish own computer in order to receive free subscription. No references required.

Reply to:

Jim O'Leary at: jmomoos@ swbell.net, or fax (361) 992-2618.

What if . . .

What if I voted for others tomorrow, rather than just for myself and my pocketbook.

What if I lived more simply so that others may simply live.

What if the man I did not notice yesterday died today, and left me alone.

What if I realized that nothing true was ever obvious.

What if I was able to see the creation of the world as just one, long miracle of evolution, still ever changing and improving.

What if I knew the best things in life weren't things.

What if I knew that my image of God tells me more about who I am than about who God is.

What if I used the Bible just on myself instead of using it on other people.

What if I really did believe in Thanksgiving.

Thus I send my early Thanksgiving greetings to friends better off than I am, whose kindness to me keeps me pleasantly in debt, to friends worse off than I am, whose cheerfulness in misfortune keeps me healthily ashamed of myself, and to a world that persistently treats me better than I deserve.

I send my appreciation for all of you on this first week of November, 2002.

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