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Senior Citizens Resources Guide

The 'Remainders' get together to talk about old times

By Liz Hellmann

Do you remember when the town doctor used to make house calls in a horse and buggy?

Bert Nelson, formerly of Montrose, does.

He also remembers the days when it took three hours to drive to the "cities" (modern day Montrose) in an Overland, having at least three flat tires along the way.

Nelson is a member of the "Remainders," a group that includes Montrose High School alumni and other long-term residents of Montrose who keep in contact and share their stories with each other ­ primarily through a newsletter printed every month by Bud Yager, and by monthly meetings.

This newsletter, called "The Montrose Remainders Record," was started about two years ago and is in its third volume.

The newsletter is composed of stories written by the same people who receive it.

"The stories and accounts are very personal, it touches everyone who gets it," Yager said of the newsletter. The stories printed in the newsletter recall the details of Montrose history and are written from a personal point of view.

In the newsletter, Nelson and many others recall a time in Montrose's history when it was a booming town during the 1920s.

Nelson describes the town down to its very last building, including the business district, the blacksmith, hotel, and butcher shop, and who owned each one.

"I like the small town atmosphere where you knew everyone in a five mile radius," Nelson wrote.

Many of the members grew up in Montrose during the Great Depression when the community totaled 250 people and was very close-knit.

They remember helping each other through hard times, and now enjoy sharing their stories from the past.

"People are very fond of the memories they have of growing up in a small community," Yager said.

Once the idea for a group was born, names for the newsletter were submitted to Yager.

Yager owns a computer and has access to a database in which to enter all the information and word process the newsletter itself.

Now when the group meets for breakfast, people can give Yager their stories to be printed in the next newsletter. "It's very interesting because it's the history of Montrose," Epple said.

The Remainders meet for breakfast at J's Family Restaurant the third Thursday of every other month.

"It's fun to get together with everybody and have a good time at breakfast," Dianne Epple said, who is one of the group's youngest members.

The group consists of 77 people and about 25 people show up for the breakfast."Its good fellowship and a good way to keep track of people," Yager said.

Some of the oldest members of the group graduated from Montrose High School in the late 1930s.

The group started with people suggesting that there be some way to keep in contact with old friends.

Besides sharing this history, the newsletter is also a way to notify group members if someone is ill, in the hospital, or has suffered a loss.

At their meetings, time is set aside to send cards to their friends who are going through hardships.

Recognition and congratulations are also a part of The Montrose Remainder Record. Group member George Zabee's accomplishments were recently recognized in the January edition of the newsletter.

The Elk River High School Auditorium was dedicated as Zabee Theater on Sept. 13.

Zabee is the former superintendent of the Elk River junior and senior highs.The newsletter was the only way for some of Zabee's childhood friends to receive the news.

Yager hopes the group will keep going. "The only way the group will stop is if people stop writing their stories," Yager said.

Yager is also in charge of another newsletter devoted to keeping history alive and friends connected.

After attending Montrose for most of his schooling, Yager spent his senior year at Buffalo, and has developed a newsletter for the Buffalo High School graduating class of 1943.

The newsletter, named The '43 Forum, is quite popular and is being distributed for its 12th year running.

As for The Montrose Remainders Record, it is kept going for the second year in a row by people who want to tell their story and share their memories.

It allows people who were once part of a small, connected community to continue to stay connected. Through the newsletter, the history of this small town continues to be kept alive by the people who lived it.

Senior Citizens Guide
Published 2004

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