Sports Fan

I always felt like a disappointment to my dad. He was a sports fan. I wasn’t. This letter nails it.

1946 Jamestown Blue Jays: Louie is # 84. Ernie Gates to the left. Photo by King Studio, Jamestown ND

1946 Jamestown Blue Jays: Louie is # 84. Ernie Gates to the left. Photo by King Studio, Jamestown ND. Click to see the large version.

Louie’s football coach in high school was Ernie Gates. As luck would have it Ernie was still the Phy Ed teacher and football coach when I came through high school. Ernie had high hopes for me. Then we tried push-ups and the rope climb. Louie describes both below. My record for the rope climb was I maybe made it to the top once. Maybe not. For push-ups, let’s just say that I didn’t make it to double digits. I probably still can’t, but I no longer try.

Ernie was disappointed. So was I. I didn’t tell Louie.

The one bright spot in my high school Phy Ed career was volleyball. One year we played volleyball every gym class for weeks. Somehow Ernie assigned me to a team that was incredibly good. Just being around the guys who could play made me better. Ernie even made up new rules to make it tougher for us to beat the other teams. I’ve loved volleyball ever since. We played church league, IBM leagues, and we’ve been to professional volleyball games and watched several matches at the Montreal Olympics.

The low point in Louie’s thoughts about me and football may have been when I was in college. NDSU had a good team for a couple of years. I went to a game or two. Louie was serving in Korea then, and the Bison made the news over there. He told his army buddies that I played on the team. Oh, well, everyone’s a disappointment to someone. I made up for it in other ways, but I don’t watch or play competitive sports.

Louie immediately to the right of front post, partially obscured. Louis to the left of the post, second in dark suit. 1946 Football banquet. Photo by King Studio, Jamestown ND

Louie immediately to the right of front post, partially obscured. Louis to the left of the post, second in dark suit. 1946 Football banquet. Click for larger version.

Louie writes:

This old man (fella) is a real sports fan – it goes way back to my high school days. I loved listening to football games on the radio and wishing that I was one of those stars.

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New Beginnings

Ken and Lucy

Ken and Lucy

The months after the war ended must have been heady times. Ken and Lucy had worked in Seattle for a couple of years after training in Minneapolis. They met new people, grew up, and visited with relatives passing through Seattle to and from the Pacific Theater of operations. Not bad for a couple of kids from Gardner, North Dakota.

Now they’re off to new adventures back home in Fargo. Family was there. After such an adventure they must have been eager to just go home.

Lucy writes:

We left Seattle with such a happy feeling you just have no idea. Of course – no job, no place to live – the little house on “Hungry Point” (that was what our section of town was called) was no place for someone expecting to have a baby. Everything changed again.

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Maybe I’ll just walk home

Louie in 1946. High School Graduation.

Louie in 1946. High School Graduation.

Memory is a devious companion. Louie talks about how his letters are out of order. They do bounce around through time as different events pop into his mind. The same thing happens to me. While I’m writing about one topic, another jumps into mind and I have to quick run off to write another story about something years earlier or later.

The other confounding idea that keeps me thinking is exactly what do we remember? Louie remembers so many stories about getting into trouble, or, to be more precise, just avoiding getting into trouble. I remember the good times, Jim writes about his vivid memories of friends and family. Louie had good times, and a big family. He should remember the good times, but what sticks out are the escapades with his buddies.

There’s something about that personality that gets me thinking. Hmmm.

Louie writes:

These little stories are not in sequence with my age, so bear with me if I skip around a little. That’s the way the mind works after too many years of thinking back, years ago.

I use to hang around with a couple roughnecks. Sonny and Glen McCurdy. These guys were noted for being rough in the art of fisticuff. They liked me cause I was also noted to be fairly good in the rough and tumble.

One night, a Saturday, night time, fight time, the three of us were down town looking for some action. Glen got into it with some guy and the next thing you know, the cops show up.

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