Two punches in the “bucket list”

Eric writes:

My third taste of flying came when I was 14 years old in Junior High School. I listened to the radio a lot, as most early teens do, and would call in to the radio station trying to win prizes. Once when I called in, I was the lucky tenth caller and won a Rolling Stones album.

The DJ’s name was Lee “Windy’ Winslow. He asked my name and then asked where I was from. I told him that I was from Jamestown, North Dakota. He said that he was also from Jamestown and had started his career as a DJ there. He recognized my last name because he had dated my cousin Gail while living there. Lee and I slowly became friends.

The radio station he worked for contracted with Don Martin, a local pilot, to do the rush hour traffic reporting. Don was the first pilot in the Denver area to do this and his call sign was Sky Watch One. I kept asking Lee if he could get me a ride on the Sky Watch airplane. Eventually, my persistence paid off. Lee called me up and set the date.

Stapleton International Airport in 1966

Stapleton International Airport in 1966

He picked me up after school and we drove out to Stapleton Airport to meet my hero, Don Martin and go for a ride. We took off about 4:00 PM and flew around Denver for about two hours. I took lots of pictures. I wonder if I still have them or if they got lost? Anyway, it was a wonderful experience. I was literally floating on clouds. Continue reading

Jamestown State Hospital

Jamestown ND State Hospital

Jamestown State Hospital

There are so many possibilities in this letter. Jim talks about the North Dakota Credit Union League, various Credit Unions in Jamestown, and an experience he had at the Jamestown State Hospital. In the sixties when I lived in Jamestown, the State Hospital was a thing of wonder that none of my contemporaries knew much about. Well, maybe they knew, but I was completely ignorant. The State Hospital is just across the Interstate highway south of town. There’s also the barrier of the James River. Situated on the hill above the river, the Hospital gained the derisive moniker “South Hill.” Rather than invoke the Bogey Man, we heard about escapees from the South Hill.

Treatment of the “insane” has progressed significantly since the 1960’s and 1970’s. When I read about state hospitals today it gives me the willies. That unsettled feeling is clear in this letter from Jim. He traveled around the state and country on Credit Union business, with challenging experiences all over. This is the one he writes about. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest didn’t come out for another couple of years, but I bet if Jim ever saw the movie, he thought about his meeting with the nurse on the South Hill.

Jim writes:

In 1971 I was employed by the ND Credit Union League which was the state association of credit unions with headquarters in Jamestown. As a director of field services it was my job to work with the managers and advise them in their credit union operations. At the time there were two credit unions in Jamestown, the Community Coop C/U and the State Hospital Employees C/U. The latter was located in one of the many buildings on the hospital grounds. Velma, the manager, called me and said she had some operational questions and would I mind coming to her office.  Continue reading

Oh, That Felt Good!

For about thirty years, we accumulated things in the attic. When we moved to this house, back in 1978, the attic was huge! One Christmas my brother and his wife used it for a bedroom, as we had more people than beds that week. It was great.

You can see a stack of empty tubs behind all the other stuff!

You can see a stack of empty tubs behind all the other stuff!

Life changes. We quit cross country skiing. The skis, poles, shoes and equipment went upstairs. Then there were boxes of receipts, cancelled checks, and tax returns to keep, and where better to keep them than in the attic? You cannot believe how many baby toys and clothes can fit into a couple dozen plastic tubs. When Lon moved out, we disassembled his big bunk bed and pushed the pieces into a corner of the attic. When Mara left for college her miscellaneous detritus moved upstairs, too. When the grand children outgrew their clothes, we got even more boxes.

By the time I left IBM in 2012 it was almost impossible to get into the attic, let alone find the cross country ski equipment. We were awash in old photo albums, souvenirs from the trip to Europe, and way too much other stuff accumulated from relatives who had left this world. We could feel the presence of all that stuff in the attic above our bedroom.

Continue reading