High School Reunion

After graduating from college I discovered just how much I had to learn. Each year I realize that there’s even more things for me to discover. Then I read a letter like this one from Louie and I have to remember how much I do know, and how little everybody else knows about my dad, Louie. When I read his letter, this one or any of the others, there is a wealth of background only a select few people know about. I hope to my little commentary to each letter to help you understand the depth of Louie’s life.



Judy, the kids, and I joined Louie at the reunion he discusses in this letter. We were lucky enough to get there in time to go over to the old house with him and snap this picture. He was a giddy old man when we were at the house. I can see it in his eyes. He not only told the story in this letter, he told it at the reunion several times, and re-lived it several times with the family.

One of the things you probably don’t know is that Louie’s next older brother’s name: Bob. When Louie tells Bob about his new pocket knife, I know it was a really big deal. In a later letter you will read about the awe Louie held Bob in, almost to the point of costing Louie his life.

In person Louie expanded on the story a little, explaining why the initials on the side of the house weren’t his name (Donald), and weren’t exactly his initials (DLH). While he went by the name Louie from high school on, his given and childhood name was Don. That’s what he started carving into the siding. At that point he didn’t know how difficult it was to carve letters into wood. So after a couple of letters (D and O), he changed the plan from his name to his initials. He didn’t have the words to describe it then, but I suspect there was a little ADHD going on that encouraged a shortened signature. Too bad he didn’t make the change soon enough to get the letters right.

As I recall, there was a punishment involved after his dad, Louis, discovered the carving. I smile now when the thought crosses my mind, but the details escape my memory.

Some years after Louie’s funeral we stopped by the house again to get a better picture of the DOH, but the house had been re-sided by then. I guess that’s understandable after sixty years of North Dakota weather.

Reading these stories and thinking about my Dad Louie makes my day.

Grandpa Guy Havelick


Louie writes:

On the Fourth of July weekend of 1991 I was in Jamestown, North Dakota to attend a reunion of our 1946 high school graduation class. It had been 45 years since I graduated and sure looked forward to seeing some of those (kids), now older folks.

I had some time to spare when I got to Jamestown so I went down to the west end of town, my old stomping ground and looked around.

Found the “Tin Can Alley” where my folks’ house still stood. It had been redecorated on the inside but the outside was still like it was 60 years earlier. The one thing I look for or some hand cut initials on the side of the house.

When I was just six years old my dad give me a pocket knife. I knew at the time I was really growing up: “Bob, my own pocket knife!”

One of the first things I did with it, besides almost cutting off a finger, was to carve my initials in the side of the house.

When I was there in 1991, I found them still on the side of the house covered with many coats of paint, but still there.

Funny thing about this one is instead of carving “DON,” I had neatly carved “DOH.” After 57 years they were still there. Kinda had a little tear in my eye when I seen that. Kind of makes your day, eh?

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European Football

In this letter, Louie mentions an upcoming high school reunion. It turns out that we joined Louie at the reunion and met some of his high school buddies. All of us had a great time getting acquainted.

Louie in Holland c 1968

Louie in Holland c 1968

Years later, one of them also came to his funeral where we had another chance to share stories and laughs about Louie’s escapades. After the funeral, we brought out Louie’s football play book from their senior year as Jamestown High School Football Blue Jays. It had diagrams of their plays and a detailed record of every one of the games that led to the state championship, including who carried the ball on every play. Louie was quite proud of their record that year, his part on the team, and the book. Louie’s buddy had played on the same team and was very impressed that the book still existed. I gave him the book. I do wish I had taken pictures of the contents.

Louie and I had the same physical education teacher in high school. Ernie Gates taught PE and coached the football team. In the forties, Louie was a star athlete and football player. By the time I got to high school in the sixties, let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly a star. Had it been possible to flunk out of PE, maybe I should have. Climb a rope? Nope. Push-ups? One or three. Catch a ball. You’ve got to be kidding! Ernie was disappointed. Louie wasn’t.

Football was Louie’s ticket to college, and I didn’t even want to go watch a game. I was more interested in watching girls than whatever happened on the field. By the time I was a senior, I didn’t even go to the game, I’d just pick Cathy up after the band finished their half-time show.

When Louie wrote this letter in the nineties, our son Lon was active in a local soccer league, which caught Louie’s attention. Maybe he thought Lon would turn out the be the athlete I wasn’t?

Grandpa Guy Havelick



Louie writes:

The Rochester Havelick’s:

Glad you accepted the first three stories. I will keep them coming until CRS catches up.

My tulips finally bloomed and they are gorgeous. My next door neighbor and I are going to put in the slanting brick edges for a flower bed and load it up. Got to have something to tinker with.

My check up at the vets hospital in Sturgis, South Dakota ended up with me getting another check on 4 June. I may end up a “Lightning Bug” but gotta get it done. It is the Sigmoidoscopy. Hell of a long word for light up your butt. Will let you know what the results of the test are.

Lon, I tried European football while I was living in Rotterdam, Holland. We call it soccer. It was a little too rough for me and the Dutchmen almost lost the game laughing at me. So I stuck with going to the zoo and museums.

I will be in Jamestown on the 4th through 7th of July this year for the 45th reunion of our graduating class. It has been some time and water over the bridge since 1946. I have reservations at the Gladstone for those days.

Better get back to story time.

This old man loves you people.


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