Nice to hear from a class mate Mel. Stay well.
So sorry to hear of the passing of Vance Bailey. I think he had only just begun to share his memories. It would be great if others of that era could share even more. I spoke to my mother of this and she was familiar with many of the characters that he mentioned in his writings. When she was a teen she worked at a hardware store on Dunseith’s main street that was owned by a man by the name of Iver Lo (sp?). She rented an apartment from a Bailey family, probably Vance’s grandparents. She is now 83 years old, doing well and living in Dunseith. Her sister Alice worked at Hosmer’s store. I’m wondering if Colette’s mom remembers Alice Metcalfe. By the way, Colette, you were probably unaware of the drooling because as shy as most of the guys were back in those days most of the “drooling over the ladies” was done covertly. Ha!
This winter Sherry and I continue to go through the many years worth of belongings that we have accumulated in our basement. The idea being that we would like to have everything in some type of order so that our children will not have such a mess to go through in the event of our demise. I believe that I have stumbled upon a picture of the Commercial Hotel taken in 1957. Our primary residence at that time was the lake home near Kelvin Store, but my father worked in building construction for many years and when that employment stretched into the winter months we were forced to move into the city because the snow made the trail to our home impassable. I believe we spent the winter of 1957 at the Commercial Hotel with the Grimmes and their boarders. I remember Sarge and Charlie fairly well. I remember that Charlie loved bowling. He delivered the ball as slowly as it could possibly be thrown and still make it to the end of the alley. He still got good results. Billy’s mom was an accomplished pianist and singer and I believe Carl played the guitar.
In later years we rented a house owned by K. C. Sine, who has been mentioned in previous E-mails, that was adjacent to the property where Mr. Ben Grossman and his family lived. One night after much carousing, probably with Billy Grimme, I arrived home and attempted to enter the house. It had a porch with three steps but I could only negotiate two of them before falling over backwards onto the ground. As a wise man once said, “damned alcohol”. After many attempts I decided I would just get as comfortable as possible under the clothesline (remember when everyone had those) and spend the remainder of the evening there. Early the next morning I was awakened by one of the loudest voices I have ever heard singing “How Great Thou Art”. It was Mr. Grossman out doing some early morning yard work.
There really wasn’t much to do in Dunseith in those years. You had to improvise. Applying tape to gym door latches during school and returning later with a basketball was one of the things I remember doing to help pass the time. I don’t think I ever got to see the Thunderbirds. I remember that it was a really big deal for the town and I think that sometimes false rumors would get started that they would be buzzing the town and I would be disappointed when they didn’t show up. When they actually did make an appearance I was out of town. Like Warren I had many close encounters with the F-4 when in Vietnam. Since then I have always admired the skills of pilots. They saved many American lives. We had one of the “greatest of all times” that grew up on the streets of Dunseith.
The Jack and Lorraine Metcalfe that are mentioned by Mel Kuhn are brother and sister to my mother Eleanor. I remember many family gatherings when they would bring their instruments and sit around and play and sing for hours. They also were members, along with Ole Bursinger, of a group called the “Stump Jumpers”. Mel, are you related to Marvin Kuhn? I remember working with a fellow by that name in the early 70’s.
Picture: Kenny Nerpel in front of the Commercial Hotel – Jan 1957