Condolences to Bobby Brennan’s Family
From Marlys Hiatt (71): Dunseith, ND
I am so sad and sorry to hear that Bobby Brennan passed away. He
graduated a year ahead of me in high school and was always one of my
favorite people. I still have a very funny memory that to this day I can
clearly see in my mind that symbolizes all the fun we had. I wish I could
share it but it would be hard to put into words. I have forgotten a lot
of the story but the picture will always make me smile. The next laughs
Bobby and I will share will be on the other side.

Today my thoughts and prayers are with Bobby’s family and friends,
especially his children and grandchildren.

Marlys Hiatt



Condolences to Bob Brennan’s Family

From Dick Johnson (66): Dunseith, ND
Gary and Friends,

First I would like to send my condolences to the extended Brennan family on the loss of Bob Brennan. It sure has been a rough time for the family with the loss of Supan and now Bob. I know the entire community supports the family at this sad time.

Those who said the picture was taken in the Crystal were right. I think the lady at the till is Bertha Vanorny, Jay’s grandmother. She was a fixture in the Crystal for years. I remember how she and Bertha Myer and Father Wolfe used to play cards at one of the center tables. They would sometimes move the game to the rear room if the place was busy. Dick Bercier from Rugby also was a frequent player. He was the highway patrolman. Even as a kid, I kind of wondered how the Priest and the Highway Patrolman dared to sit in plain view and play cards for cash?? Only in old Dunseith. Thanks Gary!


Lee Stickland (64) had a heart Attack on New Years day.
From Lee Stickland (64): Dickinson, Nd
Leland Stickland, Yes this is appropriate to publish. Why did you wait so long to tell us. Heart Attacks are serious, not Passé. We are so hoping all is OK now. Please keep us posted. Gary
Gary and Bernadette,

Great today, melting, 30s. Travel advisory for tonight as roads will be

We have had a lot of snow. In fact; we got 7 inches the past week end. City does not have enough $$$ or equipment to keep up.

Today’s paper showed that $87 million will be provided to city on need of the state to help fund exceptional need for snow removal.

Thanks for being so faithful in YOUR maintenance of the BLOG.

Gary, the following is only for publication if YOU think it appropriate I hesitate to mention it, heart attacks are nearly passe’ these days. I had a heart attack on New Year’s day. Well, really I had it on the 30th while sitting in a chair and petting a cat. It felt terrible, I figured it was gastrointestinal reflux.
Pain went away in 20 ” and I went about my business. Next morn it was -24 degree wind chill and when I walked out into it, two mules kicked me and I than knew that I needed help. I have a great friend, an ER Dr whom I have known since we were kids. He is Sheldon Swenson, born and raised in Rocklake. ND.
Sheldon lives about 6 blocks from me and was here soon. Enzymes were quite elevated, indicating muscle damage in the heart. So.. 90 mph ride to Bismarck. ( I once drove the ambulance or cared for the passenger in the back). The cardiologist said degree of cardio-damage was <5%.
All relevant staff for angiogram knew I was coming to St A’s, all info including the EKGs had been sent electronically so all was ready. I was able to watch the whole procedure on TV and converse with the DR and the staff re what I was able to see.
4 days in the hosp and conflicts so I feel great, at least like a M$.

Mystery horse rider
From Karen Larson (Bottineau Spectrum): Bottineau, ND
Gary – the gentleman on the horse brought this in. I am allowed to tell
you that the horses name is Star, It was taken in 1938. Personally I
don’t think he looks a lot different now ( the gentleman – not the
horse.) : ) Karen Larson
Karen, I don’t have any idea who this may be. He looks to be about 12 years old, so he would have been born in about 1926, give or take a year or two each way. This looks like the out skirts of Dunseith too?

Folks, Any idea who may this mystery guy may be?

Art Rude’s Song Title correction
From Neola Kofoid Garbe: Minot & Bottineau, ND
Hi to both of you.
I was so excited when I sent the email about Art’s song, I sent the wrong title. :( It should be, I think, “Forty Below Keeps the Riff-Raff Out”. As soon as I read your newsletter, Gary, I realized my error. Sorry about the error. That one word changes the meaning entirely!
Floyd Pritchard (59) Memories
From sister (cousin) Mary Eurich Knutson (62): Dunseith, ND
Hi Gary
Just thought I’d tell a little story on Floyd Pritchard. When we were
very young he always wanted to work at “getting toughened up” and we
girls were supposed to help him. He’d loosen his shirt so it hung over
the top of his jeans and then tighten his gut and have up punch him in
the belly as hard as we could. Every so often he’d forget to tell us he
had a big buckle on his belt and when we hit we’d punch that buckle. It
didn’t feel good. He’d think that was so funny and laugh and laugh. Then
he’d wait quite awhile again till he figured we’d forgotten about the
buckle and pull the same thing over again. Just one of the incidents
that comes back when I read all the stories on the blog. Take care.
Crystal Cafe Memories
Reply from Yvonne Casavant Marchand (#3 of the 16 Casavant children): Bismarck, ND

Gary, Yes I,m sure that is Bertha Meyers in the picture
I have many good memories of the Crystal Cafe, thats where I met my late husband Francis Marchand .
My sister Lorette Aamodt [Casavant] and I both worked there ,Rosie and Dan as our boss.
Being farm girls it was a learning experience.
I will never forget waiting on Joe Morrinville he ordered a raw hamburger I thought he had to mean rare so that what I brought him , He looked at me and said ,I said raw (needless to say from then on it was raw)
Thanks to Bertha M Rosie M, Stella S ,Mary G ,and Charolette B for teaching me how important it was being to work on time,
was young and foolish then I,m always on time now
Yvonne Marchand
Yvonne, It is wonderful hearing from you! I know that many of your siblings are living in the Bismarck area too. Gary

Crystal Cafe Memories

Reply from Susan Brew Roussin (59) Rolla, ND

We have good memories of the Crystal Cafe. Our grandmother, Kathryn (Kate) Demo cooked there for quiet a while, she also cooked at the bowling alley cafe at times. Besides helping raise Lorna (Brew) Abbey and me (when Mom was sick) Grandma also worked at San Haven for years as a nurse’s aide. She also sold Avon. Glad to be part of the alum of DHS. Take care. Enjoy life. Seen a memo at Senior Meals yesterday that said “Life is too short to fold your underwear” How true….

Crystal Cafe Memories

Reply from Sharon Zorn Gerdes (62): Windsor, CO
Gary, I also have to say that photo is the Crystal cafe. I worked for Rosie and loved it until they found out I was under the legal age to work there. Then they made me quit. But I never forgot the nights when there was a dance in town. After the dance the Crystal would be standing room only, extremely crowded, and man did we sell hamburgers. I think they made excellent hamburgers and malts. And I don’t recall who made the pies, but they sold a lot of pie and coffee as well. I loved the Jukebox and Rosie let us take nickels from the cafe to keep the music going. Good times! Sharon Gerdes.
Crystal Cafe Memories
Reply from Dick Johnson (66): Dunseith, ND
Gary and Friends,

Paula wants to hear a bunch of Crystal stories. Here are a couple. One time Dad and I were sitting at the counter and a guy came through the front door. The old heavy wood and glass door was at least 3 feet wide, or more, and this guy had to turn slightly to get through the door. Up until that time (around ’60) he was the most obese man I had ever seen. He was well dressed in western attire and was wearing a western belt with a big silver buckle with what appeared to be a large ruby on it. As he walked toward us I whispered to Dad, “Where could you find a belt that big?” He walked past us and Dad tapped me and pointed at the guy’s back. There was another identical buckle in the back! He was wearing two belts, end to end. First and last time I ever saw that! I don’t have a clue who he was or where he came from but I remember the belt.

Dwight mentioned staying with Jim McCoy upstairs at the Crystal. One thing I remember was that Jim McCoy used to open the window upstairs over the sidewalk and then squirt water from a squirt gun on drunks that came out of the bar next door. They would stand out there on the sidewalk and look all over the place trying to figure out what it was and where it came from. I was pretty young and was sitting in a car on a Saturday night and laughing hysterically at the poor drunks and their antics. I saw what Jim was doing so I knew what was coming, but they didn’t! OK, someone else has to know a Crystal story or two.Thanks Gary!


Experiences living in Japan
Reply from Bob Lykins (Teacher): Hutto, TX

Reply to Dale Pritchard. Oh-my-gosh, Dale, I lived at Tachikawa from August, 1974 until July, 1979. I taught at Yokota High School SY 74-75 and then was promoted into the DoDDS-Pacific Office as the Pacific Curriculum Specialist for Social Studies. My office was in the Tachikawa AB old Headquarters Building. This means our paths no doubt crossed a number of times during your 2nd tour. We lived in American Village near Tachi AB at first and then I bought a “lot house” on base. Lot houses were an interesting concept at that time. They were built by private contractors and managed by base housing. One would purchase the house and then receive housing allowance for the utilities and 10% of the purchase price of the house. I paid $475.00 for a 3 bedroom, kitchen/dining room, living room, one bathroom with an enclosed addition on the back. Unlike living in base quarters we could do anything with the house. If one made improvements/repairs you saved the receipts for the materials, turned them in to the Base Housing Office and whatever you spent was added on to the value of the house. I didn’t live there for very long. When I was promoted into the school’s central office my GS grade was equal to a Lt. Col. which qualified me for base housing which was far better than what we had. The American Village house, which was on private land and managed by a rental company, would not pass the most lenient housing code in an American ghetto. When the wind blew the curtains stood straight out. The house was heated with a kerosene space heater that was fed along a line leading from a 55 gallon drum propped outside. We bolted fans to the ceiling to push warm air down a hallway to the back rooms. In the winter the kids ate their breakfast on the stove oven door while my wife kept the oven running. The houses were traditionally old Japanese and the baths were very Japanese. We had to heat the bathrooms with space heaters before bathing. The lot houses were a step up but not by much. In addition, if the base closed and you were in a lot house, you were responsible for destroying that house and returning the property to it’s “original state.” Since Tachi AB was slated to close soon, I got out of that house as soon as I could selling it to an AF doctor for $450.00. Moving into base housing was a like moving to Beverly Hills. Unfortunately our teachers, on many bases, such as in Korea and Japan, are still required to live off base. In a number of places like Germany, that’s not so bad but in others it can be a trial. Still many prefer living off base to escape the military hassle. Me, I liked my creature comforts and the convience of living on base. It’s too bad, Dale, that we did not meet there. I would have been able to continue your education by introducing you to some of the aspects of Japanese life that most foreigners did not have a chance to see and then some. You were right about the trip to Atsugi. It was much longer than a couple of hours from Yokota and it didn’t matter what day of the week. Travel was something else. I remember the kids who lived at Tachi AB leaving school at Yokota AB on their bikes the same time I did in my car and they would beat me home most days by 10-15 minutes. The distance between the two bases was only about 3 miles. Ah, the old days.


Bob Lykins
Old Pictures
From Peggy Wurgler Axtman (71): Kent, WA


Looking back through my photo albums recently, I pulled a couple pictures of my classmates taken on my last day of school in Dunseith. We were 7th graders and the year was 1966, I would guess.

Unfortunately, one of the images is double-exposed and the other one is only half-exposed. I may have to blame my camera and not my camera skills that day! Pictured is Paula Fassett, Stephanie Evans & Cheryl Haagenson. And, also Reid Schmitz is on the next one but Stephanie has disappeared. Paula wins for blowing the biggest bubble!!

Also, attaching an old snapshot of Art Rude, Jr. and me sharing what must have been a milkshake or root beer float at the Texaco station one evening. We were 5 or 6 years old at the time. HA!
I enjoyed looking at these and thought it would be fun to share them with my classmates and everyone else.
Thank you, Gary.
Peggy (Wurgler) Axtman
Kent, WA
Peggy Wurgler & Art Rude




Paula Fassett, Stephanie Evans & Cheryl Haagenson




Cheryl Haagenson, Paula Fassett & Reid Schmitz