Monday, January 2, 2012

Only in a Small Town

In a series of emails with Richard Holstad and Bonnie Mack ('60) that strayed onto topics far and wide, including her role as Snow White in our elementary production of that operetta, some "small town" stories were shared.  Richard first:

There was a two-car fender bender at the Falgatter corner. Two elderly women ran into each other -- the women’s names aren’t relevant at this time. I’ll use Carol and Luella just for fun.

The investigating officer had to assign the fault to one of the women.  The officer first approached, Carol, the woman who appeared to be at fault …. based on the nature of the damage to each car.  Carol said something like, “Obviously it was Luella’s fault because she was driving erratically.”

Oh? the officer queried, What was erratic about Luella’s driving?  Well everyone knows Luella always turns right at this corner on her way over to see Leroy …. But she turned left!  If she hadn’t turned left instead of right, the accident never would have happened!

Then Bonnie Added this:

Bonnie Mack, Class of '60
Another "only in a small town" story is one my Uncle Bob shared with us many years ago when he was residing in Waterloo, IA, working for the telephone co., and he flew to Calif. for a visit with my mom, his sister, and us kids.

In one of several conversations that evolved during his stay, he mentioned that he was still subscribing to the Northwood Anchor........mainly because he found it to be so entertaining. I still remember the "only in a small town" story he shared w/ us.

It seems that the shoe repairman in Northwood at the time had an allergic reaction to some product he used in his trade (can't remember his name, but DeGroot comes to mind.....not sure). Apparently, it was so severe and painful that he notified the townspeople he would be closing up shop until the rash cleared up, and further requested that anyone having shoes in for repair, to please come in and pick them up.

About 3 weeks later, another notice stating that the rash had cleared up and he was fine and would be reopening the business the following Monday.....or something like that.

Then..........about month after that.......along comes yet another article from, yup, you guessed it, the shoe repairman. His rash was back and he was temporarily closing his doors again. And added, "Please come in and pick up your shoes by this Friday."

We laughed so hard over that, I think tears were rolling down my cheeks, as we tried to imagine the odds that a series of notices like that would EVER be printed in, say, the Los Angeles Times paper.

My personal recollection is that the repair guy that I knew/recall was "Shorty" from Shorty's Shoe Shop. And he was a short guy, hearing-impaired (because he had large hearing aids), and I believe was handicapped in some way because he walked with a glitch of some kind. He also had wavy blonde hair and an accent that makes me think he well could have been a Dutch-American. And DeGroot would fit that guess!

Along about junior high age I decided heel clips would be really cool so I paid him an outrageous 15 or 20 cents, picked them up and put them on immediately, then walked out on the street dragging my heels to make noise. People stared at me so I figured out that probably wasn't the way to use them. I think it wasn't long before I removed them myself. I was never going to make it as a tap dancer anyway.

Bonnie followed up with:

I remember the heel clips which were actually designed to prevent uneven wear on the heels of shoes. However, we kids wanted them on our shoes for the clicking sound they made. And, by the way, the very temporary 'fad' wasn't limited to just the boys. I had heel clips myself.............loved 'em. Reminded me of the tap shoes I wore when taking lessons years before when we lived in Garner, IA (that was before Northwood days). My dad, having been a "hoofer" in vaudeville days, insisted that I have tap dancing lessons, of course............and my dancing eventually included ballet and toe dance. Loved dancing; would have continued but no teachers in Northwood. We would have had to drive to Mason City or Albert Lea for lessons, and that was out of the question.

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