Forty years of words from Polo

Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:00 am

The September 27, 1973 Miller Press front page headline stories when I started writing the Polo column were:

“Miller Press celebrating 91st year of continuous printing.” The article emphasized the continuous, “even when one issue had to be printed on wall paper.” Other headlines were “Music Parents make plans for trip to Winnipeg”–“City to sell Dump Ground of approximately 4 acres at auction on November 5.”  A picture in the lower left corner had these comments; “The ladies as well as the men enjoy the pool table which is the latest item of recreational equipment installed at the Friendship Center.” The Friendship Center was hosting a First Anniversary Open House on October 3, featuring their many improvements.  



On October 4 a meeting was scheduled for the architectural planning proposed for the junior-senior high school. The bond Issue was to be November 20. A pancake supper benefit invited people’s support to purchase a micro-reader for the county library. The Princess Theater was to open September 27 and would be showing “Deliverance.” The Sno Riders also had a meeting scheduled.

With my first issue I established a tradition I followed for many years of listing where Polo High graduates were attending college. 1973 had Colleen Schaefers at MMC, Yankton; Bernadette Venjohn and Mary Kay Martinmaas at Nettleton, Sioux Falls; Joe Ortmeier-SDSU, Springfield; Ted Schlechter- SDSU Brookings; Tom Vanorny-NSC Aberdeen; Chuck Froning-Lake Area Vo Tech, Watertown; Cam Ortmeier was working for Dr. Charbonneau, Mel Ortmeier for Huron Nursing Home, Judy Kopecky in Aberdeen, and Gary Sprenger, Randy Forman and Terry Naber were working for local farmers.   

My first Polo News Column in 1973 began with;

Did you miss the Polo news lately? Mrs. Mary Martinmaas wrote news for Mrs. Wermers while she has been in Yankton since he suffered a stroke, August 29. They were on their way to Yankton for his annual checkup and he got sick while they were visiting in the home of his sister in Parkston.

Mrs. Jack Schaefers has consented to try and write the Polo News with your cooperation. A box for the news will be placed in the entrance of the school and in the back of church on weekends, or you can call Mrs. Schaefers. It would be much appreciated if you would get your news in early so it can be written up Sunday or Sunday evening because it has to be in the mail by 10 a.m. Monday morning. (For Faulkton I could mail from the farm but I had to drive news letter to the Carl Hardes box on the Miller mail route south of Polo so it would get mailed for Miller.)

The column had that “Mr. James Miller was hired to fill the vacancy due to Mr. Wermers’ stroke and is teaching history, government and some math and speech classes and will be in charge of the drama productions. Mr. Carl Remmers is now principal and Sister Charles Palm, OSB, will come from Stephan to teach music. Sister Charles had taught previously in St. Liborius Grade School. “

“There is going to be lots of activity in Polo this week as preparations are being made for Polo High Homecoming September 28 and the St. Liborius Bazaar Sept. 30 (the same date as 40 years later, with the meal costing $2.50). The football game is scheduled with Stephan at 1:30 p.m. and coronation that evening. Candidates are Kathy Kopecky, Kathy Sprenger, Vicki Forman, Dan and Bruce Wieseler and Fred Haneke. (King and Queen were Kathy Sprenger and Fred Haneke and Polo won the football game 26-14.)

Some news items in the column from Polo and Orient were:

Fr. Ron Harrer, OMI, was in Polo visiting his sister Norma Froning and family; Larry Aesoph and Sandy Martinmaas were married at St. Joseph Church in Orient September 22. 1973; Randy Martinmaas and Kathy Martinmaas came home from school in Sioux Falls and Rosemary Miller came from Missoula, Mont. for the wedding; the Harold and David Benards hosted Pauline’s relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Treichler from Zurick, Switzerland; Jim Ortmeier accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Ray Ortmeier to Hawaii for a visit with their daughter.

The Ree Electric meetings were held at the Polo Legion and Lois Hargens won the radio. Tom and Margaretha Schaefers moved their trailer home from Highmore to east of the Polo Store, as he prepared to open a garage in Polo that had been closed since 1962. His father Harry Schaefers owned the cement block building that was put up after fire destroyed the old garage Harry used to have, which had been started by Jake Meyer and later Lester Powlovich operated it after Vince Englehaupt in the ‘50s. .

A couple of other items in the Faulkton Record were: “The Bakery Tree” George and Julie Long, had ‘bucket bread’ for 45 cents and chocolate chip cookies for 39 cents a dozen. The market report prices listed were–Wheat-$4.30’s; Oats-$1.00; Corn $1.80; Flax-$7.00. Of course then the subscription rate was $6.00, and of course the income level matched the expenses back in the days of yesteryear.

Rev. McKirdy was looking to see if there was any interest in getting Boy Scouts started in Faulkton. (of which they still have an active group). The Jolly Wrens Club was active in Orient in 1973 as it is now. Other Extension clubs with articles were the Arcade, Domesticates and Orientals.

An interesting find on page 2 was when I recognized the face of Craig Hanson, my Faulkton classmate but the article was all about Fred Holscher being a special guest at SDSU Beef Bowl for his years of work with ag-related positions. The next column had Fred’s picture above Craig’s article on his promotion as District Geophysicist for parts of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

And the little cartoons slipped into a page now and then were catchy. “The trouble with some people today is they are educated beyond their intelligence.” “Don’t worry Mutt. You can get Vets insurance for a low rate. I better hurry before it is too late.” “But you said your husband was a business typhoon—don’t you mean tycoon?” “NO—a typhoon is a big wind and that is my husband!”

The September 27, 1973 Faulkton Record front page upper left, almost fourth of the page featured Faulkton School’s Homecoming Royalty, Patty Michels and Arnie Benard with Darcey Raetz and LaVar Wherry as crown bearers. Numerous pictures featured the homecoming floats. AND the left side of that edition had the story from the Faulkton Farmer’s Elevator Appreciation Night, which concluded with a style show. My praise and applause goes to “those guys” who were such good sports and modeled a variety of ladies’ dresses and even a nightie.

The style show followed Dale Gullilckson reading the poem “You can if you think you can,” which emphasized his message of the evening. It also was appropriate for him to introduce the program with these comments; “A Style Show that will be long remembered. As you take note of these beauties try not to smile,” Memories will be stirred by those who attended 40 years ago and they “will be” smiling if they are with us yet remembering models, Edgar Leppke, Dave Griffith, Walt Kaiser, Don Arnold, Dennis Rausch and Arvid Holsing and Leonard Lenhoff.

There was no name under the Orient News, but it could have been Mrs. Cleo Leafgreen followed by Edna Keck/Cook before Betty Payne took over –we will research that.

A final note: with this looking back at my early columns sorta makes me wonder about the virtues we are told come with growing old?? It is just all in the life of reminiscing with the column that was begun September 27, 1973, a mere 40 years ago. (I don’t want to think how many words are permanently recorded as I ask myself WHY I wrote what I wrote and the way I did??”)

My sincere gratitude and thanks to one and all who have taken the time to say you have enjoyed reading whatever is printed on a given week from this columnist. We will add a few more memories next week or maybe even a “Do you remember when??”

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Through the years the weekly papers have required dedicated correspondents or people to get their news to the printer who prepare pages for each week’s publication. It also takes patience and encouragement from our weekly newspaper owners, who work with their correspondents.

My gratitude to the owner/publishers since 1973. Bob and Gary McFarlane were editors of The Miller Press. (And special memories as an early correspondent working with Martha Tamblyn). Since June 2007, I am grateful to be employed by Jan Kittelson-Mike Caviness, and working with Ruth Anne Moller and Jaimi Lammers.

The Faulkton Record when I started was run by George and Willa Stevenson before Jim and Jody Moritz, who purchased the Faulk County Record and published their first paper on Oct. 20, 1977, along with employees, the late Donna Speck, and presently Val Ramsdell and Garrick Moritz.

Forty years later much has changed in the world of electronic capabilities that provide only a click of the “send” button to get the news from point A to point B. What a change from driving miles to leave my column in a mailbox or drive it to Miller. Now if we could come up with a way to get the news from the minds of the families where the news happens to the correspondent by some sort of “transfer osmosis” so I could have a more interesting all inclusive column for our faithful readers. But we keep hoping and trying because giving up and quitting isn’t my goal for an alternative unless it has to be the option of reality that people have had enough of you after 40 years.

BACK TO 2012

Anniversaries, showers, auction, hunters and visitors can only be summed up generally when apparently the wind has blown away the messages away before they got to me. The general highlights of the week are listed below with the details coming next week.

Wind did not deter a big crowd from attending Mugsy and Sandy Schaefers auction sale on Thursday, Oct. 18. The Schaefers were back from their home in Spearfish to prepare for the sale and also get to visit with many of their former neighbors and community friends.

Friday, Oct. 19, it was like old times at the Polo Ponderosa when it was completely filled with family and friends who gathered to help Ray and Pat Naber celebrate their 50th anniversary. Ray and Pat (Lakner) were married October 13, 1962 in Wessington. Their sons and families were home for the celebration which will be reported in next week’s paper.

Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20, the family of Andy and Angie Schaefers honored them with a baby shower at the St. Liborius Community Room. They were guests of LeRoy and Donna Schaefers for the weekend.

Ken and Theresa Martinmaas, and Weston of Clear Lake and Grant of Watertown, were home for the weekend and guests of Vic and Marion Martinmaas, when they came especially for hunting and the shower. They also visited her parents, Dave and Pete Ames, Miller, while they were back.

HUNTERS were back to the “Ringneck Pheasant Paradise” for their annual visit with their local family and friends while they get their exercise with guns in hand, walking the fields to fill their limit of our South Dakota state bird. After the gale-force winds during mid-week, the hunters truly were blessed with “fall days in paradise” to canvas our area of the state where Pheasant Opener Weekend is almost bigger than Christmas.

The season is so out of kilter, it is hard to believe with no rain that there was corn on the stalks. Even more mystifying is that most of the farmers are done with the corn harvest when it is only mid-October –when normal would be just starting or planning on a start.

The temperatures being in the 70s after our cold spell earlier, proves that Indian Summer is not just an imaginary cliché. But the evening chill still reminds us that it is no longer summer but fall, and normal reality is that we are edging closer to winter.