Neighbors has a variety of topics today. Let's start with Carolee "Chickie" (Arneson) Bakkemo, who wonders if anyone remembers the victory gardens of World War II. Chickie, formerly of Fargo and now of Denver, writes that, "We had one a block from our house on Eighth Avenue in Fargo. It was so popular that they kept it up long after the war. "The one by our house was called Dill Hall gardens. It was on the site of the old Fargo College, on Fifth Street between Seventh- and- Eighth Avenues, a block south of where the toboggan slide was in the winter.
Columns about old stores in Fargo brought these recollections from Jim Throndset, Fargo. "Way way back in the late '50s and early '60s," Jim writes, "my step-dad used to make purchases in a store called Hawkinson/Solberg. It was located on Main Avenue in downtown Fargo east of Wimmers Diamonds and deLendrecie's department store. "I believe it was a men's working clothing-type of store. They would wrap your purchase in brown paper from a roller and secure them with string (or cord). I was only 7 or 8 years old and don't recall much else.
The late Harry Parnell, better known as Fargo-Moorhead area entertainer Buckskin Harry, is remembered by many people, according to the number of emails and letters Neighbors receives about him. Here's another one. Buckskin's horse trailer had a cartoon of him painted on its side. It was painted by Eddie Softing, whose wife, Fern, Fargo, sent in a picture of the Buckskin artwork plus a picture of Eddie painting it. Eddie, a commercial artist, also was the art director for KXJB and KTHI-TV for more than 26 years, Fern writes.
"I woke up that August day feeling 100 percent. The last thing I expected was to be having heart surgery an hour and a half later." That's Erv Inniger talking. Erv, the former head basketball coach at North Dakota State University, former Fargo city commissioner and the winner of many honors who lives in Fargo. Emphasis on "lives." Because that day in 2012, this wasn't a sure thing. He was 67. He'd been on a trip to Israel, Egypt and Greece. Back in the U.S., he'd played tennis in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
August Muller fought for Germany during World War I. He was wounded three times. He later was awarded Germany's Cross of Honor for Combatants. Then in 1922, this German war hero, who by then was married and had a baby boy, sailed to the country he'd been fighting against: the United States. They landed at Ellis Island and moved to a farm 4½ miles northeast of Fairmount, N.D. The Mullers, who changed their name to Miller, eventually had a family of 12 children: 10 boys and two girls. And seven of those boys served in the U.S. military in one capacity or another.
Here is something about a rather delicate topic: the old outhouse. It comes from Joel Melarvie, Mandan, N.D., who writes that a Neighbors column about living in a log cabin years ago stirred up memories of having to use an outhouse on his uncle and aunt's farm north of Mandan in the 1940s. His uncle and aunt were the late Norman and Edna Jacobson. "They had a two-holer located about 100 feet from the side entrance of the 'big' house," Joel writes. "Using the outhouse in the summer wasn't too bad except for the smell and bothersome flies."
It's a grim job, but someone has to do it: finding bodies of people who have drowned in a river or lake. Sometimes it can be difficult finding them. Years ago, though, a Fergus Falls, Minn., man had a way of locating those bodies. But he wouldn't say how he did it. This story comes from Louise Bakken, Fargo, who sent Neighbors a clipping about him. She doesn't know which newspaper carried it or when it ran, but it is yellow with age. Louise said her mother, Hazel Miller, kept this story for many years.
Do you have any information about this picture? Jean Comita, Fargo, found it in one of her late husband's science textbooks and is curious about it. Can you help her? Let Neighbors know. Her husband, by the way, was Dr. Gabriel Comita, a professor of zoology at North Dakota State University from 1953 to 1980. He did considerable research on Brewer Lake in North Dakota, on Silver Lake near Hawley, Minn., and at several other area lakes.
Here's something for you Fargo historians. The building at 14 Roberts St. in downtown Fargo: What is its history? Jack Stenerson would like to know. Jack writes Neighbors that he has operated an all-ages music venue called The New Direction in that building's basement for the past five-plus years. All he knows about the structure is that it was built in 1909, and for five years before he took the basement over it was the home of the Red Raven Espresso Parlor.
Today, the second day of the new year, Neighbors turns its ear back 61 years to 1956, thanks to Rita Maisel, a columnist for the Cavalier County Republican in Langdon, N.D. Those of you who were around then will connect with her musical — and other — memories. "I happened to be in college," Rita wrote one day last year, "and there was always a radio on.