A king was running low on cash after years of war. His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to a pawnbroker to pawn it. The pawnbroker said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it." "But I paid a million dinars for it," the king protested. "Don't you know who I am? I am the king!" To which the pawnbroker replied, "When you wish to pawn a star, makes no difference who you are."
Well, neighbors, spring is here! So let's celebrate this change of seasons with Nancy Hanson, of Kindred, N.D., who composed this poem and sent it to Neighbors: Seasons I was born in North Dakota more than seventy years ago We grew up knowing winter, with all its ice and snow. We'd bundle up to play outside, great snowmen we would form. Our evenings were spent playing cards and eating warm popcorn. The thaw came on quite gradually and snow banks melted down. Soon subtle signs of spring appeared around our little town.
When he was speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, LeRoy Bernstein, Fargo, could get that House moving, as he was "a brilliant leader of men," a man who knew him says. But this story is of his moving another kind of house; actually, a lake cabin. It comes from an admiring friend of his, R. Tracy Myers, 84, a retired contractor who lives in both Fargo and Arizona. He worked for Olaf Anderson and Son Construction Co. for 35 years before retiring in 1995.
Fred Quam writes that stories about old grocery stores in Fargo that have appeared in this column struck a spark for him. "I was a northsider," Fred, of Fargo, writes, "and I remember the Roosevelt store on the corner of 11th Avenue and 11th Street North. "Also, there was Tideman's Grocery, and across the street from them was Temple's Grocery; both were on North University close to 12th Avenue North. Also there was Lubenow's store in the 800 block on University.
"When someone complains of too much snow, I'm reminded of the blizzard of March 1967." So writes Alta Zepper, who lives in Moorhead and remembers 1967. As the picture she sent in shows, "We had a very long driveway, " she writes, "and there were no snow blowers; we only had shovels! "It was hard to see at intersections, so everyone drove slow, not like today." Overnight in school
She was the girl who feared she'd always be unknown. But just the opposite happened. Around Wimbledon, N.D., where she was raised after being born to a depot agent and his wife in 1920, she was Norma Egstrom. But she became known to the nation and the world as Peggy Lee. A biography about her, titled "Is That All There Is," taken from one of her hit songs and written by James Gavin, tells of the ups and downs in her life—and there were plenty of both.
He's had quite a life, this Fargo boy who became a farmer and then a United States representative and senator. But Mark Andrews now is 90, retired and has no desire to be back in Washington. "I'm very glad" not to be there now, he says. The Neighbors column doesn't get into current politics; it leaves that to The Forum's reporters, columnists, news services and editorial page writers. But one day recently, it sat down with Mark at the Holiday Inn, Fargo, and over sandwiches heard him reminisce about what he terms "the old days."
It's well-known that area folks are neighborly. Here's a story that bears that out. It comes from Don Such, Fargo. The way it was told to him, Don writes, a salesman was traveling through the area one winter night several years ago when he got caught in a terrific blizzard near Colfax, N.D., and ran off the road. He was hopelessly stuck, so he began walking. Fortunately, he came upon a farmstead. Unfortunately, though, nobody was home and the door was locked. So he stumbled into a machine shed, where he at least was out of the wind.
The four Larew boys had to travel quite a bit to find work, but they did, hitching train rides all the way from Iowa to Minnesota and North Dakota. And it paid off. They found work, and thus were able to support their parents and the family back in Iowa City. It was the summer of 1919. The brothers kept in touch with their parents and each other by sending postcards. A couple of them are shown here, thanks to Donald Larew, Moorhead, who passed them on to Neighbors. Don is the son of one of those boys.
Yes, there are nice people out there. Elmer Tarnasky, Fargo, can give you proof of that. One day recently, Elmer stopped at an ATM machine in Fargo to draw out some money. And then he did what many of us do: He accidentally left his ATM card in the machine. "After I drove away," he writes Neighbors, "I was about a block from the machine when I saw someone following me, trying to get my attention. "He pulled up by my car and waved a card at me. Then he handed it to me. It was my card from the machine."