Woman remembers renters' son after half a century
It pays to be famous. People recognize you. Even after 50 years. So it was with Goodwin Hoff, Fargo. Goodwin was attending an organ concert at his church, First Lutheran, Fargo, when a woman and her friend slid into the seats next to him. "We kin...
It pays to be famous. People recognize you. Even after 50 years.
So it was with Goodwin Hoff, Fargo.
Goodwin was attending an organ concert at his church, First Lutheran, Fargo, when a woman and her friend slid into the seats next to him.
"We kind of looked at each other," Goodwin says, "and then she said, 'Aren't you Goodwin Hoff?'"
Yes, he said, I am, but he was scrambling to remember who she was.
"I used to rent a room in your parents' house," she said.
That was a few years back ... like 50 years ago, as a matter of fact.
"I was dumbfounded," Goodwin says. "My folks' house was near the NDSU campus, and they rented rooms to NDSU students. I was married by that time, (he and his wife Beverly have been married for 54 years) and I maybe saw her only once or twice when I came to visit my folks, but she remembered me."
The woman was Marcella Richman. She and her husband Wayne live in Tower City, N.D.
Marcella had graduated from Tower City High School in the spring of 1953. "But those were the days," she says, "when (some) fathers didn't want their daughters to go to college, because they'd just get married."
So Marcella came to Fargo, worked at the Fargo Clinic (now MeritCare), that summer and fall, and rented a room from the Hoffs.
"They treated us like family," Marcella says of herself and other roomers. "They'd have us for meals."
Marcella, a pianist and organist, often played the family's piano. "On top of the piano was a picture of the Hoff boys, so I knew what Goodwin looked like," she says.
She left the Hoffs when she enrolled at NDSU that winter.
But look, Marcella, Goodwin must have changed just a tish over 50 years. How did you know him after all those years?
"Oh, I could keep track of him, because he was always on TV," she says.
Indeed he was. Goodwin worked for the Fargo Community Health Center for 39 years, eventually becoming supervisor of environmental health services. So he was almost a regular on local TV newscasts, being interviewed about mosquito control, air quality, food sanitation, hepatitis. He was a famous guy.
He still is, apparently, even though he retired in 1989.
One more thing about Goodwin, as long as we have him front and center.
A couple of years ago he decided he wanted his garage door painted so it didn't look like every other garage door in town.
So he talked to Marlowe Kulish about it.
Both Goodwin and Marlowe sing in First Lutheran's Cathedral Choir. Marlowe is involved in a number of activities in the arts; for one, he is the theater technician at Minnesota State University Moorhead and has done scenic design and given technical direction to many productions, including those of the Fargo-Moorhead Civic Opera Company.
Both Goodwin and Marlowe have farming backgrounds, and since the Red River Valley is in the heart of an agricultural area, they came up with the idea of a wheat motif.
Thus the seed of the wheat idea was planted; it grew, as Marlowe researched possible ways to do it; and it yielded Goodwin's distinctive garage door, designed and painted by Marlowe.
It's a nice, nice touch.
In North Dakota, wheat is neat.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org