Monday, June 30, 2008

Fishing 109

..................I am by nature the sort of person who likes to think that trinkets and sayings, pins and crystals make a difference. It is a little more evident that I realized until Tom's grand daughter, Jillian counted ladybugs, angels, dragon flies, and loons in the house last winter and wished for the crystals in the dining room.

...Therefore, beyond fishing, there is the clothing you wear. Perhaps I can look back and say, "Those were unlucky hats." Perhaps. One day while at the One Stop at Longville, I picked up a baseball cap with a bass on it. Oh, it was a great cap, I caught a lot of fish with it, even though my ears burned and peeled. I had bought Columbia© clothes to fish in one winter and along with it, I had bought a hat. I was concerned about changing from my cap to a hat with a brim but my ears needed to be covered. I covered it with charms and went fishing. The first rain made the brim 'ruffle'. But it was a lucky hat.

This spring, while at the sports store, they had Tilley Hats©. I had brought them for Tom before and he liked them. He convinced me to buy one. I was hopeful it would be lucky. It is covered with pins, including one I got from my grand daughter Jaeme as well as one I got from Jillian. Surely that in itself should bring me luck and magic!

When I caught the first fish this spring I did not have a hat on. Tom says all of the pins aren't what catch the fish, it is the technique and the wisdom of the bite I have learned over the years.

But that is the difference between us. I would actually kiss a duck for luck. I will wear a hat with forty pounds of pins on it just knowing that hat will make the difference even if the other fisherman say that if it blows off, it will sink. What they don't know is the Tilley© is insured. Yes, truly.

Do you have lucky charms?

Do you believe in luck?

Can you cast your troubles and worries away while working on a hobby?

Are you at the point in your hobby to make it swoosh?

Did it come naturally or did you have to work at it?

Did you have a teacher or are you self taught?

Old Trunks is hopeful you are hitting your mark.

What is my opinion of fishing NOW you ask? I am still after the catch; I don't like come off the lake without something in my virtual creel.

Yet, there is something so beautiful and serene about looking at the lake, watching the loons, listening to the birds, (whether it be a twitter or a grunk from a heron). And the small talk that goes on with your fishing bud.

There is still something very special about new lakes and having only a DNR map to teach you the structure as well as Leech, were, one recognizes land jetties and having a feel for where you are. When one looks back over the picture albums, one sees how quickly the reeds/weeds/cat tails mature each year. One gets a sense of ones own history of fishing.

Most importantly, one gets a sense of what part of the universe you are. PART.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fishing 108

...............Now I want you to think about something. If you are a quilter, you are specific on what kind of equipment you use. If you are a graphic designer you are only going to use a Mac. If you are a chef, you are going to have the types of kitchen utensils that are the best you can have.

It is that way with fishing. Now, as a quilter, a designer, or a chef, one learns what you need by doing; the more you learn the better equipment you want. You learn what feels best and if you don't have it in the beginning you work toward it. What does Monk say? "I may be wrong but I don't think so."

That is how I came to know Fenwick. There was something missing in my casting. Whatever and when ever Tom cast, here was a sound I wasn't getting. No matter how much I watched him or how much I tried, I couldn't get the sound. When you whip the rod it should have a whooshing sound. What I was missing was the loading of the tip to make that lure sail to the spot I WANTED IT TO GO. I wanted the rod to do the work.

Now, if this seems strange to you, I want to tell you that while fishing with a female last fall, she pointed out that she couldn't get the whooosh. It is a real sound. I watched her and realized that with her equipment, she was not going to accomplish it. I handed her my Fenwick and she got the whoooosh. Equipment makes a difference.

In order for me to finesse fish, I needed a place to aim. I had done a few years of willy nilly casting and haphazardly caught fish. I wanted to place the lure in the pockets of the wild rice. I learned to do that with a loaded rod tip. Once, while fishing the cat tails, you could see the fish swimming, you knew the minute the top water lure hit the water, that fish was going to take it. We fished long enough for me to be wore out. Since we are catch and release, it wasn't like we were over limit. It remains the most impressive day of fishing I have ever had. On that day, I learned the importance of a tight line when the lure hit the water because that is when the bass hit it.

Last summer we started a lake called Garfield. We would be fishing weeds and reeds and lily pads. I would catch my biggest bass and be thrilled. I would drag multiple fish out of the same hole. I had, after ten seasons, finally learned to load a tip, hit my mark, and with yet another Fenwick, pull the fish through the weeds to the boat..................................

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fishing 107 came and went for the next few years. It was slow going in the summer of 2002. I spent more and more time studying for the college courses I was taking and less time on the water. Tom hooked up with Jake and together they fished for muskie. If not at the lake, I would take a week trip away from Fargo and the lake as well as do some genealogy field trips and attend reunions. There had to be a solution. There had to be a better plan.

The cabbage had died off, a boat called the Night Owl had fished out all the big pike in the Gap using sucker baits and allowing the big fish to swallow this big bait. Fishing for finger size perch was not my idea of fun.

I stated I was going to get a little boat with a little motor and go to little lakes and fish for little fish. Why not? Nothing was going on at Leech. I was bored. Tom asked if he could come along. OF course he could come along. Now, the first thing I had to do was get a vehicle I could accomplish this plan with. The SUV would pull 1,500 pounds. I needed something with beef.

I had said to Tom the fall before that I was going to by a yellow truck. He figured I should rent a vehicle to see if that is what I really wanted. I was past wondering, I was looking. The truck came to be in March of 2003. Next, I needed a boat.

We went to the boat store. I wrote a check for a boat, motor, and trailer. A fourteen foot with a 25 hp motor should be just fine for shaking off the trailer. The guy told me to hang on to my check for a minute. While he was gone, Tom stated we needed a stainless steel prop. The salesman couldn't give me a 25 hp motor with a stainless prop. The check got tore up and we left. I would find a used boat in a storage shed. Danged if it didn't leak. We sold it to our neighbor. He fixed it and resold it.

My idea was getting away from me. We had a 25 horse motor, which was new, but no boat. NOT MY TURN. Tom bought a 16 foot Lund and we put the 25 on it. My dream was not to have equipment; but that wasn't Tom's vision. He needed a fish finder, a depth finder, a trolling motor....and so it got decked out. The 25 didn't get us up on plane. We were fishing with it but it wasn't just what he felt we needed. He traded in the 25 for a 40 and still didn't feel like that is what we should have. The forty would go back and he would pick up a 50 horse with a stainless prop. Since the trade happened in the fall, he would spend hours on lakes near Fargo just getting some time on the engine.

This was not a little boat with a little engine for little lakes with little fish. It became the Saturday--go--on--an--adventure--boat, whether it be the Mississippi River, rice choked lakes, even parts of Leech Lake we would drive to and launch. The idea paid off, there were fish to catch. We were catching.

By this time I had won numerous rods and reels and started the finesse of fishing. I had caught enough little bass on Hovde to be interested in fishing for bass. I bought my first Fenwick. Now I had numerous loves beyond my children and Tom, I had Fenwick!..............................

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fishing 106

.................After hours of studying, we drove to the Warrior Boat Factory at Maple Lake near Minneapolis in February. With modifications, a fiberglass boat would work. A casting deck needed to be built into the boat for muskie fishing. The boat would make its maiden voyage on walleye opener of 1999. On July 4, a straight wind of 100 mph came through the area and all the boats in the harbor had damage. Although I was promised safety on the water, there was no way to promise that hiding in the bathroom of a trailer house was going to be a safe haven in the storm. One lady was in her trailer when the trees fell on it. It was a fourth of July 'fireworks' none of us would forget. We were lucky, the Warrior would have only cosmetic damage and would be fixed in the fall....................

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fishing 105 March of 1998, it was inevitable I would be moving to Fargo, North Dakota and I would be fishing. To know me, is to understand that if I respect a person, they generally have me as putty in their hands. When Tom asked me to marry him and I agreed, I got diamond earrings and a life jacket and rules about always wearing it as engagement gifts.

This is my eleventh season of fishing. He started me on heavy rods and reels casting for muskie. We went far to fish. We fished over cabbage, we fished on the rocks. We casted with spinners, hair, and stick baits. It was hot, still, and the flies bit. It wasn't like fish a hour or two, it was hours and hours; napping became a midday necessity. I was tan to my bones.

He tried me on walleye, anchoring the boat and fishing with a bobber. I was insulted and bored to tears. We went back to an area called the GAP and fished for big northerns. It was hard work but I caught fish using a jerk method--I am surprised my arms didn't come out of the sockets.

Fall came and I sat on the gunnel's of the low sided boat and fished for perch. I caught 97 fish and laid the rod down to take pictures of the sunset. The next day, I caught 100 perch. I was not low profile, I was hollering out the number as a caught them. I learned that if you had a good spot, all the boats in the hemisphere came to crowd in. I had my own rod and reel which was selected for me. I would end the year catching a 36" pike.

Tom had promised to treat my fear as real. He is a weather watcher. We didn't go out if it was white capping and if there was clouds that looked suspicious, we came in. The low sided boat would have to go if we were going to zip across the lake without getting wet. We closed up on October 3 and the winter would be spent looking for a bigger, deeper boat................

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fishing 104

..........and when Tom told me he was a fisherman on the phone in our early conversations in January of 1998, the horror of being on the lake with bad weather came back like it had just happened. How could we not have been watching the weather, we had lived in Kansas long enough to get the feel for what tornado weather was like.

Why we felt it was so important to get the boat out of the water and unto the trailer instead of considering the safety of our family, remains a mystery.

Yet when we turned that corner with the boat on the trailer and the car lifted into the air and the wench on the boat trailer snapped and the boat flew in the air, I thought we were done for. The car was spared.

When the storm had passed, the boat was resting upside down on the bank of the lake, the engine was farther down the embankment. My tennis shoes were laying side by side with the toes peeking out of the boat as if someone had staged them. It took six men to get the boat on the trailer, remember all of them were adrenaline driven. The motor was hung back on the transom and the Anderson family went home. Bud would name the boat TUFF N NUFF.

How was I going to get around this fear? How do you avoid someone's long time sport? This man had been fishing with a stick, a string, and a hook since he was three. Oh dear....................

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fishing 103

.................Clinton Lake is a man-made lake on the southwestern edge of Lawrence, KS. The lake was created by the construction of the Clinton Dam, and the 35 square miles (91 km²) of land and water is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction of the dam and lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962 (Public Law 87-874), and funds were allocated for the project in 1971. Construction began in 1972, and the dam was completed in 1975. Impoundment began on November 30, 1977, yet the conservation pool was reached in 1980. Filling the reservoir slowly helped create a more hospitable environment for fish by allowing the native grass to remain on most of the upper lake-bed. In April 1981, the lake began multipurpose operations including flood control, water supply, and recreation.

By the time Clinton Lake Reservoir was stocked with crappie, white bass, blue gill, and other, I was catching on to this fishing. I didn't like to fish, I liked to catch. I didn't like to sit in a boat with a line dangling over the side, I liked some action.

We had a boat or two or three or greater during this era. Nothing fancy, mind you, but for the most part, something that did float. Most of the engines were fully used by the time we had them; it wasn't unusual to be fishing and have a problem with the engine starting. The lakes were small, it wasn't as if we were trapped 20 miles at 45 mph away from the landing. Although one time the plug wasn't put in and we had to try to get to shore before the boat went under. BALE BALE BALE

People came from miles around to fish crappie in the spring at Clinton. Spawning happened about the time the pussy willows bloomed; it wasn't unusual to have to walk a mile after parking the car and trailer. It was good business for Douglas County in Kansas.

We used what we had for rods and reels. It didn't have to be much, a jig, a little bait, and pole. Crappies weren't fussy as long as you got the bait in front of their nose. I used a Pocket Fisherman©, although it had limited line, I managed to cast with it.

When one fishes for crappies when they are spawning, one generally positions themselves where there is structure and brush. The County of Douglas had collected cut evergreens after Christmas which were bundled and placed around the lake as spawning beds. These were the hot spots along with the trees which submerged when the reservoir was filled from the water of the Wakarusa River.

One day, all of us where at the lake fishing for crappie. Rachel must have been about fourteen. She had her line in the water with a loop over her finger as she read her book. After the ninth fish in less than an hour she stated she wished they would stop biting so she could read. Bud took her spot.

The family ate fish. They would be filleted, washed, rinsed, dried, drenched in flour, and put in a hot pan of oil then right to the table. This all happened in the kitchen and the person cleaning the fish had a hard time keeping up with those eating it!

One of my favorite stories is about Bud and his friend Kevin. Fishing for crappie at night on the rocks by the dam was profitable. The boys were just learning how to fillet. Father said they could keep as many as they wanted to clean. The caught 100 fish and carried them up the rocky embankment in a wash tub.

They may have done a few of the 100 catch, yet what I remember is both of them playing with the fish as if they were puppets. Someone else cleaned the rest, followed by a midnight fish fry.

Another spring, Bud and his dad went fishing. Bud caught a cat fish. He was so proud of that fish that he brought it home in the net. After a while, he decided he didn't want to keep it. They drove back to the Wakarusa River and put it into the water. Do you think that fish was still living?

Another reservoir in the area was called Lake Perry. The construction of Perry Dam and Reservoir was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954 (Public law 83-780). Construction of the day and embankment began in March 16, 1964. Perry was placed in operation on January 15, 1969 and Multipurpose Pool was initially reached on June 3, 1970. It was older than Clinton by a few years and the fish were bigger. We went there one time when Ryen was little. He got his kicks tossing tackle and equipment over the side. The water was clear and it was retrieved. He would say his first word at the dock. It was worm.

The day of the tornado on the lake would be the last time I would fish in Kansas. I would never have to face my fears of being in a water funnel again....or so I thought............................

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fishing 102

..............Old Trunks thinks the purpose of fishing with parents was to catch walleye. Mother would wrinkle up her nose about pike, saying they were too bony. For those of us who ate fish, we may remember having a slice of bread in one hand lest a bone get caught in our throat.

His name was Harry. Oh, he was a wonderful soul. He came to the farm to clean fish for us. He asked mother for a tin knife. He was old school Scandinavian and talked with a brogue. What he wanted was a THIN knife. Only after riddling through the cutlery drawer himself did he find the perfect knife.

We had fish on occasion. Mother would dredge it in flour and cook it in Crisco. The skin was left on the outside of the fillet. When you were done eating, there was the skin on your plate and a few bones on the edge. It was always served with Cole slaw.

The best fish I will ever eat was always at the VFW in the winter. Although we know it was frozen at the beginning of its bath of hot oil, it was rarely wet from the freezing process. Was it walleye? Who knows, we just knew there would be no tell tale skin but there would be bones on the edge of the paper plate!

Who cooked it? Clarence, of course, the same man who painted houses and was imagined to be the veteran who made poppies...............


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fishing 101

Old Trunks fished a few times as a child. Here are the remembrances. Conjour up yours, will you?

To begin, my apologies to anyone who fished in the city where two rivers meet. I did not know there were fish in the rivers which ran through Thief River Falls until I took a sixth grader to the dam and she caught multiple species with a pole and a safety pin. Shirley had two grocery bags full of fish to take home to her family and her neighbors.

I apologize to Soozi, who spend countless hours at the confluence of the Thief and Red River fishing with her dad and probably tossing more Red Devil lures for water wolfs than we will ever know.

My first recollection of fishing was actually not my own, rather one of the Jarshaw boys; either Sam or Irvin. We were in a small white runabout in the early 1950's. I only remember the boat because it sat on the north side of the drive way on Oakland Park Road. I remember him sitting on the fish in the bottom of the boat trying to get the hook out while the fish fought to get loose. The Jarshaw boys were big, strong men and he was having a time with it. It may have been a big pike or it may have been a muskie, I just remember Daddy telling me to get to the front of the boat.

Another time we were fishing and stayed in these really nice log cabins. It was too cold to swim but there were a lot of woods to explore. Greg and I went often but when a neighbor girl, who was there with her parents went by herself, she got lost. We did find her, she did not answer her step father's calls because she knew she would get a whipping for going off by herself. I know it was walleye fishing because my brother would lay in the bottom of the boat and sleep. Someone had to wake him to tell him he had a fish on. He caught the most fish. It was also the time that Daddy cut his hand while filleting the fish which were to be cooked outside in a pan on a grill made of stones. Most likely I didn't fish much because the idea of sitting perfectly still in the boat was not part of this young lass' nature.

Much later, we went to the Lake of the Woods with the Howick's. We where in a launch. It was a big boat painted blue. We broke ice. I am guessing the ice was in break up and looking down on it were pieces. I don't remember any fish, only eating Bunnie's wonderful fried chicken. Mother was not with us.

When we lived on the farm, Greg said he would like to go fishing. He was going with friends. We did not have a boat. Daddy was more than happy to get the tackle ready and pack a lunch for his son. Greg was picked up before sunrise by friends. A few hours later, Daddy went to the garage to go to town. His new Chevy had been rolled. Greg had not bothered to tell him. Imagine how he must have felt opening up that door and seeing his car totaled. Daddy and I went to town, to a Quonset building by the railroad tracks where Northern Chevorlet kept there extra cars. He bought another '58 Chevy; this one was white.

The last time I fished with my parents was in the spring of 1960. He had a bus that he had converted into a camper. It was painted with woodland scenes on the outside. Grandma Ranum had made the curtains, to conserve fabric, she had not matched the pattern, it was a bone of contention between her and mother. We left Kneale Avenue and drove to Kelliher. Sena and Tena lived there along with Eddie and Arnie. Sena and Tena were related and Daddy called Eddie his second cousin. Eggen's had a fine big old house with creaky floors. Arnie was a fabulous cook. Mother and Daddy slept in the house and their daughter, Janet and I slept in the bus. The next day, we would go to Washkish to fish. For those of you who know Minnesota, you know that is on the eastern side of Upper Red Lake about 125 miles from Thief River Falls.

I suppose we fished part of the day in a rented boat. Evening came and Mother and Daddy stayed in the bus while I went to a bank near the lake to at least try fishing. Something took my bait. I reeled and reeled and I got the fish unto the sand below. It was an ugly looking thing right out of a Japanese monster movie. I started screaming for Daddy to come and help me. I did not intend to touch such a fossil. Daddy called it a Sheepshead, also known as a fresh water Drum. I remember he told me they had rocks in their heads. Nevertheless, once released, I too, went to the bus and listened to the mosquitos buzz around Mother and she, with her 6 12 repellent attempt to kill them in flight.

I still had no clue what this fishing was all about.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Here’s a few fishing stories for you!

In Ely Minnesota members of the Minneapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce had a retreat. They caught a 22 ½ pound lake trout and spotted a black bear walking across the ice covered snow.

Jack’s luck cost him $10 in fines, and he doesn’t care because the fish he got is bigger than the one that got away. It was a Muskie weighing 51 pounds with a head 13 inches long, a tail spread of 13 inches, and a 26 inch girth. It tangled with his spear while he was fishing near Squaw Point on Leech Lake, pulled him through a hole in the ice and wrecked his fish house in the bargain. Though was caught out of season, the state game and Fish Department is allowing the Walker community to use a fish for advertising purposes.

Among the tall tales that found their way to early Minnesota newspapers is that of an iron eating catfish, reported in June 1872. The report stated: “ An immense catfish was caught a few days ago in Lake St. Croix and in whose stomach was found an ax with the helve attached. This at first glance seemed incredible, but was vouched for by a number of eyewitnesses, who’s veracity is unquestionable.

The editor, anticipating skepticism, added, “we have as yet no scientific solution of the matter, but we’ll paint in that the ax was swallowed by the greedy monster when it was only a hatchet, and has since attained the growth of an ordinary ax.

While fishing through the ice late in the season, Vern speared a large northern pike. After being struck in the back of the head a monstrous fish continued traveling with such force that it broke the steel spear shaft just above the tines. Silverberg lost not only the largest fish ever seen, but also the spear; and experience which would put some of Ripley’s stuff to shame.

Wall-eyed pike fishing in Lake of the Woods is doomed, Dr. EA Onstad, Baudette, told the legislative investigating committee in St. Paul late last week, unless laws are enforced covering stream pollution and commercial fishing.

Dr. Onstad recommended an injunction be secured against paper mills at International Falls to prevent discharge into Rainey River of waste matter which he said had already wiped out one of the greatest wall-eyed pike spawning grounds in the nation.

The president of the Baudette Chamber of Commerce also suggested all commercial fishing be abolished on Lake of the Woods for an indeterminate period and village sewage pollution along the Rainey River be curbed.

State game and fish division announces catch limits fixed by law.

Gamey northern pike., wall-eyes and battling muskellunge will lure Minnesota sportsman into the outdoors this weekend for the premier of a fishing season expected to rank with the best. The season opened Wednesday.

Cold weather and the late spring, some division officials said, may slow the wall-eye catches somewhat in the northern lakes. In many northern waters, the best pike fishing, they pointed out, occurs in late May in normal years.

Fish which may be taken in Minnesota beginning May 15 are pickerel or northern pike, wall-eyed pike, saugers or sand pike, and muskellunge.
The catch limit on the pike is eight per day with 16 in possession on northern pike.

Eight per day with 20 permitted in possession of wall-eyed pike.

Muskellunge, two per day and two allowed in possession.

Minnesota’s fishing season will continue May 29 when the southern zone opens for sunfish, crappies, and bass. The northern zone for these fish opens June 21.
Pan fish devotees who apply their drop line techniques on the Interstate boundary portions of the St. Croix and the Mississippi rivers will “get the jump” on other Minnesota anglers this season,. Special interstate regulations permit the taking of sunfish and crappies beginning May 15. Black bass may not be taken in these waters until June 20.

July 1940
Many a fisherman has gone Muskie fishing year after year without catching a Muskie. When Clarence, the local Hartz store manager caught a 16 ½ pounder at Height of Land Lake in Ontario, he was beaming with pride.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Old Trunks has talked about structures for the elderly before. The last blog about it had to do with the Valley Christian Home Society purchasing land behind the Oakland Park Sanatorium. We know it never came to be.

In articles published in the Thief River Falls Times in early 1957, it talks about another meeting where architects, fund raising, and society membership was encouraged.

The idea was to get a new and larger home to replace the building in use at Fourth and Horace. It would be a few years before the home was actually ready for occupancy. We know this because when Mrs. Bloom had her stroke, she was first taken to the multiple story building on Horace Avenue. It was a grim place; poorly lit and by all of today's standard's, unlivable. Nina would move to the new Valley Home; she deceased in the fall of 1963.

We know the threshold of a nursing home is the last place we, as healthy people, want to cross. Even today's strict standards, set by the government, we know it is an institutional setting. We know the food comes in frozen or in large cans and dished up and warmed up. We know our loved ones with share half a room and the thousands of trinkets, gadgets, and personal items will not be around our loved one as they had been in their home where we remember having meals and lunch and where the coffee pot was always on. We also know that the worst of the worst where the folks that lived there because no one could take care of them at home.

But Valarie's mother did and Grandma Mae did. What was the difference is my gnawing question. Perhaps the biggest answer is simple: There was no therapy to get people back to what they could do for themselves and dementia was something accepted and nothing could be done to recharge the brain.

I remember Mrs. Nelson whom I never saw out of her bed. As a person who has worked in the nursing home environment, I now wonder about bed sores and getting her up, just for the sake of change of body position. Where subtle changes noted? Did they need to be noted?

Was Grandpa Phil better off in his house, in bed, looking out the window to the north and to the east than in a nursing home? Was it Grandma Mae who taught him to communicate effectively after his stroke that left him without normal speech? What sense of purpose did he have? Did he think about it? Was he challenged in his world?

The couple we had lunch with on Sunday talked about a friend who was 86. He just had three things fixed on his heart. He had no family and was at the time we talked was on a respirator. Arne stated that doctors were just trying to keep people alive. His wife, a nurse for many years, wondered when enough was enough.

I marketed to nursing homes part of the time I lived and worked in Kansas. I met some great people. The staff cared about their residents. A nursing home becomes a community. People buddy up if they are well enough and mindful enough. Staff members have favorites. If you are a little lady with silver hair and manners, you will get the best of treatment.
If you are a male with former clout and bark a lot, you will not. It is the rule of the jungle called health care. The beauty of it is, there is always staff that gets along with the 'difficult' people so they always have a friend or a person that will care for them in a special way.

Families help themselves past feeling guilty by saying, "They will get good care." They will. The biggest difference I see in home care and nursing homes is simple. People who stay at home are lonely. The people in nursing homes have the staff and other residents bumping into their minds numerous times a day. That is part of the community. It may seem odd to you that lining 20 men up on the first Saturday of the month for hair cut is nursing home community. You might find it appalling or degrading to 'line them up' but it is perfectly normal in this community setting.

I am thinking about someone named George. He made the decision to be part of the institution. He had polio as a youngster and now had a stroke. He was not able to walk despite hours of therapy. He greeted every new resident offering a welcome. He made friends and he was liked for the most part by residents and staff alike. George's body was shot but his brain was not. Georges body was frail; he played bingo in the evening and died during the night.

Unlike Mrs. Nelson, he was able to get around on his motorized chair. The Mrs. Nelson's of the home were preened and hugged by staff. Little Gracie, for example was loved by all as was Elizabeth who couldn't think the word fingernail polish but the community that surrounded her knew she meant it when she said, Jell-O.

I am thinking about Ella Steinhauer and the kind of resident she was during her stay in the nursing home. She was that sort of grand lady I am talking about that everyone liked and admired. She was the dietitian's nightmare because she wasn't hungry. The nursing staff cared about her needs and knew her personally. She had visitors on a daily basis to bring in information from the outside. And, like some, she graciously excepted her position in life knowing it would be her last earthly home.

For some of us reading this blog, we won't make the decision as to what to do with our parents, they have died. What about the younger generations? Are you equipped emotionally and physically to care for a parent 24/7? What do we base the decision on?

Perhaps you won't have to make the decision at all. Perhaps they will, like my grandfather, sell his house and his belongings and make the statement that he is moving to the nursing home. Perhaps he made that decision based on his loving 24/7 care of his wife the last six months and how exhausting it was at 87 to take on such a mission.

Think about it.


Thursday, June 19, 2008


Do you happen to remember when Minnesota license plates started with a 9 to signify which district the car was registered in? Kansas had a two letter symbol of the county; if you were in Arizona looking at a canyon on a Sunday morning and there was another Kansas car with a JO, you knew you were both from the same county. Minnesota and North Dakota added PEACE GARDEN STATE AND 10,000 LAKES to their plates in the 1950's.

Some where along the line, the states stopped offering a new plate every year and switched to just a sticker on the plate. Perhaps the people at the prisons had other things to do. Maybe the people in prison didn't make them at all but that is what my grand father told me.

When did personalized license plates start?
Are there special rules regarding what they can say?
Do they cost the same?
Have you ever had a vanity plate?

Let's go back to simpler times when..............

Eck bought a 1940 license for his 1917 model car, two other Minnesotans have contested his claim to owning the state’s oldest car. A Preston farmer owns a 1916 Reo which he has been driving since 1915 and McCullough of Island Park drive the same “Green Jewel” that he bought in 1915. Kemper does all the repair work on his Reo. McCullough has had license number 152 for many years.

February 15--only one week away is the final date of which Minnesota motorists may purchase their 1940 plates without penalty. The penalty imposed will maximize at $2.50. The new plates for cars are dark blue with white numerals.

A variety of colors, offering competition with the rainbow, and the appearance of a few exotic shades, features 1940 motor vehicle license plates.
First to catch the eyes are the green and gold Idaho, the cream and coffee brown of Illinois, and the ultramarine blue on yellow of Pennsylvania. Shades of yellow and black compromise the most popular color combination, with blue and white second, and black-and-white third.
Many states will take advantage of the advertising potentials, using special designs, shapes, or slogans. New York again will give a preamble to plug the World’s Fair. Georgia will suggest peaches. Wisconsin’s cars will tell the world that Wisconsin means America is Dairy land.

In some of the states in this area the new plates will not make their appearance on January 1, for Wisconsin and South Dakota have been a break by postponing motor vehicle registration dates until April 1. That gives them time to pay Christmas and New Year bills so the 1940 plates will appear in glory and quantities sometime after April 1. North Dakota and Iowa still cling to the January 1 changeover, and Minnesota motorists will have until February 15 to file applications for new license plates. A few Southern states recognize harvest time, and have put the re-registration dates at October 1.

Perhaps my favorite vanity story is about a respiratory therapist who drove a little red sports car. His plate was O24U. The man that owned the company I worked for saw it one day and wondered how come the guy with the red car had such an odd Kansas plate. I told him what it said. He went to the hospital to find him and find out how to get something like it!

See if you can figure out some of these plates:



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On a Sunday Afternoon

"Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Anderson and family motored to Thief River Falls to visit Carl Bloom at the San. --Mrs. and Mrs. Benhard Ranum visited with the Peter Mellem family on Sunday".

These are logs from the Rosewood News in the late forties when people visited OR hosted guests on Sunday afternoons. It is not known just how the idea of who would host or who would be hosted. The purpose of mentioning it as that it seems to be somewhat of a lost art.

Children visit parents; parents visit children. For example, this after noon an email message stated....we are going to J&B's for supper.....

There is something very special in the author's memory bank about being with my grand parents when they visited their friends on Sunday afternoons. One time we went to Rosewood that I remember. The house was green with brown trim and there where lots of lilac bushes in bloom. My brother Greg was along, we disappeared outside to explore. We found tall weeds which may or may not have really been pig weeds but since the pigs were so close, we figured that was a good name for them.

We peeled off all the leaves and started switching the pigs, herding them, if you wish, as one would drive cattle. Perhaps neither Greg, nor I knew that running livestock ran off the weight.

Perhaps we didn't know the windows in the house were open and the owner's of said livestock good hear his herd rebelling. Nevertheless, the switching stopped almost as quickly as it started. After that, only I went with them and generally sat quietly as they visited their silver haired friends.

For as many years as I can remember, Mother visited Mae on Sunday afternoons. There were always plenty of kids in Grandma Mae's neighborhood to play with. Pierce's had chickens to look at as well as eggs to hunt for, LaCoe's had rabbits and an old Hudson car made into a play house, we could play hide and seek in the cemetery, until a moment fell on Susu and broke her leg. If nothing else, Valerie and I could watch Grandma Nelson wave her arms in the arm at the imaginary straw circling above her head. It wasn't until years later I realized that Grandma Nelson was stuck in the horror of dementia and the straw was real to her.

Afternoon lunch was served at 3:15 and Valerie and I would eat it on Grandma Mae's front step between the two huge beds of tiger lilies, after which we would play jacks. We always wanted to play rock hopscotch but the side walk had a hand cut half moon pattern in it not quite big enough to hop from cut to cut.

Sunday was always a day of rest and relaxation. The only stores open were the mom and pop stores in the neighborhoods, restaurants, the movie theaters, and in the winter, the arena.

Old Trunks had not thought about the lazy days called Sunday until coming home from the lake on Sunday. We had a lot of wind and rain at the lake and since the lake was still white capping, we left early.

We drove through Walker, which was in a bustle and on toward Akeley. Tom had turned Father's Day over to me and I suggested we look for a lake called Crow Wing Eleven. We turned off highway 200 on the west end of Akleley and were pleasantly surprised at the very nice and full campground and launch area.

We did not have a GPS nor a map, we were on an adventure. Generally Tom likes to know where he is at all times. We were now on highway 64 and he stated we were going to be going back to Walker. He said that since it was nearly noon, we could have a sandwich.

As you know, Tom is in a service and merchandise line of work. As I ordered for us, he stood by the cash register to pay. I picked up the sandwiches and found a table. He was talking to a man in his mid to late eighties about fishing. It turned out this man and his wife get their glasses from Tom. We shared a common table with them, visiting for about an hour until Arne stood up, which we all know is an announcement that he was ready to go.

That was what reminded me of what a sweet thing visited with someone on a Sunday afternoon was like. I am hopeful all of you have the experience of something as delightful as we did.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Grandma didn't turn on the television during the time they were raising their children but my parents did. We started our television viewing in 1952. Dragnet was already on the air starring Jack Webb or Sgt. Joe Friday.

Although forensics had been around for centuries, most of the apprehending of crooks was done by foot work, interviews in person or by phone, and of finger prints. We didn't see the Y cut in people's chests when they did the autopsies.

The detectives sat at desks with their phones WITH CORDS. There were no cell phones or beepers. They didn't ask for "phone lugs", voicemail, computers and email, credit card charges and bank statements. Nor did they ask about videos of the easy pass and store cameras.

Rape kits and sperm cells, stomach contents and tox screens were not part of the lingo.

We learned the cause of death and the time of death. We knew what the word ballistics meant as well as finger prints. There was no Miranda Rights until the mid sixties. We saw lots of line ups. We didn't see court cases but we knew the sentence.


I am totally a Law and Order person. Some times I get confused because Dick Wolf has written so many crime dramas over the years. I am having trouble with Jack McCoy being the District Attorney but in this 19th season, I suppose change happens. "Jack" joined the show in its fifth season.

Perhaps my favorite character was "Lennie". He had twelve seasons with the show. In his real life, Jerry died of prostate cancer. I liked his off the wall humor and considering he was in his late sixties when he left the show, he didn't look like it! Besides, Lennie only had three partners. Logan left, I don't know why, Curtis left to take care of his wife, and then, there was Ed Green.

I did a ten different show check list using twenty five+ common things they said:

DNA/blood sample
Phone lugs
Bank Statements
Credit card charges
Easy Pass
Rape kit
Under the nails
Computer/seize laptop
Time of death
Cause of death
Tox screen
Stomach contents
Cheating partner
Murder weapon
Finger prints/other prints
Run them through the system
Miranda rights

I am certain you can add many more to the list!

It is said that on the Law and Order banner it says which episode of which year. I will need to look for that.

Mean while: DON TA DON DON--- DON. What? You don't remember the Dragnet song?


Monday, June 16, 2008


We stood looking across the confluence of the Thief River and Red Lake River from near the Eighth Street bridge remembering times when the swimming area was a very busy time in the summer.

Gone is a toddler's fenced in area, the slide, the barge, the high dive, and the spring board. Was that the bath house? Where were the boys playing basketball, the croquet set up, and the picnicking groups dotted on the hill?

Typical summer afternoon scenes at the old swimming hole in the city have seemed to disappear. Gone are the toddlers playing in the water and beyond the fenced kiddie area, the younger ones squealing, shoving others underwater and try to get on the wet log. It is the area with the slide, as if it were set aside for an age group not quite strong enough yet to buck the current to the barge where the older kids dove, sunbathed, and sprung off the board doing cannon balls. The goal was to be strong enough to swim to this elite older teenager place. Around the bend was the high dive and the spring board.

On a grassy slope between the spring board and the basketball courts is where the teenage girls soaked up sunshine at Tindolph Park. It was about this time of the year in 1956 the bevy of pretty sunbathers spread their beach towels and covered themselves with baby oil mixed with iodine. After all this is were the boys were! Who were these sun worshippers? According to the caption under the picture they were Darlene LaFave, Sandy Sandvig, Karen Austin, Janet Helgenset, Kay Froiland, and Ruth Jorgenson.

In addition to providing swimming facilities for the city folks, Tindolph Park provide lessons for those who wish to learn to swim. Bus loads of children were brought from small towns around Thief River Falls to take lessons from people like Mr. Jones.

The bath house was made of block, painted white. Just inside the door was a place that sold snacks and issued a pin for a basket to check your clothes. One end of the bath house was for men, the other for women. Once through the doors of the women's section, there was a row of toilets with doors and a big room with benches to change in and out of swim wear. There was a little shower off to the side. There was no roof. If so desired, boys could climb up the wall and look at the women changing their clothes.

How would that be possible? Behind the rooms in the back of the structure is where people played ping-pong. The block walls graduated from three feet to the height of the building. And easy climb for those wishing to peek. There was a door leading into the bathhouse from the ping-pong area.

The ping-pong tables were dominated by high school boys, just as the basketball courts were.

We lived in the country during this time; if I wanted to swim it meant a three mile bike ride to town. I was okay with that and pedaled in after lunch nearly every day. By the time we moved to town before I was to be a sophomore, I must have 'forgotten' about the beach, I don't remember swimming in the river, laying on the grassy slope, or jumping off the high dive, except off hours.

The guy I was dating at the time had a really hard time getting to the barge in the midnight hours. I thought that odd, I was certain every male could swim like my brother.

It isn't called Tindolph Park any more, it is called LaFave Park, re-named for someone in the community just as it had been named for someone in the community when Thief River Falls was a young city.

I suppose children take swimming lessons at an indoor pool. There is no Mr. Jones in their young lives to row them from the swimming area across the waters to the Eighth Street bridge. And if the girls are not sunning on the grass that means the boys aren't playing basketball.

Makes a person wonder if there is still a water show when the banks of the river are lined up with people on a hot summer day watching people ski by waving at the crowd.

Do people still picnic? Do they still play croquet? How about horse shoes? The area is well maintained. The parking lot seems to have been increased in size.

Can you see yourself walking into the bath house? Did you by a frozen Snicker from Gretchen Larson? Did you check your clothes and wear a pin on your swim suit? Did you figure out how to dress so now one saw you totally naked?


Sunday, June 15, 2008


I had a hard time understanding why I needed a Father in heaven when I had one here on earth. It never made sense to be that someone was teaching me life lessons here and I was suppose to rely on a heavenly Being to show me the way. Perhaps, it was something I would learn later; as a Sunday School attender, it wasn't explained in a way that I had inner understanding. Perhaps I struggled with someone being perfect; Daddy certainly was not. I understood kind, fair, and right from my earthly father.

The earliest thing I remembering doing with Daddy are two fold; both happened at the house on Main Avenue North. One was waiting for him to finish the paper on Sunday morning so he would read me the comics. Mother didn't like that, I would soon be covered with newsprint ink but it was a weekly connection for us. The other was being all dressed up to have a family picture taken and me running around and banging my head on the door frame. Mother said we weren't going; Daddy said the photographer could paint it out--which he did. So there was a big difference of how people looked at things from the very beginning. LESSONS: Be patient and kids do not sit still while all dressed up.

On Oakland Park Road, I remember him bringing home a Boston Terrier puppy from Minneapolis. The dog's name was Jigs, and he was in Daddy's suit pocket! When he had sold the collie because she didn't mind him, he bought a duck at the fair to 'replace' Lassie. I suspect the duck was not the kind of a pet you have in the house, although it did a good job of always pooping under the piano bench on the carpet. Jigs, like every other dog we had, would have, and did have, were trained to poop outside. If you were thinking of pooping on the floor you better be ready to have your nose rubbed in it. Throughout my life time at home, I can hear Daddy saying to any dog when he let him outside, "GO S*!" ON COMMAND!? LESSON: Talk about when you feel something is unfair, it just might work on in a way you never thought about.

During this same era, mother was at the San. I spent a lot of time with Daddy on Sundays. We often went to the lumber yard where Daddy and the owner, and his friend, Andy would visit while Andy was having his hair cut. I loved to play with the demo locks and keys and 'rearrange the displays'. The Sunday ventures continued for several years, whether it be checking on the jobs or exploring for ponies. LESSON: You learn a lot about your parents watching them interact with their friends.

I am not certain if Greg and I were really sick with pneumonia the summer of 1950. I just know that Dr. Starkow told him to buy me the biggest doll he could find and take me over to the Mercy Hospital. Maybe I wasn't that sick, maybe my grand parents needed a break but Greg and I were both admitted; mine was for two weeks and Greg for three. I was in a bed in the hall and when Daddy came to get me after discharge, he had a new Cadillac and the paper was still on the doors. It was the day of my sixth birthday and when I got home, I was put to bed. It would be the same year I got a watch for Christmas, which he wrapped himself like it was a roast, he told me it was not how it wrapped that counted but the gift inside. I still beg to differ and go to great lengths to wrap packages and that is probably why. LESSON: It is okay to disagree.

A popular thing during those years was to go to the dump. They didn't have garbage pickup like they do now. You either burned stuff in a barrel in your back yard, or you took it to the dump. It was on the river on the way to St. Hilaire. One would throw the stuff unto the river bank or leave it in a pile and the city crew would burn it. The rats were numerous. I didn't get on the ground; people came to 'shop' and mother's clothes and alligator shoes were snatched up! Our family learned to wait for Daddy to say, "Do you want to go to the dump? I will buy you a Dairy Queen." It became a family outing. LESSON: Sometimes you have to give to get.

In the mid forties, Daddy was building a barn and the skill saw slipped. He had 144 stitches on the outside of his leg, no telling what all they had to do interior. He was in the hospital for sometime. After that happened, if he was driving for several hours, he would walk with a limp, we always knew when he had been behind the wheel too long. He drove hard. He said he traded cars when the ashtrays were full. It wasn't unusual in those early construction years to make two trips to Minneapolis in a day. Obviously he didn't sleep much. LESSON: Our human kinks don't leave us even on vacation.

He was a kind of person that liked to go to a zoo. He liked to tease the animals. The monkey's did not appreciate it yet all they could do was scream at him. He did tease a cousin to the llama in upstate New York, however,he was covered with half chewed grass when he turned to look at us as he wiped off his face and glasses. LESSON: He asked for it.

He would sit at his drafting table for hours drawing plans. By the time the family got up around seven, his day has half over, he would start his day around 2 AM. He would draw until we got up, have breakfast and go to the jobs. After lunch a nap of 15 minutes and then back to the office to figure bids for jobs. LESSON: Father's work harder than we will ever know.

We moved to the country in the fall of 1955. He started a pony herd and bought hay. It was a long winter but he calculated how much he needed and he made it by a minimal cut back. He bought he a quarter horse at the Sales Barn in Winger; she was way too much horse for me. He would sell Camille and buy Suntan. Sunny would be a company horse. Both of us could ride her--then he winked. He didn't call her my horse but the wink told me he probably wouldn't be riding her very often. He rode her to make her mind. LESSON: He taught me to have the upper hand with her that I had not learned with Camille.

The best lesson I will leave for last. I asked him for $3.00 to buy a pair of moccasins. He asked me if I needed shoes, I did not. He asked me why I wanted moccasins. I told him because everyone else had them. He stated that was not a good reason. He went to take his midday nap and I washed his subcompact car using a bath towel to dry it. When he woke up from his nap and saw his car was cleaned, he said that it would cost him $3.00 to have it washed at the filling station. He paid me $3.00 for washing his vehicle and winked while he said, "And you can spend it anyway you want."
To this day, I still don't have moccasins. I learned that my drummer is not necessarily another person's drummer, I can follow my own lead although sometimes I may get lost.

He spanked me once, I don't remember what it was for. I know he used a hair brush and took me across his knee. I don't think he spanked hard, I remember I cried because I was so surprised to get a licking. It may have been one of those times when Greg and I had been bad and days later it was decided we were to be punished.

If I was to say the most important lesson I used as a parent myself, it would have to be the YES OR NO rule. No always led to WHY. Daddy always gave me the reason. He never said, "Because I said so." He said I deserved an answer because I listened.

He was a likable fellow. You could see that when he visited with friends. He was as fair and honest as one could be. He cared and I knew it and although I might write accolades for hours, what it all boils down to is simple: I loved him dearly.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


Thursday, July 12, 1956


Cause of Sudden Illness of Lindbergh Slayer is Not Definitely Learned.

Murder or James P. Taylor was returned to Ramsey County jail cell Wednesday after being hospitalized four hours following an apparent seizure.

His illness was laid a curiously to emotional stress, a flair for drama and attempted suicide.

Whatever the cause, the 31-year-old former Detroiter, under life sentence for the hatchet murder of bank cashier Kenneth Lindbergh, was pronounced in good condition and capable of returning to jail.

There were no immediate indications whether Taylor’s transfer to Leavenworth Federal Prison would be delayed for any appreciative time.

Taylor suffered his apparent attack shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday while he was being driven from the Hennepin County Jail to the Ramsey County Jail here are for a brief stopover before continuing to Leavenworth.

His face heavily sloshed and his breathing heavy, Taylor was rushed to the hospital. Attendance at first thought he swallowed poison. Symptoms of poisoning appeared to be president. The theory was heightened by a suicide note Taylor scribbled to a deputy marshal.

After his stomach had been pumped, Taylor was questioned by deputy marshal Robert Allie. He complained of pain in the abdomen but denied taking poison.

Dr. William Mazlelio gave this description of Taylor’s illness: “ It was an acute tension reaction. It was a culmination of very severe emotional and mental strain which affect the stomach and the chest. You might call it psychosomatic. In other words the pain he felt its were all in his imagination. There were no findings that he had taken anything organic.”

This, however left unexplained and note which Taylor addressed to Allie in the Ramsey County Jail.
The note read, I don’t want to put the heat on you, but this is the best way. Possibly I am wrong.

Allie himself offered an explanation. He said Taylor probably was pretending that in the prisoner’s own mind he might actually have believed he was committing suicide.

Taylor’s defense attorneys had argued earlier in the year that he needed psychiatric treatment. Taylor himself pleaded, for such care last Thursday, when Judge Gunnar Nordbye sentenced him to life imprisonment for the November 13 slaying of the Thief River Falls, Minnesota cashier.

Sheriff Arthur Rambeck of Thief River Falls assigned to help guard Taylor during the transfer to Leavenworth, said “I’m no doctor but I think he’s putting on a show.”

Monday, July 16, 1956


Rambeck Accompanies Lindbergh Murderer to Leavenworth ‘Pen’

Chained and handcuffed confessed murderer James P. Taylor was taken from St. Paul to Leavenworth Federal prison on Thursday to serve a life sentence.

Convicted of killing Thief River Falls bank cashier, Kenneth Lindbergh, Taylor was taken to the Kansas prison by three officers.

This trip was delayed 24 hours by a nervous reaction when hospitalized him briefly on Wednesday.
At 6 a.m., Thursday he was picked up by Deputy United States Marshal Robert Allie, Sheriff Arthur Rambeck, of Thief River Falls, and an off-duty Minneapolis city policeman hired as a guard.

Allie and the others drove straight through to Leavenworth except for brief stops for gas.

Originally, they had intended to pick up two other prisoners in St. Paul Wednesday. But after Taylor’s illness, they decided to take only him.

Taylor said little as he was picked up by the officers and debarked with them. He was quiet and apparently still somewhat under the effects of sedatives administrated following his seizure.

Sheriff Rambeck who sat with Taylor in the back seat of the car on the journey, stated that Taylor was quite talkative and insisted that he had not deliberately murdered Lindbergh, but that circumstances had forced him to commit the act.

Where are these people now?

Friday, June 13, 2008


I walked into the Greystone Hotel with Lindbergh. We both walked directly to the men’s room. After coming back from the men’s room, Lindbergh stopped in a little hallway to use a pay phone to call his wife. I stood within 6 feet of Lindbergh every moment he was on that phone. When Lindbergh had finished his conversation I did not have the bag with me. The bag was in the car.

I think Lindbergh went along with me on this primarily because he was afraid that the syndicate might hurt his family.

Lindbergh and I, then walked to the front door of the hotel. We had just gotten through the door when Lindbergh remembered then he needed cigarettes. I told him that I would get them for him. He went over and sat on the arm of the davenport or chair with his arms folded awaiting a while I got his cigarettes.

I left him and I re-crossed the lobby and went to the woman who is that the hotel desk and bought cigarettes for Lindbergh.

I then returned to Lindbergh who is still waiting for me near the door and we walked out of the hotel together. I handed him the cigarettes at this time. We got back into the Lindbergh’s car and started towards Minneapolis.
Lindbergh, at this time had grown very apprehensive and exceedingly nervous.

I had already checked train and plane schedules out of Minneapolis, (I knew) that I had to follow a very fast schedule from here on in. I knew that I could not carry all that silver around with me. Twice I turned off the main highway 10 and started down roads looking for an appropriate place to ditch the silver. On the second or third time I found the road that turn followed to the Fiereck farm road.

I stopped the car, Lindbergh and I each got out. He asked me what I was go

ing to do. I told him I was going to hide the silver.
I took the bag out of the backseat with Lindbergh’s help transferred it to the trunk where we emptied the bag of its contents. Lindbergh did not see the hatchet we just emptied the money there. The boxes of silver were very, very heavy.

I decided that we would try to find a place on the other side of the barbed wire fence in which to bury the silver. The only digging tool I had at this time or could use as such, was the hatchet.

At the time Lindbergh reached into the trunk of the car and got one of the boxes of silver dollars in each hand and turned toward the fence which were going to cross. I picked up one box of silver dollars and the hatchet with the other hand to use to make some kind of entrenchment.

I held the wires open on the fence, the barbed wire fence while Lindbergh crawled through and then he held the wires open for me. Then Lindbergh and I then began walking down the incline toward what looked like a little patch or thicket.

We walked almost to the bottom of this incline and saw no place to bury the silver. We worked our way up and down looking for a suitable spot.

As we started to go down the incline once more and more about halfway down, I noticed what looked like or felt like a slight depression, it was pitch dark out.

I slipped and stumbled towards Lindbergh. Lindbergh with a box of silver dollars in his hand, apparently thinking I was attacking him, hit me on the side of the head with a box of silver dollars, which he had in his hand.

We then commenced to have a struggle -- which I remember very little-- I do remember, how much later I don’t know -- trying to find my hat. I found it and put it on my head only to find it was Lindbergh’s. I then, on my hands and knees, search the area to find my own hat.
I found my own hat, picked up some of the silver dollars, returned them to the trunk of the car, leaving all the silver and the hatchet.

It all happened so fast that I don’t remember the incident. I knew that after he hit me I was fighting for my life and I think Lindbergh felt the same way. The first conscious thing that I can remember after the struggle with Lindbergh was the fact of what a horrible thing I had done and what do I do now? I took the hatchet and put it in the trunk of the car and laid it upon some newspapers. I then got in the car at very high speeds drove directly to Minneapolis.

(During a court hearing several weeks ago at which the government demanded that the Taylor case be submitted to a jury qualified to inflict the death penalty , MacKinnon contended that the Lindbergh slaying was premeditated, that Taylor bought a hatchet for that purpose and that Taylor considered Lindbergh’s death was the essential to Taylor’s successful getaway).

During the struggle with Lindbergh I had been given a slight nosebleed, had a bruise on the side of my face and hands, which I used talcum powder on for several days.

On the way to Minneapolis from Crescent Lake when I first got to the outskirts of town, I saw a bridge --I got lost at first.

I drove out partially upon this bridge, I was assured no cars were in the vicinity, suddenly stopped the car, took the papers which the hatchet head rested on, and the hatchet and threw them into the river.

I asked several cabdrivers directions on how to get to the Nicolet Hotel.

I parked the car within a half a block of the Nicolet Hotel picked up the bag with the travelers checks, (the silver was still in the trunk,) and walked into the Nicolet Hotel. I was almost in a state of shock myself, so much so that, muddy and bloody as I was I can not remember being apprehensive about someone seeing me.

I went right to my room and took a shower and change my clothes and while doing so, call for the bellboy to bring me some ice.

I used this ice to make stiff drinks. The realization of what I had done had still not completely dawned on me.
If it had, I would have used the silver in the automobile to leave town.

After changing clothes went back to Lindbergh’s car. I changed the gray flannel suit for a light gray gabardine suit. My topcoat was so soiled that I had put it in the bag and was not wearing it.

I took Lindbergh’s car to north Minneapolis and parked it on the first dark and deserted street I saw.
Just as I started to get out of the car, a newsboy came out of the house and walked to his car, parked just a little way up the street on the opposite side. I therefore got back into Lindbergh’s car and waited until this man had driven off.

I then walked about a block and a half to two blocks to an all night eating place where there were a great many milkman having coffee, etc. early in the morning. This must have been around 5:45 a.m.

All I took out of Lindbergh’s car were a set of car keys and the registration which was on the steering wheel. I got rid of them in Chicago -- threw them away. I then ordered a cup of coffee at this all-night eatery. I called for a cab to pick me up at this address.

Shortly thereafter in came. I got into the cab, still without an overcoat and traveled directly to the Nicolet Hotel.

I told the cab driver to wait as I would be out in a few moments as soon as I had checked out.
I went inside the hotel, went upstairs, and had another quick stiff drink.

I think I called for some coffee. I then checked out of the hotel, called for the bellboy and went down to the desk. Up to this time, since arriving in Thief River Falls, I had only the balance of money Lindbergh a given me to pay for gas. I now was pushed into using the first travelers check which I did. I cashed 4- $50 travelers checks with the woman clerk. This woman did not ask me for any identification whatsoever.

The cab driver then drove me to the airport where I caught a plane at approximately 7:15 in the morning for Chicago.

This was the morning of November 13. Then I caught a cab from the Midway Airport after arriving in Chicago and went directly to a hotel in downtown Chicago. I cashed a small amount of checks at this hotel and in Chicago a various places. I also disposed of the car keys and registration which had belonged to Lindbergh. I tore up the registration so it would not be readable and ditched it in the trash can.

That evening I took a plane to Detroit, Michigan and from the Willow Run airport outside of Detroit I went to a friend’s home where I had been invited to attend a birthday party.

I might add at this point that although several people have claimed that I had an overcoat on after I arrived in Minneapolis and at this time I arrived in Detroit, this is completely false.

After leaving friends home at the party’s conclusion, I went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Keller in Detroit, Michigan. Keller was an old friend. Monday morning I went into Detroit and went to Kearn’s Department Store where I bought an overcoat. I registered at the hotel right across the street from the bank in Detroit.

I had first put some travelers checks in the hotel safety deposit box.

When I asked to withdraw a portion of these checks, I believe that I was informed that I would have to withdraw all of them. I withdrew all of them and went across the street to the bank for a began endorsing the checks and opening a deposit or account under the name of Kenwell.

(A nationwide FBI search for Lindbergh slayer then unknown, began within a few days after Taylor deposited nearly $6,000 worth of stolen travelers checks in the downtown branch of the Detroit bank under the name of Charles Kenwell. It was fingerprints Taylor left on some of these checks that later established the slayer’s identity and led to his apprehension).

After signing or endorsing the bulk of these checks, which was quite a job in itself, I decided to call it a day and return later. I believe that was almost, if not, after the closing hours of the bank.

The man who I was dealing with at the bank informed me that before I would be able to withdraw from this account that I would have to provide him with identification.

I said that my identification was in the hotel; that I would return the next day to finish signing the checks, and bring my identification with me at that time.

I thought that I had taken every check into the bank with me. The reason for this being is that, when I was first arriving in Detroit, I had rented an automobile. These checks had slid down behind the back seat when I had taken the others out. The American Express checks were the ones that had fallen behind the seat.

After leaving the bank I went to Hudson’s Department store and bought two pieces of luggage, giving a check written on the new account. This check, I was told, would not be clear until the next day. I now decided the devil with the whole doggone thing. Forget the money.

One day, I lifted up the backseat of the car before I returned it to the agency and discovered the balance of those checks. I decided to cash them. I stayed with the Keller‘s, I believe until the 19.………….

I went to Birmingham, Michigan, and saw one or two of my old acquaintances and then later, I don’t know the date, played basketball for a man the name of Roger Reynolds in Detroit, with the industrial team of some city league. I had planned to go to Joplin, Missouri for the Christmas holidays…..Keller said to save me money, said that I could use his car to drive to Missouri and he would use the rental car; thus saving all the mileage.

It was at this time that I discovered, when turning in one car and getting another, the American Express checks underneath the back seat. I kept these locked in a brief case. I then decided that before I went to Missouri I would get rid of the balance of the traveler’s checks I had just come upon. Knowing full well all that had happened and that everyone would be watching for these checks. I can not say why I did this.

I took a plane to Miami, Florida. When arriving, rented an automobile, registered at many different hotels, cashing those checks as fast as I could. Upon completion of cashing the last one, or what I thought was the last one, before leaving Florida, I visited my parents and got all of my clothes and personal belongings which they had been keeping in storage for me.

My parents were very cold toward me……drove with me down into the city of Fort Lauderdale where I bought a steamer trunk in which to put some of the many things that they had been keeping for me.

I also at this time, bought a machete and a canteen. The purpose of buying this machete was for a hunting trip to clear the underbrush.

When I returned to my parent’s house, I parked the rented automobile in the driveway and began packing all of these boxes that had been in storage into the steamer trunk and other bags of mine.,…After completing this packing, I said good bye to my parents, returned to Miami, and there in Miami, shipped a great bulk of my boxes through air express and railroad express to Joplin, Missouri. I then returned via plane to Detroit, Michigan.

While in Florida I had bought a 30.06 deer rifle and a .22 caliber target pistol. The pistol was for the purpose of plinking only. It was my intention at this time to go hunting when I returned to Michigan, which circumstances prevented. I’ve been returned to Detroit and to the Keller’s home. Keller met me at the airport and took me to their home. I then drove Keller’s car to Joplin, Missouri.

When I had first arrived in Detroit I took the soiled topcoat that I had at the time I was in Thief River Falls, plus all the papers and folders which the traveler’s checks came in, out to an isolated area which I knew near Birmingham, Michigan, bought a can of gasoline and burned them.

The night before I was arrested, I played basketball in the town of Anderson, Missouri for a Joplin team…. During the night, I had called Keller in Detroit, telling him that I would be there for a while and asking him what I owed him so I could send it through Western Union…..

And was awakened just a few hours later by a cordon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, who surrounded my bed with guns and searchlights.

A day after I arrived in Joplin on this last trip I was going through my luggage and found another traveler’s check. I put it away in my luggage to be disposed of. I understand it was found in my belongings.

Kenneth Lindbergh had no knowledge whatsoever or had anything at all with this crime and previous to the crime I only once in in the state of Minnesota, which was for a period of three hours when I dropped off some children.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Monday, July 9, 1956


George MacKinnon, United States District Attorney, Thursday made public, James P. Taylor’s confession of the Kenneth Lindbergh kidnapping and slaying last November 12.

The confession was made to Richard N. Pranke and Harry D. Bergland, FBI agents in the Hennepin County jail April 9, 1956. It was four months after Taylor’s arrest and a few days after he had pleaded guilty in Minneapolis federal court to the crime.

Irving Nenerov and Walter E. Riodan, court appointed attorneys for Taylor were present when the confession was made. Certain portions of the confession were deleted from this text. MacKinnon said, because the details were not collaborated by another competent evidence or because references were made to innocent persons whose reputations might be damaged. Such deletions are indicated thus…..

The following is a portion of Taylor’s statement as released by MacKinnon dealing with events after Taylor’s arrival in Thief River Falls on November 12.

I arrived at the Thief River Falls airport at approximately 3:45 p.m.. I went into the airport restaurant and ordered a cup of coffee and a roll or sandwich. I had been drinking again early that morning to fortify myself for what laid ahead, just what I did not know.

One man finally offered to give me a ride into Thief River Falls since there were no taxis available.

I could not have afforded a taxi now as I had only $.60.

I was carrying a small brown overnight bag, empty except for a shirt, a pair of slacks, and a hatchet which I had bought at a hardware store.

The man who drove me to Thief River Falls dropped me in front of a hotel stating that this would probably be the hotel where I would stay. I entered this hotel and asked the man in attendance whether he had two rooms reserved for Herbert F. Johnson.

He stated that he did not but in all likelihood it would be at the other hotel in town to which he directed me.

I then walked around the block and entered the other hotel asking whether they had a reservation for Herbert F. Johnson. A woman informed me that she did have this reservation and one for a Miss Hadley.

I then was quite nervous and came very close to turning back again, however, I didn’t since I could not pay my way out of Thief River Falls.

I stood in this lobby and smoked, although it is not my custom to smoke cigarettes. Smoked three or four. I told the woman that I would be back to register later on, picked up my bag and after asking for directions to the bank, walked over to the bank.

I knocked on the bank door. A very genial and smiling man answered my knock and opened the door and introduced himself as Kenneth Lindbergh. We shook hands during which time I introduced myself as Herbert F. Johnson. We walked into the main part of the bank, Lindbergh called a Mr. George Werstlein over to him and introduced us.

I noticed that a janitor was sweeping the floors in the bank.

Lindbergh then walked me into his office, helped me off with my coat and hat, and we sat down in two chairs facing one another. Werstlein retired behind a semi-close partition within six feet of us.

I knew that I could not disclose the nature of my business while all of these people were in the bank, but happened to stall off as best I could until they left. I did lead Lindbergh to believe that I was Herbert F. Johnson of the Johnson Wax Company; that we were going to buy a large tract of land in that area to build a new plant, that to date we had kept all our intentions very confidential and were still in only the planning stages on this new enterprise.

Lindbergh asked me as to the labor situation. I then went on at great lengths to discuss how we wanted to use local people as much as possible.

We then talked at great length about the number of high school seniors, about working conditions and employment conditions in the area. It was about this time that Werstlein re-entered Lindbergh’s office, stating that he was going to leave for home and before he left, was there anything he could do to help.

Lindbergh told Werstlein, thank you, no he needed no help.

After Werstlein’s departure, Lindbergh and I sat and talked about hunting, fishing, and athletics. I didn’t know whether the janitor was still there. I hadn’t see him leave and I didn’t know if Werstlein would be coming back or calling back. Shortly there after the phone rang. Lindbergh answered and affirmed the fact that everything was all right to Werstlein.

He then returned and we talked for some time again.
I had cold feet and I still wanted to back out but I had no money to leave , I had $.60.

I knew I couldn’t even get out of town. Then there was the matter of, I knew Lindbergh would ask me about putting the money for the deal away I tried to leave this money which I could not produce.

To stall further I mention the fact to Lindbergh that he certainly had a nice modern looking bank. He then took me on a tour of the whole bank in explaining the uses of all the machines in the system used.

I wanted to do this myself to learn whether or not the janitor was still in the bank.

When we came back to Lindbergh’s office, I opened this subject on hunting and fishing once more. Finally Lindbergh mentioned would I want a cashier’s check for the money. Trying a last desperate shot at hoping to avoid the whole thing I asked Lindbergh if you would like to place the whole bag just as it lies in the vault: that a check would not be necessary.

Lindbergh said he would feel better about it and he felt it would be the only way to handle the matter, would be to give me a cashier’s check for the money.

I then asked Lindbergh whether he wanted to put the bag in as it was since the money in the bag was a lot of small denomination’s. He said then that he thought it best that he count it before locking it up.

I then told Lindbergh to prepare himself for a shock. I realized that Lindbergh was a large man and that I did not want any kind of rumpus. Therefore I gave Lindbergh the following story:

I told him that I was with a large syndicate; that his bank was being robbed. Lindbergh very nearly passed out. I told him to please stay calm; that no one would be hurt so long as everyone cooperated.

At this time Lindbergh, as I have before stated, was visibly shaken, was very pale and trembling. I felt like he might have a heart attack.

He asked if it would be all right if he got a drink. I said most certainly and went with Lindbergh to the lavatory in the back of the bank where had a paper cup full of water. He seemed to get a hold of himself a little bit and we returned to his office.

I believe it was around 9:30 or 10 o’clock at that time.
When Lindbergh asked me a couple of questions in regard to why and how his bank was being robbed. All I said for an explanation was that there were other members of the syndicate in town, some near his home in the event that he did not cooperate.

Lindbergh then said, it is a funny thing but I just mentioned to my wife today that I had never been robbed.

Then he said, well we might as well get what you want.

This, is another injection: during the conversation that evening in the bank and alarm had sounded at the bank. Lindbergh had gotten up and gone back near the vault. The alarm ceased during the time that he was gone.

I had picked up the bag and walked with Lindbergh to the vault. He told me that he could not open the safe where all the currency was , since I can’t remember, but I do believe that Werstlein had closed the safe with money just before he left or Lindbergh closed it when the alarm rang.

He was able, however to open up another safe which contain silver and travelers checks.

Lindbergh started to put the contents of this safe into the bag while I was holding the bag open. He spilled one box of silver and then I began to help him as he had become very nervous again.

I asked Lindbergh are you sure you could not open that other safe. He manipulated the dials repeatedly said it is impossible it will not open until Monday morning……………………….

We then walked out of the vault, which Lindbergh close behind us, and left the bag containing the travelers checks and silver by the side door of the bank. During this time I had been doing a lot of thinking and regards as to what I was going to do with Lindbergh.

I couldn’t just let him walk out of the bank and I had forgotten all the sleeping potions which I had intended to bring. The hatchet remained in the bag all during this time. Lindbergh was completely oblivious that I even had a hatchet. It was in the bag and the clothes were on top.

In Lindbergh’s office I decided that since…… by being so long delayed causing me to miss all possible means of transportation out of Thief River Falls, I would use Lindbergh’s car to leave this point and leave him in the bank.

Since I have nothing that I felt suitable to tie Lindbergh with and he mentioned that Werstlein might drop in again that evening. I decided to take Lindbergh with me if he would come.

I didn’t know if he would, not. I don’t know what I would have done if he would have said no.

I had it in mind to take Lindbergh back to Minneapolis now and leave him drugged in a room which I was still holding at the Nicolet Hotel.

I wiped off all the fingerprints in the locale area where I had been sitting in Lindbergh’s office and had done so in a bank vault. We put our coats and hats on and I informed Lindbergh that I would be taking him to Minneapolis where he would become free later.

We walked together toward the rear of the bank were Lindbergh turned off the lights. Lindbergh had picked up the bag containing the travelers checks and money and we walked out of the door which Lindbergh’s pulled shut with his free hand.

I asked him whether it had locked behind him and he said it had and then we walked to the car showing me where it was. We deposited the money in the back on the floor of the back seat , we stood and talked at the corner for a few seconds we then returned to Lindbergh’s car.

I started to get in on the right-hand side and let Lindbergh drive: whatever he stated, he was too nervous.

I told him I would drive that he would have to direct me out of Thief River Falls. We drove at a fairly good rate of speed towards Detroit Lakes.

Lindbergh played the radio and we talked about hunting and fishing during this drive. He asked me several times where I would please leave his car so he could find it in Minneapolis, since he took exceptionally good care of it and would hate to see a damage in any way. I told them I was not concerned with taking care of the automobile, only getting out of Minnesota as fast as possible.

After going this far and then realizing that with only the travelers checks and silver I was quite disappointed. I knew that I could not carry all that silver on the plane; that I would have difficulty even lifting the bag with all that silver.

When we arrived in Detroit Lakes we drove past the city itself on Highway 10. Out on the southern outskirts of Detroit Lakes we stopped for gas.

I had driven past this gas station first and approached it from the south heading north. I didn’t have any money in my pockets and the money to pay for the gas came from the money Lindbergh handed me. We went back into the center of Detroit Lakes to the Greystone Hotel.

Lindbergh had stated he had better call his wife; he said she would be worried about him. I told him I can certainly understand and would be glad to give him this opportunity.