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A Step Back in Time


Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 19, 2000

The elderly lady behind the counter says, "Here are your tickets. You must go upstairs now and when you hear the bell, you must come down and begin the tour. No one is allowed into the Clock Museum without a tour guide."

Upstairs in this large old brick house is a museum commemorating the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, who spent the summer here with his family in 1893. He had been away from Czechoslovakia for a year working as director of the New York Conservatory of Music and was homesick for his countrymen. A friend told him about the Czech village of Spillville, Iowa and this house, which he could rent.

Spillville is about 35 miles southwest of Mabel. Joseph Spielman, a German immigrant, founded it as Spielville in 1854. Today, the town is smaller than it once was. It has only one restaurant/bar, a biker hangout, where my husband and I have just had cheeseburgers, tater-tots and beer. It has one small grocery store and a public square with a bandstand built in honor of World War II veterans. St. Wenceslaus Church, built in 1860, towers over the town. Dvorak played the pipe organ in this church every day at Mass during his stay in Spillville.

Most mornings, Dvorak, a nature lover, rose before dawn and walked along the Turkey River on the east edge of town where he watched and listened to the birds. As he walked, he jotted down musical notes on his shirt cuffs. He incorporated the song of a scarlet tanager into music he wrote here and also used some of the music he heard at a nearby Indian encampment. While in Spillville, he found the inspiration for "Humoresque," did final work on his "New World Symphony," wrote his "American Quartet" and one quintet.

Before Dvorak's arrival, the town, which had a small orchestra, was already musically inclined. In 1893, using the manuscript score, three of the town's musicians and Dvorak, played the premier performance of the "American Quartet."

Later, the Bily brothers carved a clock in the shape of a violin as a memorial to Dvorak. I wonder what influence the composer had on the brothers, who were young boys during that summer of 1893. Frank and

Joseph Bily grew up and lived their adult lives on a farm near Spillville. Neither of the brothers ever married. In 1913, they developed their hobby of woodcarving to fill the hours of long winter days. In 1916, they completed the Apostle Clock, from which the Twelve Apostles appear on the hour. .....
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Fillmore County Pork Producers
Hoffman Stables

Beneath Tropical Seas

Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 5, 2001

Waves roll in and then recede, as the ocean endlessly caresses this lonely tropical shore. Shallow, crystal clear and deliciously warm are the waters of the all-encompassing sea. The white sand beach is deserted, polis ..... 
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Escape from America

Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Monday, December 11, 2000

I guess Iím a snowbird at heart because every year about this time, once the temperature dips below zero and looks like itís going to stay there awhile, I start yearning to go south. Way south. All the way down to Ecu ..... 
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Telephones

Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 12, 2001

It is Saturday and the telephone rang again for about the sixth time and it is only two p.m. The various jingles, tones, and warbling throughout the house barely stir me. The kids will get it. The phone hardly ever ri ..... 
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Tooting our own horn

Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 19, 2001

It is usually at this time of year, after the groundhogs have seen their shadows and spring seems like an eternity away, that various news organizations hold their annual conferences. This is an opportunity for us new ..... 
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Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Fri, Feb 16th, 2001
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Editorís note: The Journal invited the Houston Board of Education to respond to Ms. Tschumperís letter.

To the Editor,
In November 2000 the Houston School Board approved a three-year contract for the district superintendent. L ..... 
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