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A Red-haired Boy Named Stephan


Mon, May 15th, 2000
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Contest WinnerBy Margaret E. Johnson

Monday, May 15, 2000

Editors note: The judges were impressed with this story for its eloquent narrative flow and its vivid descriptions The domestic theme they felt, would appeal to a wide variety of readers. Margaret Johnson lives in Spring Valley, MN.

In Mother and Dad Johnsons parlor on the farm there was an old-fashioned stereoscope on the lower shelf of a mission oak library table. Beside it lay a box of cardboard-mounted double print pictures of a variety of things. Among them, I remember a country scene in autumn with a rural school house in the foreground, a European castle, two white horses in a pasture and a western cattle round-up. Until the pictures were inserted in a in a slot in front of the viewer, they were of little consequence. Then what a transformation! Looking into the lens one saw a single view, so dimensional and real, it created a feeling of aliveness.

Childhood memories are like stereoscopic views. Some are just double prints, often a bit hazy and out of focus. Others zoom into ones conscienceness with singular clarity and are easy to write about. Open to speculation and wonder are the blurry memories. They offer free range of imagination, taking a person down the interesting path of "what ifs".

It is the country school in the viewer that triggered my memory. This memory, sometimes fuzzy, and then remarkably clear, goes back to a one-room school and a red-haired boy named Stephan.

Stephans family moved into our rural neighborhood one summer when he and I were ten and about to enter 5th grade.. The family came form St. Paul and rented a farm west of ours that was known for its wet soil and rundown buildings. My dad referred to the place as the "froggery".

Misfortune (and I presume economic downturn leading into the Depression) forced the Ballou family of father, mother and four children to try their luck at raising their own food on a farm. After losing his job as an insurance salesman, Mr. Ballou, a talented musician, played the piano for silent movies in the Twin Cities. His inexperience as a farmer was soon noted by the neighbors at an auction when he made the wrong connections hitching a team of horses to a wagon, both of which he had just bought. At this point, my father decided the Ballous needed not only friends, but someone they could consult as they mastered the basics of farming in the 1920s. Mother and Dad offe .....
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Against all odds

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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The saga of the Amdahl twins, a medical miracleBy Al Mathison

Monday, May 15, 2000

It was a warm June morning in 1922, and 19-year-old Mildred Amdahl was heading out to buy some groceries at the Newburg general store. Her husband ..... 
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A small world

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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May 15, 2000

"This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,--"
~Emily Dickinson


An Amish buggy stops beside me on the Big Woods road. Its occupants introduce themselves as Jacob and Sarah Byler and their childre ..... 
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Sport fishing

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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May 1, 2000

For most people few outdoor activities seem more ecologically benign than good old-fashioned recreational fishing. While the baited hooks, trolled lures and slowly drifting flies of lazy days spent angling certainly do appear relat ..... 
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A war of his own

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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Monday, May 15, 2000

Anthony Loyd is a war junkie. He also has somewhat of a fancy for heroin and in his recently released memoir, My War Gone By, I Miss it So, (Atlantic Monthly Press, 321 pages), he is brutally honest about both of his addic ..... 
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Bikes

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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May 8, 2000

My birthday happens to have occurred in the late spring and, while I dont remember much about the day itself, others have told me that I spent the day with my mother. Recent anniversaries of my birth have also been spent with my f ..... 
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Lets not forget them!

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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By Emily DeVriesMonday, May 15, 2000

In a couple of weeks it will be Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a legal holiday that is observed on the last Monday in May. This day is held in honor of the nations armed services personnel that were kil ..... 
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fillmorecountyjournal.com

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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May 8, 2000

If everything goes according to plan, one week from today, Monday, May 15, the Fillmore County Journal will have an electronic edition to our regular Monday newspaper.

Yes, the Journal is going online with our own web site ..... 
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Low-fat, 1 Step Cake

Mon, May 15th, 2000
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1 step angel food cake mix
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple (juice and all)
Put in a mixing bowl, mix with a spoon. Pour into 9x13 ungreased cake pan. Bake at 350 30-35 min. Serve with cool whip.
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