Tales From Isolation, etc.
No, I don’t have coronavirus (or want it), but with several weeks into social distancing most of us have some form of virusitis – a new word we can add to our vocabularies but maybe some of us cannot spell correctly.
We are now becoming used to listening to the governor at 4 p.m., and without the daily newspaper several of us read at the library or the televised version, I was happy to find the broadcasts on KNDK. You feel much less isolated when you hear the frequent changes in lifestyle that we need to adapt to for the safety of everyone.
Readers may be familiar with the CBC program “Cross Country Checkup” which I first learned about driving back to my teaching job most Sundays in the early 1970s. Their normal programs are on Sunday afternoons, but in the current unsettled times they have added a two hour special section on Saturdays. This last week the topic or question of the day happened to be naming your pandemic heroes. The phone lines are open to people anywhere in Canada, but on this session people called from literally all over the world. Some of the heroes named were people who brought them food, those who called on the phone to see how they were, the neighbors in their community who sang from their balconies, those who shared hand sanitizer with others who needed it, and, of course, the people who provided every possible medical assistance they had received in recent days. It was the kind of program that left you feeling good about yourself and neighbors or people you did not know – even some in other countries – or just rushing off to wash your own hands with soap and water.
Some of the stories we have heard are cautions about using tools that have been stored in the garage or basement or attic for a long time being considered dangerous for do-it-yourselfers. That caution was mostly aimed at older people or those who live alone. Other suggestions focus on the creative efforts leading to family fun which might have been crowded out of busy lifestyles in recent years. Sometimes those creative ideas may originate with younger family members and not be the hassle parents tend to suspect a new project might become.
The downside of social distancing might be fairly trivial things. Is it really the Easter Bunny who has stolen all the eggs off the supermarket shelves? I like to snack on fresh fruit so search for weekly bargains on that aisle, and some of the very favorites no longer fit on a frugal budget so I have to purchase smaller quantities. One cousin mentioned sending care packages of toilet paper to her grandchildren in more crowded states. We might be annoyed by those things, but in the long run you smile over the issue and go on.
This is the time of year when I do the annual story about the classes who are graduating and thanks to some efficient help do have the lists of the Langdon and Munich hopeful graduates even though dates might have to be altered this year. But because of the sports co-ops I was asked a while back to include Edmore and had planned to do that again. However, with phone lines dedicated to at-home teaching I have not been able to find out the names of this year’s Edmore graduates. If you know them please give me a call as currently I do not have e-mail access.
Has there ever been a year without graduation ceremonies? Yes. In Langdon there was no ceremony in 1909 because of the cyclone. Some students received their diplomas privately, and some, who had not completed the tests scheduled after the storm (state tests in that era), had to take their senior years over.
Osnabrock began high school in the fall of the year and did not hold a graduation the first year since no one had completed all the work. The next year (1918) there were three graduates. Similar stories may be in other centennial books.
Earlier this winter a postcard picture was received from Barb Osman Manos in Montana. The unidentified photo was of two girls from long ago with the address of Mr. and Mrs. Clodt at Langdon written on the back. I wrote a story about the family who dates to the earliest residents in the Langdon area. Later a call came from Charlie Rohde in Arizona that the story had an error. I got side-tracked and did not get a correction written. Still later Audre Spenst called as she thought one of the girls might be her mother who had died when Audre, herself, was quite small. By that time I no longer had the picture which had been given to the paper so they could print it with the story. When the Rose and Muhs families, who had come with the original Clodt family members, asked about the story and picture, I began looking for the story in past issues of winter papers and found out today that it was in the December 30 paper which, because of a storm, did not reach some homes until later in January.
We now know that the two girls pictured were Frances Clodt (later married to George Bodnar) and Theresa Clodt (married to Bill Klemisch). Both ladies, who are now deceased, do have family members living in the Langdon area and probably many cousins or extended family members spread over a larger area.
The original Mrs. Clodt was a member of the Konantz family some of whom stayed in Canada when others homesteaded in Dakota Territory. While visiting relatives in Arizona in the winter of 1984, we visited a library in Mesa and were researching old census films of Cavalier County when a family snowbirding in the area from Canada came over and greeted me like a long-lost friend although I had never seen them before or since. Their name was Konantz and could I tell them about relatives who had once lived in the Langdon area? No, I don’t remember ever seeing them in Langdon.
The 2020 contest was sidelined by the library closing, but the books read can be returned anytime or after the library re-opens. I try to participate each year to read something different and something fun and ignore the choices I don’t care for. Because of all the basketball history that surfaced with the winter tournaments it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable winter reading participated in over the years. Hope those of you who tried it this year enjoyed it as well.
The columns are currently done as long as allowed due to isolation regulations but without all the resources normally used when writing them. If you find errors, feel free to correct them. In the meantime wash your hands, stay well and look ahead to better times.