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Pathways Through Our Past

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Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

An old school mate called me the other day to tell me she had a stack of old "Boosters" that I might be interested in reading. I rushed over to pick them up and spent half the night looking through them. What a find! The Booster was the Blackduck High School's very own newspaper written by the students for the students and it represented all grades.

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Kill them! Kill them! Sis - boom - bah! Bust their back and break their jaw. Scratch their nose and tear their clothes. Burn the pieces, Rah! Rah! Rah!

Blackduck High was some school, even in those earlier days.

The first football squad was really something. It was organized in 1913. The boys on that first team included Ed Pacha, Bill Johnson, Virgil Kirkpatrick, Alex Flemington, Harry Cann, Albert Bye, Ernest Fortier, Adam Baney and Curtis Bergin. Perhaps some of you recognized one of them as your grandfather or great-grandfather?

These young fellows took a collection and managed to buy a book of rules and a football. They had no uniforms so they wore cut-off overalls and old baggy jerseys. One of the boys took Saturday Evening Post magazines and shoved them in his socks for shin guards.

After two weeks of practice, they challenged Bemidji to a game. Can you believe it -- challenging Bemidji for their first game? Only one game was played that season. The score was 75-0 in favor of Bemidji. Bemidji made over half of their points in the first quarter but couldn't do a thing in the last quarter. Proof that it didn't take Blackduck long to learn how to play the game.

Very little support was received from the school that first season. In 1914, a regular team was organized and Dr. Nordby volunteered his services as coach. Sizzling cheers like the one at the beginning of this article were less spirited in the years that followed.

The timing is right, so next time I'll cover basketball -- from the old days.

The History and Art Center is privileged to have Ruth Pearson's collection of more than 150 salt and pepper shakers on display until Oct. 31. Pearson began collecting shakers at the age of 12. Her daughter, Sonja Juelson, said, "Mom is now 93,"at which time Pearson corrected her by saying she was not 93, she was 94 years old!

Lakeland TV -- Channel 9 filmed Pearson and her collection as a human interest story. It will be televised Oct. 30.

We would appreciate hearing from you about collections or other memorabilia you may have for display. Family pictures with brief commentary are also interesting and enjoyed by our residents and visitors. It's a fun way to get to know others in our community. We'll help you create and frame them, if you wish. Give us a call. Bev Gibson is our newest volunteer. She has a lot of talent and we are really glad to have her in the group. How about you? Won't you come and join us?

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