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Askov American
Askov, Minnesota
November 17, 1988     Askov American
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November 17, 1988

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PAGE 4 ASKOV AMERICAN Thursday, November 17, 1988 Dr. Billy Jo goes home Behind the Lines David Heiller, Editor Rose Harmon was known as Dr. Bllly Jo to many of her friends, Includ- Ing Chrlstlne Carlson, who took thls photograph of Rose. Said Chrlstlne: "l've learned so much from that woman. She has enriched my llfe." n unidentified woman died in a cabin fire east of Willow River on Nov. 5, the newspapers said last week. They were right in a sense. No one could really identify Rose Harmon. Yes, it was Rose Harmon, age 55, who died in the tire, the medical examiner said. But beyond that, who was Rose Harmon? "The crazy lady from Willow River," many people might answer with a laugh and shrug. And they would have a strong argument. Dressed in hand-me-down clothes, Rose would talk rapid -fire to one person, shutting her eyes tightly, then ramble on to another, and clam up completely to still others. People who tried to help her would find her cautious, even paranoid. '`Talking crazy as she did scared people," friend Lee Dybvig said. "They were quite often afraid of her." She lived a life-style that most people would call crazy too. She had no well, no plumbing, no run- ning water at her property east of Willow River. She washed in a creek nearby. She smelled so strongly of smoke from her woodstove that people in Willow River called her Smokey. Her "cabin" wasn't even that, just pieces of tin nailed to poplar poles, with a tin roof, and floor of thin sticks with dirt underneath. Inside was a twin-bed box spring, a metal chair without a seat, a TV cabinet that ser- ved as a dining room table, and a wood stove. But Rose Harmon loved the place, and she loved the animals that felt as at-home there as Rose did. Lee Dybvig, also a Pine County social worker, recalled taking groceries to Rose one day, only to find a skunk in the house. "She came along and said, 'Oh, my friend the skunk is back'," Dybvig recalled. "She dearly loved that property and came back to it throughout her life again and again." During the winter months, Rose would go south, often hitch-hiking to Texas. She knew the streets and soup kitchens from Houston to Duluth. She also knew the state homes where she would be placed by authorities after an evaluation at the state hospital. But she hated those places, said friend Christine Carlson, Nickerson. "She much preferred her home in Willow River, she much preferred it, because she was free them," Christine said. "She was very stubborn and very independent," Lee Dybvig agreed. Who was Rose Harmon? Carlson called her "Dr. Billy Joy "I'm not Rose Harmon," she would tell Christine. "That's not me. I'm not that Roselle Har- mon." "A lot of people called her crazy, but I never thought she was," Christine said. Christine would bring Dr. Billy Jo clothes from Bruno Thrift Store, or drive her to Duluth, or visit her at the state home. "At first she didn't trust me, but then we became very good friends," Christine said. Good friends. What did those words mean to Rose Harmon? Other people ask such questions now, people like Denise Moreno. Living in Moose Lake, Denise knew Rose Harmon back in 1985. Like the others, she tried to help her, inviting her home to take a hot shower or go fishing. Rose al- ways refused. "She was paranoid of people," Denise said. "That was before you heard about homeless people, but that's what she was." Denise Moreno lives in Duluth now, but she thought about Rose again just last month. Denise traveled to Washington D.C. then to demonstrate on behalf of homeless people. She felt guilty think- ing of Rose, and wished she had been more patient. "I just never have forgotten her," Denise says now. On Nov. 3, Rose Harmon left her room at Grindstone Lodge in Hinckley, where authorities had placed her. She returned to her home east of Willow River. Temperatures fell into the 20s on Nov. 5, and her rusted-out wood stove burned through its bottom, starting a fire that left an unidentified woman dead. The funeral was last Saturday in Moose Lake. It didn't take long. A daughter who hadn't seen Rose in 12 years came up for the day from Chicago, along with two friends. Lee Dybvig was there, and Pine County community support worker Lola Murphy and her husband Jim. Chaplain Darrell Bengston from Moose Lake Regional Treatment Center said a few words. That was it. There was no one to even pay for the coffin or the cemetary plot in the pauper section of Sunset Memorial Cemetary. And there will be no headstone for Rose Har- mon, no dates, no verse carved in stone. Nothing permanent. Homeless people like Rose Harmon like it that way. Don't they? Rol er's Corner by Edna Sinlff and Carl Erlckson W the Editor * ""- ..... ' ' ' ELECTION REFLECTIONS " Editor, Askov American: Looking at the results of the elec- |'[ "thi'';i neNc-'oa,,,, I tion, let us see what has taken place i'i I'   .... ""'/i; near home. It is gratifying to see the good results of the campaign for representative by Becky Lourey against a long-time incumbent, who like other incumbents, is apt to get complacent about long-held opinions and disregard the changes that are taking place in our society and in the world. Therefore, Lourey i ........ should be encouraged to run again and support for her should be forthcoming both financially and eologically. It is time for us as citizens to think beyond the actions of the political campaign for office, to be thankful that we have a system of choice, and consider now what we can do to see that the issues we feel are important are addressed. We must find those in Congress and in the new administration who will be apt to be concerned about those issues of concern to us. Ex- perience has shown that through service in public office, growth takes place in those elected as they meet challenges they may not have anticipated, so we can be hopeful that will take place. Because responsibility is divided between leadership and members of Congress and since both are charged with ideas from contend- ing parties, we can hope that there will be give and take that result in better ideas than either may first LETTERS (eJnued on page 5 SEVENTY YEARS AGO (November 21, 1918) The Federal Reserve Board places the direct cost of the war at nearly $200,000,000,000, about 3/4ths of this was spent on military and naval purposes. The town of Arna did not make a very good showing in the wet and dry vote. It stood 18 dry and 25 wet votes. It is to be hoped that this does not indicate the stage of progressiveness in this community. For a community to vote wet shows it to be fifty years behind the times. The school children of Kerrick are now being transported in the latest model Studebaker bus. It's a dandy and there should be no kick this year. Folmer Sorensen is assisting at the American office these days on account of the rush of work. A force of five people are kept busy at the American office and this combined with the up-to-date machinery makes it possible to turn out a great amount of work. Reported killed in action Rudolph Hiotela, Finlayson; Albert T. Sturgleski, Sturgeon Lake. Died from disease - Walter Maggs, Markville. FIFTY YEARS AGO (November 24, 1938) Wedding vows were exchanged by Miss Della Seabloom and Mr. Clifford Degerstrom of the com- munity Saturday evening at 8 o'clock. The attendants were Miss Charlotte Seabloom and Norman Degerstrom. Fire destroyed the Finlayson fire house and most of the equipment Tuesday evening. Janitor Karetzner had stoked a fresh supply of coal in the stove and it is probable that overheating of the stove had caused the fire. Someone made the remark in Kerrick that the best place for hunt- ing is in the tavern. The barber shop is the second; then comes/ stores, etc. The woods are rio good. A shower was held for Mrs. L. Pedro at the Albert Anderson home in Windemere. Mrs. Pedro received many lovely gifts and an enjoyable time was reported. The Chris Sandahl family left Saturday morning for their new home at Cedar Falls, Ia. Many friends regret to see them go but join in wishing them much success in their new location, TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO (November 21, 1963) Graveside services were held Monday afternoon for Erling Ras- mussen, a former resident of the Askov Community. He passed away after a lingering illness. Mr. and Mrs. Carl Deterstrom are the proud parents of a 9 pound, 3 ounce baby girl on November 13. The grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Chris Jensen and Mr. and Mrs. Bill  Degerstrom. Vows exchanged in the Grace Lutheran Church in Santa Barbara, ovember snows taunt us with their fleet arrivals, yielding just a hint of what winter has in store for us. They tend to linger but a few days and then retreat into the still-warm earth. These brief episodes with winter's foreboding can stir a mixture of emotions from th , neople who have chosen to live amid the clamor of nature's extrem. At times, the first snows of No,- ,nber may find us unprepared, as we are caught dreaming of one ].lore respite from the freeze-up. It may be that we are frantically trying to finish the still-mounting list of projects that were to be completed by fall's end. A few of us may be savoring the few remaining days we have left to journey through woodlands and pause to steep ourselves in its beauty, without the fear of frost-bitten toes. For still others, these first blanketings of snow propel them into fits of anxious behavior, as their minds blur with visions of careening down some mountainside with the grace of Jean Claude Kiley. I have found myself in each of these states at one time or another. But whether I'm fretting, enjoying, or anticipating the imminent ar- rival of winte, :hese brief flings with November's snow delight my senses with . eir delicate beauty. Even in November of 1983, when two feet of unapproved snow buried my uncut pile of fire wood, I was still enchanted by the pillows of white as they glistened from the branches of Norway pine and birch. No amount of awe or enchantment by an adult, however, can equal the thunderous explosion of joy that radiates from children as they rediscover the magic of snow. It's as if their world had suddenly shif- ted into a mystical paradise, filling them with boundless energy. Everything is made new. Adventure waits in every action, and there is no way of containing the rapture that has enveloped them once the spell of the white has been cast upon their eyes. So it was that a three-year-old boy, dressed in a snowman suit, seized the day from me and entered us both in the Olympic down-hill skiing event which ran fromour screen house to the barn. There were no speed records broken that day, as the snow was too heavy and wet to glide any quicker than a crawl, but it offered just the right measure of skill and excitement prefered by snowmen. Up and down the hill we went, winning gold medals for each successful run and filling the air with enough squeals of delight to assure any nearby hunters that they were now entering a deer-free-zone. In These Times Steven Bonkoski Snowflakes Are Dancing There were no speed records broken that day, as the snow was too heavy and wet to glide any quicker than a crawl, but it offered just the right measure of skill and excitement prefered by snowmen. Up and down the hill we went, winning gold medals for each successful run and filling the air with enough squeals of delight to as- sure any nearby hunters that they were now entering a deer-free-zone. After nearly an hour of participating in this Olympic drama, I too had become caught in the spell that sparkled in the snowman's eyes. My sight changed from one of perceiving to that of fascination. The waving branches of snow-laden pine seemed to entice me into their dance for a journey of my own. With seven successful runs and a. snowman in need of warmth and dry mittens, I headed down the  road alone, into the depths of my own captivation with this new-fal- len snow. Even though I had been part of an Olympic gold medal team just moments before, my skiing was hesitant to say the least. I could provide a range of excuses for my poor performance, in that the con- ditions were terrible or that.I was skiing in slushy tire tracks that sometimes were void of snow entirely. But this was my first solo ski of the year, and I have found that it takes me a while, no matter what the conditions, to acquire the balance and rhythm needed to remain in a vertical'position. AN INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER Published every Thursday at Askov, Pine Coun z J  0 'le 0 FPE PEOPLe 0 1857 "The most important thing a community is recognize the value of lives of ordinary people." David and Cynthia Heiller Publishers David Heiller Editor r Subscription per year, cash in advance | POSTMASTER In Pine County $1200 - Out of county $16.00| It undehverable as addressed, notdy on Form 3579 ' / Askov American Second crass postage paid at | Kontor Building Askov, Minnesota 55704 | P.O. Box 276 Askov, Minnesota 55704 (612)638-3130 UPSO 03A.140 'The Warmth of a Small Town' Editor's note: Dan Kolker, music direc- tor at Finlayson Schools, wrote the fol- lowing article to go with the program at his school's Fall Concert on Nov. 14. We think his comments are worth shar- ing here, and we add a thank you to Dan Kolker for his energy and com- mitment to Finlayson " s music program. I would like to take this oppor- tunity to share my thoughts on a subject I feel very strongly about. What better time than now, when I have you "trapped" in this gymnasium waiting for the concert to begin, with nothing better to do than read the back of this program! When I decided to take the teach- ing job in Finlayson, I was more than a bit surprised at myself. I have always been attracted to North- ern Minnesota, but I couldn't help but wonder what kind of chal- lenges and triumphs such a small school could offer. Last March, I presented the school and the community with a dream for the band of seemingly impossible proportions for a com- munity of less than 200. (All right, let's give credit duea community of and TWO!!) The $25,000 in order to layson band to I will never cease the massive pulling small town in order band's goal. The work that so many offered, the ceaseless students, and generosity of the well as other ne have seen us to strongly doubt that sO be done by so few I know that goal--and I know credit lies; with the Finlayson, who rose and beyond the call find my attraction Minnesota su thingthe PEOPLE Minnesota! A very special thank and every one of made our dream Ca. united in marriage Ella N. climbing a tree to Weaver and Mr. Hans Mosbaek. when a limb broke The double ring ceremony took to the ground. place at 8 o'clock, Saturday evening Mary Theresa Mecl November 9. of Willow River area, Viggo Lunde had the misfortune Mercy Hospital in to break a rib Sunday in a fall from death resulting after a tree while deer hunting. He was Thursday which Despite my poor form and several abrupt meetings with sent me faltering to the ground, I found that each bend offered a pause for reflection. The dense brush, which an intrusion to my sight a few days ago, now sparkled like puffs of snow that clung to the branches, offering dreams to rest my eyes upon. All the varied sounds ofthe came amplified once the constant cutting sounds of sk snow ceased. I leaned into my poles and felt the pulsating blood surge my body. The thick sounds of snow falling from a tree's clear and crisp in my ears. The chatter of chipmunks and they gathered in their winter supply of seeds, echoed from woods around me. Fresh tracks of rabbit and deer trailed cover of this wonderland, tempting me to follow. I've experienced all these sights and sounds hundreds before, but somehow they had been given a new depth and when seen and heard in the backdrop of this fresh, clean grateful to the little blue snowman who pestered me into him that day. The time we spent together and that alone in the woods had given me an appreciation of the will grace the land for only a few more days. With :rising near 40, the frosting that glistens from the trees once again be absorbed into the ground, leaving the browns of the forest to themselves for awhile. But within a so, there will be another November snow, perhaps one the base for the remainder of the winter. It was getting late and while I slowly skiied back home, with me an inspired feeling from the few fluttering fingered to dance upon the evening sky. There was a new to the world around me. I felt more passionate about whatI) how I interacted with the people in my life. and As I approached our home, I could hear the piano coming from the living room. I paused and could make words and tune to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." A ed across my face and my heart began to race again from mily that was carried in the song. I quietly opened the watched from the hallway as Barbara and the kids all song at different times. It was the perfect crescendo for a that inspired ds all with its fleeting gift of beauty.