Years ago, in the Dark Ages of the internet, I became one of the last people I knew to have an email account. As a working newspaper reporter, I suppose I should have been more cutting edge. My thing with new technology was, if what I was familiar with worked, what was the point of changing it just to be new(er)?
None of the Associated Press reporters knew what we were driving and flying into on the humid, cloudy June 10 morning after the Rapid City flood 45 years ago. I drove the family station wagon through intermittent, pre-dawn rain from Chamberlain, where we'd been planning to spend a quiet weekend and where the AP overnight editor in Minneapolis tracked me down by phone. As I drove I-90 west toward the Black Hills, I pictured deep, standing flood waters. That's what I thought floods looked like on television.
When the speaker asked how many young people in the gymnasium at St. Joseph's Indian School knew someone who had used marijuana, a whole lot of kids raised their hands. As many or more responded the same way when he asked about alcohol use. The moment came during the school's annual sobriety day.
We didn't have a clue what we were doing, Nancy and I, that warm, windy June 3 morning in 1967 when we stood at the altar of the church in Chamberlain and exchanged marriage vows. We should have had at least some sort of clue. We were both through college, after all. We were 23 and 22 years old. We were relatively intelligent and responsible young adults. We were pretty sure we knew each other. We'd been dating for more than six years, ever since high school, just like the couples in the popular ballads of the time.
On Memorial Day weekend, newspaper columnists have this much in common with presidents and governors: They'd like to find something to say that justly honors those who died in service to their country. It's a terribly important annual event. Holiday is too trivial a word for an observance dedicated to men and women who fought and died in the armed forces. The Memorial Day Foundation says the observance, first called Decoration Day, originated after the Civil War 150 years ago at the order of former Union Army Maj. Gen. John A. Logan.
I didn't know South Dakota had a medical school that didn't grant degrees until about 1970, when I started covering meetings of the state Board of Regents as a reporter for the Associated Press and its member news organizations. (The 1970 Legislature is when I first met a Democrat senator from Hitchcock named Harvey Wollman. More on that a bit later.)
I often think news used to be easier to manage — for readers and viewers, at least, if not for gatherers and distributors.
My little sister played "Pomp and Circumstances'' as I walked with other members of the Class of 1962 to seats in front of the stage to start our commencement ceremony. I don't remember that. I found my '62 Cub, the high-school yearbook, in a box a few weeks ago. When I opened it, a copy of the commencement program fell out. It says Mary Woster played the processional and the recessional. Only "Pomp and Circumstances'' would be appropriate walking-in music, right?
Recently, our older son sent us a picture of the fence my mom painted years ago in the backyard of the Chamberlain house where I grew up.
When we moved to Pierre in the fall of 1969, we rented a small house from a guy who owned a hardware store on the corner of a downtown street. Roy maybe hadn't kept the rental place up that well, but he let us repaint the interior, and we were able to get our paint and brushes free from the inventory in his store. And if you're past a certain age and grew up in a smaller community, you know what kind of store it was.