Lake Alice winter days recalled [UPDATED]Published 7:42am Monday, December 2, 2013 Updated 11:44am Monday, December 2, 2013
Jo Ann Arneson, Fergus Falls High School Class of 1956, has some fond memories of winter days at Lake Alice.
She’s among hundreds of FFHS grads who enjoyed ice skating at the lake just north of downtown Fergus Falls.
“I was fortunate to grow up on East Lakeside Drive,” said Arneson, now a resident of Belmont, Calif. “I can still smell the wool mittens overheating on the warming house stove.”
Arneson, daughter of the late Vern Arneson and current Fergus Falls resident Blanche Arneson, said she especially liked the winter when the lake froze over.
“We could take a shortcut across the lake to Lincoln School,” she said. “Unfortunately I was such a lightweight that sometimes I couldn’t get any forward movement when the wind was blowing and the ice was free of snow.”
Arneson’s sister, Judy, saved a boy from drowning when he went through the ice on Lake Alice.
The Arneson kids had a canoe which they used during the summer months at Lake Alice. Later on, her brothers Phil and Paul positioned a For Sale sign on the island on the northeast side of the lake. Other special memories include trekking to Lake Alice Grocery and feeding the ducks when the lake was free of ice.
“My Mom, Blanche, is 99, and lives at Pioneer Pointe,” she said. “We’re hoping she makes it to 100 on May 29.”
Mad Dog Vachon knew
the power of television
When it came to watching pro wrestling on TV during the 1950s and 1960s, most of us surmised it was fake. But boy did we love it.
Those memories came back on Thursday, Nov. 21, with news of the passing of Canadian native Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon, 84.
He played the role of tough guy not only in the ring but while being interviewed by Marty O’Neill and others outside the ring. We loved to hear his gravelly voice.
“Mad Dog was the first wrestler to understand the power of television,” said the late Canadian author Yves Therialt.
Vachon’s passing also brought back memories, for many of us, when Fargo-based WDAY-TV hosted studio live wrestling during the 1950s and 1960s. Hosting the show was WDAY sportscaster Bill Weaver.
Mad Dog was popular along with area wrestlers such as Vern Gagne, Roy McClarity, Aldo Bogni and The Crusher Lisowski.
“It was Mad Dog who brought a degree of showmanship to his sport,” said Canadian politician Tom Mulcair. “He set the stage for the over-the-top antics that we see today.”
Vachon represented Canada in the 1948 Olympics in London. He was a gold medalist during the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand.
Mad Dog began his pro wrestling career in Sudbury, Ontario, in 1950. He expanded his wrestling to the Upper Midwest and West Coast. Vachon earned his legendary nickname in 1962 after a wild wrestling match in Portland, Ore.
Mad Dog retired from pro wrestling in 1986. He tried some business ventures, including the sales of Mad Dog Burgers in Montreal, Canada. Vachon spent his recent retirement years in Nebraska.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
The CBS television network first aired A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Nov. 20, 1973. The animated TV special was based on the popular comic strip “Peanuts.”
The following year this TV special won an Emmy Award.
Forty years ago the TV special opened with Lucy enticing Charlie Brown to kick the football that she’s holding. Charlie, as usual, suspects that Lucy will pull the football away at the last second, right before the kick.
Lucy tricks Charlie by saying that she’d never pull her trick on a national holiday, especially Thanksgiving. But Charlie is deceived, and once again falls flat on his back.
On a happier note, Charlie gathers with his friends for a back yard Thanksgiving feast. Linus leads the group in prayer.