Shangri La of the north lies inRemember when we, the old people, used to have to write an essay at the beginning of each school year about “what we did this summer?”
By: Don Leighton, Superior Telegram
Remember when we, the old people, used to have to write an essay at the beginning of each school year about “what we did this summer?”
Living in Shangri La afforded me many opportunities and activities that made writing those papers easy. If you know me well, it was difficult to cut them down to the 500-word limit my teachers requested. (Telegram Editor Shelley Nelson is fully aware of what I speak.)
There was plenty to write about attending the Lake Nebagamon Grade School for grades 6-8, and Northwestern High School. Those requiring recollections were some of the best teachers I had: Lucille Townshend, Pat Moreland, Virginia Tarter, Pat Luostari, Joyce Klugow and again Miss Tarter for my senior year. I know it is now NHS, but four letters is more, and I am even keeled and not odd.
We had Friday night roller skating and Saturday night dances at the Auditorium. (For three years, I have threatened to write an article about the dances during the ’60s. I still will one day.) On Sunday, Vacationland Baseball took center stage. During my playing career, I played for Lake Nebagamon and Poplar. I think I was traded for future considerations. I played with many great guys, still friends today.
I had a real dilemma when playing for Poplar; I didn’t know what to call my teammate, teacher and coach, Pat Moreland — Pat or Mr. Moreland — oh, the challenges of being a kid.
I forgot to mention the Babe Ruth games Saturday mornings. Harold Larson was our coach, a really great guy. He made baseball lots of fun. Then there was the beach scene with our transistor radio blasting out the greatest tunes on 560 WEBC. They are oldies today, but they are still the greatest.
For spending money, having our own lawn service was the way to go. Dan Hildebrandt and I were the “big dogs” in town. Joe Chisholm had a big yard and paid a buck. Larry Nelson paid three. Ann Niner paid a buck because she was my mom’s friend. My mom should have cut her grass. My aunt and uncle, Mary Jane and Joe Robutz owned the Drug Store. I think Pat Nolan cut their grass because of union regulations. He was also 3 years older. There were other lawns to cut.
Suffice it to say, we were busy. Time management was important because of the activities and friends in need of our attention. We even watched weather reports to figure out our cutting schedules.
Our days were full from sun up to sun down. Nights began when the streetlights came on and we had to be home. What a time it was. We could actually play with kids of different ages, no parental interference, adult chaperones and the only rules was we had to be home by dark.
Too bad societal changes have soiled the wonderful innocence experienced by baby boomers.
After dark, after eating late and a shower, I retired to my personal domain to read and listen to Jack Buck and Harry Caray broadcast Cardinal games on 1120 KMOX from St. Louis. The west coast games in Los Angeles and San Francisco were the best because I could listen to the entire game. Those games started around 8 p.m., 10 p.m. our time, so the signal was crystal clear, unless 1130 WDGY’s signal interfered. Digital radio with its surgeon-like precision wasn’t invented yet, so tuning to KMOX was a delicate skill on the dial of the old Philco radio.
Every day, there were many people milling around the village. Lake Nebagamon was a destination and the population of about 600 during the school year swelled to over 2,000 in the summer.
There were a million kids my age that “summered” and others who just hung out and had fun. Of course, the beach was the big draw. The weekends were the best because girls from Maple, Poplar, Brule and Superior would migrate to beautiful Shangri La.
So, what did I do those summers? I played, worked, interacted with friends at various locations, read, played sports — never had a dull moment, wasted hours on the internet or on the couch watching television or playing video games or talking on the phone — and had a blast.
Thank you Shangri La, for giving me the best years of my life.