Thursday, September 27, 2012

The "S" Club of South St Paul

     "Members of the South St. Paul High School "S" Club are initiating a program to raise funds in order to assist with expenses due to unusual athletic injuries incurred by local athletes.  The first project by the "S" Club members will be a "Rollin Glewwe Night" slated for Thursday, November 30, at the High school gymnasium.
          Rollin, 17, an outstanding member of the football team was hospitalized due to an              unusual injury and will be the first athlete aided under the new "S" club program.  He is
the son of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Glewwe of 147 Fifteenth Avenue South."
     A gala evening is in prospect with teams composed of local High school football players and "S" club members battling it out on the basketball court.  Following the cage conflict the Jimmy Gerald orchestra will take over the festivities to furnish music for a dance.
     The game will start at 7:30 p.m. with tickets for the worthy "S" club project to be made available in the near future.  Other organizations in this city have signified their intentions of co-operating in making the initial effort a success."  SSP Daily Reporter, November 18, 1950, pg 4.

And what a great night it was.  It made the paper all week leading up to the big event.  Rollin, who was recovering at home was told by two of his teammates "not to worry about Joan, they would escort her to the dance."  And what a dance they had. 


The "S" Club handed Rollin's parents $500 to be used to help defray the costs of his injuries and stays in the hospital.  In a letter written by his folks to the "S" club they wrote,     "Dear Bernie:  We are very grateful to your splendid organization for the noble service they have rendered in collecting funds to help defray the expenses incurred during the time our son Rollin was hospitalized because of an unusual injury received while playing football with the local high school team.  Rollin's recovery thus far has been a miracle and he joins us in expressing his gratitude toward every member of the club for their unselfish and untiring efforts to accomplish what has been done.  We wish continued success to the S Club in promoting such worthy projects, but hope that never again become necessary to solicit funds for a similar cause.  Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Sincerely yours, Mr & Mrs Reuben Glewwe

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hall of Fame (part 2)

     Rollin Glewwe, high school football standout and down for the count......

     The other day, Rol in talking with his fellow teammate, Allan Stalmasik Elder , and mentioned that Allan had told him about what had happened during that Stillwater game back on Friday, October 13, 1950.  Allan remembers Rol playing the first half of the game and going back to the locker room during halftime.  While returning to the field, Rol had mentioned to Al that he was feeling woozy and was going to ask to sit out for the opening kickoff.  Al then told Rol that the next time he looked up, Rol was be taken off the field in an ambulance.
     Rol was taken to Riverview Memorial Hospital that night and for the next 10 days he would be a patient.  And while he was awake and resting, the problems persisted.  He would get weaker and his nosebleeds were increasing as the week wore on.  By the end of his ten day stay, he was losing all feeling in his body and was partially paralyzed.  The decision was made to transfer him to the Charles T Miller Hospital, also in St. Paul, MN. 

     It was here that Dr Robert L Merrick would make the discovery that had been keeping Rollin from recovering from his concussion.  Dr Merrick, who went on to become the chief neurosurgeon with the University of Minnesota, came in early Saturday morning and asked Rol if he was left-handed.  Up till now, the doctors had been looking for blood clots on the right hand side of the brain and would come up empty.  As Rol's condition was worsening, the doctors were stumped.  With Rol's answer in the affirmative, surgery was set up immediately with the doctors now looking on the left hand side of the brain.  It seems that left handed people's brains affect the function of the left hand side of the body.  The surgery took from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the afternoon.  Rollin was given many transfusions and what followed was many days of continual bleeding and convulsions.  His father, Reuben, wrote in his journal on November 2nd, that "Rol's speech was improving" and they were "very much encouraged."
    Rollin was released from the hospital on November 11, 1950, one month from when he took that first hit.

    But there is more to this story.  One about his great grandmother, Ursula Marxer, and one about the "S" Club and how this injury changed their mission.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hall of Fame (part 1)

     Five years ago, the South St Paul High School Athletic Department started a Hall of Fame for past graduates who went on and made a name for themselves either in athletics/coaching or other endeavors and how participation in activities contributed to their career.  For such a small school district (3500 students total), but large in years of existence, (since 1853 when it was a mission school for the Kaposia Indian village), we have had a good number of students go forth and become famed athletes.  Such football notables like Jim Carter with the Green Bay Packers, Jim LeClair with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Stan Kostka with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Or take the hockey standouts such as Warren Miller who played for Canada and the NY Rangers. Or Phil Housley, leading all-time scorer until recently, who played for the Buffalo Sabres as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs.  We've had our share of good coaches too, Doug Woog, who went on to coach for the U of MN and was the assistant coach for the US Olympics in 1984 to "Lefty" Smith, who went on to coach for Notre Dame.

     Not all high school stars continued on with their athletic careers though.  One case in point is my dad, Rollin Glewwe.  He was considered a high school stand out.  His position on the team was center and also captain.  The football team won the MN State Football Championship in 1949 and Rol was up for the All-Suburban Center for that year.  They had a strong team and 1950 was looking to be another banner year. 

    The first big loss was handed to the team at the Friday night game on September 22, 1950.  Anoka Tornadoes won the game 20-0, handing the South St Paul Packers their first defeat in twelve games, something that had not happened since 1948.  The following week, the Packers crushed White Bear Lake by the same score, 20-0.  Facing the Hastings gridders the next week, the Packers blasted through, winning 19-6. 

     But it was during the next week that things began to change.  Practice had began as usual for the Packers.  Rol took his place as center and the scrimmage began.  When I questioned him about this practice and did he remember getting hit, he responded that he had been hit and thought he had pulled a muscle in his back.  He also mentioned that during practice, the players did not always wear helmets.  By Thursday, Coach John Kulbitski, in an article in the local paper, reported that "Rollin Glewwe, starting center and outstanding linebacker, had strained his back and may not start tomorrow night.  In case the star performer is benched, he will be replaced by Keith Wells." (South St Paul Daily Reporter, vol. 58, no. 92, Oct 12, 1950, p4).

     It was October, Friday the 13th, 1950, when the South St Paul Packers trampled the Stillwater Ponies 35-0 and gained the first place lead in the suburban conference.  The following week they would play St Thomas Academy.  Homecoming was slated for Friday, October 27, and one of the girls up for Homecoming Queen was my mother, Joan Brossoit.

     Rol, wanting to play and still benched by a nagging back problem, went to the doctor.  While there, it was determined that Rol had suffered a concussion as by now his arms were tingling and were becoming numb.    Rol started in the Stillwater game but did not see it through to its finish.........

    Wednesday, October 16th, the headline on page 4 of the local paper read "Rollin Glewwe Out For Season.  A pall of gloom hung over SSP High school today when it was announced that Rollin Glewwe, first string football center and All-Suburban candidate for 1949 at that berth, was not expected to play for the rest of the season.  Coach John Kulbitski said this morning that a temporary  injury was forcing the benching of the top-notch athlete and that he would be badly missed."

      Homecoming night pitted the SSP Packers against Columbia Heights Heighters, with the ending score South St Paul winning 25-6.  It was the last game for the team's fullback Harold "Pinky" Pawlik, as he would be ineligible to play any remaining games due to his age.  But he made it a great game, with SSP rushing for 396 yards to Heights, 75. 

    Four members of the SSP football team were named to the All-Suburban Football team that last week in October, tackle Allan Stelmasik, backs Eddie Helseth and Harold Pawlik and center, Rollin Glewwe.  In the news article it said that "Rollin Glewwe, now hospitalized and seeing only limited action in the Stillwater game and none in the Columbia Heights encounter, impressed all with his prowess in both offensive and defensive  capacities during three earlier league contests to gain a berth on the All-Suburban team."

The SSP "Packers Crush Robbinsdale 33-0 in Season's Finale" was the headline for the last game of the season.  In three years, the football team had only lost one game, and for one player his last game.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Pantry Full of Canned Goods

     It starts with going to the farmer's market.  When I was a child I would go along with my father, who was the produce manager for the local grocery store.  We would go during the week and it would still be dark out.  I loved the smells of fresh and not-so-fresh vegetables, of cigar smoke and exhaust, the overhead lights swinging from single bulbs and the sounds of bushel baskets thumping on the ground, greetings being exchanged and prices being haggled over.  It was magical to a little girl.  It still is magical to me, and my hubby and kids and my grandkids.

     We still to go to market, but now its Saturday mornings and we can't seem to get out of the house before 8 am.  By then the sun is up, the parking lots are full, the strollers and baby carriers are in abundance as you step your way around the sea of people who are out for a few items.  The selections have changed also.  Now it is about presentation and unique items.  The truck farmers have given way to immigrant farmers who have stepped up their game. What used to be farmers with potatoes, beets, corn, tomatoes and few other items has given way to specialty items of syrups, breads, soaps, sorbets, mushrooms and herbs and greens that I have no idea how to use.  It has become a place to have breakfast and lunch.  Dessert to follow. 

     In the early spring there are bedding plants, lots and lots of bedding plants and hanging baskets.  The lettuce and peas and spinach growers show up as do the egg farmers.  These give way to the strawberries, then the raspberries.  Then the early tomatoes and first corn crop come in and the stream of people increase to a sea of people.  Finally by late August, the first of the cucumbers arrive.  And by September, the apple growers have taken up residence next to the potato and squash growers.

      Call it my upbringing, or something my DNA or my need of one-upsmanship, but when late summer rolls around, the canning jars come out and the mad dash starts.  So far this year I've put up 14 quarts of pickles. And 28 quarts of Colorado peaches.  And many tomatoes.  Whole tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, frozen tomatoes.  So many that I've lost count of how many quarts of tomatoes.  We also bought 15 dozen ears of corn which we cooked outside in the big 20 gallon pot, decobbed (is that a word?) and froze.  I think there were over 40 bags.  And I'm still looking to put up pears and our family favorite, applesauce.  Can't have cheesebutton without homemade applesauce!  My ambitions get the best of me.  The half bushel of green beans I bought at market to put up hot and spicy, ended up in the compost pile three weeks later because I never found the time.  And I haven't been to the grocery store lately to see if the pears are in. (I'm sure they are.)

     But when I look at the pantry with the shelves full of quart jars lined up like soldiers, I feel like I have done my job.  It brings peace of mind and the anticipation of good meals to come.