St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day 2015 at Wolf Creek WI

Somewhere around 150 folks showed up for the Memorial Day remembrance at the 150 year old cemetery in Wolf Creek Wisconsin, near the St Croix River.  

The overnight rain had paused and although the freshly mowed grass was wet, it was a good day for the gathering that has been held since the 1870s at the cemetery.  

Our son, Scott, is helping me setup the speaker system and took the photos this year.  Ten years ago, Vincent Menke, trying to get the speaker system hooked up to his car battery and all working while I was strolling around the cemetery recruited me to take this over and so until I pass it along, it is my job.  

We have a nice system that was purchased jointly by the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society, the Cushing Community Center and a couple of other organizations with the idea of having a shared system that would be used annually for Memorial Day and Community Center events. I think that was the summer of 2005 too.  

Here are the photos from 2015
The veteran's board has been replaced with a larger one anticipating the rest of the WWII veterans, the Korean Veterans and increasingly the Vietnam soldiers.  I counted 110 with a mistake of both Edwin and Eddie Lagoo along with the other 4 brothers honored this year.

Five brothers who all served in World War II.
Andy (Buck), Eldie, Edwin (Dick), John(Levi) and Albin Lagoo.  All from Wolf Creek.
This was read when the roll call came to their 5 names:

Andy, Eldie, Edwin, Albin and John Lagoo grew up a half mile from this cemetery, from one of the earliest families to settle here 160 years ago.  When World War II started, all five volunteered, served honorably and with distinction,  and came home to Wolf Creek at war’s end.    All five are buried next to each other, the proud cluster of American flags in the southwest corner of this cemetery.  As you leave today to walk to the old Wolf Creek School next door for lunch, stop and remember the 5 boys who grew up down the road, played ball as children on the school yard and served the United States of America in our time of greatest need. 

My Wolf Creek School first grade sweetheart, Susan, asked me why so many folks put artificial flowers on the graves -- "the real ones seem more meaningful."  
"Mom switched to artificial flowers when she found the deer ate up all the real plants on her grandparents graves.  It is the thought that counts, not the flowers," she told me. 

Some of the Lagoo relatives come early and make sure the graves of the 5 brother soldiers are ready for the wreath laying this year.  Each year the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society works with a family to make a booklet that highlights a veteran (or veterans) service.  We had help from Marlys to do all 5 of her uncles this year.  She put together the information and we made it into a booklet and printed up 75 copies.  It is online at Lagoo family booklet

Veteran Mr. Rivard, seated and some of his family visit with veteran Gordon Lehman before the ceremony. 

Clusters of folks stop by graves of relatives to visit and remember.  Although an umbrella was a good preparation, it was not needed. 

Brother Marv brings 27 folding chairs each year for those who forget to bring a lawn chair and need to sit down.  We call him the "chairman" of the day.  

Marvin and Everett Hanson come early to set up the chairs and help Scott and I get the speaker system ready.  Our grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends are scattered throughout the cemetery

Mr. Doolittle and Mr. Little visit.  I think we have persuaded Duane to help with a booklet on his father, Ralph Doolittle, WWI veteran, for next year. 

The folks involved in the program including the speaker, Reverend Chris Johnson, on the right. 

Folks gather for the program.  Some stay out on the edges staying with their relatives buried in the cemetery and others use the chairs.  Always a few young folks who don't understand chairs are really for those who need them, not those who get there first.

It was good to see LaVerne Johnson out -- recovering from a stroke.  In the bright blue jacket on the right.  

My protective garbage bags over the sound system added a little rattle to everything.  I had extra large garbage bags so I could have covered the human speakers too -- in the mode of our boyscout troop hefty cinch-sack rain coats. 

Oh my, Money Changers in the church!  Donations for the lunch were cheerfully accepted.  I was disappointed, as I expect lime jello with a Ladies Aide lunch.  The rest was fine and many folks (90?) dropped in to visit in the 1922 building that I attended school at in the 1950s. 
While waiting in line with some youngsters, I pointed out where our initials were carved on the wood columns in front of the school.  
"I was the smartest one in my grade" said former student Sammy to one of her relatives -- a kid."   
"I was the second smartest in my class" I bragged.  
   "How many were in your class?"  
"Me and Melvin," I replied trying to get my Wolf Crick grammar right.  
Sammy had to admit it was just her and Leslie in her grade too. 
  Sammy (Catherine Goulat) made 25 cents for sweeping the little room floor each evening, spreading a aromatic sweeping compound on the floor to help pick up the chalk and boy dust.  We always wondered how much the chemicals in it had affected her. 

Harriet was in charge of coffee, water or Kool-aide

The story passed between the two visitors. 
Wolf Creek old timer, Carl Wellcome, who shot a deer during the November deer hunting season, put it on the big front fenders of his 30s car and left it there all winter. When he drove to town he raised the skin flap covering the deer nearest the louvers from the engine so the warm air would thaw a little of the meat and cut that off when he got home for a few meals leaving the rest frozen By spring the deer was eaten up!

Sounds much better than paying $75 to have someone cut it up and then paying for electricity to keep it frozen. Only problem is I don't have any cars with big front fenders. 

Carl passed away in October of 1963, leaving a 1948 Chev two-door car at Phil Wheeler's at Wolf Creek where Phil was putting in a new engine for him. Brother Byron bought it from Phil, I bought it from Byron and my neighbor in MN bought it from me. I will have to check if there are any blood stains on the fenders -- although it might not have been the right car. 

Carl was an expert wall paper hanger and although he did a great job, the neighborhood ladies were not too enthused about hiring him. It seems that too often, brown splotched stains came through the paper when it dried and they figured it might be tobacco juice! 

I can't remember what he looked like, but he was in his early 70s when he lived near Wolf Creek and passed away. His father was John Cummings Wellcome -- and there was another local neighbor named John Cummings -- so maybe a relative.  Many old bachelors moved into the small houses on the cheap land around Wolf Creek, especially to the north where the Sunny Acres plots had subdivided land into 5 acre pieces that went for $100 or so back in the 50s.