5/10/2006 – News
Volume 123, Number 14
Piper plans to fiddle around in the future
BY PEGGY BURGARD The Pierce County Tribune Rugby, ND
When you listen to Heart of America Medical Center Long Term Care Unit resident Harvey Piper reminisce about how he would love to pick up his old fiddle again and begin playing one of his favorite tunes, like "Over The Waves," "Irish Washerwoman," or "Turkey in the Straw," age may truly be just a state of mind.
Even though his fingers and hands are not as agile as they once were, because of his strong love for music, Piper has a glimmer of hope that he will soon be able to take a few lessons and play a tune or two again.
For the past 86 years, Harvey has held a strong love of old-time square dance music and waltzes. Admitting that while he never learned to read sheet music, playing by ear came pretty easily to him back in his high school days growing up on a farm between Minnewaukan and Maddock.
In years to come, after his marriage to his wife, Evelyn, his love of music would eventually blossom into a family affair. His son, Ronald, would play the guitar and his daughter, Estelle, played piano while he played the fiddle. But many years later, an unfortunate work-related accident with a chain hoist, which luckily just barely missed hitting his head instead of landing on his shoulder and arm, would end up robbing him of his musical talent for many years to come.
While attending high school, Harvey was most intrigued by science and radio. After becoming an amateur ham radio operator, he joined the US Army and because of his prior knowledge he never had to attend radio school. He served his country for 22 months in the South Pacific during World War II, working as a radio operator for the C-46 and C-47 aircraft that hauled supplies and paratroopers.
When Piper married his wife, Evelyn Schuman, the couple bought a farm close to where they had both been reared, between Minnewaukan and Maddock.
Evelyn had a teaching degree in home economics and spent 33 years teaching school in several different areas. Harvey took care of the farm and the animals and working in the field. When television first came out, he took a correspondence course from California by mail so he could become a television serviceman. A jack-of-all-trades, he also learned to do his own plumbing and wiring. One year the snow was so deep that Harvey took the hydraulics off his combine and put them on his old Caterpillar tractor and attached a homemade blade to plow the family out.
Throughout his life, Piper has seen many changes and has had many hobbies. He started writing a book about the history of his parents’ life and his own life, but working on it is pretty slow since he is not much of a typist.
His parents, Hulda and Hiram, didn’t have an easy life by any means because farming was such drudgery. Harvey recalls his father telling him threshing stories about using big push-binders and his days of working in a logging camp in Wisconsin. He still gets a laugh when he remembers watching his father’s eyes light up with excitement when he told him that he saw a "flying machine" over the farm one day. Hiram also enjoyed anything to do with the history of the railroad and often talked about the hobos that rode on the boxcars. Because of this, Harvey is also a railroad buff himself and has always been intrigued by trains.
Because of the horrible drought in North Dakota in 1934, the family didn’t even get one bushel of grain off the fields. In 1935, many of the horses died after contracting encephalitis. When he was young, Harvey helped his father do the seeding with four horses and recalls that his eyes were always full of dirt. The winters were extremely harsh and disease often ran rampant throughout the area. One winter everyone in the family except his father came down with scarlet fever, and another winter his mother gave birth to a set of twins prematurely, and both died from whooping cough because they were too weak to fight it off.
Summing up his life while growing up in rural North Dakota, Piper said that in spite of all of the ups and downs, it was a good life, and even though there was never enough money, everyone was happy and worked plenty hard.
Former rural Minnewaukan resident Harvey Piper, who now lives at the Heart of America Medical Center Long Term Care Unit, hopes to revive his fiddling skills.
Active women donate
Cindy Ritterman, left, representing the Leeds Active Women, presents a donation to Rick Darling, representing the Leeds Park Board. During the past year the Leeds Active Women have given donations of $225 to the Leeds Park Board and $2,325 to the Leeds Swimming Pool. Of the latter amount $1,500 was from the sale of fireworks.
Cindy Ritterman of the Leeds Active Women presents a donation to Allan Young, representing the Leeds Community Center. During the past year the Leeds Active Women have given donations of $825 to the Leeds Community Center, $250 to Leeds Dollars for Scholars, $200 to the Leeds Community Center Decorating Fund, $100 to the Leeds Library, $100 to the York Betterment Committee, $50 to youth golf, $50 to 4-H and $50 to the Leeds Post Prom Party Committee.
Leeds artists win
Five Leeds Elementary School students won at the 2006 North Dakota State Student Art Show held April 1-29 at the Taube Museum in Minot. Among those who won were second grader Tyler Blegen and his watercolor, "Winter"; first grader Gary Redetzke and his work "Snowman" which was a paper tear; and sixth grader Kyle Jorgenson and fifth grader Joshua Blegen and their "Norwegian Rosemaling." These pictures will be a part of the Traveling State Student Art Show and will be on display at the ND State Fair in Minot and throughout the state at various places this year. Left to right are Josh Blegen, Gary Redetzke, Kyle Jorgenson and Tyler Blegen.
Also winning at the state show was third grader Carlito Woods and his watercolor, "Sunflowers." Carlito’s picture won the Governor’s Award and will hang in Gov. John Hoeven’s office for the next year.
The annual Named Endowment Recognition Event was held February 14 at Lake Region State College, Devils Lake. The Daniel and Victoria Wakefield Scholarship was awarded to Everett Ritterman. He is a sophomore enrolled in marketing and business administration. He is the son of Frank Ritterman of Leeds and Rick and Cheryl Schaffer of Maple Lake, Minn. Left to right are Bill Wakefield, Everett Ritterman and Victoria Wakefield. More than 60 endowments have been established by individuals of families wishing to support scholarships or programs at Lake Region State College. Each is supported with a gift of $10,000 or larger. Only the earnings from these endowments are used to support yearly awards.
Give safety class
Rhiannon Johnson and J.T. Rice, senior members of the A.S. Gibbens FFA Chapter of Maddock, presented the farm safety program "Always Be Careful on the Farm," sponsored by the ND Farm Bureau, which also provided training for the FFA members involved in the presentations. The program is a comprehensive safety program for grades two and five, which includes an hour-long in-school presentation. The grade two presentation provided by J.T. and Rhiannon included tractor, lawn mowing, power take-off, grain, animal and all terrain vehicle safety. They are shown making the presentation to Mr. Bechman’s second grade class at Maddock.