Out and About

A Party in Seattle

On a sparkling Palm Sunday after-noon, there was a 90th birthday celebration for Viola Wahlquist, Pietisten friend, and long-time member of First Covenant of Seattle. The setting for the occasion was the home of Viola’s oldest son, Don, and his wife, Carolyn.

For several hours, scores of friends flowed in and out of the Hunts Point neighborhood. Celebrants included notable Pietisten friends Aaron and Margaret Markuson, Carl and Marcia Blomgren, Gordy Johnson, Bob and Marlene Bach, Howie Johnson, and Darrell and Jan Moore.

Viola greeted numerous other guests from First Covenant and nearby Covenant Shores who were treated to sturdy coffee, freshly baked rye bread, a spectacular marzipon cake layered with raspberries and cream, and unique bar cookies made by Viola. At her side were her attentive sons Don, Tim, and Fred and their wives, children, and grandchildren. The party took on all the makings of a Pietisten conventicle with plenty of music and fellowship. —Pietisten Wireless Service

Istanbul Wedding, July 17, 2004.

Ahu Latifoglu and Cem Dogan were united in marriage in Istanbul, Turkey. Their wedding service and celebration took place outdoors on a beautiful moonlit patio overlooking the Bosphorus Strait which separates the European and Asian sections of Istanbul. Rising from the patio was one of the hillsides on which Istanbul is built, both ancient and modern. One hundred and eighty guests of Ahu and Cem and their families shared an elegant Turkish buffet dinner and dessert table along with dancing, conversation, and the reunion of friends and families. Ahu’s career as a Turkish-English translator and Cem’s as an international businessman, brought them friends from many nations.

Ahu was an exchange student from Istanbul who lived with the Soderstrom family (Mel, Joanne, Kristen, Karl, and Anne) and attended Von Steuben High School in Chicago for one year. She has written for Pietisten and enjoys every issue. Mel and Joanne traveled to Turkey to share this special event in the lives of Ahu and Cem. The couple honeymooned in Singapore and now live in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. — Pietisten Wireless Service

International Falls Reunion, October 1, 2004.

Fifty years ago, the Falls Broncos won the Minnesota State High School football championship. It was a terrific team. Two guys from that team—Jim Crotty and Bronko Nagurski—started for Notre Dame and both played professional football. Most of the rest of the players started for small college football teams.

Coach Stuart Nordquist, head football coach since 1974, invited the Broncos of ’54 to gather for a reunion in the Falls to celebrate their achievement. The event included the Falls versus Virginia football game, a half time introduction of the ’54 team, and a reception at the Elks Club. We were not a big crowd—seven starters and five other team-mates. Two starters and our head Coach Butch Larson have died.

It was bitter cold. Sandy and I, Dave and Marion Swanson, and Ron and Abet Caple sat huddled on the cold stadium seats determined to “manfully” stick it out—to remember that we were, after all, in International Falls, Minnesota.

As we gathered at the east end of Bronco Stadium for the halftime introduction, I was delighted to see both Russell Johnson, my most excellent 6th grade teacher and basketball coach and also Wayne “Bags” Haglund, my 9th grade science teacher, coach, and mentor who “shaped me up.” It was a treat to see these men who meant so much to me and to all of us—not only the teams, all the kids in the Falls. I was also delighted to meet Bill Howard at the Elks Club. Bill and Aldo DiMarki raised all us boys. Aldo and Bill were the municipal recreation program leaders and coaches. They were unfailing in running kids’ baseball and hockey leagues and so forth. Day after day they were the best possible role models I can imagine. I thanked Bill from the bottom of my heart.

Coach Haglund came over to visit with Sandy and me. He explained to Sandy how he had “called me out” in front of the science class be-cause I was wasting my ability. He explained that as Coach of the basketball “B” Squad, he had a lot of leverage because I wanted to play basketball. It’s true. I did indeed want to play basketball and I was scared to death of Coach Haglund. He had an exceptionally powerful voice with which he admonished us. I think I feared him more than anybody those first years of high school and, believe me, I worked as hard as I possibly could every moment of practice. I can’t say I improved my performance in science class much, but I certainly improved my conduct.

Those were nice moments with Coach Haglund. He had straightened me out. By the time I was a Junior, without yielding his firmness, he was a positive, friendly supporter. We embraced with gusto allowing for Coach’s 80 years. “Bags” took some delight in telling Sandy about the time I put the ball in the wrong basket at Ely. It was the opening tip of my very first game on the High School “B” Squad. My chagrin at the time was immense.

There is much more to remember and to think about. The Broncos beat Virginia. We had a wonderful time. Ours was a great team; we outscored opponents 343 to 57. It was very thoughtful of Coach Nordquist, the Bronco Boosters, The Daily Journal, and others to remember, honor, and host the Broncos of ’54. — PJ