This Would Have Been Grandma’s 111th Birthday

By | August 23, 2021

My grandma Madelyn Marie Schepp would have been 111 years old today. She had a long, happy life and made it to the ripe old age of 100. I still miss her. Happy Birthday, Grandma!

She really was a great lady. I’m so glad now that I was able to spend so much time with her. Especially during the final 10 years of her life. Whenever possible, I went to Devils Lake, North Dakota to celebrate her birthday. I made it there for #91, 92, 93, 94, and 96.

Grandma was very healthy, living on her own until age 98. And yes, that’s her natural hair color in all the photos!

Only 70 More Days Until Halloween!

By | August 22, 2021

I found this gem while going through some old boxes. Mom didn’t have a costume, so she dressed me up in a raincoat and mask!

This was taken in the kitchen of our old house in South Minneapolis: 1506 W. 55th St. We moved to Apple Valley in July, 1969, so I’m either 2, 3, or 4 years old here. My guess would be 4. Original source is a Polaroid photo, so I’m amazed it has held up as long as it has.

The candy bag was a giveaway from WCCO Television. Every year, Channel 4 gave these away at various businesses around the Twin Cities. You could also get one if you were lucky enough to be part of the studio audience with Clancy the Cop, Willie Ketchem, and Carmen the Nurse. This was a great promotional item since their call letters and channel number were featured prominently on each bag.

Another Godfather’s Pizza has Closed :-(

By | August 21, 2021

Sad news today from the town next to my hometown: after 44 years, Godfather’s Pizza has closed their Burnsville, Minnesota restaurant.

This was one of my “Big 3” must-visit food joints whenever I went back to visit. (The other two are White Castle and Zantigo.) This Godfather’s was located next to Target, directly across the street from Burnsville Center. It opened about the same time as the Center, which dates back to August, 1977. I can’t count the number of times I’ve eaten there over the years.

If that’s not depressing enough, all 3 of the Godfather’s Pizza places frequented when I lived in Iowa have also bit the dust: Algona, Fort Dodge, and Humboldt are all permanently closed. Does anyone know if Mason City is still open?

I am crushed. NOBODY could make a better Taco Pizza than the Godfather! I guess my Godfather’s Rewards Card is pretty much worthless now. Eternally the optimist, I’ll keep it just in case I happen to get lucky enough and come across one in my travels which still has the lights on.

Happy National Radio Day: I Started at KNAB

By | August 20, 2021

Happy National Radio Day, y’all! Seriously, it’s a real holiday. Look it up!

Ironically, August 20th was also the day that I left home 38 years ago to begin my radio journey. Just a few days earlier, I received “the call” from Mike Kronforst, Placement Director at Brown Institute. Mike said “I think I might have something for ya. But I have to warn you, she’s a very demanding employer.” I didn’t care. At that point, I would have worked free of charge for Attila the Hun. I was 19 and had wanted to be on the radio since I was 4 years old. Finally, my dream was coming true. So off I went, U-Haul loaded to the gills, into the great unknown.

Two days later, my 16 year radio adventure began at KNAB AM/FM in Burlington, Colorado. I did a DJ show, read news and sports, produced commercials, shoveled the snow, burned the trash, and washed the boss lady’s car. 6 days a week (sometimes 7) for $750 per month. That’s before taxes. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would without hesitation. Heck, I would have done it for free! When you’re 19, all you need is enough money for rent, fast food, gas, and beer. Good times!

Sneaking out for Candy During AVHS Study Halls

By | August 19, 2021

Did you have candy machine(s) at your high school? We did at AVHS, but they were either out-of-order or empty much of the time. For ambitious students, however, there was a workaround solution. Our study halls were held in the cafeteria. Attached to the cafeteria was an ice arena which was used by student skaters and hockey players. The ice arena candy machines were stocked and operating at least 90% of the time. We were not allowed to leave during study hall, but since when has that stopped teenagers?

Standard procedure was to hang around the pop machine on the left and look out of the corner of your eye to see if you were being watched by a teacher. If not, do a quick “around the corner”, down the hall, and out the door. Upon return, repeat in reverse order so you don’t get caught sneaking back into study hall!

I quickly noticed that some teachers cared about enforcing attendance more than others. Mr. Oistad either didn’t notice you leaving or didn’t care. But Mr. McCreedy was damn near impossible to slip past! He’d play you like a cat plays with a mouse, letting you walk all the way down the hall until you got your hand on the door handle. Then you’d hear “Excuse me! Excuse me!” That drove me NUTS!

The Minnesota Maniac on Z94 Fort Dodge, Iowa

By | August 18, 2021

35 years ago tonight, I began a very fun radio adventure in Fort Dodge, Iowa. “The Minnesota Maniac” took to the nighttime airwaves on Z94, KKEZ. I still can’t believe I got away with some of the stuff I did on-the-air! Thank you, Jim Davis, for believing in that 22-year-old kid enough to hire him and turn him loose at night across 30+ counties!

Thanks and credits to Calvin Bierman for taking this photo of the KKEZ air studio. Just a few weeks before I arrived, Cal left Fort Dodge to become the newest air personality on KEZT-FM 104.1 in neighboring Ames/Des Moines. This is exactly how it looked when I first walked in and sat down in the air chair.

Happy National Vinyl Record Day!

By | August 12, 2021

What was the first record you bought with your own money?

By the time I was 4, I already had several Peter Pan “kiddie” records. Remember those? They contained children’s songs, nursery rhymes, and similar stuff. Some of them were pressed on colored vinyl. If I remember correctly, the price was 29 cents for each 45.

Pretty soon, however, I wanted real records. The “Tops and Pops” which Holiday Village sold for 88 cents each. After saving my allowance money plus the dimes and nickels that my grandparents gave me, I finally had enough saved to make my first purchase: “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.

Happy National Vinyl Record Day, America. Play ’em if you got ’em!

Celebrate International Cat Day with a Box!

By | August 8, 2021

Happy International Cat Day! It’s a day set aside each year to honor and enjoy the companionship of our favorite feline friends. Each August 8th, kitties rule the day. It’s all about them.

The next question one may ask is “How exactly do you celebrate International Cat Day?” Well, you could make your friend a special dinner to commemorate the occasion. You could buy her a new toy to play with. You could love on him all day and tell him what a nice cat he is.

With Peanut, I chose to celebrate International Cat Day by giving him the gift he really wanted: an empty box!

Pamida is Gone But the Old Building Remains

By | July 31, 2021

Abandoned Pamida stores are a common site across the Upper Midwest. Pamida was basically a smaller version of Walmart, located in towns which were too small to attract one. In Park Rapids, Minnesota, as in many other places, the town grew to the point where Walmart built a Supercenter. The effect on Pamida was swift and predictable: within a few months, it closed forever.

In 2012, Shopko bought all remaining Pamida stores. They were either closed or converted to Shopko Hometown stores. Apparently, this one in Park Rapids will not be transformed into a Shopko.

I’m surprised the building is still vacant. It’s on Highway 34 east which is the major road leading to the lakes. My guess is that the building is too large for one client and the owner does not want to split it up into smaller spaces.

The Eagles’ Song About Greeks and Freaks

By | July 30, 2021

So, this tune popped up on my phone while out walking this morning. “The Long Run” is such an underrated album. The reason, of course, is because it followed “Hotel California.” This was the Eagles’ masterpiece. No matter how good “The Long Run” was, there was no way it could to “Hotel California.” Kind of like Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” could never measure up to “Rumors.”

On the original album, “Teenage Jail” segues into “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks.” I tried to find it on vinyl, but YouTube only has this version. Although clocking in at just 2 minutes and 18 seconds, it’s a great little ditty. This is how the Eagles’ closed out the 1970s.

“You got down and did the Gator, half an hour later, you were barfin’ all over your girlfriend’s shoes.” Easily one of the best lyrics of 1979.