Voices of Minnesota: Harold Stassen

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Hour 2 of Midmorning, featuring Voices of Minnesota with Harold Stassen; Rev. G. F. Thompson, the author of Slow Miracles: Urban Women Fighting for Liberation; Paul Huber's transcription of Ludwig Senfl's Costi regis nata premiered at Luther College Collegium Musicum.


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KAREN BARTA: From the FM news station. I'm Karen Barta. Memorial Day is the busiest day of the year for many cemeteries around Minnesota and as people gather to pay their respects to those lost in war. Over 100,000 visitors are expected to come to the Fort Snelling National Cemetery this weekend. Cemetery Director William Napton says extra staff members and volunteers will be on hand.

WILLIAM NAPTON: We bring in some additional help. We keep our locator office open to assist people in finding gravesites. We get assistance from the community, from the police reserves to help direct traffic on the outside, to make sure people have a quick and easy entry and exit in and out of the cemetery.

KAREN BARTA: Napton says over 123,000 people are buried at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery. With homicides occurring at a record setting pace in Minneapolis this year, organizers say there may be no better time to hold a convention on peacekeeping in the city. About 1,300 people are attending the National Conference on peacemaking and conflict resolution, underway through tomorrow in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota agriculture department is sending money to 45 counties to help improve water quality. The counties will loan the money to farmers who want to upgrade operations and reduce the risk of polluting rivers and streams. The state forecast today-- mostly sunny and mild, highs in the upper 60s to middle 70s. Tonight, clear statewide with lows in the middle 40s to lower 50s.

And for the Twin Cities today, mostly sunny and warmer with a high around 72. Around the region this hour, it's mostly sunny in Rochester. The current temperature is 61. It's 67 in Duluth and St. Cloud. And in the Twin cities, mostly sunny and 64. That's news. I'm Karen Barta on the FM News Station.


It's 10:06 o'clock. I'm Paula Schroeder. This is Midmorning on the FM News Station. Today's programming is made possible in part by the advocates of Minnesota Public Radio. Contributors include Cargill, supporting Minnesota's tradition of community service, and Norwest Foundation on behalf of Norwest Insurance Agencies.

Violent Minnesota worker and farmer strikes in the 1930s convinced Harold Stassen of the value of peaceful negotiation. But Stassen learned as a child the importance of standing up to troublemakers. Today on Midmorning in our continuing series of interviews called Minnesota Voices, we hear from the former Minnesota Governor. Harold Stassen is now 88 years old and living in West St. Paul with his wife, Esther Glewwe Stassen. They've been married for 66 years.

Stassen was just out of law school in the midst of the Great Depression when he took his first job, Dakota County prosecutor. He saw firsthand the deep farmer and worker discontent of the time. It convinced Stassen the only way to avert further violence was peaceful negotiation, a view he carried to his work in helping draft the United Nations Charter. Stassen talked recently with the FM News Station's Chris Roberts about his life, including early experiences as a farm boy in what was then rural Dakota County.

HAROLD STASSEN: Each of the rural boys used to be sort of picked on and be the center of a certain amount of fights, and we had an interesting instruction. My father said he never wanted us to start a fight, but he never wanted us to get hit first. So that, of course, gave us a kind of a puzzle to begin with, till we realized that what it meant, that we had to be very good to duck the first blow and then counter blow.

And that literally was what we practiced doing as boys, would be how somebody insisted they wanted to fight and they would swing on you while you'd make a quick duck and then try to hit him real hard before he could hit again. And that turned out to be a pretty good tactic for all of us farm boys, because also we generally were stronger and more athletic than the city boys.

But one day, they were running after me so hard that I finally stopped and grabbed the arm of the leading boy and flipped him over my head, and his arm broke. So then I had to report to the principal the next day about breaking his arm. But other boys also testified that the only way he'd got his arm broken was chasing after me and that I was defending myself.

CHRIS ROBERTS: How do you think that tactic of ducking the first blow and hitting as hard as you can after that helped you later in life?

HAROLD STASSEN: Well, it's been an interesting-- the fact, I'd recall it now as you ask about it shows that it left a kind of a lasting mark. Father had a lot of what you might call those rural sayings. His formal education was limited, but he had a lot of common sense. A matter of fact, he became treasurer for many years of the St. Paul Market Growers Association, which included all the farmers in a wide range around here.

And there was such respect for him that when I finally graduated from law school, I was able to win immediately to be the County Prosecutor of Dakota County. And I was very young then. Of course, I think I graduated in '29. I guess I was 21 or 22 years old, and I was elected immediately to be Dakota County attorney and then re-elected for another term, two four-year terms. So that was more or less the beginning of my professional and public career.

CHRIS ROBERTS: How did you meet your wife?

HAROLD STASSEN: In church, in church, young people. First of all, my earliest recollection of. Identifying her, so to speak, was at a Sunday school picnic when they had a race for the girls to run. And she won the race. She just streaked out.

And she was must have been then about 11 or 12 years old. And so was I. But the way she could run attracted me. And then, of course, her personality. And as you probably know that, thankfully, Esther is still living. And if we keep on living a few more months, we'll have our 66th wedding anniversary.

CHRIS ROBERTS: Wow. She became an artist.

HAROLD STASSEN: She's won a number of awards. When we were in Washington, she won a Smithsonian award. And when we were in Philadelphia, she had a painting which, in a combination of professional and amateur artists, she won two blue ribbons.

CHRIS ROBERTS: So you have a young lawyer interested in politics and an artist. How do you explain how [CHUCKLES] your marriage, your relationship has held together for almost 66 years? That would be, to some people, a situation with diverging interests.

HAROLD STASSEN: I've spoken out through the years about the importance of realizing how the-- in effect, the wives of public men and the husbands of public women deserve special credit if they conduct themselves in an exceptional way because it's-- there is an additional stress and responsibility and challenge that comes to what is in effect and what we've always described as the partner in those times of service.

That, of course, in my instance, goes all the way up to-- Esther came out to San Francisco when I was appointed by President Roosevelt to be one of the eight Americans to endeavor to draft the United Nations Charter. And we spent those 10 weeks there, drafting it. We had a kind of a deadlock over the question of the veto.

Well, in the midst of it, Ms. Stassen was being a gracious hostess at times to the women of the Soviet side. And they told her that we should understand that their delegates there could not be persuaded to change that. But they believed that if President Truman asked President-- asked Marshal Stalin to make a change, why then, Marshal Stalin would ask their delegates for comment. And that way, it might move out of the deadlock.

So with this intelligence but just simply using that basis, I persuaded the delegation to ask President Truman, which they were willing, of course, to do, to send Harry Hopkins, who knew Stalin and who had handled relations with Stalin over the Lend-Lease supplies, asked him to send Hopkins over with an explanation of the issue and what was involved to see Marshal Stalin.

And he did go over there, and he did get the yielding to some important degree on the veto so that the organization could function as it, in fact, has. And now I might say on that point immediately that our number-one aim then was to get an organization that would have constant communication between the different countries and that would be a factor in preventing a third World War, so that it would be talking instead of starting to fight.

And a matter of fact, to emphasize that point right now, [INAUDIBLE] I've been said, isn't it very ridiculous that Khrushchev came into the United Nations assembly and pounded on the desk with his shoe? I said, well, do you ever think about how much better it is that in order to get attention, he'd pound on the desk with his shoe than in the old days?

A country would kill a few border guards or shoot a few bombs over the border in order to get attention on an international dispute. So that opening up of communication, even to that extent, where someone could insist they wanted attention by pounding a shoe on a desk, was an important part of the United Nations being able to, thus far and quite likely successfully, prevent World War 3 from ever happening.

CHRIS ROBERTS: It sounds like your wife played an indirect role in those negotiations.

HAROLD STASSEN: Very much so. Well, she did all the way through. But that's one of the most dramatic and obvious of them.

PAULA SCHROEDER: Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen talking with the FM News Station's Chris Roberts. We're going to continue our conversation with the former governor in just about a minute or so. This is Midmorning. I'm Paula Schroeder.

And we are expecting the weather to continue just as beautiful as it is right now, except it's going to be getting warmer during the day. Mostly sunny skies and mild temperatures predicted, with highs in the upper 60s to mid 70s all across the state of Minnesota today. In the Twin cities, look for a high today in the low 70s. So go ahead, and go and go ahead with those plans for your Memorial Day picnics and barbecues.

Harold Stassen was in the middle of his third two-year term as governor when he resigned to become a Navy officer in the Pacific. President Roosevelt interrupted Stassen's Navy service with a call to help write the United Nations Charter. Then Stassen returned to his duty on the Battleship Missouri when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and the Japanese surrendered.

Stassen was 31 when first elected governor of Minnesota. He says his first bid for the office was motivated by a wish to help settle the violent labor protests. Stassen says his youthfulness caused many to dismiss his political bid.

HAROLD STASSEN: Generally, a good share of the media just sort of ridiculed it. I think one of the remarks was that there was talk that I was going to run for governor, but they didn't think I'd ever even get across the river or something like that and different remarks like that. And then there were cartoons, cartooning me as a baby in a baby buggy and so forth. And there was a heavy negative business about being too young to be governor.

CHRIS ROBERTS: What convinced you that you had what it takes to be governor and could address some of the issues, the outstanding labor disputes that were happening in the Twin Cities area at that time?

HAROLD STASSEN: Well, first of all, of course, since, as I say, the issue was the violence and labor, as a prosecutor, as the district attorney of Dakota county, we had had our share of that kind of violence happening in the county. In other words, there was a packinghouse worker's strike. And it had some violent aspects to it.

And the governor called out the National Guard to clear the streets. And I, of course, in my early days felt that was a deep tragedy, to see the National Guard marching against the workers. So it was that background.

Then also, I had helped work out settlements of strikes and of disputes because of not wanting them to break out. There was also a thing called the farmers strike at one time because of the bad economic conditions on the farms. And one of those other unusual incidents occurred.

There was a certain agitator came up from Iowa and called a meeting in Farmington for the farmers to consider going on a strike in Minnesota. And I went to the meeting quietly and got took a back seat. I was County Attorney, and here was a crowded hall in Farmington, the old community hall.

And the advocator was telling him to block the highways, keep the creamery trucks from getting to the creamery, the milk trucks, keeping the livestock from getting into the packing houses, and put on a real farmers strike. And those farmers strike in Iowa by that time had already flared out into some violence, in which some individuals had gotten killed.

So somebody got up then in the hall and said, well, you're advocating these things. What if the sheriff prevents us from blocking? And the speaker said, run him out of the county. Somebody else got up and said, the County Attorney is here. And of course, that was in the electric kind of an announcement.

Everybody turned and looked and stopped. And so I jumped to my feet and walked down the center aisle and up to the stage and took the microphone. And I said, if you do what this speaker from Iowa says, we'll have to arrest you. You'll have tragedy. You'll hurt other farmers, you'll have violence. And it's just going to be a deep tragedy.

But if you want me to do it without charge, I'll get busy to negotiate with the milk distributor companies in the Philadelphia-- in the Twin Cities area to try to get a better price for your milk. And I'll represent you in trying to get other problems worked out if you'll do that. And there was murmurs and discussions and things. And I said, of course, you not only have to want it, the farmers of the seven Metropolitan area counties around the Twin Cities have to want it.

And they turned and told the Iowa man to go back home. They passed a resolution, named a committee. They went to start approaching farm organizations in the seven counties. And in a short time, they came to me and said they wanted me to represent them in a negotiation on behalf of the seven county farmers.

CHRIS ROBERTS: This is 1995, and it's the 50th year of a lot of very important events during World War II, among them being the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was it clear to everyone that Japan was about to surrender before those bombs were dropped?

HAROLD STASSEN: No, those of us who were in the service and out in the war and in our intelligence, we know that there were some in the navy, some in Japan who had been trying to think in terms of ending the war and, in effect, surrendering or asking for a ceasefire but that there was being overruled by the military. That was the information we had.

And then, when they were dropped, I was on Admiral Halsey's staff. See, I had gone back into the war at the end of drawing up the UN Charter. Because when President Roosevelt appointed me to come in and President Truman reappointed me, at that time, Admiral Halsey had said, well, when you're through with that thing for the president, is the way he put it, do you want to rejoin my staff? And I said, yes, I do.

So after I signed the Charter, I flew back out, got back on the flagship, the Missouri, out there, south of Japan. And I was there on duty on August 14 when the cease hostilities came. I was there on duty four days before that when the atomic bombs were dropped.

And I can vividly remember at the time, I breathed a sort of a silent prayer of thankfulness that our scientists had discovered that bomb rather than the Japanese scientists or the German scientists, who by that time had perfected missile attacks on our forces and on London, and who had made a great technique of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and made a further technique of this matter of individual warriors being willing to commit suicide in order to blow up a ship and so forth.

CHRIS ROBERTS: Why do you say that? Because the bomb being dropped is going to cause massive destruction no matter who is unleashing it.

HAROLD STASSEN: That's right. But you see, it was the necessary step to end the war. Because then, it was within four days that the emperor then insisted that Japan stop the war. And the emperor was then able to dominate the military at that point, and the military had to accept that decision. And so that, in my view, I realize there are those who sincerely feel that the Japanese, would have surrendered soon anyway or that we should have demonstrated the bomb out on some uninhabited island or this or that.

But in my view, and I realize I respect that there are those of different views-- in my view, it took the dropping of those two bombs to not only stop the war. But one of the important effects is it caused the whole world to know that a third World War would be a real catastrophe.

CHRIS ROBERTS: We don't appear to be on the precipice of another World War, as you say. But we have about 40 other smaller scale conflicts ranging all over the world. Is this a more dangerous time than World War II, do you think?

HAROLD STASSEN: It's a different kind of a danger. But at the same time, it is a danger and, of course, a matter of fact, the great tragedy that's upon us right now out of Oklahoma City and that that's happened there and other types of terrorism and violent outbreaks. There's an urgent need that we bring the United Nations up to date and projected for the future.

CHRIS ROBERTS: Do you think we should have national identity cards? Should we have restrictions of press coverage of terrorism that happens within the country, domestic terrorism? Should we curb civil liberties?

HAROLD STASSEN: Neither one of those are good comments or good ideas, no. Every one of these so-called militias that had been organized ought to be called into a meeting with some of the most respected local leaders of both parties and with some of the clergy and try to talk through with them the opposing kind of thinking to what obviously has been the extreme kind of oratory that they've been receiving in their militia groups and in some of the public utterances. We've got to change the public and private dialogue between the people of our great country.

CHRIS ROBERTS: You denounced the red-baiting of Joe McCarthy back in the 1950s.

HAROLD STASSEN: That's right. I confronted him. I was the first person that really confronted him in one of his hearings.

CHRIS ROBERTS: You also opposed the Vietnam War.



HAROLD STASSEN: Well, because it was a tragic mistake. That part is all in writing. In other words, I wrote to President Lyndon Johnson and persistently to try to get him to follow a course of a negotiation that would allow for a North Vietnam and South Vietnam-- both to come into the United Nations and not drive into those jungles.

In other words, in this instance, I knew about the jungles of Asia from my own service in World War II. And I knew that they were heading into. And I said to them in writing repeatedly, you cannot get a should not get a violent answer to that war. You must open up negotiations.

But one of my frustrations of years been not being able to persuade Lyndon Johnson to move. And then, in fact, publicly expressing this analysis on my part in the Wisconsin primary of '68 while Bobby Kennedy was expressing in the Democratic primary very similar analysis is what led to Lyndon Johnson withdrawing from re-election. And really was the key event for the ending of the war in Vietnam.

PAULA SCHROEDER: Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen talking with the FM News Station's Chris Roberts. Next week on Minnesota Voices, as part of Midmorning, we'll hear from author and tree farmer Evelyn Fairbanks, who grew up in St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood.


Coming up in the next half hour of Midmorning, women who've overcome adversities to live in triumph in the inner city. First, here's the news with Karen Barta.

KAREN BARTA: Good morning. Earthquake rescue efforts in Russia are being hampered by a lack of roads, and an icebreaker is trying to crunch a path for a hospital ship to reach the stricken coastal town. Officials say more than 2,000 people have died. The World Trade Organization is criticizing both the US and Japan over their auto trade fight. At WTO Sessions today in Geneva, Japan caught flak for closing its markets to foreign cars.

Memorial Day services are planned around the state today to remember Minnesota soldiers who died while serving their country. Among the events are an 11:30 service at Fort Snelling National Cemetery and a service at 2:30 this afternoon at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in St. Paul. The state tourism director says he's optimistic the summer travel season will be a busy one. But Hank Todd says one big factor remains unknown.

HANK TODD: What's the weather going to hold for us? And the traditional summer season starts. It depends on who you talk to. Obviously, Memorial weekend here. But to a lot of people, it's fishing opener. Although the weather wasn't too good on our fishing opener. So maybe we wouldn't use that as the traditional kickoff this year.

KAREN BARTA: Todd says the economy bodes well for a busy travel season. He says, most people who travel in Minnesota come from the 12 Midwestern states. The state forecast today-- mostly sunny and mild, highs in the upper 60s to middle 70s. Tonight, clear with lows in the middle 40s to lower 50s. Tuesday, sunny and warmer, highs in the middle 70s to lower 80s.

And for the Twin Cities today, mostly sunny and warmer with a high around 72. It's mostly sunny around the region. In Rochester, it's 61 degrees. It's 67 in Duluth. It's also 67 in St. Cloud. And in the Twin cities, mostly sunny and 64 degrees. Paula, that's a news update from the FM News Station.

PAULA SCHROEDER: Thanks, Karen. 28 minutes before 11 o'clock. I'm Paula Schroeder. This is Midmorning, and Minnesota Public Radio News is supported by 3M, generously matching more than 800 employee contributions to Minnesota Public Radio.

Well, the stories you read in the newspaper, see on television, or hear on the radio dealing with the circumstances of life in a city are often stories of danger, drugs, or disparity. The Reverend GF Thompson of First Universalist Church in South Minneapolis has written a new book called Slow Miracles-- Urban Women Fighting for Liberation. In it, she tells a number of true stories about women who have overcome some of life's harshest adversities and who are now triumphantly celebrating their successes. The FM News Station's Urban Affairs reporter Karen Louise Boothe talked with Thompson about her book and met some of the women whose lives it reveals.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: The Reverend GF Thompson's ministry involves work in the urban core. She sees many forces at work within the city that hold people down, forces such as poverty, bureaucracy, inadequate housing, rape, starvation, crime, and chaos. Thompson says the number of people hurting is getting larger and larger.

GF THOMPSON: I think the middle class is used to winning and not winning anymore. And so they're-- we're encountering a certain hopelessness in the middle class that we didn't have to deal with before. That people who have suffered more are quite used to and know how to handle. But like, our church is largely middle class. And I feel people getting much more scared and desolate than they used to. It's not like utter hopelessness, but it's scary times for people who aren't used to them.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: In the midst of what's been called the urban crisis comes stories of hope. They can be described as flowers blooming between cracks of concrete or slow miracles, as the Reverend Thompson calls them, each born out of the drive and commitment of women Thompson writes about in the book, women like Nadine.

GF THOMPSON: I have never met a woman more centered spiritually than she is. I've never met a woman who has taken her suffering and transformed it into spiritual strength more than Nadine.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Nadine has a full, rich laugh and a warm elegance that seems to jump right from her heart to yours when you meet her. Nadine's life took a dramatic and painful turn a number of years ago. Her husband sought minor surgery, but a mistake by an anesthesiologist put him into a coma. A year later, he died, having never woken up. It was a devastating experience that left her on her own for the first time in her life, she says. But then Nadine learned her calling in life from a very vivid and revealing dream.

NADINE: In that dream, I was climbing up a mountain. And I was very, very tired. And it was like I was just about to make it. But then I slipped and fell, rolled all the way back down again. And I got up and started climbing again. And I was just at the top. And just when I felt I couldn't go any more, then a hand came down and grabbed onto my hand and helped me to the rest.

And then when I got to the top, it was like looking at this huge, huge valley. And it was like, there was water all through it. And there was huge, beautiful whales and fantastic fish. And it was like I was given a mission. All right, you've made it. And during this whole process, it was like, keep going, keep going, keep going. You cannot stop.

Even when I fell down and I got up and had to come back again, it was like there was this voice saying, you got to keep going. You cannot give up. You got to keep going. And so from there, I decided that there has to be something that I can give back.

And I've always had a passion for houses. I've always had a passion for homes. I mean, when I was-- when my husband was hospitalized, we were in the process of building our own home. And so I said, OK, I need to be able to move past this, get past this. So I just decided that my vocation would be in real estate.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Today, Nadine works at South Side Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis. Her mission is to make the hopes and dreams of owning a home become a reality for people. She doesn't stop to even think about the obstacles. She just works past them.

NADINE: I like to treat people the way I want to be treated, and that's my way of life. So when somebody comes to me with a real, true need and I feel that I'm in a position to fill that need, it's just automatic. It's just what you do. [CHUCKLES]

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Nadine says there are plenty more houses in South Minneapolis that need to be turned into homes.

ELIZA AND LYDIA: (SINGING) Miss-- Miss Lucy had a baby

He named him Tiny Tim

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Home is where Deborah, Polly, Eliza, and Lydia come together as family. It's where four-year-old Eliza and three-year-old Lydia sing new songs they learned in daycare for their parents. Toddlers can make life complicated and uncomplicated at the same time. Deborah describes it this way.

DEBORAH: Tippy cups and apple juice and car seats-- that's our life.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Not everyone views their life in the same way, however. And in fact, they must overcome challenges not all families are forced to contend with. Deborah recounts their search for daycare.

DEBORAH: We call up these women. We chat with them. We find out that what they were looking for to provide was what we were looking for to have. And then we would say, well, one other piece is you should know that Eliza has two mothers. Is that going to be a problem for you? And we would get silence.

We would get a choking. I'll call you back, and then never hear from them back. And sometimes, we got out and out, yes, that is a problem for me, responses like that. And of course, it was all over the phone. So they didn't know-- really know us. But boy, that-- you get a couple of those, and it just kind of was like a sword to the heart.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Deborah and Polly have no desire to isolate their children from the world but believe their love for them can help insulate them from the hatred and fear that might be flung their way. And so they've created a richly diverse life involving support from neighbors, friends, extended family, and their church. As Deborah-- shared her vision of family, Polly sat across the room in a rocking chair, holding Lydia, who munched on popcorn. Conversation lulled, but Eliza, spotting an opportunity, quickly filled it with an unexpected proclamation, one that said all that perhaps needs saying.

ELIZA: I love my mommies.


KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Tammy's story in the book is one of change. She says, if there's one song that moves her the most, it's "Body and Soul" by Anita Baker. It reminds her that being whole involves integrating both the physical and the spiritual.

[ANITA BAKER, "BODY AND SOUL"] What have you done to me?

I can't eat, I cannot sleep

And I'm not the same anymore. Oh, no

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Tammy is 33 years old and the mother of four children. She says life has handed her a lot of adversity. She grew up surrounded by abuse and drug addiction. She veered into prostitution for a while and was repeatedly involved with men who abused her. But at some point in her 20s, she said, everything shifted.

TAMMY: A light came on and said, you can do something different. And you have the capacity to change. You have the power in your life to make good decisions for yourself, and then you're going to be somebody.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Tammy has taken the lessons she's learned from her own struggles to Harriet Tubman, a shelter for battered women, where she works as an advocate. She says women all over the city face adversity every day.

TAMMY: We're all fighting for something. What that is, is different for everybody. And that usually means starting from-- starting from the bottom and working your way up. But it also means falling down three or four or five or six times, not letting that get the best of you, and getting back up again and continuing with that struggle to be, for lack of a better word, liberated.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: But Tammy has learned if she is to be an inspiration and a help to others, she must seek ways to nurture herself first. She finds renewal in nature, and she says she never has to travel far to find it.

TAMMY: Even though you've got these structures and so forth, you can still see grass. You can see flowers. And I take time to stop and notice that kind of thing. You can find it in the city. Some people say you can't, but this is where I live. I've been here all my life. It's here.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Perhaps there's something symbolic about Tammy's love for nature. Just as her mission in life has been all about change, so does nature itself change with new growth from season to season. The voices and the stories of Tammy, Deborah, Polly, and Nadine are just a few in the book. The Reverend Thompson came upon the women in her book through common ties and learned of each unique circumstance by simply listening. Thompson says, like these women, there are thousands of other powerful stories being lived out each and every day all across the city.

GF THOMPSON: If we were to all ask each other tender questions wherever we are in our lives, we would hear a lot more of these stories. If we would slow down and stop rushing and really ask each other the questions about where our spiritual strengths are or where our energy is coming from or where it hurts, we would hear these stories from each other. And it would be one of the most healing things we could do for an urban context that is really beginning to take some hits. I think that.

KAREN LOUISE BOOTHE: Thompson's book, Slow Miracles-- Urban Women Fighting for Liberation, is published by Lura Media Publications. For the FM News Station, this is Karen Louise Boothe.


PAULA SCHROEDER: It's 17 and 1/2 minutes before 11 o'clock. I'm Paula Schroeder. This is Midmorning on the FM News Station. Mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures today expected to cross the state. Well, a piece of music that hadn't been heard in centuries was revived recently by the choir at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. It was part of a project by a student who had to translate the music into modern form. The FM News Station's Joe Follansbee reports.



JOE FOLLANSBEE: The Luther College Collegium Musicum begins [INAUDIBLE], written by Renaissance German composer Ludwig Senfl. One of the singers, senior music student Paul Huber, admitted he had a case of pre-performance nerves.

PAUL HUBER: Our choir was small. We were only able to cover four of the parts on voices, so I was just hoping mainly that it would come off sounding good and didn't really think about it being the premiere performance.


JOE FOLLANSBEE: Huber was under extra stress since it was his transcription of the work. The 16th century music was written in a style called white mensural notation, which is simpler and, as a result, more difficult to read than modern music notation. The work sat in a German library until Huber obtained a copy as part of a senior research project. And with the help of his teacher, Jim Griesheimer, Huber learned to translate the older style.


JOE FOLLANSBEE: Griesheimer says the music's author was a friend of Martin Luther, who commissioned several works by the composer. Griesheimer says the music notation Ludwig Senfl used has less information for musicians than the modern style. But he says the choirs who sang Senfl's work were so well-trained, they filled in the blanks as they went along.

JIM GRIESHEIMER: They were so familiar with the style that very often, an error would be corrected as a kind of matter of second nature. They wouldn't they weren't figuring it out, but somebody would realize that his part worked a beat later and would just shift. And this is something we're not really equipped to do.

JOE FOLLANSBEE: Paul Huber says the Luther College Choir enjoyed singing [INAUDIBLE], which he described as tricky. Although no one had heard the piece for 400 years, he's pretty sure he got the transcription right.

PAUL HUBER: For music historians, the process of transcribing this music is pretty much the same. So assuming that historians have figured it out correctly, this should be the way it sounds.


JOE FOLLANSBEE: Huber says it was rewarding to see his name as the transcriber in the concert program. I'm Joe Follansbee, the FM News Station, Rochester.

PAULA SCHROEDER: Memorial Day weekend is the traditional beginning of summer, a time when friends and relatives get together for picnics, ball games, county fairs, and block parties. Thank goodness we've got one nice day out of our weekend to celebrate.

Over the weekend, citizens of Missoula, Montana, gathered to celebrate something that's been bringing their community closer together over the past four years. They dedicated a new hand-carved wooden carousel. We have a report from William Markus.

SPEAKER 1: Today's a special day for all of us.

WILLIAM MARCUS: On a sunny afternoon in Missoula's Riverside Park, a week before the dedication, Chuck Kaparich prepared to unveil the lead horse on the Missoula carousel. Even though a circle has no beginning or end, every carousel has a lead horse. By tradition, it's the most ornately carved and the last to be put in place.



WILLIAM MARCUS: Kaparich's dream of a new carousel for Missoula began five years ago with a visit to Spokane, Washington, where he saw one of the oldest surviving carousels in the northwest.

CHUCK KAPARICH: And I looked at those horses, and I looked at that place and all those kids sitting on those ponies. And I thought, good god, these things are carved out of wood.

WILLIAM MARCUS: Kaparich remembered the wooden horses he rode as a child, the same ones his father and grandfather rode. They were on a carousel at the Columbia Gardens, a grand amusement park built in Montana's historic mining city of Butte at the turn of the century. The carousel was destroyed by fire in 1973.

CHUCK KAPARICH: The only carousel kids ride today is that little thing out in front of the K-Mart stores, the four little horses on it. And I thought, we lost something here. We lost our history. We lost our heritage. We lost giving a damn. And I just sat there and I thought, I'm going to build a carousel if it takes me 20 years.

WILLIAM MARCUS: Kaparich admits that his idea was prompted in part by midlife crisis, part by boredom with his job. After all, he didn't even know how to carve. But his wife bought him a set of tools for his birthday, and he set to work, producing his first horse in about six months. His creation inspired a small story in the local newspaper, and it soon became clear that he wouldn't have to work alone.

CHUCK KAPARICH: I'd go to my mailbox, and there would be letters and cards. And people would be sending me money and say, thank you. Here's for your project.

WILLIAM MARCUS: For whatever reason, the carousel became a kind of symbol for the people of Missoula. Families and corporations adopted horses for $2,500 each. Missoula schoolchildren collected a million pennies-- that's three tons of copper-- and adopted four horses, which they helped design.

In all, more than $600,000 was raised. Kaparich's phone rang with offers to help carve sand, paint, and repair the old mechanism that Kaparich found in a shed at a museum in Helena. He advertised a carving class at the local technical college. The class filled up in 10 minutes and had a waiting list of 100.


Once they were trained in the basics, the carvers met twice a week in Kaparich's garage, learning as they went along. Many of the early basswood creations became kindling. Steve Weiler, a manager at a local hardware store, was chosen to carve the lead horse.

STEVE WEILER: From the beginning, everybody would not carve details deep enough or not carve parts round enough. And friendly criticism straightened that out. Jerry Dietert, a retired physician, got good enough to carve his own horse.

JERRY DIETERT: Even as a physician, I didn't carve. I was an internist. [CHUCKLES]

WILLIAM MARCUS: Dietert has been with the project since the beginning. Like the others, he's a volunteer, working six hours each week for the past four years.


At the carousel building across town, machinists, electrical workers, a rural fireman, and the rest of the mechanical crew put the newly restored 77-year-old carousel machinery through extensive trial runs.

JACK GILLESPIE: I think all in all, it's running pretty good. And as far as--

WILLIAM MARCUS: That it runs, it all amazes the head of the mechanical crew, Jack Gillespie, who usually works on restaurant equipment. He and his crew had to sandblast a 1/4 inch of red barn paint off the mechanism and reassemble it. The workings seemed relatively simple, but they had no plans. And none of them had worked on a carousel before.

JACK GILLESPIE: It's kind of Fords and Chevy's. They're all a little different, but they still have the same basic functions. We knew that them cranky-looking things must go up on top someplace. And other than that, we were at a loss. So.

WILLIAM MARCUS: Only one volunteer knew how to restore the antique Babbitt bearings that allow for the smooth up-and-down motion of the horses. David MacInnes, known to everyone as Mac, is a retired railroad worker who's older than the carousel machinery itself. He's happy to see a carousel resurrected.

DAVID MACINNES: Because they're gone. There used to be lots of them 60, 70 years ago. They were every place you went and traveling. And this was a traveling one. I don't think it'll travel anymore. [CHUCKLES]


WILLIAM MARCUS: The carousel and its new 400 pipe band organ now sit in a brand new building with mirrors and skylights that make it look like a jewelry box. That's also part of the carousel tradition, says Bette Largent, the preservationist at the Spokane carousel, who came to town to help out.

BETTE LARGENT: It's the lights and how the lights reflect off the jewels and how the light from the ceiling reflects off the mirrors. And it's a whole total feeling when you walk in the door. And if they've done their stuff, that's when it hits you, is when you do walk in the door. And they've done their stuff here.

WILLIAM MARCUS: The horses are decorated with glass beads. Two of the jewels are 100-year-old antiques given to Chuck Kaparich by the late New York folk art historian Fred Fried. Kaparich says there was one truly Western donation.

CHUCK KAPARICH: We had a lady come in here with a horse's tail. And she said, my horse died in October. And I would be honored if the tail could ride on one of your carousel horses. And we looked at this tail, and we took it down to the tannery. And we had the leather tanned, and it rides proudly in Bogie now. And she says, I'm just delighted to think that I can still come down and be with my horse.

WILLIAM MARCUS: Until this weekend, the Missoula carousel had been the business of adults, who finally let the kids in on the fun.

SPEAKER 2: I like the designs they put on the carousel. Those are real cool. And I like these little dragons. And I think it's really cool that somebody could carve horses that look this beautiful and stuff. And I don't know. I just think it's really amazing.

WILLIAM MARCUS: Chuck Kaparich says that's exactly why he wanted to build the carousel.

CHUCK KAPARICH: This is the most important thing a person could do with their life, is to leave-- to leave something this beautiful.

WILLIAM MARCUS: The carousel became the property of the city at its dedication this weekend, with one stipulation from Chuck Kaparich-- that it never be sold. For National Public Radio, I'm William Marcus in Missoula, Montana.

PAULA SCHROEDER: If you want to ride a hand-carved carousel in the Twin Cities, you'll have to wait a while. Cafesjian's Carousel in downtown St. Paul is closed while supporters try to raise $75,000 to reopen it in time for the grand opening of the Children's Museum in September. It's 7 minutes before 11:00.

GARY EICHTEN: There have been lots of anniversaries lately, most notably the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. But Robert McNamara marked another anniversary recently, the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War with a controversial book about the conduct of that war. Hello. This is Gary Eichten. And on this Memorial Day edition of Midday on the FM News Station, we'll hear from Robert McNamara. Midday begins at 11:00 with a rebroadcast at 9:00 this evening on the FM News Station, KNOW FM 91.1 in the Twin Cities.

PAULA SCHROEDER: And during the 11 o'clock hour of Midday, Perry Fanelli will check in on Memorial Day ceremonies at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. First, here's Garrison Keillor with The Writer's Almanac.


GARRISON KEILLOR: And here is The Writer's Almanac for Monday. It's May the 29th, 1995, the last Monday in May and, therefore, Memorial Day, a legal public holiday once known as Decoration Day, observed first in the years following the Civil War in both the North and the South.

There are many stories about the founding of Memorial Day. Some say that it began in Columbus, Mississippi, where four women, at the end of April, decorated the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers and then decided also to decorate the graves of 40 federal soldiers born there.

First order to celebrate it came from General John Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, who issued his order in 1868 designating the day and said, "Let no neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic. If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack and other hearts cold, ours shall keep it well, as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us."

The Rhode Island General Assembly convened back in 1647 on this date and drew up a remarkable Constitution for the state that included, among other things, separation between church and state. And it's the birthday of two famous immigrant figures in show business. Leslie Townes Hope, who was born in 1903 on this day near London, came to this country as a four-year-old boy, grew up in Cleveland, went into vaudeville, and changed his name to Bob Hope.

And it's the birthday of Josef von Sternberg, born in Vienna, 1894, came to this country as a teenager, joined the Signal Corps in World War I, where he helped make training films, went off to Hollywood, and found work, was known as a tyrant on the set. But he knew Marlene Dietrich, and he directed her great movie, The Blue Angel, in 1930.

Here's a poem by Katharine Tynan, whose dates are 1861 to 1931, a poem entitled I Was Born Under a Kind Star.

"I was born under a kind star,

In a green world without any war,

My eyes opened on quiet fields and hills,

Orchards, and gardens, cowslips, daffodils,

Love for my rising up and lying down,

Amid the beautiful pastures, green and brown,

The rose leaned through my window set ajar,

I was born under a kind star.

In a green land without hunger and drought,

God gave a gift of singing to my mouth,

A little song and quiet that was heard,

Through the full choir of many a golden bird,

As a little brook in grasses running sweet,

Full of refreshment for the noontide heat.

Some came and drank of me from near and far,

I was born under a kind star.

I was fed full with bliss passed my desert,

And when grief came was comfort for my hurt,

I had long nights of sleep that had no ear,

For the struck hours, the shrilling Chanticleer.

My days were busy and glad from day to dark,

My heart leaped high and merry with the lark,

I shall die young, though many my years are,

For I was born under a kind star."

A poem by Katharine Tynan, from her collected poems published by MacMillan and used here by permission on The Writer's Almanac, Monday, May 29, made possible by Cowles Magazines, publishers of aviation history, and other magazines. Be well. Do good work. And keep in touch.


PAULA SCHROEDER: Well, that's Midmorning for this Memorial Day. And a beautiful day it's going to be, with mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures all across the state. Hope you have something outdoors planned. If not, maybe you can get out for a little while.

Thanks for joining us today. Be sure to tune in once again tomorrow on midmorning. We're going to be talking about starting your own business with entrepreneur Carol Pine and with Richard Cardozo, who holds the chair in Entrepreneurial Studies at the Carlson School of Management. We've got questions about that. Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning at 9:00. Otherwise, have a great day. I'm Paula Schroeder.


Starting your own business-- what you need to know from finances to market on our next Midmorning. A seasoned entrepreneur and a teacher take your questions about making it work. Midmorning 9:00 to 11:00 on the FM News Station, KNOW FM 91.1.

SPEAKER 3: 66 degrees at the FM News Station, KNOW FM 91.1, Minneapolis, St. Paul. Midday is coming up next, 11:00.


PERRY FANELLI: Good morning. This is Midday on the FM News Station. I'm Perry Fanelli and for Gary Eichten this Memorial Day. In the news this morning, in a Memorial Day tradition, President Clinton is attending ceremonies at Arlington National cemetery, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Earlier, the president unveiled a new postage stamp embossed with the words POW and MIA Never Forgotten.

Ceremonies are also being held today at Lakewood cemetery in Minneapolis, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, and at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the State Capitol. The commander of the Bosnian Serb army tells the UN his forces will no longer chain peacekeepers to possible NATO targets, but will not release them.

On the noontime portion of our program today, former US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara-- he spoke at the Commonwealth club of California recently about reaction to his new controversial book, In Retrospect-- The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. And we hope you can stay with us for that. First, news headlines.


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