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home : columns : dave fjeld October 27, 2016

9/18/2012 4:14:00 PM
A note from the Flax Day Queen
A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you scrapbook memories offered by Irene (Anderson) Wiens Menken about Flax Day 60 years ago.
Irene was a Flax Day Queen candidate that year, a year in which an estimated crowd of 15,000 people were in Windom to mark the event.
Well, Irene wasn't crowned the Flax Day Queen that year, but she had some kind words in her scrapbook for the gal who was, Carol Norland. Wrote Irene: "Carol was crowned. She was so very happy. She made a lovely queen. We all received beautiful watches!"
Don't ask if the Citizen reaches readers all over the country. My reminiscing of the event reached a reader in South Hadley, Mass., who was thrilled to do a little reminiscing of the event herself.
That reader? Carol (Norland) Paquette; yes, the 1952 Flax Day Queen.
Carol called last week to say she received a number of e-mails from friends across the country who had read about that Flax Day celebration back in 1952 and was excited to recall the occasion. She also sent a letter offering her appreciation for remembering the event, noting that the column "made me and my friends and family so proud to have been - and always will be - a Windom gal to this day!"
But she also shared a few other interesting tidbits about the crowning.
The crowning was done on a platform inside the race track on the Cottonwood County Fairgrounds in Windom. The fairgrounds in 1952 were in the same location they are today, however, there also was a horse track beyond the large grandstand, but in front of Perkins Creek that winds through the neighborhood. You might recall the description from the column on Andy Purrington a week earlier.
Carol picks up the memories:
"You brought back wonderful memories - seeing my dad bounding over that race track to hug me!" Carol writes.
Needless to say, Carol's father, A.T. Norland, couldn't contain his excitement and obviously let his daughter know just how proud he was of her - right then and there!
Oh, and the "beautiful watches" that each of the candidates received? Carol offered another tidbit about that:
"My diamond watch is still keeping 'time' to this day!" she writes.
Carol has been in Massachusetts for 51 years, but still considers Windom "home," noting that she's been back to Windom many times over the past half century.
Thanks for the call and letter, Carol!
Backpack Awareness Day
I suspect you probably could find a special occasion for every day of the year, if you looked hard enough.
One such occasion that takes place today (Wednesday) is "Backpack Awareness Day."
It's held every September across the nation, teaching students to "Pack it Light, Wear it Right!" With that in mind, Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative's occupational therapists put a list of 10 tips students and parents will want to heed concerning backpacks. Here they are:
1. Never let a child carry more than 15% of his or her body weight.
2. Load heaviest items closest to the child's back.
3. Always wear both shoulder straps.
4. Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps.
5. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to the child's back.
6. Use the waist belt.
7. Check what your child carries to school and brings home.
8. If the backpack is too heavy, consider using a book bag on wheels.
9. Choose the right size pack.
10. If a student is experiencing back pain or neck soreness, consult your physician or physical therapist.

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