DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Nostalgia Of Old Age

Recently I sifted through some memorabilia and found the above picture taken in 1965, when I was a senior at the University of North Dakota.

With me in the photo that appeared in the Dacotah Annual were classmates Mike Schlax, sports editor of the Dakota Student newspaper, and Harriet Thorpe, who wrote editorials.

My title was “news editor.”

I had intended to run for the editorship, but Mike, who was member of the Board of Student Publications, told me the deck was stacked in favor of Sandra Kummer, a journalism student from Anamoose, N.D., not far from my hometown of Harvey.

So I talked to Sandy, offering to withdraw my application in exchange for appointing me news editor. She agreed and became my boss, so to speak.

It turned out we were a good team.

Afterward, I went on to grad school at Northwestern, and Sandy became an officer in the U.S. Army. She died way too young. Mike, a Vietnam War veteran who later worked for Northwest Airlines, died in early middle age. After graduation I lost touch with Harriet.


As the Maori people of New Zealand say, it’s best metaphorically to walk backward toward the future so as not to dwell too much on our losses and the brevity of life.

2 thoughts on “DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Nostalgia Of Old Age”

  • Larry Gauper August 27, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Thoughtful piece, Dave, and your nostalgia gets one thinking. You mentioned Sandra Kummer from Anamoose. ND. I would bet that a life-long friend of mine, James (Jim) Young, also from Anamoose, was acquainted with her family. Jim graduated from the “A.C,” as NDSU was once called, i.e., North Dakota Agricultural College. He was a chemical engineering grad in the late 1950s who jumped onto the ground floor of silicon, just at the time it was being thought of for making computer chips. He went on to a world-wide executive position with Union Carbide in New York City. Now retired in Arizona, he continues to be proud of his North Dakota heritage and his years at NDSU. Your home town of Harvey seems to me to be a bit like Garrison Keillor’s idyllic village he called “Lake Wobegon,” deep in the heart of Minnesota. Freeport, I believe, was the model for his mythical small town. During my business travels around ND during my employed days, I enjoyed stopping for coffee or lunch at Harvey’s own version of the “Chatter Box Cafe.” At any rate, your essay got me to remembering. And that’s nice for those of fortunate enough to have lots of good memories from our days of yore.

    1. David Vorland August 28, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Larry, the older we are the more memories we have. I’m grateful most of mine are positive.


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