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Love Notes

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Love Notes

Sandpoint Magazine - A locals' brag sheet

If you haven’t seen a copy of the summer edition of Sandpoint Magazine, you should pick one up at the many drops around Sandpoint. You can call Keokee Creative Group at 208-263-3573 to learn where it’s available for free.

I guarantee that you will find the contents worth the effort. The current 130-page, full-color issue features several historical pieces dealing with local milestones, some fascinating profiles on interesting area folks who’ve distinguished themselves with their talents (including Kristy Osmunson of country duo Bomshel), back-country hiking stories and one of my favorite features “Natives and Newcomers.”

In addition to dozens of graphically-appealing stories and phenomenal photography, the magazine provides oodles of information about “things to do” and how to do them here in the area. I often consider the twice-yearly publication a six-month bible to Sandpoint activities and its history. Plus, I love to send copies to my many friends across the country and the world as a brag sheet about our own version of God’s Country.
I feel honored to have contributed some stories about horse activities for the cover package in the current issue. This is my fourth such assignment since 1995. Each time the project has turned out to be a cherished learning experience for me.

Also, in each case, I’ve come away with a host of new, interesting friends and a wealth of fascinating information associated with the phenomenal people and events that have molded this area into such a wonderful place to call home.

My initial cover story assignment and very first contribution to Sandpoint Magazine dealt with Sandpoint’s role as The Funnel in the cross-country railway network.

After extensive research on that project, I gained a new appreciation for the trains passing right by my home (then on Great Northern Road) dozens of times each day and night. Nowadays, here in Selle we seldom see a train, but when I do hear the far-off whistle as the Union Pacific rolls through, either at night or during the day time, I feel a sense of nostalgic comfort.

In the late 1990s, I wrote what I consider one of the most important stories of my freelance journalism career. Researching for the story about Farragut Naval Air Station led me on many trips to the scenic area, which has long been a state park on the south end of Lake Pend Oreille.

 I also made numerous visits to local museums and talked with several WWII Naval recruits from across the country who provided me with some rich lore about their Farragut basic training.

Over the years since that assignment, electronic links to the completed Farragut product, along with some wonderful Ross Hall photos and a short feature about the legendary local photographer on my web site have connected me with dozens of former Farragut “bluejackets” or their family members.

One of the most meaningful and enjoyable associations came one day, thanks to a short note on my web site guestbook. Karl Tews of Neptune, New Jersey, had spent time at Farragut as a teen-aged German Prisoner of War.

Because of the article, Karl and I became long-distance friends. During his WWII “incarceration,” Karl performed landscaping work on the grounds at Farragut. He also fought forest fires and even struck up a friendship with a local gal. Unfortunately, through our correspondence decades later, we were never able to figure out what ever became of his summer romance.

Karl would often either call or write, updating me on his golf game and his family. After the war, which included several other POW camps, he had relocated to the United States and had been very successful at his chosen trade. He was a thoughtful, upbeat gentleman who had become fully immersed in his New Jersey community. 

As quickly as he came into my cyber-life, Karl, in his early 80s at the time and dealing with a heart condition, suddenly went silent. I never learned any details of why I quit hearing from him, but I cherish the relationships that sprouted with him and with so many others who spent time at Farragut during the war.
In 2003, another cover story for Sandpoint Magazine took me down my own memory lane and to several interviews with Schweitzer Mountain Resort personnel. The articles dealt with the 40th year anniversary for the popular ski area.

During the early 1960s, my family, like so many in the area, participated in early fundraising for the resort through the purchase of Schweitzer stock at $10 a share. We also lived on North Boyer where, in the early days, hundreds of cars filled with skiers, passed by our farm morning and night during the ski season.
I loved crafting that cover package, which featured news of progress, a Schweitzer timeline and highlights of the resort’s early days. Many of the latter came through an informative and fascinating series of interviews with Schweitzer’s first manager Sam Wormington.

Like the railroad, Farragut and Schweitzer stories, the most recent cover assignment stirred up my nostalgic and creative juices. After all, horses have always occupied a major spot on my plate of passions.

And, like the other stories, I gleaned more than enough information from numerous helpful sources who represent every facet of the horse world from knowledgeable owners, trainers, hay sellers, 4-H leaders, professional instructors, veterinarians, to farm supply providers, etc.. Some of my research shows that horses and the accessories that go along with them provide an integral part of our economy, much more so than meets the eye.

The true frosting on the cake with this assignment involved spending time with people and their horses. I learned more about dressage through the gracious generosity of instructor extraordinaire Gail Redinger. Marv Lagerway and Maureen Palmer-Hooten welcomed me with open arms to Maureen’s Hooten’s Hollow ranch north of Bonners Ferry, where Marv trains horses and puts on reining clinics.

One Saturday I enjoyed several hours visiting, drinking coffee and watching Greg Hargadon shoe Roxane Conrad’s horses.

Roxane grew up in Selle and competed as a Marine sharpshooter in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She retired from the Marines and returned home a couple of years ago to do what she loves best: train and ride horses. Since her return, Roxane and her husband Kerry have transformed the old family farm into a magnificent horse facility.

The cover-story package also involved profiles of six area horse lovers, representing a variety of equine interests. In addition to interviewing these folks from all over the county, I enjoyed a magical spring evening with them when Sandpoint Magazine editor Billie Jean Plaster miraculously arranged a time for them to get together with their horses for a photo shoot.

We met at Leonard Wood’s home on the V Bar X ranch north of Sandpoint. It was a gorgeous Sunday evening, and a phenomenal photographer brought her camera gear to shoot hundreds of images. She allowed me to run along as her assistant. Meeting and watching Marie-Dominique “Do” Verdier in action has been an inspiring and educational experience, to say the least.

I cannot say enough about my own positive experiences while working on assignments for this Sandpoint Magazine issue, and I know my sentiments could be echoed by all the other contributors and the staff who worked so hard to put together a quality product and a true keepsake.

Bravo to all of them, and bravo to the Keokee personnel for continuing to capture this community and its many dimensions with each new issue. It’s a pleasure being part of the team.

If you’d like to read past articles, Sandpoint Magazine archives are available online.

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Author info

Marianne Love Marianne Love is a freelance writer and former English teacher who enjoys telling the stories of her community. She has authored several books, the latest of which is "Lessons With Love."

Tagged as:

Sandpoint Magazine, Kristy Osmunson, railroad, Farragut, Ross Hall, Schweitzer, Sam Wormington, horses

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