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Bob Lind, Published March 29 2009

Lind: A seat from sailors

North Dakota woman has only good things to say about Navy men

Izetta Colvin had a lifetime of experiences when she was still a teenager and a woman in her early 20s.

She graduated from Cogswell (N.D.) High School in 1941.

She was married in 1942.

She had a baby in 1943.

And she was widowed in 1944.

Izetta has indeed had her share of ups and downs and will talk with you about them. But one thing you’d better not do around her.

You’d better not run down sailors.

The former CCC guy

Izetta now lives in Rutland, N.D., in Sargent County, where she says she is “going strong and making lefse and other goodies.” She has five children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including twins born only a few weeks ago.

But she started out in life at nearby Cogswell.

It was there she married a Cogswell boy, Duane Brash.

Six months after their marriage, Duane went into the Navy.

They had a baby boy. And then Duane’s plane, based on a carrier, was shot down over the Philippines, and he was killed.

In 1947, Izetta married Clyde Colvin.

Clyde, a native of Kalispell, Mont., had moved to the Rutland area with his family when he was a teen. He served with the Civilian Conservation Corps at the International Peace Garden in North Dakota and on the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington.

Clyde, too, was in the service, serving in the Army from 1941 to 1945, and seeing combat in Morocco, Sicily, Normandy, northern France and the Rhineland.

After the war, he came to Cogswell, worked for Witt’s Service, became part owner and later full owner of Dakota Motor Sales and operated the projector for the theater in Cogswell. And there he met and married Izetta.

They raised a family there, but after he retired, they moved to Rutland. He died in 1996.

‘Lots of whistles’

But let’s get back to sailors, starting with Duane, who the Navy stationed in Alameda, Calif.

One cold morning in December 1943, his young bride set out to join him there.

She got on a train in Fargo and found it was jammed, primarily with servicemen; she guesses there were only about a dozen women on the entire train.

With all the seats apparently taken, leaving standing room only, Izetta was preparing to spend the long trip sitting on her suitcase in the aisle.

And you can imagine this: Here was an attractive young woman on a train full of young men. “I was watched like a hawk with every move I made,” she says, and there were “lots of whistles.”

But then three sailors told her they had one seat open on their two seats and she was welcome to join them.

“I was never so happy,” she says, as she slipped into that comfortable seat. Besides, those three guys “treated me like royalty.”

She never saw those three sailors again. But she’ll never forget their kindness.

Go, Navy!


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com