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Bob Lind, Published January 02 2011

Lind: Singing about the good ol’ days

You’ll need a magnifying glass to make out the faces on the December 1943 postcard from the old Crystal Ballroom in Fargo.

That’s what Nicolette McKay of West Fargo did when she came upon the card in her possessions. But it was important to her because, whether or not you can make her out, the woman seventh from the left in the front row is her mom.

Oh, the memories it brought back for Nicolette.

Her mother was June Grandbors, from the Horace/Wild Rice, N.D., area.

After World War II ended, she met a military veteran, Milton McKay, from Wheatland, N.D.

Milton, who went by “Rilt,” served with the 101st Airborne Division during the war. At one time, he was one of those guarding Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s compound in France.

Anyhow, boy met girl, and they were married in 1945. Which led to Nicolette and her thoughts on her parents and the times they lived in.

The Crystal, big bands

The “beautiful young faces” in this postcard leave Nicolette with “feelings of awe,” she says, “realizing their generation held the freedom of the world on their shoulders.”

Her parents came out of the Depression which, she believes, taught them to have great respect for others and “a true appreciation for what many now think is insignificant: the ultimate value of being human.”

The Crystal Ballroom, which has been written about by The Forum’s Andrea Halgrimson, was a major gathering place for the young people of the Big Band era, when, Nicolette says, “Tunes were sentimental and at times whimsical.”

Her parents, she says, “could harmonize at any time. Music was a staple in our home, and many people requested that they sing.

“I believe they (the young people of the time) laughed and loved like no other.

“Those times,” Nicolette concludes, “were wonderful. I wish I would have known it at the time.”

Many probably feel the same way, Nicolette.


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