Waushara County Gay Youth Have Positive Role Model In Pete Buttigieg, Non-Verbalized Lesson Mighty Important In Coloma

On Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was in Waushara County. There are many reasons to cheer when a cabinet officer visits any small community, but in this case, there is an unstated reason which deserves comment.

As one of the crafters and motivating voices in the passage of the much-needed $1.2 trillion infrastructure law passed last year, Buttigieg is now visiting places across the country helping locals understand the goals to be achieved. Coloma was where ‘Mayor Pete’ spoke about the construction trades that will need more workers as a result of the federal dollars being pumped into local economies.

The visit was aimed to talk about the national investment into our infrastructure on the day that high school students from around Wisconsin were able to get a first-hand look at the operation of heavy machinery, hands-on experience with mini-excavators, and meetings with industry professionals about apprenticeships.

And with the ample projects that are needed to be completed around Wisconsin, it goes without saying that the industry needs workers.

Buttigieg being in heavily Republican and conservative Waushara County allowed for something else to manifest itself, in addition to infrastructure needs. High school students who may come from homes where gay people are belittled or laughed at had an opportunity to see an openly married gay man with children. who ran for president. and now serves as a top federal officeholder.

Without a doubt, and statistically speaking, there were a few gay students in attendance on Tuesday. Having grown up in that county–in fact, about 10 miles from Coloma–I well know the tone and type that reside in this rural part of Wisconsin. That is not snarky wording but just a plain fact.

So I can also clearly state the non-verbalized lessons for gay youth concerning the power and potential for their personal lives were a lesson they were able to see up close. Whatever information they may have gleaned about potential jobs is far less important than the fact that living authentically matters.

All the snide comments and bigotry in these small towns can not stain the truth when Buttigieg walks up, smiles, and shakes your hand. It does not take your average student very long to discern the truth. The folks back home with their bigotry were just wrong.

Gay youth in these small towns must learn they can live their lives and have every single part of the American dream, from spouses to kids, just like their fellow classmates. Just like Pete Buttigieg.

When I grew up it would have been helpful to have had openly gay role models. Rural Wisconsin had such a man among them today. Thanks, Pete Buttigieg for just being you.

And so it goes.

Mary Nellie Parker: Hancock Woman’s Inspiration Makes For Article In Wisconsin State Journal

Mary Nellie Parker is recalled in Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal (Feb. 13th edition). The woman who was born in Waushara County and called Hancock home is being known today around the state. And for the best of reasons.

Several weeks ago, the newspaper wrote about the COVID-19 pandemic entering its third year and the challenges that presents for so many in our state. The paper wondered if we could take inspiration from earlier generations who struggled with crisis and hardship. They wanted readers to offer ideas.

My mind went at once to Mary Nellie Parker. In my researching The Hancock News for my Doty Land podcast episode about the 1918 pandemic, I came across the most touching, uplifting, and memorable news article concerning Parker. While there were many stories and accounts of locals who suffered from the virus, and then also from WWI, which was being fought at that time, it was Parker who best exemplified the human spirit in those troubling years.

Here then is the way the story looks from today’s paper. It was requested to keep the article to 250 words….I wrote tightly and came in at 249. I wish I had been able to know this woman. She surely was most remarkable.

‘1918 Radio Ad’ For Hancock, Wisconsin Walker Company: New Suit Custom Made!

I was just messing about with some audio on this cold winter night and recorded this ‘1918 radio ad’ for Hancock’s Walker Company. The ad content is from a copy of the town’s newspaper, The Hancock News. Imagine a custom-made suit for only $15.00! The photo is from Main Street at about that time. I have not used this online platform before so this is not visually how I want it to look….but the broadcasting side is something I am pleased with. I did the ad in my recording studio in exactly 60 seconds. Ready for radio! With music, too.

Given one small technical flaw in working with this new platform it might be necessary to hit the restart button in the lower left corner of the YouTube video below. The icon is the arrow in partial circle.

Or watch it on YouTube.

New Doty Land Podcast: “Sure Does Feel Stormy Today”

Podcaster Gregory Humphrey goes back to childhood days in Hancock, Wisconsin to prove weather of all sorts should be viewed up close.  Nothing is better than grandma’s arm around a shoulder as the thunder crashes or as a boy walking into the bracing winds of a winter snowstorm.  Nostalgic warm memories for anyone wishing to trek back in time. (7 minutes)

Sparking Moments Of Joy And Remembrance During The Long Goodbye Doty Land

With contemporaneous accounts of smiles and trying times while dealing with a friend's  Alzheimer's disease come stories of laughter and also tenderness.  The final chapter of the life of Albert Trull, and the way it weaved with the personal life of podcaster Gregory Humphrey as his father was dying, makes for a somber podcast.  But one that is aimed to reach out and ask what role all can play with the elderly people needing friendship and companionship within our communities. 
  1. Sparking Moments Of Joy And Remembrance During The Long Goodbye
  2. Acting With Humanity In Time Of War Makes For New Film
  3. "Sure Does Feel Stormy Today"
  4. Tribute To Classic Country Music, WSM Radio, Grant Turner, And More!
  5. Hancock Boys Go To WWI

You can hear Doty Land and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartradio, Spotify, Castro, and many other sites.

Geneva Schwarz Humphrey From Hancock, Wisconsin, And Ozone, Arkansas

My mom, Geneva Humphrey, would have been 93 years old today. I made a YouTube video with music that has pictures of my parents and our family along with our old home place on County KK in Hancock. There are also some photos from the Herman and Anna Schwarz farm (my grandparents) who lived across the road from us.

Mac Wiseman sings the type of music that mom enjoyed hearing broadcast on the radio as she ironed clothes in the family home.

Pictured on the video are my dad, Royce Humphrey, and my siblings Gary Humphrey and his wife Pat Humphrey, Ginger Humphrey Pfaff with her husband Darvin Pfaff, along with my nephews and nieces Troy Humphrey, Trevor Humphrey, Tricia Humphrey, Katrina Pfaff, Darren Pfaff, and Quincy Pfaff. In 2000 my husband, James Wilson, from Corinth, Maine was added to the family.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~Thomas Campbell, “Hallowed Ground”

Waushara County Meeting Epitomizes COVID Problem In Nation

We read daily news reports, hear radio broadcasts, and watch television anchors all alerting us as to how COVID spreads. But we also are asked continually to play a constructive role in stemming the progress of the virus so that it can not further mutate. The fear being, of course, a mutation that could not be held in check by the current vaccines. One would think such sound medical advice would register and people would act accordingly.

Right?

This week above the fold in the weekly Waushara Argus there was a most unfortunate photo of just how far removed many in this state are from accepting both science and personal responsibility.

As the news photo caption reads “Dozens of Waushara County residents” “pack county board room“. This is unsettling due to the fact the conservative and Republican-voting county has only 38.4% of its population fully vaccinated.

In the 2020 presidential election, Waushara County voted 66% for Donald Trump. True to form for many such counties all over the nation there is also a staggering disregard for not only the vaccines which are proven to be effective, but also a lack of trying to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus with changes to behavior.

I am not sure how to explain the actions of people in my home county where I grew up. I was most disheartened to see the front page of this week’s Argus with a packed meeting. Only one person in the far back is wearing a mask.

What in the heck is wrong with people? Where does any religious aspect come into play where we need to be our brother’s keeper? What message does this send to children about taking safety measures when adults act so outside the box of personal responsibility?

When I see such optics it alerts me to other larger facets to be considered in relation to the county. There are more than medical concerns when pondering this matter. 

What new business would want to establish themselves in a county with a population that is not able to understand the necessity of being vaccinated against COVID or have any more regard for the larger community? What does it say about a region where facts and common-sense are not being used by people for their own well-being? Is that a place where any serious business operation would want to set up shop?

I fully know my home county is not alone in this regard. Chuckleheads make up too large a portion of the nation. But one wishes to see more intelligence and common sense from the place one comes from.

This was truly a sad spectacle for Waushara County.

And so it goes.

Why It Matters NFL Player Carl Nassib Announced He Is Gay

I rarely address sports related issues on this blog. But the news from Carl Nassib is such that it merits a posting tonight.

The Raiders defensive lineman came out in a statement posted to his Instagram account, becoming the first active player in the National Football League to publicly identify as gay.

I wish we were at a point in the larger society of this nation where such an announcement was akin to a yawn. In places like the city I live, it is not really ‘news’. Liberal and highly educated Madison has embraced living authentically for many years. We are proud, for example, of our openly gay Congressman Mark Pocan, and our openly gay United States Senator Tammy Baldwin.

But the degree to which bigotry and attempts to marginalize gay men and women still occur, and some politicians turn policy ideas into culture war issues for the cheap sake of campaign fodder, proves why the news from Nassib is important to be heard in many places across the nation.

I grew up in a rural conservative town in Waushara County. I just knew it not wise to come out until I was on safer ground. That would occur when I secured a job in Madison and found the friends and environment where coming out was truly one of the easiest events in my life. The part, however, that was difficult for me was knowing that scores of others in places around the state were not able to have that same sense of self, based on the conservative constraints placed upon them.

One of the best ways to reach those conservative areas is to wrap any message in football terms.

Many in the state who follow Green Bay Packers football, and that would constitute a sizable portion, and who perhaps are aware of the gay players who, over time, were part of the teams, know anti-gay behavior was not tolerated by Vince Lombardi.

Multiple players who played for Vince Lombardi, the legendary former Packers and Redskins coach, say that he knew some of his players were gay, and that not only did he not have a problem with it, but he went out of his way to make sure no one else on his team would make it a problem.

Such lessons are important and have value to impart to those who need assurance that being gay is totally fine, and that acting in bigoted ways against gay people is not.

The news from Nassib, therefore, is not an announcement that gay men play the rough and tumble game of football. No, we are well aware that gay people make up all professions. Rather, Nassib stated clearly who he is as a person, not wishing to hide or deflect or lie anymore. He chose to live authentically.

I am proud of him.

I also know how he feels tonight. A little freer. A little less tight in the chest. Deeper breaths never felt better.

I trust that the news does have an impact on others in the state and that it helps carry the ball of progress with gay rights ‘down the field’.

I know we will reach a time in the nation when someone will say they are gay and we will collectively say, ‘that is great’. And yawn.

And so it goes.

Diversity In Rural Wisconsin Should Be A Good Thing

I recall in many of my school years a fellow student named Adrian would often be in classes. His parents were migrant workers who traveled seasonally and worked when crops demanded their labor. As such he was in school for periods of time and then gone again.

The most poignant memory I have of him came after a series of taunts and ridicule from other students, language and insults they had no doubt heard in their homes, about the ‘big car’ his family owned.  I recall that in a flat conversational tone he simply said that the car was not only for travel but also “that is where we live when working.”

I will never forget that conversation and the weight it had, especially for me as the decades have rolled along.  Living in Waushara County meant that we often rubbed shoulders with Hispanics and as such, it would seem that more sensitivity to their lives might have resulted.  But it never developed in that county to the degree that humanity would hope.

We had a few children on our school bus route who lived in small cabin-like dwellings not so far from where I lived, that were used by migrant families. Some would snicker that a scent of their morning breakfast would trail along when the kids ran to their seats to sit down.  

One of those boys was always friendly and I once asked what breakfast was like in his home. He told me usually had fried bread on the stove with meat.  I recall being told his mom made it herself with flour and it rose overnight for the morning meal.  Decades later I was reminded of that bread when in Arizona a Native American vendor was making fresh flatbread on a low stone fireplace near a road.  It was greasy to the touch when eating, but powerfully good. I imagined that was perhaps akin to what that boy had for breakfast many years prior.

Getting to know people has always been something I have embraced.  Without really knowing it was happening or even why I am designed this way has allowed for good friendships to form, and a better sense of the world around me. 

We all have assumptions about people, be it why some spend their money on a larger car, or the scent that comes from the coat near to the kitchen table so to wear when the bus approaches.

I just know that Adrian felt apart and different and some of his classmates made that divide deeper and more troubling. His parents were hard-working and obviously determined to have their child in school.  So the snide remarks and bigotry from some of the homes that found their way to the school grounds was something no kid should have to encounter.

This is why I will always recall his flat and conversational tone about explaining his family car. No kid should need to confront such situations which resulted from bigotry, but that he handled it in such a calm manner is what strikes me these nearly 50 years later.

And so it goes.