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And now for the rest of the story

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Wadena,Minnesota 56482
Wadena PJ
And now for the rest of the story
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson 56482

This seems like the right time to get the rest of Stan Windels' story about early dance bands. His father, Frank (Junior) Windels' band was playing to a full docket this time of year in the late 1920s or early 30s.


Frank's band, "The Happy Fellows," took turns with Lawrence Welk's "Hotsy Tottsy Boys," playing every other week at West Hall, north of Menahga. Welk's band came loaded into two big cars, pulling equally heavy trailers.

Frank played tenor sax and trumpet. He sung with the help of a megaphone. Top tunes were "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes," "Happy Days," "Puttin' On The Ritz," "On The Sunny Side Of The Street," "Springtime In The Mountains" and many more. New dances were the Swing and Charleston.

Windels often didn't have a drummer because many didn't keep time well enough to suit him. He didn't have guitar players, either. However, he couldn't turn one banjo player down, Danny Matruska, who came from the Iron Range. He tossed his banjo up and caught it again in the middle of a song without missing a beat.

To get his first accordion, Stan cut and sold hardwood white oak fence posts for 25 cents for the small ones and 50 cents for the rest. Stan made his first dollar playing the time his dad transposed music for the Chicago Polka for an accordion. He played it with his father and Charlie Thompson.

A band called "The Tune Twisters" had a drummer who doubled on a xylophone. The Poser family had a band that played at Big Pine Lake. In 1948, Windels bought them out. Windels' band had a standing date for every Sunday afternoon at KVOX radio in Moorhead.

What with the competition for dates, bands often played every night for a week if the job was there. The bane of all band leaders was keeping a band he knew would turn up sober enough to play. Frank did most of the driving.

Frances Windels, Stan's mother, could sing and harmonize but wasn't a part of the band. Her songs were hymns, with "The Old Rugged Cross" her favorite. She also liked the "Susannah Schottische."

After many years of marriage, Francis died and Frank put away his instruments, never to play again. They had been married in 1926.

Thanks for the musical history, Stan.

The only thing new at my house is my black eye, a real shiner. If you think my picture in the last paper looked pretty tough, you should see me now. I was standing minding my own business in the middle of my kitchen floor when it raised up and hit me, knocked me flat.

A trip to the ER revealed I have something decidedly uninteresting called Vertigo, wouldn't you know?

Correction: In last week's paper Hattie LaFontane's name was misspelled, and her father's name should have said Horace. We apologize for the error.