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Stan, Stan the music man

The family picnic was definitely the high point of this week at Fair Oaks Lodge, with residents, families, and company here on our lawn. Nothing was left out.

Some children dug for money in a pile of sand while others tossed balloons or tried to ride a sheep, all to the crowd's enjoyment. The Motley Vagabonds entertained with fine music. The kitchen again put out a great lunch. There was lots of visiting, with everyone having a great time, looking forward to next summer and another picnic.

The man in our story this week is not a stranger to Fair Oaks Lodge, as Stanley Windels has entertained here many times on a monthly basis. Now he is here for a time as a resident.

Stanley was born in 1927 on a farm in Otter Tail County to Frank and Frances Windels. There was always music in the home and it has been Stan's interest. He played piano or accordion to his father's tenor sax many times, in many places. His father had his own band.

In 1954, Stan was inducted into the Transportation Corps of the Army and sent to a base in Virginia. He spent the most time in the area of Goose Bay in Labrador. While the main war was over by '54, there was still lots of action.

Stan was trained to operate a big crane as well as other heavy equipment needed to make roads and airfields. There was one crane on a barge. Stanley was honorably discharged in '57.

After being around so much unrest, farming looked good so Stanley bought a farm. He started in with a lot of work to do, as the dairy barn, horse barn, and a shop had all burned down a short time before that.

Stan made what had been a chicken house into a small barn until he could build one. The $100 he got for serving overseas came in very handy about then. In those days money went farther but was harder to come by.

Stan married Helen Weibe, a nurse, in 1957. She was raised in Canada. During those years Stan took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended an ag school course taught by Clyde Kelsey.

Stan and Helen have had many interests over the years. They always listened to news over WDAY for one thing, and they liked cats. Helen had two in the house and Stan had, oh, my goodness, at least 10 outside and counting. They both like music.

Collecting old tools is a hobby, along with welding, like when Stan turned an old car chassis into a farm wagon. If he has his wish, it would be to have more homegrown music groups. These groomed to perfection music makers are fine, but shouldn't be the only source of music. More folks should be learning to play something with a place to play it.