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Happy and sad come from the same emotional spot

April 24, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Sometimes happy just falls out of your heart and you don't even know it's missing because there's so much more to use.

That's how I feel when my youngest sister, Barbara, comes home from Springfield, Ill., and the three of us - Barbara, my sister, Cindy, who lives here, and me - spend days together.

I can't work or they might have fun without me, and while I'd be happy for them having a good time, I'd be unhappy not being part of it.

On Palm Sunday, for instance, we went to church at South Enes Lutheran in Vincent. I love that church. I was confirmed there and married there. Confirmation was half a century ago, give or take, and the marriage 41 years ago.

When we walked into church last Sunday, I hear, "Well, if it isn't the Hansch girls." Which means there are people still at South Enes who were there 50 years ago, and we haven't changed so much they don't know us anymore. What a blessed thought.

Other people think back to happy times, too, even when the things aren't so happy. Oley Olson, for instance, stopped to see me last week to talk about his friend, T.J. Hatton, who died April 12 at De Soto, Kan. Hatton's coming back to Dodge for inurnment at 4 p.m. Wednesday at North Lawn Cemetery.

"Tom grew up in Fort Dodge, and he played in the Karl King Band," Olson said."His father played in the band before him. In fact, Tom's father, Douglas, was a member of the band from the time Karl King came to Fort Dodge in 1921."

It was Hatton's time spent with the Karl King Band - so dear to Olson's heart - that Olson wanted to talk about.

"Tom grew up in that atmosphere of the band, and he started playing in the band at a young age," Olson said. "He played tenor saxophone, like his dad. He also played in area dance bands, but his first love was the Karl King Band."

When Karl King died in 1971, Hatton took a sabbatical from his work and came back to Fort Dodge for a year to write a biography of King. He called it "Karl L. King: An American Bandmaster."

Olson said the book sold out. "It's the only full-book biography of King, and it's been out of print for many years. It's a collector's item on the Internet, selling for very high prices."

In 1990, Hatton wrote a history of the band, which, after a few difficulties including 10 years sitting dormant, was published with a grant from the Catherine Vincent Deardorf Charitable Foundation by what was called the Golden Dragon Press, named for an overture of circus themes written by Karl King. That book, "Hawkeye Glory," came out in 2002 and is still available at the Karl King Museum in the Fort Dodge Public Library.

Hatton wrote a few more books, Olson said, and some plays for school production that are still produced occasionally.

"Tom's other love in life was playing tennis," Olson added. "One of his partners in earlier days was Walt Stevens."

Walt Stevens hired me for my first job out of college back in 1968.

Who knew everything would come back to me in the end.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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