Commentary: The boys from Pike StreetThere are many things I remember about growing up in Osakis. Many of them are joyful memories. One thing, however, haunts me to this day. That would be the “Boys from Pike Street.”
By Linda Anderson Sibell
I grew up in Osakis, graduating in 1968. I was the third of five children born to Everett and Shirley Anderson. My mother was a “stay at home” mom. My father was a “DM” – doctor of motors – the finest tractor repairman to be found. My good friend, Christine Emerson’s father was the “MD” – medical doctor, in Osakis.
It is interesting for me to see how the boys from Pike Street start on the west end of Pike Street where I grew up and end on the east end of Pike Street where Christine grew up. It is sad that the “boys” included one of my brothers and one of hers.
There are many things I remember about growing up in Osakis. Many of them are joyful memories. One thing, however, haunts me to this day. That would be the “Boys from Pike Street.” Sometimes, in my mind, I walk up and down Pike Street. I try to remember the individual houses and who lived in them. “The Boys” jump out at me.
You see, so many of them lived an abbreviated life. Starting at the end of our block – at the west end of what was then Pike Street – you would meet Dean Spearing. Dean was close in age to my brother Denny. Dean died at a young age, falling to his death from a skyscraper he was working on out in Chicago. As I recall, he was in his early 20s when he died.
Just down and across the street was a young man named Timmy Robinson. Timmy grew up in the house that I believe is now owned by Paul Jorgensen. The Robinson family owned a grocery store in Osakis. They sold their store and moved to Hoyt Lakes in the early 60s. The move did not save Timmy from the fate of the “Boys from Pike Street.” He died a young man in yet a different war – Vietnam. If my memory serves me correctly, he hadn’t been there much more than a few days and he was gone, a young man in his early 20s.
Crossing back over the street and going down a couple of houses lived the Leon Johnson family. They too moved, but didn’t escape. Living in Sauk Centre, their youngest son Lonnie was killed in a car accident. I believe Lonnie died before he reached the age of 20. Older brother Roger died early in his adult life of a blood clot.
Moving down the street a couple of houses was the Hoosline family. I still recall playing baseball in their yard. They had a son named Dickie who had a degenerative disease that allowed him to live to be an adult, but he too, died too young.
Staying on the same side of the street and moving east three houses, you come to our home. My brother Denny was killed and his young bride injured in a motorcycle accident. He died three months to the day after they were married. He was 20 years old.
Crossing the street and moving down one house, you come to the Olson house. Gary Olson reached adulthood, but joined “the boys” way too soon.
We have now covered one block of Pike Street.
If we continue up the street you would have met another boy from Pike Street. Terry Morris was badly injured in Vietnam. Terry just recently joined “the boys” after he lost his courageous battle with cancer.
The next block up was our school. If you continue down the other side of the school you would meet my friend Christine and her family. Christine’s brother David died tragically in Zimbabwe, Africa. David was a peaceful young man trying to share his talents in a country that had much unrest. In my memory I see David walking up Pike Street, followed by his loyal friend and companion, his dog Gypsy. Although David died a tragic death, that is the picture I carry in my mind – a young boy walking off into a glorious sunset followed by his dog.
There. I have finally put this down on paper. The Boys from Pike Street – Dean, Timmy, Lonnie, Roger, Dickie, Denny, Gary, Terry and David – we loved you, we miss you and we will always treasure our memories of you. May you all rest in peace. God bless you all.