Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

  April 26, 2004

The ‘slow' children are still outside at play

Slow Children at Play.

All the quick children have gone inside, called by their mothers to "hurry-up-wash-your-hands-honey-dinner's-getting-cold," and "just-wait-till-your-father-gets-home."

Only the slow children out on the lawns, marking off paths between fireflies, making soft little sounds with their mouths, ohs that glow and go out and glow. And their slow mothers flickering, pale in the dusk, watching them turn in the gentle air, watching them twirling, their arms spread wide, thinking, these are my children, thinking, where is their dinner? Where has their father gone?

A Poem by Cecilia Woloch:

Waverly is Full of Ghosts

Waverly is full of ghosts, our town is.

Our town has child ghosts.

You can hear them on a summer night.

They sing with silver voices,

"Annie, Annie over." "One, two, three.." all the way to 10 as they seek and hide.

You can hear them: The Zellers and the Copelands, Ralph and Aldie Gagnon. Jerry Hoover.

The pretty redheaded Rauschendorfer girls. Jimmy Kemp.

You can hear them: Mary, Dan and Annie Herbst singing themselves to sleep. The Daigles, Jack and Lorraine. Don Smith and Bernie Althoff.

"Star Bright, Star light. First star I've seen tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight."

And their wishes came true, or didn't come true, from New York to California.

Our town is full of ghosts until their sweet voices fade away as their parents call them home, one by one.

The following is correspondence from a man in England named Borrell who typed in his name on the Internet "Yahoo" and found The Waverly Star, where the name "Borrell" has often appeared.

Dear Mr. O'Leary,

In looking for my roots, I found over here in England that there were Borrells living in Minnesota. I would appreciate any information you might have on them. I, myself, am Irish.

Yours, D. L. Borrell

Dear Mr. Borrell,

I am sorry to disappoint you but the original Borrells were immigrants from Germany. Bavarians they were. Two brothers. There was a falling out as often happens, and one of their descendants changed his name to the spelling of Borell, something his offspring now claim was a lapse on the part of an immigration official, but actually was only a futile protest.

I know many, many Borrells. I just heard the other day from one of them in Denmark, wanting to wish his father a happy birthday in my column now that his father has reached 85 and is still selling used cars in Watertown, Minnesota, USA. There are over 20 Borrells listed in the Waverly telephone directory. I, myself, live 2,000 miles away from there in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA and it is arrogant of me to do a weekly column about a town I haven't lived in for 50 years now.

Sincerely, Jim O'Leary

Dear Jim,

It is lucky you are doing this column or I would not have stumbled the connection. I am tracking this down, in part, because my current girlfriend is Irish. It's a long, complex story, but, essentially, I am trying to track any relatives with the same name. Perhaps your column will find me some interesting feedback from namesakes. The wider my email address goes, the bigger the catchnet.

Thanks, D.L.

Dear D.L.,

Yea, of course. I would like to exploit your sincere plea and use you as part of a column. Would this be all right with you? In order to do so, you will have to forward me some particulars of yourself, such as have you ever been arrested?


Dear JO'L,

I was done by the police once, but that was a teenage thing. I'm 37,have one brother and one sister, Carl and Nancy. My parents are Doreen and Dave. My dad's father was called Frederick Borrell (Fritz?) and by all accounts had a habit of sleeping in the odd position which Mr. Fitzpatrick took up - with his rear end in the air.

My brother has a penchant for telling tall tales with a perfectly straight face and ropes people in to his fantastic stories. It led me to think there might be some sort of connection.

D.L. Borrell

Hi, D.L.

The Borrells are a very well-loved and distinguished family. They are famous for good farming and good families. They are noted singers and musicians. Don Borrell's rendition of "Danny Boy" would bring tears to the eyes of the fiercest Orangeman. One of them is a very popular school board president, having been often re-elected. I don't hear from them, although I have many of them on my Email list and have begged them for information. I'll keep trying.

If you tell any Minnesota Borrells of all this, my goose would be cooked, so I do hope you will be discreet. So far as I am concerned, the more Borrells the better, and as my readers all know, I will do anything for a column.


Dear JO'L,

All those singers seem to be along the lines of musicianship, which seems to be in my family. My father sings and plays guitar, keyboards, drums (a bit) and banjo. My brother plays guitar and keyboards, and I attempt to play keyboards/synthisizer. My sister Nancy is a bit of a singer and both she and I write fairly odd poetry. Perhaps there is a connection. My Irish connection is on my mum's side, as a Ward from Co. Tyrone. I, myself, steer clear of all the hard stuff, although I've developed a liking for Irish Coffee, especially in female company.

I surely will be discreet, though I am known as a gob on a stick. I'm sure the capacity for nonstop chatter is Irish-descended. With my Irish fiance, I hardly get a word in edgewise, though. (Don't print that! It's off the record.)

Looking to hear from you.

D.L. Borrell, the United Kingdom

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