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Back to the North Wood: Funny stories too good to ignore

11:02 AM, Mar. 18, 2013  |  Comments
Rhonda Whetstone
Rhonda Whetstone
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Sometimes, while researching some detailed story, I happen upon some humorous little tales, and when that happens, I cannot help but clip them and keep them for the fun of it. Sometimes, I will get enough with a common theme to actually string them together. Other times, there is no "bigger story" but they seem too good to ignore.

I call these humorous or odd anecdotes BOBS - Bottom of the Barrel Stories. I even have a loyal reader in Wisconsin Rapids who tells me the BOBS are her favorites. With that being said, here are two BOBS from the Marshfield area just begging to be told. Enjoy!

First up is a story so interesting I guess that even though it was first printed in the Marshfield Times, the Centralia Enterprise and Tribune of Centralia (now the west side of Wisconsin Rapids) jumped on it and reprinted it as well.

It was October 1895, and Dr. K.W. Doege, revered Marshfield doctor, had a most peculiar request. According to Doege, a young man with "ears like palm leaf fans" (The good doctor did have a way with words, no?), claimed that other boys made fun of him. He requested the doctor take a three-inch strip off the circumference of each ear and reduce them to normal size.

Now, not that I was a math whiz in school, which any of my math teachers could attest to, but even I understand if you can take that much off the ears, they probably were pretty large.

Dr. Doege decided to not take the job. I am left wondering if anyone ever did, poor lad!

In July 1908, another peculiar story was told. Alderman Gerhard Marx and Edward Dumas had taken a train to attend a convention of Retail Liquor Dealers at Kenosha. I am thinking it was a good thing that the travel was by train, given the type of convention, at least on the way back.

Anyway, Marx claimed that the catch on the train window was broken, but in the stifling heat and wanting a breeze, he found a solution by raising the window slightly and placing his wallet containing $300 in the opening to hold up the window.

Nearing Theresa, Wis., 17 miles south of Fond du Lac, the alderman touched the purse with his elbow and brushed it out of the window. Marx contacted the conductor immediately, but the man refused to stop the train.

Supposedly, the wallet also contained a highly valued photograph.

When Marx's friends at the convention, where he was a "prominent and popular figure" according to the newspaper, heard of his loss, they immediately raised $900 and presented it to him as a token of esteem. Upon receiving the $900, Marx offered a $500 reward for the pocketbook.

Now again, this admittedly mathematically challenged columnist is able to deduct $500 from $900 and realize that left $400 for the alderman, so even if he never got the wallet back, he still was ahead $100. I gladly would lose my wallet daily if I could profit $100 each time. I would take my credit cards out first, however.

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