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Marilyn Hagerty: Memories of mosquitoes

"Mosquitoes," he said. They rank at the top of Grand Forks memories for a man who grew up on the Air Force base and left with his family 25 years ago. He recently came back just to review his childhood. Alan W. Rateliff remembers the snowball fig...

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"Mosquitoes," he said.

They rank at the top of Grand Forks memories for a man who grew up on the Air Force base and left with his family 25 years ago. He recently came back just to review his childhood.

Alan W. Rateliff remembers the snowball fights and how much his dog loved playing in the snow. He thinks of the crab apples on Louisiana Street on the base. He remembers how much he enjoyed both eating them and using them as weapons.

The boys on Grand Forks Air Force Base would make their own ice rinks. Like others, Rateliff wanted to play for UND. They all wanted to be the next Wayne Gretzky.

He remembers the schools on the base and many of the teachers. As a boy, he watched planes fly around and sometimes over the base. First it was the B-52 and later the B-51.

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He realizes now how difficult it was for his parents to be so far away from their families. And how they held together as a family with friends both on and off of the base.

"Just as an undertone," Rateliff wrote, "was growing up toward the end of the Cold War. Knowing that it could happen.''

To Rateliff, a quarter-century seemed like a good landmark to visit the Grand Forks area. He got off of the train early one morning this spring. And his first thought was, "I'm home."

Strange, he says, because he no longer knows anyone here. His family returned to Florida, and he went into business after finishing his degree at Florida State. The base has changed drastically, and he can no longer get on it. The house where he grew up is long gone and replaced.

But he is pretty sure he planted one of the pine trees still growing on the base.

What's up

The second weekend in June arrives with people mowing lawns, cooking outdoors and making treks to the lakes.

Jeffrey Jacobi of Grand Forks is a participant on the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He reached the halfway point of the 545 mile ride Wednesday. He has raised more than $25,000 in pledges.

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Whitney and Tom

Cheerful people of the week: Whitney Bowen and Tom Campbell.

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