Earl Young - His Life and Legacy

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Petoskey News-Review, Wednesday, April 5, 1967

EARL YOUNG THUMBS through the Charlevoix High School
1908's graduating class newspaper, of which he was editor-in-chief..
(NEWS photo by Glen Sheppard)

A Chat With Earl Young


CHARLEVOIX -- Fairy tales do come true. The 1908 editions of the Charlevoix High School Hustler (the bi-monthly school paper) proves it.

His 78th birthday probably put Earl Young in a nostalgic mood. There aren't many boulders left for Charlevoix's ageless patriach of creative magic to weave into temples of natural wonder.

SO, MAYBE, that's what did it. Anyway, when I hurdled the stone wall and plodded up the hill I found him sitting in the picture window going through a box of dusty memories.

"Look at this," he directed, handing over a Sunday supplement-size publication that said on it, in 84 point cheltenham, "The High School Hustler."

Sure enough. It was a copy of the March 17, 1908 issue of the Charlevoix High School newspaper. The cover was done in quiet, tasteful heavy stock.

On the first page was a story tracing the history of Charlevoix's public school system. The first school building, it revealed, was erected at a workbee in 1861.

THE FAIRY tale that came true was told on page four, under the heading, "Editorial Staff."

Editor-in-chief for the 1908 class' newspaper was Earl Young. And who was the number one associate editor?

Yeah. Irene Harsha. Now Mrs. Earl (Irene Harsha) Young.

Earl admitted to knowing a good thing when he had it going for him. "Nothing like keeping your associate editor on the staff," or something like that, he sorta half chuckled (like he likes to).

Earl and his associate editor celebrated their 50th a little over a year ago.

BURIED DEEPER in the box he found five more of the high school newspapers he and Irene edited nearly 60 years ago. What a refreshing difference they are from the excuses we now recognize as high school newspapers.

The writing and typography would do credit to many of the more conservative small college magazines now published. The grads of 1908, obviously, lived in a much more romantic and innocent society than do those of 1967. But that was no more their doing than is today, anxious, suspicious, belligerent society the fault of the class of 1967.

FOR INSTANCE, try the following excerpt from a story one of the students wrote about his experience at a University of Michigan football contest:

"It is difficult, in fact impossible, to give to the reader the real spirit, patriotism, enthusiasm (call it what you will), and the little waves of something indescribable that ascended one's spine and at times even took possession of your whole body."

If one of the kids in today's hard-bitten whirl displayed so much healthy, honest emotion he would be the laughing stock of the school.

In the April 1 edition of the 1908 Hustler series, a student writer (the initials look like those of Irene Harsha) describes her trip to Scotland.

"THERE ARE very few places on earth like Scotland, where the grass is so velvety, or the flowers so luxuriant, so profuse, and the humblest cottage has its flower garden ... No wonder the Scots love their country -- beautiful Scotland."

A 1967 grad, if ever forced to attempt such a thing, would tell us they have big hills and green grass in Scotland. That'd do it.

Or, more likely, he would tell us that is where his uncle trained before the invasion of Normandy, or where his cousin is serving at a missile-armed nuclear sub base.

A full page back-page ad in each edition of the Hustler reveals something that is more easily understood in 1967.

The Charlevoix Board of Commerce used this space twice a month to urge industry to come to town. "Charlevoix the Beautiful, on Three Lakes, Offers Free Sites for Factories," the ad announced.

So how come we had to fight that one all over again just a few years ago?

The class of 1908 had 21 graduates. Eleven girls and ten boys. Reading their class newspaper makes a reporter wish the world of 1908 was still a real one.

Oh, one other discovery. The 1908 issues of the Hustler carry an advertisment for Myrtie Young. The phone number to call for insurance was 275. Today you can call Earl Young at LI 7 - 2 (275).