LETTER TO EDITOR: Edelmans reflect on Northwoods connections

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Old timers may remember the house fire on St. Patrick's Day in 1979 that took the lives of Eugene "Ike" and Anna Edelman. The Edelmans had homesteaded 240 acres four miles east of Itasca State Park, just inside Hubbard County and raised 17 children. Eugene worked the mines at Hibbing during the week and traveled home on the weekends. The family grew three large gardens, foraged the forest for mushrooms and berries and milked cows.

Sadly, a leak from a line running to their gas stove led to the explosion which took the lives of the octogenarians. The gas was ignited by the oil furnace when it came on that fateful evening at 7:30 p.m. No one else was in the house, which was totally destroyed.

The Edelman siblings and families reunite every two years at various sibling's locations. This year, 134 descendents congregated at sister Alice Zinniel's at Sleepy Eye, Minn. Sibling #13 Leo Edelman shares fame with brother Lyle of Akeley and sister Lilian of Lake Wales, Fla. as being the first triplets born west of the Mississippi River in 1942. Their eldest living sibling, Clara Bessler (sibling No. 3), is also the oldest resident of Lake George. She still lives in her own apartment.

Delmar (No. 16) spends his summers in his camper parked at Lyle's in Akeley and winters at his home in Phoenix. A stroke two years ago has slowed him down but not dampened his interest in the world around him, including learning about new berries to the area.

There is reportedly no family connection to football star Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots, but ongoing research by one of the cousins may very well turn up some interesting history regarding this "noble" ("edel" in German) family!

While July and September are much better berry months, the Edelman's Sunday afternoon drive on Aug. 5 turned out to be an enjoyable event for all of us.