In my nearly seven years living in Clarinda, I’ve known of different people with a Clarinda or Page County connection that have written a book about thier past living here. There may be more.

Carl Otte is the latest.

His sister, Vera Fastenau, told me about her brother’s book in early May. She politely asked if he and his book would be worth a few paragraphs in the Herald-Journal. She gave me one of the preliminary copies. The book has since been edited.

As you can tell, I didn’t say no to Vera’s request.

She said Carl was planning on attending the Glenn Miller Festival last week.

Vera and Carl sat behind me during one of the Friday concerts. Carl and I talked afterward.

“It’s about my ER work and family history,” he said about his book titled. “A Funny Thing Happened.”

I thought it was a strange combination, but the more we talked, the more I understood his reasoning for the subjects.

“There are so many good stories,” he said.

After learning osteopathy in Des Moines, he added trauma medicine to his resume and got started in ER work in Kansas City. His work would continue in Arizona, where he retired.

That’s when the idea of book started. And it took him about 20 years to finish since he didn’t work on it like it was a full-time job.

Born northwest of Clarinda, Carl was one of four children to Orval and Martha Otte.

“It was just as fun growing up on a farm then,” he said about his childhood during and after World War II.

Otte said his stories are probably not drastically different than what happened to other similar families, and kids at the time, but he emphasized it was his experiences, descriptions and observations. No one else’s.

“It’s more of a memoir than an autobiography,” he said.

I asked him despite the differences among the families, if there was a common denominator.

“Probably the religion,” he answered, referring to the strong Lutheran influence in the area and being socially conservative.

“It’s a wonder we survived,” he laughed, eventually realizing how other, non-Lutheran kids and families lived.

“But it all turned out OK.”

His ER stories did not all turn out OK.

He told me some of the tragic endings that didn’t end up in the book for legal reasons.

Working in a major city, like Kansas City, he told me the stereotype is true with shootings and drug-related crimes that turn into ambulance rides. Some of those details shouldn’t be printed in the Herald-Journal.

“Otte entertains and teaches a little about the lives of people with whom many of us do not associate on a daily basis and emphasizes the things people do to and for each other in the medical profession,” states the back cover of the book.

I’ve been wanting to find something to read this summer. This will probably be it.

Now, I just have to dedicate the time.

The book is available on Amazon.


We hope you enjoy a historical review of Clarinda’s Hy-Vee store in this edition of the Herald-Journal. The store turns 80 this year.

Seeing how anything retail has been turned on its ear the last few years, it’s encouraging to see Hy-Vee continue.

I’ve always been impressed by Hy-Vee knowing its beginnings were just a couple of counties away in Ringgold County. I had relatives in Ringgold County and seeing how rural it is, Hy-Vee is a symbol to know great stuff can come from rural America.

In my nearly seven years here, Hy-Vee has helped Clarinda in return. I know their contributions go further back.

“The Clarinda Chamber of Commerce organization has always appreciated the wonderful community support shown throughout the years by the Clarinda Hy-Vee store directors and staff. We are very fortunate to have Hy-Vee as a corporate citizen and an integral part of the Clarinda business community,” said Clarinda Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Elaine Farwell


This is a great time of the year for our newest giveaway through our website

Fareway is offering $250 in produce and meats. All you have to do is go to our website, click on the big ad on top of the homepage, answer a few questions and you are in the contest.

Summer months are the traditional time to grill; and what a combination you could get with winning the Fareway prize. Steaks, chops, brats to go with a great vegetable or fruit-based side dish would be great.

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