SHORTLY AFTER I'd been elected to the board of the Cooperative League, in 1934, I got into an argument with dear old Dr. Warbasse. The board had voted to do something which required twelve hundred dollars and the treasurer reported that there was no such money in the League's account. I said, "Well, Dr. Warbasse, if I'd been with an institution for twenty years and it didn't have twelve hundred dollars in the bank to do something the board wanted me to do, I'd say there was something wrong with me or the institution or both."
There was something wrong, and it didn't take long for me to learn what it was. Except for those Finns up in scattered stores in and around Duluth who knew what they were doing and were willing to work hard for it, the groups within the League were pretty ineffectual. Then too, a good many of the people in the city co-ops were as leery of us as our farmers were leery of them. I suppose they were afraid that we would take the leadership away from them because we were bigger, richer (or at least richer than they were), and more vigorous.
After I'd been on the board for about a year, though, an old Finnish member, Bill Liimatainen, came up to me and said, "You're all right."
"What do you mean, I'm 'all right'?" I asked.
"You're all right," he repeated, nodding his head.
"Well, that must mean that at one time you didn't think I was all right."