The youngster left school during the fourth grade to work on the family farm.
But he loved music and he persuaded his father to buy him a mail-order accordion for $400, with the promise that the boy would work on the farm until he was 21 to pay off the debt.
On his 21st birthday, he left the farm to pursue a career in music.
That was in 1924.
Forty years later, Lawrence Welk and his Champagne Music, shown every Saturday night on television, were as familiar on the American landscape as apple pie and just as wholesome.
In 1964 or 1965, Welk made a triumphant return to his home state for a visit and was greeted at the airport in Bismarck like a conquering hero.
I was working for a television station there at that time and went to the airport to film the arrival.
I took along my wife and two small children and they were standing along a ropeline as Welk came through and shook everyone's hand.
But my youngest son was only two or three years old then and, as he was just a little tyke, Welk passed right over him without seeing him.
I noticed Scott crying and my wife told me what had happened.
So I picked Scott up and took him over to the maestro.
The next moment was captured by a still photographer.
Lawrence Welk was a millionaire many times over, thanks to his savvy investments in Southern California real estate, but he remained just a nice guy from North Dakota.
(Cue the bubble machine)