A very quick trip north …

On Monday, we took a very quick trip north. Our destination – Grand Rapids, MN – a county seat city of almost 11,000 people (2010). Grand Rapids is perhaps most well known as the home of Judy Garland from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie. It was also home to Hugh Beaumont ( Mr. Cleaver, father of Theordore “Beaver” Cleaver ) from the TV series ‘Leave it to Beaver’ – a late 50’s and early 60’s situational comedy.

On the way to Grand Rapids, we went by a childhood landmark for me – Nine Mile Corner Bar – which is located between Hillman and Grand Rapids. My grandfather used to live near this bar. On weekends, we would make the trip – often riding in the back of our pickup – from Princeton to Grandpa’s house so Dad could go fishing. In the evening, we would go to Nine Mile Corner Bar – where we listened to the band and ate bar food. (Keep in mind that we rarely went out to eat, so this was a real treat for us kids.) Often the band played polkas, waltzes, schottishes, etc. – and I danced with my favorite partner – Grandpa ‘Shorty.’

As you will see in the photo, the bar is now closed and for sale – which makes me a little sad.

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A bit about Grand Rapids  —

Grand Rapids began as a logging town, the history of which is now featured at The Forest History Center, a State Historic Site and living history museum that recreates life as it was in a turn of the 20th century logging camp. The site includes miles of nature trails, educational naturalist programming, and an interpretive museum. Click here for the source and more information on Grand Rapids.

Just a little exploring —

We arrived a bit early for our event, so we visited downtown Grand Rapids. We’ve been there several times; each time I say “I would love to go in that building.” Well, this was my lucky day because minutes later my husband pulled into the parking lot of ‘that building’ – Old Central School. The school was was built in 1895 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This style of architecture is also found in Duluth. The three story building served as an elementary school from 1895 to 1972. The building was restored in 1984 and it now holds several shops and businesses.

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The real reason for our trip to Grand Rapids —

Monday was Indigenous People’s Day. What better way to commemorate that day than to go to a concert featuring Brule, a contemporary Native American New Age band. However, first we met friends at the well-known Sawmill Restaurant for a wonderful meal. Then on to the concert.

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Brule has been performing for 20 years – and we have been attending their concerts whenever we could throughout that time. I guess that makes us groupies. We first heard them at an open-air restaurant in Deadwood, South Dakota and we have been hooked ever since. Over the years, they have added Native American dancers to the performance that, along with the band – results in a performance that reminds us that we are all related; we are all connected — Mitakuye Oyasin

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(For more information on Brule and the very interesting story about how the band came to be, CLICK HERE.)

And then for the long moon-lit ride home (just over two hours) – but well worth the very quick trip north.

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Thanks for reading! I hope you will come again!

 

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Make new friends … but keep the old …

I’m sure that you have heard this at some point in your life. I think I first heard it years ago, in Brownies or Girl Scouts. This little song has been playing in my mind since Tuesday night.

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On Tuesday night, we held the first meeting of our new needlecraft club. The club is open to anyone who wants to join us – working on any type of needlecraft – knitting, crocheting, embroidery, tatting, etc,  – and who simply wants to hang out with others who enjoy needlecrafting.

Not surprisingly, once every one was introduced, the conversation was steady and far-reaching. There was lots of laughter – and believe it or not, there was needlecrafting being done. Two hours simply flew by.

The group decided to meet every week, with people attending when they are able. I suspect there will be more things that grow out of this group meeting. For example, there was already mention of a road trip. The possibilities are endless.

And the best part – new friendships began and older ones were rekindled.

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end of the beginning …

logoThis past week, after several months of preparation, our class reunion group released information about our upcoming 50th class reunion – which will be held next year – Sept. 16-18, 2016. The coordinated release including a mailing (with all event information), an email blast and the launch of our web site. Interestingly, All of this was released so our classmates received the information exactly one year ahead of the event.

Our group of reunion minions has been meeting and working on this since the beginning of this year. We’ve been averaging about 15 people at each meeting – with the meetings last up to 3-4 hours. By the time the actual reuniominionsn events arrive, many of us on the committee will be fully reunited – but that just gives us more time to talk to others!! I will say, however, that our meetings are a bit like herding cats. We just have so much to talk about so it’s hard to stay on task.

One thing we have done is form an executive committee to handle the basics tasks – setting up a checking account, securing a location, etc. That group meets just before the full group meeting or often we just meet by email. There are many details that need to be handled.

Luckily, one of our classmates is a master designer. He put together a reunion plan book that covers every possible element of the reunion events. The plan helped structure our group meetings and get things on track. We’ve planned events for the three-day weekend, including  a meet-and-great where we are inviting anyone who wants to attend. We’re hoping that some teachers and bus drivers, along with numerous classmates from all years, will attend. On Saturday evening, we’re having a dinner with a short, fun program; the dinner is for 1966 classmates and guests. During the day on Saturday, we have a golf tournament and a tour of our town, including all places known to us as kids. The final day, Sunday, includes a brunch. Other fun things are also planned. To see all of what is planned, you can take a peak at our amazing web site HERE In my opinion, this is our piece de resistance! It includes photos of classmates, their families, school days, past reunions, and more. And it’s not finished! We continue to add features and will likely keep doing that until the reunion – and perhaps even after the reunion. It’s a great way for classmates to keep in touch. Scan0071

All of this planning has been a lot of fun and I expect that fun will continue. However, planning for this event does make one stop and think about what is ahead of us. There is no doubt that the years ahead of us will be less than the years behind us. Let’s face it – we are reaching old age. But, because we’ve reached old age, it gives us a very unique opportunity to talk to our classmates about life in the larger sense – with folks that we knew from when we were all starting out in life. Now, instead of passing notes in class, we can pass them electronically (by email). We can have that big grownup life discussion in a comfortable way with old friends. And as we all know, there’s no friends like old friends – and we’re old friends, especially when most of us met in kindergarten or first grade.

The friendships that are rekindled through this reunion process will likely continue for the rest of our remaining time. I, for one, am looking forward to it and am most grateful we have this opportunity.

So, our release of the information about our event is the end of the work to establish the event – the end of the beginning. Now we are working to reach the end – the reunion events. In all likehood, however, the reunion events will be a new beginning for a lot of rekindled friendships.

Thanks for reading!!

Making Connections … the new way

This post is about sharing the positive experiences that I’ve had with Facebook and how those experiences make life a bit better. In most cases, I really didn’t anticipate the results.

Connecting with relatives

As you may know, I am keenly interested in genealogy. I’ve traced a lot of my family history – but, I’m always looking to learn more about my relatives – to fill in the blanks. One of my Facebook  contacts shared a photo from a photographer in Scotland – a laggan-lodge-mull-lochbuie-21photographer who shares an ancestral name on my mother’s side of the family. Knowing we have a Scottish connection, I decided to send the photographer a friend request. I wasn’t sure he would accept but I thought it was worth a try. To my delight, he accepted – and we have more than the name in common. His ancestors came from Lochbuie, the Isle of Mull — and so did mine! I’m not exactly sure how we are related – we have yet to figure that out. But for now, we are Facebook cousins.

Connecting with old friends

Next year brings another class reunion and I am on the committee. We are busily looking for our classmates, In the process, however, I am finding not only classmates, but other friends who were in other grades. Regardless of our life experiences, we Disney-Cartoons-Pooh-Eeyore-and-Friends-Coloring-Pictureshave a common bond that is easily re-established.

Connecting with new friends 

Recently, I posted a question on a site where people post remembrances about the City of Mankato (Minnesota), To my surprise, and delight, many people posted in response. I connected to children of long-ago friends and made several new connections – simply based on conversation on the same topic (in this case, two old race tracks).

Connecting with friends in a special way 

Thirty-five years ago, we lost two daughters – ages 6 and 7. Every year we decorate their graves and the graves of many other relatives. This year I posted photos of many of the graves we decorated and/or visited. For our girls, I tagged our children, just to let them know we had been there. To my surprise, many of the girls’ friends, our friends and others posted remembrances of them. While one never truly gets over such a loss, it certainly made us to feel better to know that others care. Facebook brought that comfort to us.