Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference 2013

This past week I participated in a writing workshop titled “Nonfiction and the Archeology of Memory,” taught by Joni Tevis. Joni’s website, http://www.jonitevis.com/ Joni’s class was a perfect fit for the project I am working on, reconstructing our family’s past from the wealth of primary documents I have. The biggest takeaway was when Joni told …

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Memorial Day Speech, American Legion, Bagley, Minnesota PTSD and Writing our Stories

I was honored to be guest speaker. I was surprised at the large crowd on such an overcast windy morning. It was refreshing to see youth groups participating in the memorial service. Bagley residents should be proud of the tribute they pay their veterans. Click on the title and listen to the 11 minute talk. …

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My Maternal Grandparent’s Wedding at the Fratt Mansion, Everett, Washington, December 10, 1917

The wedding photo is interesting because the painting in the background, titled, “Portrait of a Young Girl,” by Simon Harmon Vedder, 1890, was passed down to my mother. Sadly, it had to be sold to settle her estate debt in 2010.   This weekend as I thumbed through a 1918 address book I realized that it …

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Chickenhouse Chronicles: Early Warning Signs of Schizophrenia

My Aunt Polly and Grandmother Elsie Philips, circa 1939, in Darien, Conn. This past week we’ve been studying schizophrenia in the psychology class I’m taking at BSU. Schizophrenia often manifests itself in late teens and early twenties. This evening I was reading some of my grandfather’s letters and discovered this one, where he discusses Polly’s …

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Chickenhouse Chronicles: 1950 Holy Land Visit

  My great grandmother, Katherine Thomas Philips, had a younger sister named Alice, who married Edmund Garstin.  They had two daughters: The eldest, Martha “Pattie” Thomas Garstin, born 1888, died in a mental institution, Normansfield Hospital, Teddington, in 1935. The second daughter, Eloise “Emily” Thomas Garstin, was born in 1889 and died in 1970. Eloise, a name …

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