70 Years ago, A Few Months After Victory over Japan

My grandmother’s diary entry: 11-18-1945: Walked through Central Park—a telegram from John Curry saying he had arrived in San Francisco from Tokyo and was leaving for New York on Friday. This picture, taken two years before I was born, jumped out at me perhaps because of the date. My mother Barbara, oldest brother Chris, about …

Ewa (Eva) Barbacka, my Mother’s Lost Friend from WWII

In September 1939 my mother wrote, Eva Barbacka was a typical Slavic type—a very pale complexion, a round sweet face, large grayish blue eyes and a head of reddish brown waving hair. To tell the truth I had always been a little afraid of her. At that time I did not know that the Slavic …

Chickenhouse Chronicles—-Genesis

A few months after my mother, Barbara, died in 2010 I discovered a time capsule—including my grandparent’s urns— locked in the chickenhouse on our old homestead in northern Minnesota. (I stopped calling her Mom the spring of 1962. In 1960 she had been committed to Fergus Falls State Hospital—we children had been sent to foster …

First Thanksgiving Rememberance 1937 Thanksgiving Celebration, Brussels, Belgium

After my mother died in 2010 I discovered this church service bulletin tucked in a mouse-stained scrapbook, locked in the Chickenhouse on our old family homestead in northern Minnesota, USA. Holland played an important part in the first pilgrims–Separatists from England’s religious persecution. Apparently those roots were still celebrated in 1937. Are they still celebrated …

Thank You to the Community

Patti and I are humbled at the success of Muddy Jungle Rivers. In September we were able to increase our year-to-date contribution to $1,000 to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, a share of book sales—our way of saying thank you. Since Patti and I returned from the Mobile Riverine Force Reunion in Indianapolis life has …

SS American Farmer Played Important Role in Family

> SS American Farmer On September 24, 1937, my grandmother, mother, and aunt traveled to Europe aboard the SS American Farmer. My grandmother, Elsie, kept a detailed account in her diary. In this excerpt, Pol, fifteen years old, is my aunt and Bar, seventeen years old, will be my mother ten years later. “Third day …

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 …

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. …