We keep bouncing back and forth between stories about New Richmond's mythical fairies and life as it was in the city as detailed in the "Balance Sheet" story sequence as published in The New Richmond News in 1970. And when you look back on that time 43 years ago, that life seems almost as mythical as stories about fairies. During that time we have gone through an information revolution that boggles the mind.
As of this writing Irv and I have had a very nice few days' visit from the family of our oldest son who lives in a suburb of Milwaukee. Each of the four, the parents and the two teenage children, have come equipped with iPhones, computers, and various devices requiring cords to charge batteries, all of the daily electronic equipment without which life cannot be lived by these generations below us.
Last night Irv and granddaughter Marie were playing cards and at the end of a game, Irv said, "Alright, O.K., you win. That's one sentence from a song and I don't remember the rest or who sang it."
"Here, I'll look it up," said Marie, as she took her iPhone and seconds later could tell him the rest of the song and a list of a number of people who sang it.
"Who do you want to sing it for you?" she asked. He picked Patti Page and immediately Patti Page was on singing the song for him. Then he wondered if Patti was still alive.
Marie reached for her iPhone. "No, no," he said, "you don't have to look it up."
But Marie already had the information. Patti Page died at age 85 on January 1, 2013.
Our daughter-in-law set up her equipment on the dining room table for eight hours on Tuesday and for a couple of hours the next morning. On Tuesday she had a complete work day communicating back and forth with her office and saving a day of vacation. The next morning she participated in a weekly conference which included employees from the company's offices all over the world. Sometimes, she said, she participates in these conferences from her own office at work or if it is particularly early, can join in from her home.
Our son is working on an advanced degree in his profession through a series of eight seminars offered online and worked through the introductory material for his fourth one while they were here.
And the prime purpose of this particular visit was to deliver our grandson to his dormitory where he will live while starting his first year of college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It brought back a lot of memories for Irv and myself about our first entries into our colleges about 65 years ago. Irv's father worked for Doughboy Industries at that time and had a Doughboy feed salesman deliver the Sather's oldest son to the fraternity house where he was already signed up.
My mother and Aunt Lois drove me up to the Nurses Residence at Asbury Hospital on Chicago Avenue and 10th Street in Minneapolis. I was to go to Hamline University in St. Paul, but they did not yet have dormitory space arranged for myself and two other transfer students, so for the first three weeks we rode the streetcars back and forth to classes. The Asbury Hospital setting was in a very tough neighborhood. There was a little park across the street where people gathered at night that we often found littered with cigarette butts and various other interesting objects. My mother, used to the fresh, beautiful farmland setting of southeastern Minnesota, looked at this urban landscape and said, "Mary Ellen, I think I will take you home."
And I think I made the best decision of my entire life, "No, Mama, I am staying."
But however we arrived at our respective campuses, we just carried a few clothes and necessities in a couple of suitcases. By the time we were taking our oldest son off to college, there was stereo equipment to carry in along with the suitcases. More equipment of that type went with the second son a few years later and by the time our daughter made her first college trek, the parents were coming in with U-Hauls to carry their children's belongings for transfer to the dorm rooms.
Our grandson's necessities for life barely left room in the van for the other three members of his family who were delivering him to his new home. And it left a grandmother both happy for him and sad for herself as she contemplated the transfer of a grandson from childhood into adulthood, from the security of the family to fending for himself out there in the real world.
The saddest member of our family to see kids off was our black Labrador dog, Easy, when we took Laura away and came home without her. Up to that point Easy had spent his entire life sleeping at night on the bottom of her bed. He searched the entire house for her and would not settle down. We had to take a blanket from her bed, put it on the floor next to ours, and that was his sleeping place for the rest of his life. I had to shut her bedroom door so he would quit hunting for her, but every time I went in for something, Easy was right there before I could even turn around. Poor old puppy.
Let me see. I got a little side tracked here. I had intended to write up the "Balance Sheet" section from 1970 about New Richmond's civic clubs. There is room now to mention just one of them. "The club with the longest established history in the community is the New Richmond's Woman's Club. The organization year was either 1910 or 1911, but the minutes up to 1930 have been lost so no one is quite sure. The club became federated with the state and General Federation in 1916. The club meets monthly September to May for a business meeting and program."
A little more about that club next week, but suffice it to say here that it met its demise in the early 1960s because no one could be found to take over the presidency. Women were going back to work.