Marietta, Minnesota & Yesterday’s Dreams

The first time I’d heard reference to Marietta, Minnesota, I was a college student living in a large, North Mankato, MN, rental house  – 1976, I believe. (The summer of “Afternoon Delight” to add a music reference)   A room was available and in moved a recent high school graduate to the top floor of the old Range Street house.
Me:  Where are you from?
Her:  Marietta, Minnesota
Me:  Hmmm… never heard of it. Where is it?
Her:  East of Watertown, South Dakota and west of Madison, Minnesota
Me:  That doesn’t help – haven’t heard of them, either.

MariettaCoopbw11x14blog

Main Street Marietta, MN 1999
BW medium format film / processed in darkroom / hand colored
Bronika ETRSi medium format camera
scanned as digital file / dirt texture added in Photoshop CS5

As fate would have it, 7 years later I would find myself living 7 miles west of Marietta, Minnesota and would soon learn the geographical locations of villages and towns that could have been part of the wild west.

By the time I arrived,  Marietta was a quiet little village with very little commerce.  Not always so, according to local historians (AKA relatives).

Circa 1967:

  • Why Go Restaurant: (Kids hangout)
  • Hardware store
  • Millie’s Popcorn Stand
  • Johnson’s Chuckwagon Cafe.
  • Nelson’s Jewelry Store
  • Maas Recreation Hall
  • Carl Raetz Marietta Produce
  • Forest Ward Standard Oil
  • Dahle’s Value Mart
  • Bank
  • Orpheum movie theater
  • Red Owl Grocery Store
  • Elevator
  • Coop station
  • Telephone Office
  • Silvernale’s Drug Store & soda Fountain
  • Don Russell’s Barber Shop
  • Roth’s Cafe
  • Post office
  • International dealer
  • Bud’s Station
  • Kanthak’s Auto Service
  • Idle Hour: bar/pool hall
  • Lily Mills Thread Store
  • American Legion
  • Les Hoium’s Butcher Shop
  • Creamery
  • Hotel
  • A 2nd grocery store?
  • Laundromat
  • Pool Hall
  • Red Owl Store
  • Shackelfords Lumber Yard
  • K-12 High School
  • Three churches

Imagine my surprise as they reeled off such an extensive list  of establishments that have been part of the history of Marietta, Minnesota during the years of love, peace and the Vietnam War ~ the1960’s.

What happened?

The talented Charlie Roth featured Marietta, Minnesota in his music video, Broken Ground, and tells the story well.

Can this town be saved?  Technology and the work ethics of its people may be the ticket to help this town and other typical rural communities.  Living in a slower paced, small  town or rural location may be a lifestyle dream someday for those tired of the traffic and rush that urban living requires.

As Mr. Rogers said so well:  Won’t you  be my neighbor? 

 

A small town bride on the ride of her life.

Thank God if you’re smart enough to live in a small town.

~unknown

I saw the above quote the other day and it started the wheels turning in my mind as to the charm of living in a small, rural community.  Into the photo archives I go to dig up some images that show a piece of life in a small town.  We do know how to entertain ourselves and have some good ol’ fun!

Haas-3973hp20dmvThis carnival ride at the Yellow Medicine County Fair, in Canby, Minnesota, seems to lend itself as a metaphor to the wild ride this young couple have chosen in life. Since their wedding in July of 2010, this small town couple have added two young children (1 1/2 years and 6 months) to their family, hold down full-time jobs, the bride completed a master’s degree, and both serve our country in the United States National Guard. In fact, the wedding was planned while the engaged couple were both deployed overseas in the Middle East.

Haas-3978pl_tx

Yes, you are on the ride of your small town life.  The twists and turns of a carnival ride can become predictable after you get use to patterns of movement.  Life is not like that.  Bumps and turns can appear out of nowhere and you may even careen completely off of the path.

A small town has a secret weapon that helps us bounce back when the road of life gets rough ~  the people.   When the chips are down and we face a struggle, the community members are there to help pull us through.  During a crisis the small town rallies its troops to bring out the safety nets to help in whatever way is appropriate to the situation. We may not always agree on our politics, religion or philosophies of life, ( some may not even like each other) but we are there for each other.

Haas-3966HawpunchhpcrJust because we don’t rank at the top of the population charts doesn’t mean we aren’t resilient and destined to make a mark in the world.  In spite of the twists and turns…

Just sayin’.

Photo info:  Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 70-200 L lens, Kubota Actions

Hidden Treasures in Southwestern Minnesota

Our eyes were opened due to the talents that spring up from our prairie roots at the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council 2012 Celebration at Milan, Minnesota on October 28, 2012. The community welcomed us with open arms as we toured their city, shops and art studios within the main street and the two former school buildings which are now used to provide art opportunities and studio space for local artists.  I was amazed at the diverse talent that prevails in this little prairie village.  Pottery, weaving, fiber arts, silversmithing, blacksmithing, photography, mixed media, framing and painting which also includes rosemal, a decorative Norwegian painting style (I apologize if I’ve left an art form out.) may be found within this quaint community.  Milan Village Arts School is a tremendous asset to their community and surrounding areas.

We found the museum on main street especially interesting as it is the passion of one man for his community. The old photographs with their unique frames of depth with inside lighting added a unique twist for the viewer. Walk through a doorway from the museum and you will find a quaint little shop called Billy Maple Tree  that sells items made by local artists as well as handmade items from around the world through the  SERRV project.  SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

Outside the building we found the ArtOrg 2012 project which involved learning about the printmaking process using a steamroller method. The images below are from this “hands on” experience.  We can’t turn down an opportunity to learn by doing!

The final result – Tah – Dah!!!

Throughout the afternoon and evening we were were able to listen to local area musicians and take folk dancing lessons thanks to Tamarack Dance from Duluth, MN. A special performance by visual artist and musician,  Malena Handeen, who was presented the Prairie Star Award at the evening banquet was icing on the cake, so to speak.  Who would have thought an accordian could be so cool with a blend of gutsy blues, hip hop(?), ballads and folk. I’ve just added attending a Maleena Handeen concert to my bucket list and I’m putting a Malena Handeen album purchase on my Christmas Wish List.

A big “thank you”  to Milan Village Arts School, Milan, MN and the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council for a wonderful Sunday.  Kudos to all of you!

Liz-Sanity at Grandma’s Marathon!!

Enjoyed the festivities at Grandma’s Marathon this past weekend as our daughter, Elizabeth, ran the 26.2 mile run along the scenic North Shore Drive from Two Harbors, MN to Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota.  The Canal Park finish line was right next to the largest body of fresh water in the world, Lake Superior.  The community of Duluth did a wonderful job of welcoming runners and spectators while creating a fun, festive atmosphere for all.

I should have found a banner without traffic signs on it… Oh, well.  It is what it is.  Just make sure you DON’T park here from 3 – 6 a.m. and put money in the meter when you do park!

Waves of runners as viewed through the window of the skywalk.

I would enjoy participating in a community band.  Anyone need a rusty trombone player?!

We almost missed seeing her go past us.  A computer chip was put in her shoe so we were following her progress online. She had picked up speed when she got into town due to the crowds of spectators cheering runners on (She always did enjoy performance arts – bring it on…) so she got to our spot sooner than anticipated. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, I ran out onto the street to “catch the moment.”  Security did not tackle me since I had a baby carrier on my back!

Liz can now check “running a full marathon” off of her list of life accomplishments. Way to go!!  What’s next?

As for me, running is on my “use to could” list since I ran Grandma’s in the 1980’s but now I think my body isn’t probably as resilient as my younger self.  However, I was inspired by the number of people in my age group and older that were still running marathons. A guy in our hotel has run 33 marathons in 18 states and I think he was around my age if not older (unless marathon running really ages a person and he was 35!)  That is quite an accomplishment so I’ll allow him bragging rights.  The man who can top all for bragging rights is the 86 year old man that finished it in 6 hours something.  Now that is an accomplishment.  No, he wasn’t in a wheelchair.

Well, I’d better go… I think I’ll do a quick run to the end of the driveway.  (Hey, I have to start somewhere!!)