Posts

Showing posts from June, 2018

Whose Voices are We Hearing?

Last night I went to a presentation of the results from a historic survey conducted in a nearby Saint Paul neighborhood. It was generally a good presentation, with a lot of historic photos and some good rationale for areas for further study within the community.

One thing that really hit me, though, was the study's focus on demographic data. In many cases, the presenter would out up a slide of a house, call it the "SwensonJohnsonAnderson House," (for the original owners, which is standard preservation practice), and give a fair amount of detail about the owners, culled from sources such as the census, the Dual City Blue Books, and other demographic data  — along the lines of "Mr. SwensonJohnsonAnderson was a clerk for the Northern Pacific Railroad, whose family had emigrated to America from Sweden at the turn of the century."

To some extent, I understand this impulse. I know that the SHPO and Saint Paul HPC offices have asked for similar information from me in …

The Past and Other People

This month, for her book club (four ten-year old girls who have had a book club since kindergarten, it's pretty awesome, Beatrix picked my friend Kelly's book Magic, Madness, and Mischief. She and I had discussed it, and she wanted to read it because she knew Kelly, she was excited the book was set in Saint Paul, and she thought it would be cool to have her book club meet Kelly and ask him about the book (the fact we met in the cat cafe in Menomonie probably helped a little too).

Patrick, Beatrix and I read it aloud, round-robin style, which we have not done before — but we all wanted to experience the book. And I have to admit there were several times when I was glad my chapter twas over, because I was getting really choked up.

The books is a pretty thinly-veiled story of Kelly's own youth, at begins just at the time I met him (yes, I've known him for that long). The characters, and experiences, and especially the emotions brought back extraordinarily real memories, a…