Winona Ho!

Header photo of Lake Winona and bluffs via Wikimedia Commons

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale

Winona Ho!

The Play Group

When Husband and I moved up to Minneapolis from Winona in 1985, it was with mixed feelings.  We thought we had found “Home” in Winona, and we knew how much we were leaving behind in the small town. Minneapolis is where Husband had landed a good programming job, and we had his family and several friends in the Twin Cities. But we were pretty sure it wasn’t going to be permanent – we would return some day to Winona.

There are many reasons why this is finally going to happen, probably in mid-summer:

The hippie farm

– For Husband, he’s realized that Winona is where his Tribe resides – people he’d met as he helped to start up the food co-op and the farmers’ market, from his apple-picking days at an orchard on the river, from living on the Hippie Farm  above East Burns Valley… there were many colorful characters, several of whom are still around.

Up on the Levee

– My roots there are not as deep, but I formed a bond with local folk dancers, and parents in the preschool play group that Joel and I had joined. I fell in love with the beauty and the – movement is almost the right word – of the river. (…“you rolling old river, you changing old river…” Bill Stains)  Our house was just a couple of blocks from the Mississippi, so we would often pull the wagon up on the levee to see it. I also love the fact that this town, slightly larger than Marshalltown IA (a little over 25,000 when I was growing up), had such a vibrant Alternative Community. Then there was the Culture available with three (now two) colleges, a boat house community…

–  It turns out that my Tribe, I have come to realize, is mostly our Babooner “collective”, plus a few others. I am hoping this is a portable connection, though I imagine it will feel somewhat different not being right “in the center of things”. I figure I’ll be traveling up to the Cities at least monthly – will try to schedule it around Baboon events.

–  I am also aware that, for both Michael and me, we are not as moored to this place as we once were, before our son Joel died in 2007. And Husband has lost several family members in recent years, either literally or figuratively – freeing us up even more. I am hoping that my mom will be amenable to moving there when the time is right, and we have done some research to that end.

At a party - 1984

– We have recently seen the power of the network of Winona people, since our best Winona friend Walken (who is experiencing the early stages of Parkinson’s) lost his wife Bernadette in December to pancreatic cancer. There is a food network that brought daily meals for weeks, and several people who provided rooms for his visiting in-laws.  (Reminds me of how we Babooners have gathered to help each other at times.)

I have never said “No” to a move, and I have never been sorry. But as I think about leaving Mpls, it is with mixed feelings. No doubt I will miss a lot of things about this city – this is worthy of its own blog at some point.

But the bluffs are calling.

Have you ever had to leave a place before you felt you were ready to leave?










61 thoughts on “Winona Ho!”

        1. “The song is literally about people leaving a bar at closing time. Jacob Slichter has also indicated that the song was written by Wilson “in anticipation of fatherhood” and that it is about “being sent forth from the womb as if by a bouncer clearing out a bar.” Wiiki

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I have never liked leaving any place where I lived for more than a year. Once I become well acquainted with a place that I am living, I have an attachment to that place that I don’t want to lose. I’ve never lived any place that I was strongly attached to because it was a place that had all of the things I like. I’ve always had to adapt to a less than perfect situations. However, after managing to find a way to fit in to a place, it becomes part of me and I don’t want to leave it behind. I am willing to move on with my life after I leave a place and don’t feel any strong urge to return to any of the places I have lived in the past.


  2. I suppose graduating from Luther was that way. But otherwise, no. I’ve lived in our current house as long as I have lived anywhere, and with the s&h probably moving on one way or another, and our neighbor now gone (still nobody moved in there, but the entire house is lit up late at night—-again. first the heirs were working away on it, and now whoever has bought it must be doing the same, but nobody has actually lived there for half a year now), I am ready to move on myself.

    FWIW, Barb, I have a friend from church who moved to Winona for a job and she seems to get up here quite often and still sometimes joins in with the choir on a Sunday. It’s not that far…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Plans to move on BiR!. I use to love moving and moving on. This surely is a character flaw. However, I “grew out of it” when we had to move from our adorable St. Paul house during the 1981-1983 Reagan Recession, to which no Republican ever refers–to Southern MN. My ex-husband was laid off his job, and I had a job offer there. It was a miserable job and a miserable place to live for my. Wasband loved it.

    But I had found ‘My Tribe” here in graduate school. So the move was a painful one, and unwelcome. From there the marriage fell apart. I returned here and the Wasband stayed there.

    BiR, it is NOT that far. Twice a year I pass nearby to go an Allergy treatment Appt in LaCross.

    I love the pictures of you and Michael as “youngsters”. Joel was adorable in the pix.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The first time I moved…was moved from where I wanted to be was when I was four and my father returned from the war. He returned to a job in WIllmar, taking me from my beloved grandparents where my mother and I had lived during the war. I had four aunts who doted on me and an uncle just 7 years older whom I adored. It was a traumatic move and it took many years for me to stop yearning to be back with them.

    But future moves were my choices…college in Colorado, teaching in Washington state, then back to Colorado. Moving from Leadville back to my home town in 1974 was a compromise in my marriage and I really didn’t want to do it. Having a farm and animals was the only way I agreed. Now, forty plus years later, it is truly home and I have a “tribe” I love and enjoy…and the idea of moving away because I am “retired” is a non starter.

    When I went back to Leadville last summer, I felt comfortable and nostalgic and wanted to return for a longer stay this year. But I don’t want to move back there, just visit. After twenty-three years with a day job and commute, I am truly feeling at home and enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess I’m somewhat of a nomad. I have never felt I was leaving someplace as much as I was moving to someplace else, I was looking forward to the new adventure. But saying goodbye can be painful.

    When wasband and I left Cheyenne, saying goodbye to my first friend in America was tough; Lisa and I both cried. But we have remained in touch and have visited each other lots of times, and we always pick up right where we left off. And the internet has made it so much easier to keep track of each other.

    Likewise, when we left Carbondale, saying goodbye to Frisch and Corrine was sad. They were our next door neighbors, both English majors, and Frisch, especially, was a lot of fun. It marked the end of an era, and we all knew it. Years and years would go by before we met up again. Only managed to see Frisch once, years later, on a long weekend visit to Springfield. He died suddenly from a ruptured apprendix, thirty-nine years old. Still in contact with Corrine – on Facebook.

    One thing I’ve learned, no matter how wonderful my memories of a place are, you can’t go back again. When I visit Denmark I’m so keenly aware that the country I left fifty years ago has changed, and so have I. Nice to visit, but it would be a mistake to try to go back. Husband feels the same way.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, PJ, I try to tell myself this is like any other move – there will be so many new things and people. There may be elements of it that are still there, but it’s a whole new adventure. The only thing that’s the same is the layout of the town!


  6. It as really hard to leave Canada in 1986. I had lived there for 6 years, husband for 8, and we were moving back to a Reagan US that was alien to us. We moved to southern Indiana which was hot, muggy, and culturally far removed from Canada. I was excited to move to North Dakota a year later. It was closer to both Canada and Minnesota. I don’t think, though that I will have trouble leaving here when the time comes. We will move to be closer to our children when I retire in 5 years.

    It would not be a good time to have to move now, as there are tons of houses for sale due to the oil slowdown. We will hope for another boom in 5 years, then we will soak ’em and move back to civilization.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Have I ever moved before I was ready? The real question for me is whether I have ever been ready for the moves I made.

    And there weren’t that many moves. I moved from the Ames of my youth to undergrad school. I wasn’t ready for that, but I coped. Then I moved from Grinnell to grad school at the U of MN. Wasn’t ready for that, but coped. Then came the smaller (geographically) move to Saint Paul. Guess what? I wasn’t ready for that, but I coped. And as you know so well, I moved from Saint Paul to Happy Valley. Each day I learn more about what I lost and what I gained.

    If there is any lesson in this it would be that moving inevitably involves gains and losses. Often I am surprised by both the gains and the losses: they are never exactly what I had expected. Always I end up feeling that the moves were right, all things considered. And in the end, all the moves and all of the consequences come to seem inevitable, for to live is to move and learn to deal with the consequences.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The secret is really in being able to bloom where you’re planted, isn’t it? Make new friends, and get involved in the community. I think that’s easier when you’re younger, but it can certainly be done at any age.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. I have never moved. My roots are deep here on the farm.
    Let me clarify a bit. When I was 4 we moved out of the old house and into the machine shed while the old house was torn down and the new house built. I moved into a downstairs bedroom of the new house.
    When I was 26 I got married. My parents moved off the farm and I moved to the upstairs bedroom.
    That’s it. I moved 100′ laterally and back. And 10′ vertically.

    I always said all I wanted to do was milk cows and I didn’t know what I’d do if I had to give that up. But times and situations changed and it was my idea to give them up. And it was OK. But I was ready for that.

    One of the theaters I work with lost their lease and had to move rather suddenly. We weren’t ready for that. It survived. Maybe even improved.
    We still struggle.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. There is something to be said for having put down roots as deeply as you have, Ben. From time to time on this blog, a topic will remind me that I don’t “belong” here in the same way as those of you who grew up here. America will never be “home” to me in the same way as it is to all of you.

      I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of adjusting, but I realize that no matter how long I stay here, I will always be from somewhere else.

      My mother missed Ireland terribly all those years she lived in Denmark, but when she and dad moved to Ireland after my sister and I married, she found that she missed Denmark and her Danish friends – and, of course, her grandchildren. Torn between two places, they moved back to Denmark. Toward the end of her life, I think she had made peace with the notion that she was a transplant; a flower that didn’t quite belong but that thrived nevertheless in that foreign soil. I think a lot of immigrants feel that way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Funny you say this, PJ.
        We moved a fair amount as I waa groeing up and then a thetre career for me was constant movement.

        Once the s&h leaves I can theoretically go anywhere. I’ve set up my work life to be able to make enough to live on just about anywhere-so as long as I can pay the bills, anything is possible.

        But the odd part is I don’t think I have ever actually “belonged” anywhere.

        It does not help that the places I have always considered “tethers” simply do not exist anymore.

        I am reminded of Tevye and his family leaving Anatevka at the end of Fiddler on the Roof. They’ve waited for the Messiah there all their lives. Now they will have to wait for him someplace else.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I’m wondering what those “tethers” were, mig. Were they places or people, or both?

          This past year, three people I would normally visit when I go to Denmark have passed away. I can envision the day in the not too distant future when I no longer have any reason to visit.


        2. That’s sort of how I’ve felt too, mig – the not belonging – not in the sense of feeling like an outsider, but being not of this place. Maybe that’s bound to happen when you leave the place where you grew up.


        3. PJ-my tethers are both places abd people. Neither of my grandparents’ homes still exist, the little theatre I spent so much time in in Madison? Gone.

          And with the death of our neighbor, I really have no reason to stay in W 7th once the s&h graduates. I’ve also run out of old ladies to keep an eye on, something I have done almost all my life, starting with taking the tray of dinner next door to our neighbor, Nellie Kennedy, who was badly disabled by arthritis. Imagine a 5th grader or younger plowing through the snow with a foil wrapped tray of dinner. I know there was no sidewalk between our houses.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. One thing I like about this move, BiR, is that you and your husband seem equally open to it. Moves like this often pit one spouse against the other. The fact you both feel a pull back to the bluffs is a favorable omen. I just wish I could be there to support you as you supported me.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Chicago: there I was a failure. Had to get out.
    Twin Cities: not my mileau. Planned to get out. Got out.
    Lindstrom: liked it but I did not fit into the old conservative Swedish community. Knew I would not fit in to the suburb community to come.
    Two Harbors: was going home, knew what to expect. It was what I expected. Lived there 27 years. I was tired of the town. It is a tough town in many ways.Closed, judgmental, inferiority superiority complex.
    Leaving the North Shore was a killer. But we found much to do and appreciate about the southern MN prairie lands, which we cannot get out and do anymore.
    Here: our world has crumpled badly in the last few days. Has nothing to do with here, but a move to another specific place would be wise in some ways, but not possible.

    I have had trouble moving out of many fictional places, wished for more but there was no more.
    Tony Hillerman’s Navajolands, although the last three books are weak. First dozen booked take you right into a land and its peoples.
    Faulkner’s fictional county Youknapaphaw, or however you spell it. Hate his prose, but he does create a place, an interweaving of lives. did not read all the books in the set. Maybe I should now. But that prose is dreadful.
    The world of Jane Austen.
    Sherlock Holmes London, but I do think the books are weak, but they defined the murder mystery. Love the modern version with Cumberbatch and Freeman. Have not been able to see more than three.
    Vere Stanhope mysteries in Northumbria. Have been lucky to see two of the PBS episodes. Brenda Blethyn is as always superb. They make excellent use of the setting. Our library has only one of the books. Read it in one sitting.
    The village of Portwyn (a pun on port wine?)and scenery of Doc Martin I will leave one day.
    Hornblower, the books as a child, the PBS series, although that place is the oceans.
    The world of Swallows and Amazons, 1930’s Lake District. Children’s books but I reread them all more than once as an adult.(Cannot come up with author)
    I know there are others, but have to get back downstairs to Sandy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh yes. Books that end before we are ready to leave.
      Anything in Yorkshire
      Rebecca West’s London suburb of Lovegrove prior to WWI
      the island of Guernsey and the Potato Peel Pie Society (I am forever in your debt for that one, Steve)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. What a good place to go with this, Clyde – there are lots of places I keep going back to, some you have mentioned (Hillerman, Portwyn). Another is Louise Penny’s Three Pines, the Quebecois town of Armand Gamache – It’s time for me to reel in the next one from the library.

      Glad to know there are books to go with Vera. And I’ll look up Swallows and Amazons.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I grew up in Ames, Iowa. At 16, my parents moved me to Mpls so that my dad could start his dream business. All of my childhood friends were in Ames, worse, my boyfriend of 3 years. Leaving him behind tore me apart. Since I arrived as a junior, I soon found out that most of my classmates had been close friends for years. I simply didn’t fit in those last two years of high school and took no friendships with me after graduating.

    Looking back, I can think of only losses and no gains coming from that move. I’m sure it would’ve been difficult to move anywhere along the path through childhood, but being uprooted with only two years of school left was particularly brutal for me.

    I’ve diagnosed myself with “separation anxiety”, most likely as a result of leaving Ames. For me, this means significant discomfort when separated from person or place. I truly do need familiarity and connection with both. Before moving to the lake from a small story and a half home I’d lived in for 30 years, and even though I was moving to a piece of heaven, I had many nightmares and tears about leaving the only home of my adult life. I’d remodeled, redecorated, been the hub of great neighbors, and reared my kids there.

    To cope with being away from home, I quickly nest. Whether an office, a hospital room, a camper, or a cabin, I bring familiar items from home and surround my space with them. Our pop top camper, for instance, had wall to wall carpeting, cafe curtains, pictures, candles, etc.

    Moving here in 2000 has brought many more gains than losses, but they’re 90% “place” rather than people as there is no neighborhood at all here. Nevertheless, I’ve long since grown extremely attached to this enchanted cottage and the lovely nature wrapping around it. I’ll have to be taken out of here feet first. I even have a plan for staying when/if I become dependent on others for basic needs. I’ll have 15 grandchildren by then, one of whom might live here since he/she would have the entire upstairs. If that doesn’t materialize, I’d hire someone to live here for free with only nominal pay for the privilege of lake living.

    I can only hope one of these plans work when the time comes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been lucky enough to see this cottage, and I can see why the “feet first”, CB.

      I do that nesting thing too, wherever I am – make it mine somehow even if it’s a generic hotel room for an overnight – move a chair over by the window, hang up something on the closet rod…


  12. Over and over again throughout my childhood. Between my dad’s job changes (took him awhile to put his law degree to good use) and both my parents’ desire to move ever upward (better school districts or bigger houses), we moved and moved and moved when I was a kid. I didn’t like it at all and the most wrenching was the middle of the 9th grade year. Devastating.


        1. And the downside of never having moved is I’ve haven’t had to ‘PURGE’… it takes more will power to purge without that moving van waiting for you.


  13. I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.
    – Beryl Markham

    Liked by 3 people

  14. We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.
    – Pascal Mercier

    Liked by 2 people

  15. OT, about human nature: Betty, one of my wife’s friends, a delightful and funny woman who inherited some wealth and has a husband who earned well before retiring, is about to go on a two-week trip to Mexico. Tonight she asked me to order for her $17.27 pair of scissors from Amazon. She wants me to order them, which I will, because we have Amazon Prime, which will save her $6.53 in shipping.

    Liked by 2 people

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