Her 80th birthday—“Surprise!” She smiles from the party photo, her last...

A Mother’s Hope


Proud back with a chest high in the air Swaying with desire Never knowing when to bend Afraid to break Walking into the wind...

Midway Memories


My Hamline-Midway neighborhood is the kind of place where childhood memories are made. Sure, Wisconsin Dells, a Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas, and Disney World all have their fair share of excitement and joyous wonderment. But nothing can compare to the warm feeling you get as sticky chocolate ice cream drizzles down your fingers, while you watch your sister try to feed the dog some of hers.

The Day Marvin Gaye Died


Every generation has its historical moments Of collective grief and disbelief Moments we forever remember Exactly where we were when . . . The deaths of Kennedy, King, Clemente The space shuttle Challenger explosion When the planes hit the towers on 9/11...

Calling Gadahlski


Gadahlski refers to the garage door of the house I grew up in. The house was a modern rambler sitting on a hill in the pristine, well-educated community of St. Anthony Park. My parents, my sister, and I did whatever we could to fit into the mold of “the Park.” The house expressed this desire for perfection with its regularly mowed lawn, clipped hedges, and fresh paint. Even the flower and vegetable gardens were neat and orderly.

Art by Bob Muschewske

True Myth

By Heid E. Erdrich ● 2014

Tell a child she is composed of parts (her Ojibway quarters, her German half-heart) she’ll find the existence of harpies easy to swallow. Storybook children never come close to her mix, but manticores make great uncles...

The Power of Education


Relax. Think. Who was your favorite teacher? Hold that thought. James Dee Cook doesn’t recall the male teacher’s name but confirms that his third grade teacher was a major force throughout his lifetime. James was born and raised in the Rice neighborhood at the height of the Great Depression and rode the bus to elementary school. Math was James’s art. Like a human calculator, he doodled numbers in his right brain as he played in his sandbox.

Back Again


I took my first breath in St. John’s Hospital at Seventh and Maria. That makes me a native Saint Paulite, even though I grew up in the suburbs. In the late 1950s and early ’60s, many suburban parents-to-be chose Saint Paul hospitals to welcome their babies into the world. As a suburban child, it was a big deal to go shopping at the downtown department stores, and each trip we took, my mom never failed to point out St. John’s at the top of the bluff. “That’s where you two were born,” Mom would remind my brother and me. Anytime my brother and I were fighting in the backseat, Mom would remind us that we’d all wind up back at St. John’s if she crashed the car because we had distracted her.

Purgatory, or Riding the Bus Home from School


There is no seat you want to sit in, no place that you belong, so you choose one near the middle, closer to the back than the front, one with a kid in it, wearing a faded jean jacket and striped watch cap. A skinny kid who stares at his hands, lying in his lap. His fingers are slender, stunning—and you are ashamed that you notice.

Work Avoidance


I would like to propose the following techniques as viable displays when encountering the suckitude of work as developed and employed by my son Dylan, the demonstrative kindergartener...

The Telepathic Monkeys at Como Golf Course


In 1989 on the first tee at the newly reopened Como Park golf course, after watching my grandfather’s drive slice across two fairways and bank off a tree, I learned that golf is as much educational as it is recreational. “Grandpa, you missed,” I said, playfully jabbing at my hero. “Yeah, but that’s alright,” he replied with a smile. “Hitting a tree is good luck for your next shot.” “Oh!” I gleefully said, while altering my aim for a majestic birch 100 yards away. “Wait,” my grandfather said while he corrected my stance. “It doesn’t work if you try to hit it. It’s like a lucky penny. You can’t put it down and then pick it up.” This made perfect sense to my eight-year-old brain.

The Game


The kid loved basketball. He never had a basketball to speak of, but the school had plenty. The kid had a favorite. It was old, smooth, and had the feel of rough paper. It bounced as high as any of the new ones. The kid felt alive when it bounced back perfectly. The kid knew the concrete playing field—all the broken spaces and the cracking cover of the court. The kid knew how to angle and fly by the arms and legs of others. All for that beautiful sound: swoosh.