Monday, November 19, 2007

Gems from Minnesota's Past

I've been reading a book called "Bring Warm Clothes: Letters and Photos from Minnesota's Past". It's a collection of letters, newspaper articles and more. I've been finding the glimpse into our past both enlightening and humorous.

Here are just two gems:

Sometime in 2002, Jesse Ventura managed to offend any number of Irish people and St. Paul residents by appearing on Letterman and declaring that the haphazard streets of t. Paul are impossible to navigate because it was originally laid out by drunken Irishmen.

Apparently, this is not a new complaint. On September 30, 1851 (114 years before the day I was born) it was printed in The Minnesota Democrat Weekly, "Never was a city laid out so badly as St. Paul. The plat of the town with its numerous additions looks as if some accident had knocked all the streets into pi. Measures should be taken immediately to straighten and reform them as far as practicable, before it is too late."

And if you've driven in St. Paul at all lately, then you can see 156 years later, the esteemed observer's warning went unheeded.

Another interesting editorial was written in the Minneapolis Chronicle on January 27, 1867. I can only assume in reading it that the author of this piece was not overly impressed by some certain young lady (or ladies) recently arrived in the newly formed state: "In a new country like Minnesota, there is no use for idle, frivolous, lazy dandies, or dressy, fancy ladies, who think it is a disgrace to wash dishes, make their beds, do chamber work or knead bread. People come to a new country to better their condition. They leave all superfluities at home. They do not want drones. They fail to appreciate ladies who think more of senseless fashions than in assisting to lay up a few dimes to purchase frocks for the babies. Drawling words, affectation, fondness of dress, living beyond their means, won't do here. The country is too new."

Now, Champs likes to say that he never found the right gal in Illinois to marry; he didn't find the right gal until he went out-state. Perhaps this writer's assertion explains why he found such a wonderful wife in Minnesota. I am certainly not a "fancy lady" and do not find myself opposed to "assisting to lay up a few dimes to purchase frocks for the baby". Indeed, I would say that I have put more than a few dimes to some very cute frocks indeed!

I'm going to wrap this up for now, but I may yet find some more jewels from Minnesota's past to entertain you....

And a comment from this post:
kenju said...
Thanks for the visit, BG; I would be honored to have some of your recipes.
That article sounds like fun to read. Nothing can make us laugh like stuff from the past that sounds so serious!

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