I love how-we-met love stories. My husband and I started dating after we spent eight hours in a car together, carpooling to see mutual friends out of state. My former roommate met her husband commuting to work on the same MTC bus. My mom met my dad at a gas station.
But nothing can top Bill Raymond's story of how he met his wife Grace.
Bill grew up in Duluth. Grace lived in the Country Club District. They might never have met except for a series of fortunate circumstances that began when a friend told him he had to meet this very special Edina girl.
You've no doubt heard plenty of blind date stories, but this date relied on more luck than a friend deciding that two people he knew might make a great couple.
You see, Bill was flying into Minneapolis where he was training just before his date with Grace. He had problems with his plane, missed the airport and was stranded in a farmer's field in the middle of nowhere (around today's 66th Street in Richfield). He was sure he'd miss his date, Grace would think she was stood up, and he had no way to call her in time. He thought he wouldn't get a second chance.
Then, of all things, a chauffeured limousine drove up.
A woman rolled down the window and asked if he wanted a ride -- and Bill arrived on time and in style.
I think Bill was quite dashing without the benefit of a limo. Grace must have thought so too. They married in 1944.
And had more than 67 happy years together. I met them when we were collecting stories for our "Edina's Greatest Generation" exhibit a few years ago, and Bill was clearly happy with the way things turned out when he told me his how-we-met story.
Bill died on Sept. 8, 2011 at age 92. In the history business, we often meet people in the last chapter of their lives. Although I am sad to hear of Bill's passing, I am so grateful that he contributed his story to the Edina Historical Society for future generations to learn of this "greatest generation." For Bill's full obituary, see the Sept. 25 StarTribune (story here).
I don't have the census figures right in front of me, but Edina had a bazillion or so youngsters back in the 1960s.
Obviously, I'm rounding up a little.
But not by much. Not only was the whole country experiencing a Baby Boom, Edina was attracting more than its share of young families after the residential housing market exploded here after Southdale mall opened in 1956. The community was filled with children. Here is the proof.
This line of parents and children went down the Village Hall steps, down the sidewalk and around the block.
You see this sort of crowd when the new IPhone is released. Or when groupies camp out to get concert tickets to the latest band, or maybe the first night a Harry Potter movie is shown. From the length of this line, you'd think that the Village was giving away money or free wood-paneled station wagons (the mini van of the era.)
Instead, they were offering something parents found nearly as valuable: Park and Rec summer programs for their children. On registration day, the Village Hall closed early and every spare secretary went to work processing requests for swimming lessons, summer classes and sports. (Do you see six or seven staff members below?)
In the days before computer registration, anybody juggling schedules for multiple children showed up hours early to avoid driving one kid to lessons at the same time they needed to get another kid to a game.
I found these photos among many other gems in a Park and Rec scrapbook in our collection. After flipping through the pages, I can see why families were anxious to sign up. Remember the Park Olympics? Turtle Races? The Aqua Show? Tell us which park program was your favorite. Comment here or email me.
We recently received this program for the dedication of Cornelia Elementary School, dated Sunday, November the 6th, 1960 at 3:00 p.m.
When first saw it, I thought (honestly) "Happy belated 50th, Cornelia School!" We at the Edina Historical Society tend to notice big anniversaries and birthdays, and this one went by last year without us noticing. (I'm not sure if the school celebrated the milestone or not.)
So, after it sunk in that I missed the big 5-0 for Cornelia, I noticed a few other things:
1. When Cornelia opened, it was a big deal for both the city and the school district. For the first time, the two governmental units worked together to create a joint school playground/city park on the 25-acre open space next to Cornelia. Village Manager Warren Hyde and Superintendent of Schools Milton Kuhlman discuss the significance of the project on the last page of the program.
2. Those milk bottles in the school lunch photo. I grew up with the paper box cartons that kids still drink from today. Are these really glass? And what was on the menu that day? Even with a magnifying glass I can't identify the food on their trays. Apparently, it was popular because I don't notice anyone eating lunches from home.
3. The dedication was on a Sunday and featured prayers from two Protestant ministers. I don't think most school staff (and families) would appreciate spending a family day at school any more. While schools today seldom mix religion with school events, not that long ago (former students tell me), classes were dismissed during the school day so that students could attend religion classes.
Those more familiar with the school may notice more changes since 1960. I do know that the playground underwent a few upgrades. New equipment was installed this year to replace 13-year-old play structures. (See more on the new playground in the Edina Sun-Current and on the project's web site.)
What observations do you have about this 51-year-old dedication program? Or tell me about your Edina school lunch and give me the scoop on those milk bottles. Leave a comment here or email me.
Last week, I posted some first day of school photos from our collection and gave you an assignment to send in your own photos for the blog and our upcoming "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" that opens Oct. 29.
The following students get A's, gold stars and smiley faces. The rest of you get a second chance. You can turn in your work for publication next week, and I won't even dock your grade for being late.
Kate Genovese (Edina High School Class of '90) posed on for the camera on her first day of school in 1978, on her front step with little sister Kris (EHS '95). I love Kate's outfit, perfect for back-to-school. "Pencils, Erasers, Crayons" is written on the leg of her pants. Her shirt says "My Things" with illustrations of those very things.
Little sister Kris grew up. On her first day of first grade in 1983, she waited for the bus with the neighborhood kids on Monterey Avenue in Morningside. She's in the bright green jacket with blue dress. It looks like primary colors were popular that year. (It also looks like not everyone was happy to be standing at the bus stop that morning.)
Kate writes, "I now live in Manhattan / NYC... and Kris is in DC! Mom and Dad are still in the same house in Morningside!!"
Joan Lundin Doyle also gathered with the neighborhood on her first day of kindergarten with Mrs. Glover, 1960. Paul Battaglia, Julie Jacobson, Shelly Anderl and Joan Lundin stood in front of her home, 4016 Kipling Avenue South. The group were "walkers" from kindergarten through third grade at Morningside School and then were bused to Wooddale School.
I'm sure school dress code required dresses for girls and dress pants for boys - no jeans or shorts in most schools during this time.(My kids, who live with a much more relaxed school dress code, can't believe children had to dress up to go to school.)
"I still remember my Mom taking this picture and have thought about it many times over the years!!" Joan wrote. "It was fun to go back through my Mom and Dad’s picture books to find it."
See? The assignment was fun. Joan said so. For some weekend entertainment, take a look back through your childhood photo albums (or boxes of unsorted pictures) and see what you can contribute to the "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit.
Ever since mothers owned cameras and children stood at bus stops or waved good-bye as they headed off to school....
school started with a snapshot.
Happy first day of school, parents and students!
I'd love to have a wall filled with first day of school photos in our upcoming "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit." Nothing else quite illustrates the universal experience of going to school. Whether you wore short pants and a dress coat or a t-shirt and jeans, you faced the day with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. These photos are all from the 1930s, because this is what we have scanned. But we do have some (and want more) photos from other decades, including any snapped this week.
Send in your first day photos and I'll run them next Friday. For more information, contact me.
This distinctive Art Deco building graced 50th Street from 1939 to 1977. It first housed a clinic owned by Dr. Reuben Erickson, who sold it in the early forties to Dr. Harry Jensen, Dr. I.H. Moore and several others. Later, it was called the Edina Eye Clinic.
In 1977, the building was torn down to make way for a retail complex that today houses the Edina Municipal Liquor Store, among other businesses. The neighboring National Tea grocery store was also torn down, and replaced by Lund's.
My source for this information comes from the excellent book From the Barber's Chair: 50th and France Avenue, 1936-1988," by long-time barber Vern Swanson as told to Tom Clark. The front part of the book contains Vern's memoir of his life as a barber, and the back contains walking tours of the 50th and France neighborhood, with historic photos. In the 23 years since the book was published, even more has changed in Edina's downtown. We're currently sold out of the book, but it is available through the Hennepin County Library system.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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