By Martha Johnson
Ice skating on the mill pond
Growing Up in Edina I remember walking from my house on Sunnyside Road. to the Mill Pond skating rink, with skates slung over the shoulder. Often it was sub-zero in those days, but parents did not care. One time the hockey players were practicing there and it was definitely 20 below, with the players complaining and putting their feet close to the potbelly stove, steam rising from wet clothes. There were no fancy boards and flooded rink. We all played crack the whip on the side the hockey guys were not near. With all the cracks in the river ice, we often tripped and knocked our helmetless heads in the ice. I did not see parents picking up the kids after play – we walked home, in spite of the cold. We survived. I also played with the Kelby boys and Ted Brouillette, who lived down the street. Then we scraped off a rink right by the Hy 100 bridge off Sunnyside Rd. One time I tripped on a crack and saw stars. Then Ted asked: are you all right?
I loved taking the streetcar, when I was about 9 years old. I would go from Mackey stop to 9th Street in Hopkins. I was always afraid we would tip as we went over a bridge with no railings. My grandma would be right there when I got off in front of her house. Later we would go downtown, especially to the library, and then hope we could catch the Como Hopkins on the way back, as it would be directly to my Mackey stop. Often we had to take the Como Harriet instead, since by the early 50’s they had cut down on the service of the Hopkins to just once an hour. In that case, I would have to walk from 44th and France, even in the dead of winter. Chauffeur service was not the norm in those days.
44th and France
Forty-fourth and France was the “corner” for me, whether in waiting for a Como Hopkins streetcar or taking my bike in the younger days and browsing through Carlson’s Gift Shop or Griffin’s Drug Store. Both were a delight, and I always felt safe. I would get special erasers for school at Carlson’s. It was sort of hard to slide through the very narrow aisles. I have never seen so much “junk” – some of it very good. Mrs. Carlson and her helper were always friendly, even though I seldom bought much there. I would go next door to Joyce’s Bakery and pick up a loaf of bread for my mother, put it in my Schwinn bike basket, forget it there, and go to the drugstore to look through comic books (never buy them) and have a chocolate malted milk for 25 cents. When I went out, the bread was still there, and so was my unlocked bike. (It was also unlocked at the Wooddale Grade School, too).
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