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Prime Time: Mystery person recalls growing up in Bemidji

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News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Prime Time: Mystery person recalls growing up in Bemidji
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

A Bemidji native, who served as a moderator for a Minnesota State Arts Board grant panel last month, recalls the magical time she had growing up in Bemidji.


She agreed to an interview and answer questions.

Now you need to guess her identity.

Below, read her descriptions of growing up in Bemidji and see if you can recognize who she is. If you have a guess, send it to the email at the end of this article. The guesses will be forwarded to the mystery person, and her identity will be revealed in a future edition of the Bemidji Pioneer.

The following are her memories:

"It was a wonderful time to grow up in Bemidji. We lived on Birchmont Drive and I was one of three daughters. The Deweese family lived across the street from us; Bill and Rowena were my parent's dearest friends. Rowena was the founder of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and we children spent many hours at the playhouse at Ruttgers painting scenery and just hanging out. We neighborhood kids were back and forth playing at each other's houses and having all kinds of escapades.

"The elementary school (the lab school) was located on the campus of Bemidji State Teachers College in what is now the arts building. We had a stream of student teachers going through the system and our classroom teachers were actually on the faculty of BSU in the education department.

"The BSU campus now goes to 23rd Street but at the time we were in school, the campus did not extend that far over. It was woods and we walked to school on trails; a great adventure for us. The zoo was in the location of what is now Birch Hall, right across from Diamond Point Park.

"My art teacher Matilda Talley was a great influence in my young life. I climbed three floors up to the art room in the lab school. I remember mixing paint, the smells, the sights had such great power and that's when I learned I loved the whole process of making art. The Talley Gallery in the arts building is named in honor of Matilda. After I graduated from Bemidji High School I went on to the "U" to study art education and humanities.

"Another teacher who influenced me greatly was Bertha Christensen, my fifth-grade teacher. She was a lovely lady who had a great regard for literature. I remember us reading and reading and still to this day, I am a non-stop reader.

"My father, Dick, owned Lund and Kroll Sporting Goods here in Bemidji. He played hockey for the 'U' and was captain of the Gophers for two years. He and his friend Bill Howe were among the founders of the Pee Wee Hockey Program in town. My mother, Edna, was busy raising a family and learning her ancestral language (Swedish) with Monica O'Boyle. She and a group of local Swedes decided to start an affiliate program connected to the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Mother and Monica O'Boyle lead the effort.

"In the 1980s my family returned from California and decided to relocate to Bemidji after a short stay in St. Paul. After moving back here, I worked as assistant to Fulton Gallagher, the dean of the fine arts department. We worked on the Lake Bemidji Summer Arts Colony and at that time, I also served on the board of the PBP. I left BSU to take a teaching position in the district and taught at Horace May, Solway and Deer Lake School in the 80's. As a girl I attended Camp Kamiji which is celebrating its 100 year anniversary and later returned as an adult to be the director of arts and crafts."

Pioneer staff reports