Three generations of a family living under the same roof gives one a sense of place, a sense of understanding about extended family, a sense of continuity–and a sense of tradition.  That’s how I grew up at Lake Park Farm, Norseland, Minnesota.  And that’s where I learned to listen to the stories of my grandparents, born in the last decades of the 19th century, and how I became enamored with history at the age of eight.

The year I was eight, 1958 (it’s easy for me to remember how old I am), Minnesotans were celebrating the Centennial of Statehood.  Because our farm was a century farm even then, my grandparents and my dad were involved in the Nicollet County celebration.  My mother, whose family lived in Goodhue County, sewed sunbonnets for us to wear.  And we wore them to all the events that year, except in the winter, of course.

At the same time of the statehood centennial, my church was celebrating the 100th anniversary of our congregation.  There were thoughtful observances and celebrations that marked the occasion. People were talking and remembering earlier times.  And I was listening. More than fifty years later, I’ve thought how wise my people were to make the effort to commemorate such an occasion.  Their efforts, while they perhaps thought would be for their own age, made a deep impression on one eight year-old named Karen.