It’s all in the past

May be an image of 1 person, outdoors and text that says 'Sometimes your worst enemy is your memory. Let it go. Via (Dark Secrets) own'
My memory

I wanted to wish everyone a unique Happy New Year for 2022.  Even typing 2022 seems as foreign as 2021, 2020, 2019.  (How long it takes me to remember what the year is when I’m writing out a check! Geesh).  While I want to forget some instances of 2021–Covid and drought– I had a pretty good year.  Book-selling was profitable–but at times, sitting in sun and dealing with humidity wasn’t; always awesome to be with family and my precious grandchildren–but dealing with crazy, erratic drivers is scary.  We took a week’s vacation out east.  Frank and I flew with faces masked, landing at Boston-Logan Airport where at night, the highways are crazy. I was able to visit Stowe, Vermont, where my next protagonist was born and raised. On our drives around three of the eastern states, I had pure joy visiting Robert Frost’s first farm in Derry, New Hampshire. Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise for those who know me.  I learned to love poetry in the classes I needed for my B.A., and M. A. in English, I write poetry, and  I used to be South Dakota Poetry Society’s president.  We re-visited Concord, the North Bridge, and Lexington in Mass. What a thrill to drive these various countrysides and see places that had a start in forming our nation! I also re-visited the home of Louisa Alcott, and because of the rain (almost the whole time we were gone), drove by Hawthorne’s (two homes), Emerson’s, and Thoreau’s cabin near Walden’s Pond. All of this to remember, I hope for another twenty years (or so).

The long and the short of this blog is to say and remind you that I am about 1/2 finished with my 3rd Minnesota Main Street Women‘s novel–a prequel to Jennie’s and Maude’s books.  I keep researching sometimes the same stuff to re-learn and remember.  I forget much about my setting and characters while writing these books, I take advantage of the writer’s privilege of making up stories and creating new characters to fill out and fill in where I need to take my story.  The truth is I’ve never had much instant re-call, but long memory isn’t too bad at times.

Except for a few embarrassing memory lapses lately, I have to try to remember to “Let it go. Don’t worry about dementia today.  Keep in the present.”   Good advice for all of us.  HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope to see you soon at my next book launch of Where Two Rivers Meet. HINT: My protagonist is relying on others for her lapse in memory too.


P.S.  I join in on a group of book lovers from a local AAUW club this upcoming Wed, Jan, 5 who are reading Pins & Needles. Otherwise, I am open for any speaking engagement.  Please shoot me an invitation at, or my website email above.  I ‘d be glad to come see you.

I believe my next selling opportunity is at the end of April.





Bucket List(s)

Up until he became sick, my husband had a list of things he wanted to do before he kicked the proverbial bucket.

  • Own and rebuild a ’57 Chevy. Done and add one more.
  • Own and work on two or three Jeeps. Done, with one to finish.
  • Climb the 14’ers in Colorado, done, and for years drive or pull one to climb the mountains in Colorado. Done.
  • Pass motorcycle riding test. Done and #1 in class
  • Buy a motorcycle, a brand-spanking-new one, but not quite good enough which led to:
  • Pre-order everything for a new Harley. Done, somehow with my blessing.
  • Lots of stuff to do remodeling a gutted house.  Elbow shattered, so what?  Use the other hand.
  • etc

I am not saying I didn’t have a list because I did too.  Most I accomplished, but one was still out of the can, visiting the last of the continental 48 states.

So we planned my bucket list entry to visit Vermont.  Incidentally, I centered on Stowe, the village I needed to research and visit because my next protagonist, her family, friends, and other Vermonters were born, raised, lived there until they came to  Minnesota–many to Clearwater— to settle.  So why Vermont?  Simply, none of our other trips connected with this delightful and beautiful state.

In addition, my husband and I have been planning our 50th, which is this December. (What an awful time to get married. My poor mother did this though with one arm held behind her back.)  This area with all of its natural beauty seemed a nice fit to start our celebration.

We also had a special tour around the town by Stowe, VT, History Society president Barbara Baraw.  She led the two of us on an extensive walk and ride throughout the village, showing us where many had lived, and where historical hotels and businesses were at one time.

No description available.Here is where Abigail Robinson Camp Porter was born in Stowe, Vermont, in 1819 on Main Street. Her father, Dr. Joseph Robinson, worked at his trade, lived with his wife Hannah Perkins Robinson and his children, all but 2 came to Minnesota.  After Abigail’s first husband, also from Stowe, died in a gold camp in Marysville, California, she took the chance to start new.  She accepted the offer from the Clearwater townsite founders to travel to Clearwater to become the hotel housekeeper. Born on Main Street in Stowe, Abigail moved to Clearwater in 1855 where she became the first of Clearwater’s Main Street Women. Her sisters and brother, as well as her father after his wife died, settled in the new village.

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The Community Church of Stowe is just that–a non-denominational church that has stood near the center of Main Street since 1863. Larger than the Clearwater United Methodist Church built by S. M. Marvin, its inside reminded me so much of my family’s gathering place on Sunday mornings.  With its split pews and red carpet as well as simple sanctuary, one can see how the New Englanders wanted something to remind them of ‘home’ when they moved west.

A bit cliche’ish but my bucket overfloweth once we traveled to Derry, New Hampshire where we stopped to visit Robert Frost’s home and farm.  You know I was an English teacher and a fast fan of Frost.  While my husband went around taking pictures of various poems, trees,  the house with an attached barn, I decided to sit on his porch and wait for inspiration. I  looked at the railing on the porch and saw one last morning-glory clinging to the vine, opened, perfect, and blue.  It was like the great bard had opened his door and said, “experience my place with all your senses.”  And as I sat, there on Frost’s little white waiting bench, I smelled apples that were past ripe and harvesting.

No description available.Open photo                                                       Open photoNo description available.

As I made my way to one of the two apple trees left that Robert Frost planted, I walked carefully between fallen apples laying all over the grounds.  In”After Apple-Picking,” all those that fell from the narrator’s hand would surely go to the cider-apple heap.”

What a wonderful trip we had.  Now, after sleeping in my comfortable bed for a few nights, I can admit we had a few glitches, which I’ll write about someday. Thank goodness, we got home despite a horrid Nor-Easter pounding its way onto the east coast.

I could go on about setbacks, sidelines, disappointments, fears, and even “never agains,” of some of the best things I have added to my bucket.  Yet, the joys and lessons I have had far out way the problems I (and sometimes WE) encountered along our journey.  Isn’t that life though?  Sometimes the roads we travel are not paved with gold, but they lead us to amazing experiences.


Happy Fall and early Christmas events:

November 13, Becker Lutheran Church, Arts & Crafts,  9-4

November 27, Perfectly Unique Arts & Crafts, St Could Event Center, 9-3

December 11, Kimball United Methodist Church Arts and Crafts,  9-4

Ode to “October”

October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store;
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
                                                          Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.                             P. Laurence Dunbar

My addition to the poem, without a plug for my poetry, is that at least through October I will not be involved in any book-selling events…as far as I know. Instead, my husband and I will be celebrating a bit early our 50th anniversary (We were married in December) by walking through mountains of colored leaves in Stowe, Vt., revisiting historic towns in Massachusettes, watching Atlantic ocean waves along some parts of the east coast,  and maybe eating too much and sleeping too late.

Sometime in October, I’d like to get some family photos in an apple orchard.

Then we will celebrate Halloween, probably eating the candy we buy for tricksters who hardly up at our house.

Tomorrow is my last event, and it has been a happy and prosperous season.  The Minnesota Main Street Women series is getting known, and many are waiting for #3 in the series.  I will be working on that as well to get it ready for publication.




Hope to see you in Sartell at the new Community Center.



Just a reminder: For the first time ever, I’ll be at Becker, Minnesota’s, Faith Lutheran Church for their arts& crafts fair tomorrow from 10-2. They have food, a car show, and fun. Come see me tomorrow, Saturday, 9/18/21, to talk about Clearwater, Minnesota history and my Main Street Women’s series including “Scruples & Drams” and “Pins & Needles.”


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“I’ll See You in September”

Last night, I listened to this song on my Sirius radio as I drove home from shopping.  One of my favorite songs, I can remember when, where, and why I heard it first:  Lake Harriet, 1966. like a lot of Clearwater girls, I was a nanny for a family who lived on a corner a block or two from the lake.

I’ll be alone each and every night
While you’re away, don’t forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September
See you when the summer’s through

http://See you in September See you when the summer’s through

This would be my second and last summer down there taking care of the couple’s four children.  I had left a boyfriend (seriously–can’t remember who) and so many friends back home. Besides having a very good friend somewhere across the lake (neither of us can remember what their names were, but the family was related to my summer family somehow), I was lonely.  I got paid every week $15.  The father of my new family was a lawyer, and eventually, became a judge in Hennepin County.  Some said he was a tough and rough-mouthed attorney and judge.  But he was always kind to me.  He was seldom home except for mornings, returning from his office late at night.  I once did a wicker basket of ironing for them.  His wife who was also very kind gently requested I not iron his shorts with starch anymore.

I kept in touch on and off.  I stopped to see the family when I worked for North Star Abstract downtown Minneapolis, close to where the Metrodome was built and close to the Hennepin County Court House. On occasion, I bumped into the lawyer-husband down there as well.  Time went by, and I moved back home, closer to my new job with NSP (now Xcel) at the new Monticello Nuclear Plant.  I knew there were controversies about this new state endeavor, but seriously, at the time, I felt safe.  I had to wear a safety badge measuring any radioactivity I could be receiving, these hard-working chemists, engineers, and scientific experts in their fields were all authorized and kept us safe.

One night some information (I can’t remember what anymore) got out and was covered by local newspapers, television newscasters, and even the nightly world news. The next morning, the gates nearest to the main building where I worked were lined with protesters, carrying and waving picket signs, voicing their concerns for the safety of the world. I was ushered toward the gate by one of the guards. Ignorant of all the concerns or feeling safe in the arms of those who made me feel safe?  I was too busy typing manuscripts, procedural manuals, and letters to various government oversite people and taking oodles of phone calls as the plant’s secretary to the supervisor and receptionist to really pay much attention.  Yet, I soon learned out there against the line that tried stopping me from entering the building was my former employer’s wife. Maybe she was a protestor all along, but apparently, over the years she took on many causes.  Many years later, I learned the couple had divorced.  Yet, he defended her and even a couple of their children who protested with her.

Isn’t it funny how certain melodies and lyrics, songs remind you of things?

Well, tonight is the end of our summer vacation. The Minnesota State Fair ends tonight. My grands start back to school this week.  The nights are cooler, and the days are not as hot as they were.  I will continue to sell books online at, and at 3 more September events.

Schedule for the remaining days of September:

This upcoming weekend, Sept 11-12, Rice, Minnesota, for the Old Creamery area along Highway 10, from 8:30-6:30 on Sat.

September 18, Becker at the Faith Lutheran Church for Fall Festival and Heaven on Wheels Cars Shows, 10-2

September 25, Sartell at the Sartell Community Center, from 9-3.

For now,

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long.

And I hope to

See you in September
See you when the summer’s through

in Rice, Becker, and/or Sartell





Glorious day

Rebecca Frank is with Cindy Stupnik. (From FACEBOOK)

FROM BECKY:  Favorites 3h 
Yesterday Cindy Stupnik was all ready for the Buffalo, MN Art Fair and her forgetful sister forgot to post this after taking the picture.. So be prepared, in just 2 weeks she is at the Rice Art Fair. Don’t wait for me to remind you! Until then check out You can always find her there.

May be an image of Cindy Stupnik and book

Thank you, Buffalo, for such a great opportunity to visit with interested and interesting non-fiction and fiction readers.  I had a glorious time (although it spitted rain, I had to hold on to my umbrella pole because of the wind, it was chilly, it was warm, and I got stung by a bee).

Why am I frowning?  Not because of my future audience, but the hour.  I woke at 5:15.  By the time, Becky drove me to Buffalo and helped me set up, it was 8 in the morning– me–who doesn’t crawl out of bed before 8:30-9!!

To this crowd and all others: I am sorry if I  sometimes get too animated when I am talking about the history of my former community, Clearwater, Minnesota. It is the teacher in me (taught English for 25 years, was raised with HISTORY/HERSTORY–from both parents.  Dad had great pride in his home state of South Dakota, specifically, north of Yankton and German-Russian.  Mother had an interest in all things Minnesota, her deep American roots as well as her European roots.)

My writing has been inspired by what my parents inspired in me.  One of my favorite subjects is women and their everlasting plight to be heard, believed in, and respected.  The struggle the average woman has had to face throughout her lifetime needs continual documentation because men didn’t do everything.

In all my research, I have found my small community, Clearwater, Minnesota, to be a microcosm of all that was good and awful in the world for women at any given time.  Some are natural-born leaders and respected by all.  Jennie Phillips, my protagonist in Scruples and Drams, was a leader in her community. From her views on the patent medicine products she sold in her store, to some of the other over-the-counter health products, how she feels about a high school joining the elementary and upper grades to the existing school building, etc, villagers, both men and women, newspaper reporters, asked her advice on important matters of the day.

The oldest girl in the family, smart, teacher-turned pharmacist, business co-and then full-owner of Phillips’ Drug Store, Jennie may have been successful and respected, but she faced disappointments as well. One was that her brother’s name legally had to be included on the Phillips; Drug Store sign in 1910  because she was a woman and wasn’t smart or trustworthy enough to handle business matters. Only men held those honors or responsibilities. It wasn’t Jennie’s first disappointment as a woman trying to pursue a career in a man’s world, though….

See what I mean?  I get so excited and tangled up in my subject, I forget to shut up.  I will stop and let you read my books. My next event is in Rice, Minnesota. Sept. 11-12. Saturday 8 a.m. to 6. pm and Sunday 9-4.



I won’t be singing “Rain, Rain, go away,” anytime soon.  We registered 1.20 or so in the last 24 hours.  Wonderful relief and some greening taking place.  Hoping for more very soon.




In addition, I am honored to have Crossings, a Stearns History Museum journal, publish one of my short stories from Postcards from The Old Man and Other Correspondence from Clearwater, Minnesota.  This article is about the years the Frank family lived on Warner/Abeln Lake.  If you are a member, you have probably seen the article already. If you purchased Postcards, you basically have the same story, but if you don’t have either, you can probably go there and pick up a free copy.

This small lake is my home away from home at times and a place where I go to relive memories and get new ideas.

So far, my August-September events have been wonderful.  My next show, where you can come to visit and buy or walk around and see what others are selling.

Future events:

Sartell this weekend, Oct.14 from 10-3 at the Scheels/Bernecks  1109 1st St S, Sartell, MN.stearn

Buffalo, MN Chamber’s Art & Craft Festival – Aug 21, 2021 9-3:30

Old Creamery Arts and Crafts, Rice, MN, September 11-12, 8-6, 9-4,    405 Main St E Rice, MN

Millstream Market Mondays

May be an image of Cindy Stupnik and book

Come find Cindy Stupnik at the Mill Stream Art Festival in St. Joseph,MN. She is here till 9. If you can’t make it, check her out at … Looking forward to book #3 in her Main Street Women series:”Where Two Rivers Meet.” If she ever stays home long enough to finish it.

It was fun, it was BUSY, it was LOUD I was there last night until 9.  I did well, met new people, sold lots, even more, sold lots of books on my webpage.  Thank you, sister Becky, for the help, posting, and taking pictures.  Oh, and did I tell you it was basically a weather-wonder weeknight?  I arrived at 3:45 and it was about 80 and then a breeze with cool air was almost constant.

So many people packed in this alley, so much talking, laughter, singing, music, and dancing.  It was wonderful! But I have to admit, it was and is difficult.

FYI: I am hard of hearing– totally deaf in my right ear–have been for as long as I can remember.  I am so happy Becky stuck around to translate for me.  Everyone was patient; THANK YOU!  But this is a situation that can be a blessing and while not a curse, a hindrance.  Like my sister always says, and I paraphrase: She’s deaf, but she can hear things she is not supposed to hear.

May be an image of text that says 'Local Artists Authors Live Music Food night E Milstream Market A New Orleans Inspired Market Mondays 5 to 9pm DOWNTOWN ST. JOSEPH'

I have a busy month ahead:

August 14: Sartell 10-3, at the Berneck’s/Scheels parking lot.

August 21: Buffalo 10-4, Buffalo, Minnesota–Chamber of Commerce Arts and Crafts

September 11-12: Old Creamery, Rice, MN, arts and crafts.


Hope to see you soon.

Heat & Drought

What a swelter we are experiencing.  While some in Europe, Ohio, Valley and the southern U.S. are being flooded, up here in Minnesota, hot and dry, dry, dry. And we can’t forget the fires and smoke. But I don’t have to tell any of you that.  From Ely to Albert Lee, we are in one form or another of drought.  I found the diagram below from the online EPA helpful:

EPA diagram

While some of us have experienced severe drought before, like from the Dirty Thirties, many of us heard about it from those who lived through it during the Great Depression. National Geographic states the following as well:

There is still a lot of debate about the connection between drought and global warming, the current period of climate change. A 2013 NASA study predicts warmer worldwide temperatures will mean increased rainfall in some parts of the world and decreased rainfall in others, leading to both more flooding and more droughts worldwide. Other scientists question the prediction that there will be more droughts and believe global warming will create a wetter climate around the world.

Yet we wait and pray for rain, enough to grow on.  Some of the fields are past their opportunity for growth, but necessary rain will fill our lakes, rivers, and groundwaters, which are in great need as well.

I have to admit I am waiting inside in the a/c as much as possible.  For me, I’ve had another type of drought.  Plagued by a lack of imagination and clear thought, I suffered for a couple of months.  I could not move on in my book, nor could I cough up a poem.  Writer’s block happens in one form or another to many authors.  I covered up my remorse by trying out another form of creativity–attempting to take my already written poetry and designing them into cards.  My struggles during this dry spell seem nothing now compared to my lack of skill in cutting and stamping straight.  I’ve truly enjoyed my work when it turns out okay but this is not a natural skill for sure.  I keep working at it, and spending lots on stamps, dies, embossing pads, inks, pens, you name it.  With so much invested, I keep trying.  And so the story ends, that I have been experiencing more rain and my dry spell seems to be handling my drought.  Now the problem is I don’t have enough time for both endeavors and the moral is  When it rains, it pours.  Not in a bad way though. 

The next few weeks are busy for me.  I am hoping for cooler weather…rain to come at appropriate times for all of these events are OUTSIDE:

August 2nd St Joseph, MN 5-9 pm for Monday Night at the Millstream Market.

August 14th, Sartell, Berneck’s Auditorium on Pine Cone, 10-3:30.

August  21st, Buffalo Arts and Crafts, Buffalo, Wright County.  10-4

September 11-12, Rice Arts and Crafts–by the Old Creamery, Rice, Minnesota.  10-4 both days

More to come. I hope to see you all soon.




It’s good to be back

Zoom in on Front Standard. Yankee Doodle Dandy [Blu-ray] [1942].

We had our first celebration party Saturday night.  No masks, no social distancing.  Lots of good b-b-q’d food–burgers, brats, ribs.  Add all the other picnic food, and we stuffed ourselves.  Later, our house was surrounded by individual fireworks.  One time, I wondered if flames licked our roof.  All turned out fine.

Yesterday, we had a later start to our 2nd celebration and had to travel for it.   I started watching Yankee Doodle Dandy in the morning, and again for the nearly twentieth time wasn’t disappointed. The black and white screen didn’t disappoint either because the music and acting related brought color of its own type and emphasized family, patriotism, a united country.  All of which we can be proud. Like other generations who bounced back after our county’s crises, we are bouncing back from Covid–I hope for a long time now. On our way home, the sky was lit up with all sorts of colored lights–north, east, west anyway–we saw colorful expressions of “Let freedom ring,” celebrating our county’s freedom.

It seems like most of the nation is hot and dry or enduring storms of one type or another.  We have lots to be sad and worry about, lots to be thankful for–and we are free, to a certain extent, to say what we want, do what we want, and explore, which is what I’ve been doing again for my upcoming book–Where Two Rivers Meet.


It all started with the comment my sister made about giants rumored to have been found back in the 1800s. “Giants,” I asked.  She plagued about my memory again because I had never heard the tales….”Out near Clearwater Lake,” she said, trying to ‘shiver me timber’ memories. So I did an Internet search.  Little else is known, and not much media was given any coverage, BUT:

“In the “Pioneer Press” of June 29, 1888, is an account of the discovery, twelve miles from Clearwater, N. E. 1/4, sec. 21, T. 121-27, by Charles W. Pinkerton, of the town of Corinna, of the remains of seven persons said to have been from seven to eight feet high.” Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, History of Wright County, Minnesota, 1888.

We both started researching and took a few trips out to dig up graves where we knew they were supposed to be found–south of Clearwater. Our freedoms didn’t allow us to go on private properties.  Following what we thought were the right coordinates, we drove on paved and dry roads with dust spraying the back of my SUV.  Because so much has been developed, the area, Clearwater Lake,  gave up no hints as to where we should look.  When we got home the last time, we re-checked the coordinates and realized we were off a couple of sections.

I have to be honest, I’ve been known to travel on trails that aren’t posted private property (to my sister’s embarrassment and fear).  But without a little brave/stupid hankering for answers, I would not have been able to write my first book, Steppes to Neu-Odessa, which is a biographical dictionary of Odessa Township, Yankton County, SD, and where the first German-Russians settled in the US–including mine). I don’t worry too much about not having an invitation, but I definitely won’t go where there is a warning, and I am not wanted.  But if anyone gets a hankering or an invitation, let us know.  We might follow along.  I might also want to see the many, MANY, native mounds that surround a number of the lakes in this vicinity and the Clearwater River.  Otherwise, I have the freedom to imagine what I want for the next book.

Hope you are still enjoying your Independence Day weekend on this Federal holiday.  HOT! yes, but so much to do and find and explore.


On the road again,