I owe my life to the doctors, nurses, and support staff at the University of Minnesota Hospital. My delicate and at the time pioneering emergency heart surgery was performed as JoAnne (the editor) was giving birth to our daughter Rachael at HCMC hospital. It was fall 1979, our second year in Minnesota. I was teaching in Bloomington and we lived in a cozy house on 34th Street between Humboldt and Irving. Thanks to new friends and neighbors, the three of us regained our balance. In the summer of 1982 we added (with considerably less chaos) another child, our dear son Ben. In 1985, needing more space, we moved north ten blocks to a house again just off Humboldt, this time near Lake of the Isles. That was the wonderful growing-up home that the kids remember. We have happy memories, many centered around Barton Open School, a K-8 adventure that provided Rachael and Ben with an excellent foundation of learning.
In about fifth grade our daughter began modeling for the Susan Wehmann agency near Loring Park. This lead, a few years later, to an introduction to a fairy godmother who provided her acting opportunities in Hollywood. Meanwhile Ben decided on UC Santa Cruz for college (Go Banana Slugs!). JoAnne and I were frozen empty nesters. Rachael settled in Los Angeles; with very little encouragement we followed. In 2004 she married New Zealand actor Daniel Gillies. Many years later, I am still writing for my dear friends, the writers and readers of the Hill and Lake Press, while living in southern California.
The Twin Cities Film Fest in St. Louis Park (October 18-28) is showing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rachael plays Hermia. She has been invited to the October 28th screening. The Film Fest folks did not realize this would unleash a Kunta Kinte Roots-like reaction in our family. The adults have been back a number of times, but now there are fresh young eyes and two big new reasons to come home. Charlotte is four and full of questions, and Theo at two is just full of… zest. (I had to promise not to immerse the children in the lake before being allowed to come). We are very excited to show them where mom and uncle Ben grew up.
We hardly know where to start: Uptown, skyways, bridges, Triangle Park, Lake of the Isles, the Sculpture Garden, Minnehaha Creek, our old house… I am voting for train and bus rides and other unique non-LA activities. If you see a winded older man chasing two children racing through the neighborhood while kicking autumn leaves, the old guy might be me. We want to show the kids a land that is not palm trees and traffic. And dare we hope for rain? Whatever the weather, we are excited to introduce Charlotte and Theo to the town that nurtured us, and that we still call home.
Tom H. Cook is aware that his daunting and ambitious plans for the visit could be undone by crankiness and the need for naps. Tom has vowed to do his best.