Posted by: Jim E | August 13, 2018

Let Me Walk And Talk A Little…You Can Follow, If You Like…

I’m not really sure about all of this…I only have my memories…childhood ones at that…many of those memories from childhood are ones that were told to me by my Dad or Mom…my Grandparents, or other relatives, neighbors…and like with so many memories held by children, now grown up, those memories are seen through that child’s eyes…it’s probably accurate, but only through their eyes…So that is how I begin this short journey…

Reggin's house 1926

It must have been in the mid-30’s when my Mom and Dad met…it was in the deepest part of the Great Depression…how my Dad, who lived in Minneapolis and my Mom who lived Golden Valley, met, I can only guess…my Grandparents, George and Pearl Reggin, moved to Golden Valley in the 20’s…Grandpa, built their home and they raised four Children in that very small house…George, Dorothy (my Mom), Dick and Rose…

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Grandpa, who worked for McGarvey Coffee Company, ran a small “Root Beer Stand” on the side…on the corner of Archibald Avenue and Highway 55, or “Olson Memorial Highway”…named for a Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson…that may have been where Dad and Mom met…she, her sister Rose worked there as well as my Grandparents…here is my Mom working there…they also sold fireworks…so I could see that they met there…I never remember them talking about when or how they met…

My Dad was raised  in Northeast Minneapolis…referred to as “Nordeast” by most…but he was born in Imperial, Alberta, Canada…my Grandparents moved to Canada in the early 1900’s…my Dad was born in 1915, in a log cabin…he rode a horse to school…my Elmquist Grandparents made the trek to Canada twice…they moved back to the U.S. and when Grandpa wanted to move back to Canada a third time…Grandma put her foot down…they stayed in the U.S. for the rest of their lives…he worked for the Soo Line Railroad…

During the Depression my Dad worked in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)…it was a government job program to put young men back to work…they had to send part of their wages back home…my Dad worked in Northern Minnesota…the camps were run like the army…and many of the improvements, buildings and parks are still being used today…

Sometime in the later 30’s Mom and Dad found one another…I’m sure a lot of adjustments had to be made in that early marriage, like all marriages…my Mom was about 18, my Dad was 24…found themselves in the depression, no jobs…my Dad worked for Fruen Mill on the West Side of Minneapolis…I remember that as a child…it was still a mill at the time…Dad used to tell of his working there, at night…he said he had a flashlight as he walked along the railroad tracks…he would hear a noise and turn the flashlight…almost always it would be a rat…they got as big as a cat…

Fruen Mill, Minneapolis MN

They got married in 1938 or 39…there is some confusion of dates…Jack, my older brother by 3 years…then I came along in February, 1942…Pearl Harbor and WWII started in December of 1941…so, I was born just two months after Pearl Harbor and the beginning of WWII…my Dad went in the Navy, about a year later, in 1943…that meant my Mom was alone with two small kids, while Dad was in the Navy for the duration of the war…he was discharged in January 1946…

My Mom took both Jack and me and left for San Francisco, by train, to meet my Dad when he was discharged from the Navy…I don’t remember the trip, I was about four…Mom said it was an eventful trip…in those days there were still a lot of steam engines…lots of smoke and ashes…no A/C…she said the rats came along free…the best trains were saved for the troops…we rented an apartment for the time we waited for Dad…the plans were to stay, but instead, we came back to Minneapolis…

house 515 Meadow Lane

We rented a house, at 515 Meadow Lane…in the same neighborhood Mom grew up in…and that I grew up…I remember a few memories there…ice skating in the swamp, in back of our house…I remember the little Chapel on the top of the hill, that we attended…in those cold winter nights we would light a bonfire by the swamp…we even used an old tire once…and how small the house was…

And I remember when we built the basement house, just after the war…my Dad was working at the Minneapolis Gas Company…Oh, there was always the plan to build a house on the top…but it never happened…no indoor plumbing…water from my Grandparents, no bathroom…we had an outhouse…it was fairly spartan, but it was still our home…those were difficult years…my Dad came out of the war and had issues with alcohol, like a lot of guys from that war…it limited him in what he was going to do with his life, because it came at the most important part of his life…

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My Mom carried the brunt of all things that needed to be done…I remember when the flat roof on the basement house was leaking…she got some asphalt in a gallon bucket…she climbed up on the roof and tried to seal it…Jack and I went up there too…too young to help much but we couldn’t see our Mom doing that…I even remember one year she bought rolls of roofing and went up to repair the roof…finally I think she was talked into getting someone to do the work…Dad was just not involved…

Those years were hard years, but great years too…during the late 40’s and then the 50’s, we were free to grow up in all our surroundings…outside was our playground, baseball in the streets…football…hockey, skiing in the winter…it was a great time to grow up…I asked Jack, my older brother, if he liked his childhood…without a pause, he said it was great…even though we didn’t have a lot…didn’t have what others had, yet we had so much to be thankful for…

Elmquist shed, BB hoop, cottonwood trees in snow

Oh, I didn’t tell you about our backyard shed…we built it for our bikes, lawnmower, stuff…but also there was a basketball hoop…I will add a picture…really a Christmas picture…fresh snow and our basketball court…my younger brother, Jerry played basketball as well as Jack and I…here is the place where we spent hours playing…even in below zero weather…we would go out and shovel the court…then we would put the ball outside while we ate…so it would get acclimated…that way it would not sweat and the dirt and snow would not stick to it…the ball was below zero too…we turned on the spot light (if you look at the picture of my Mom and the basement house above, at the top of the tall pole was the spotlight) and…what great games we had there with neighbor kids…I remember the paperboy would stop and eat supper with us and stay and play ball…papers were delivered late those nights…Great memories…

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Responses

  1. Fun to read.

    • Sharon…there are so many memories…in those early years, when your family lived in the “area”, we did lots together…well, Tom and I, getting all kinds of scrapes…my Mom even wrote on the back of a picture of Tom and I…something like, “Now what trouble are they thinking of now”…something like that…I blame Tom…Tom blames me…I like to keep it that way, neither one of us has to take the responsibility for that stuff…there are a few pictures I have of the “older” Reggin kids…at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and other places…as is the case in every generation, there were good times and bad…luckily the good stand out the most…cause there were more good than bad…your Dad was a favorite to us…no matter your take, and you certainly knew him better…his sense of humor and upbeat view on all things…an instant smile…always positive around us…when Jack and I got together, the talk always got around to Christmas and coming out to your house…seems like you always had a ham around…we loved that…and seeing all that everyone got for Christmas…good memories…thanks again for stirring them up again…Jim E

  2. I loved this post. I’ve always loved hearing about people’s childhoods and memories growing up. This was wonderful! I hope you and Judie are doing well. Take care, Julie

    • Julie…doing fine..hope all is well with you too…fun going through some memories…good to hear from you…thanks again…Jim E


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