Summertime in Minnesota

Beside the crazy humidity and mosquitos the size of small pelicans, summertime in Minnesota was the best.

Between church life, camping, swimming and a couple of amazing Grandmas, I could write a book!

A favorite memory of Faith Lutheran Church in the summer was the spectacular ice cream social. The ladies would get together and bake pies in the tiny church kitchen, then line them up on the steps up to the narthex to sell.  Big yellow and green striped canvases would shelter people from the July heat. People would bicycle up to the front door of the church and purchase pies to take home. It was a beautiful sight.

The church would get so hot during summer months that we’d cool off by bending the bulletins into fans (hopefully without Pastor Lau catching too much of the commotion.)  We loved having donuts after church in the Summer, versus Sunday school the rest of the year.

One of the first things we did right after school let out for the summer, was head to Lake Kabetogama for a week. The Severson’s and Bednarz’s would drive the matching International Harvester Travelalls and pop-up tent trailers the seven hour drive to the beautiful lake.

Camp Wooden Frog was our destination, and to this day I can close my eyes and smell the yummy pine tree surroundings.

Camp 1362 provided another fun place for church potlucks.

About an hour out of the Cities, it harbored two bunkhouses and a boathouse. Yet, through the years, Camp would go through many changes. We loved the additions of a dining hall and indoor plumbing. Yet, some of my sweetest memories are of the church potlucks with Grandma and Grandma Barker.  I loved to watch people spread out their blankets, then arrange their food. They’d share proud stories behind their dishes, pray, and sit down and eat together.

Because we didn’t have central air conditioning in our house, as summer wore on, my sister and I would bike to any place that did.

We’d bike to Grandma and Grandpa Barker’s house or ride up to the library.  The big orange round chairs spun us as we read books til we had our fill.  Once our body temperature was sufficiently lowered, we’d start the hot  and sweaty journey bike ride back home.summertime in Minneapolis

Then there were the swimming lessons.

Kris and I had mixed feelings about these chlorine filled-drills each summer. The Richfield Pool opened at 11 am, so  lessons were scheduled early in the morning, and the water was ice cold.

Neither one of us was a wuss.

We spent a lot of time swimming in lakes as we grew up, so a little cold water didn’t scare us. But this was VERY cold water and I still think a truck came by each morning to drop ice in the pool before we arrived.

Mom would drop us off in the morning, then retrieved us later. She lined the hot vinyl back seats with towels to prevent screaming.  At home, the treat would be Wheat Thins, cold green grapes and RC cola. Summer truly arrived once we’d spot a Strawberry Pie on the counter.

Aunt Joanne’s apartment was a highlight in July and August. We’d swim in the pool, be rewarded with “Weenie Buns” and often celebrated my cousin Dave’s and my Dad’s birthday there.

Grandma Bednarz’s farm was another highlight of summertime in Minnesota. We’d get to spend time with our big family, usually on the lake or playing by the river. Grandma also loved keeping us busy with the huge garden out back. My tastes were forever spoiled after indulging in all the wonderful vegetables we’d “find.”



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