I believe it’s the things we don’t choose that makes us who we are.
I grew up in northern Minnesota. Three miles from the Canadian border ~ on the beautiful shores of Lake of the Woods. A small town, in the middle of no where. My family farmed, raising grain crops. My grandparents came over on a boat from Norway .. at the age of 17. My father worked the fields, logged timber, refinished homes, and built barns. Hard working. Honest. Conservative. My mother was Texan. Tall, sassy … and more fun than anyone I’ve ever met. She could make you laugh just by walking into the room.
Warroad, a small town on the lake shore, is affectionately known as Hockeytown, USA. Hockey was fast, brutal, and full of passion. Warroad is known for walleye and muskie fishing, Christian Brother hockey sticks, Marvin Windows, including several pro hockey and Olympic athletes. In 1980, the U.S. won the Olympic Gold Medal .. Miracle On Ice, with a hometown player, Dave Christian. That winter, the Olympic team traveled to Warroad to take on our hometown hockey team. It was a major event! When you arrive in Warroad there is a billboard with the names of players … Davey Christian, Henry Boucha, Alan Hangsleben, who have contributed much to the sport and largely responsible for putting Warroad on the map .. in the world of hockey.
After a brief stint as a flight attendant, I moved to Steamboat Springs … and fell in love with skiing and the mountains. In the summer, I worked as a river guide on the Colorado .. and spent much of my time golfing, hiking, and playing softball. At the time, someone suggested we should get back to the ‘real world’. From my perspective, that’s never a good idea.
My passion for real estate came early … spending time around the lakes in Minnesota. It began in a small office on Lake Nokomis with my best friends’ boyfriend, Tom … and his partner, Ed. This was back when real estate was easy and above all fun! Even with interest rates at 17%, we were busy. Back then, there was no training. Ed showed me how to use a measuring tape. Tom handed me a phone book full of listings and said … “good luck!”
While visiting friends in Seattle, I met my husband. A California boy raised in Wyoming. As a professional engineer, we moved extensively for his career … living on the west coast and beyond. A few years ago, we built a home on acreage in Northern Colorado, and lost it to the devastating High Park fire. I attribute my survival to being raised among Swedes and Norwegians with a strong work ethic … an inner strength. These are tough people, who know how to survive whatever life throws at them, and not loose their sense of humor. We were a close family, living in a tight knit community with small town values. People watched out for each other. It’s referred to as “Minnesota nice”. A lot of blonde, blue eyed folks with thick accents. I can still hear them saying .. “Ya, sure, you bet ‘cha! My family was Lutheran. If you weren’t in church on Sunday, you’d better be in jail! Even so, I grew up wild and free. In many ways an ideal world … fishing and hunting with my Dad, water skiing, riding horses, playing hockey, and exploring the woods on horseback with my Border Collie running along side.
The world of hockey, and these amazing athletes, have put northern Minnesota on the map. Warroad has been written up by NBC Sports and the New York Times. The writer from the Times has no idea what cold truly is. During my high school days, the arena wasn’t heated … and still you never missed a hockey game. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate home and family, until you’ve experienced how the rest of the world lives. I believe our roots go deep. We should never forget where we’ve come from.
Article from the New York Times .. ‘A Game? No, It’s A Life.’
And NBC Sports …