Beloved pets. Holiday rituals. Schoolyard antics. Teenage perspectives on a world at war. Childhood is a mixed bag of challenges and joys wherever one grows up. In Minnesota, youthful memories may be arranged seasonally: making snow angels in January, swatting mosquitoes in July. They may be tinged with a nostalgic glow or imprinted by lessons hard won.
In this new collection, Peg Meier explores the themes of childhood—the bitter and the sweet. Thanks to Minnesotans who took the time to write, whether as children in the moment or as adults looking back, Meier unearthed a wealth of material on the subject, ranging from diary entries to reminiscences to newspaper columns, along with plenty of photographs.
Coco Irvine, a child of St. Paul’s Summit Avenue, writes of romance during her teen years. A YMCA coach recounts his efforts to help rowdy boys choose basketball over petty crime. Parents through the ages consider conflicting advice for raising their children. Humorous touches and reality checks are offered in equal doses, and the result is a fascinating spectrum of experiences, as Minnesotans do what everyone must: grow up.