The Vagabonds of Children's Hospital

Barb at Children's in 1980

I wake up from a deeply sedated sleep; I am scared. I don’t understand my surroundings, nor how I arrived here. I search for a glimpse of familiarity, the eyes of my loving mother, my adoring father’s warm hands. There they are. They tell me they have not left my side in two days. I have given everyone quite a scare. Bacterial tracheitis killed numerous children in 1980. I was among the first in the state to survive. As a mother now, I can almost understand the terror that my parents felt those first forty-eight hours.

Our Lady of Peace High School 1952-56

A procession on the grounds of Our Lady of Peace High School

In 1952 I became an O.L.P. girl by default. On the day I was to get measured for my Derham Hall uniform, Mother and Dad told me that I couldn’t go there after all and they immediately took me, in tears, down to Our Lady of Peace High School to register. It was a financial decision. Grudgingly, I joined the 190 girls who made up the second graduating class at O.L.P., which quickly had been dubbed the “Old Ladies Prison” by the boys at Cretin.

The Saint Paul Art Tour You Weren't Expecting

Remix of a panel from Kristi's work, "Jack and Jill," made for a promotional Saint Paul Art Crawl postcard (Illustration: Kristi Abbott/KristiAbbott.com)

Whether you’re new to Saint Paul, a longtime resident, or simply a visitor, here’s . . . The Saint Paul Art Tour You Weren't Expecting First, let’s take the word “art” and think beyond the museum or gallery wall. (Minneapolis has plenty of both.) How would you characterize Saint Paul? Do the words “venerable” and […]

The Welcoming Energy of Lowertown

The final stop on the new Green line light rail in Saint Paul is historic lowertown: easy to get to, very walkable, and connected by the Morgan, Bruce Vento, and Gateway bike trails. Originally called “lowertown landing,” the port was the first point of access to the twin Cities from the Mississippi River, a bustling […]

Walks with the Chowhound

(Photo: Serena Mira Asta/AstaArt.com)

Selby is a chowhound. An inveterate, unrelenting, willfully indiscriminate gastronome of Saint Paul street food. Naturally he is named after the street where he lives, Selby Avenue, and naturally, when I come to dog sit him, we commence our journeys from that haunt of celebrated eateries, dine-ins, and dessert stops. This poses a problem, as Selby is a beagle, a breed that distinguishes itself by a sniffer so acute it can divine a three-month-old pancake-thin squirrel carcass from a snowbank high as a Himalayan foothill...

Five Things to Love about Saint Paul from Someone Who Moved Here from Somewhere Else

Downtown Saint Paul. (Photo: Ryan Chernik/RyanChernik.com)

John Moe is the host of Wits, a national public radio show based in Saint Paul. Noted for skimming “the cream off a few decades of local and ­national indie scenes,” the show features writers, comedians, and musicians. John has brought such guests as Fred Willard, Rosanne Cash, Martha Wainwright, and Julia Sweeney to the historic Fitzgerald Theater. A widely published author as well as a reporter, he lives in Saint Paul with his family.

Back Again

St. John's Hospital, circa 1962. (Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)

I took my first breath in St. John’s Hospital at Seventh and Maria. That makes me a native Saint Paulite, even though I grew up in the suburbs. In the late 1950s and early ’60s, many suburban parents-to-be chose Saint Paul hospitals to welcome their babies into the world. As a suburban child, it was a big deal to go shopping at the downtown department stores, and each trip we took, my mom never failed to point out St. John’s at the top of the bluff. “That’s where you two were born,” Mom would remind my brother and me. Anytime my brother and I were fighting in the backseat, Mom would remind us that we’d all wind up back at St. John’s if she crashed the car because we had distracted her.

I Remember RONDO

McKinley School circa 1911, Carroll Avenue between Arundel and Mackubin, Saint Paul. (Photo: MNHS)

I remember Rondo . . . the streets were cobbled stone.
I remember Rondo . . . 450 was our home.

I remember Rondo—the intersection Arundel Hill,
On one corner the cab station; across the street,
Joe’s Grocery Store . . .
I remember Rondo, and we never locked our door.
I remember Rondo—smiling faces still in my mind