Cheesehead

Cheesehead

  Conceived, born, and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin—that’s me, Paul Vincent Bartlett, a (displaced) cheesehead. And not of your typical Wisconsin lineage. Nope. Not one drop of German or Polish blood circulating in my body. With a Sicilian father (actual...
Mears Park

Mears Park

  Where I first put my arm around you. Clad in red coats and autumn hats, we walked from the Farmers’ Market, bags of basil in hand, then arm in arm. The dog waited. Where so much music has been made. Echoing through Lowertown where the shade of the stage and the...
The Sweet Potato Lady (Deborah Torraine)

The Sweet Potato Lady (Deborah Torraine)

When I see sweet potatoes, I often think of Deborah Torraine. Deb was a community organizer in the Twin Cities. She always referred to herself as a cultural worker; she was a mentor to new and emerging artists, and the Director of Community Engagement for the Saint...
Cinnamon Rolls and Neighbors

Cinnamon Rolls and Neighbors

A few years ago on the Fourth of July we wanted to invite some neighbors over for homemade cinnamon rolls. I make the rolls from scratch; my wife invites. We live in the middle of the block. While the majority of the folks are of European heritage, the diversity gets...
Roblyn Avenue, 1953

Roblyn Avenue, 1953

The first thing I saw when Dad turned our car down Grandma’s street in Merriam Park was the sky-high catalpa tree in her front yard. It was the only “cigar tree” on the block, and when I spied it, I knew we were almost there. It was a beautiful tree, with frilly white...
Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama

Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama

Every holiday, every barbecue, every church social, and Lord knows for every somebody or another’s funeral, the unspoken expectation has always been that my mama makes the sweet potato pies. Calling her pies delicious is an understatement—they are heavenly. Today,...