Volume 1: Saint Paul Almanac (2007)

Stories, articles, poems, events, and a calendar & datebook for your own notes—all about Saint Paul!

Cover art by Kevin R Brown.

Jump to: Selected Stories · Purchase the Book · Contributors

Includes writing by Mary Gardner, Nathaniel Abdul Khaliq, Moira F. Harris, Meridel LeSueur, Debbie Montgomery, Thien-bao Thuc Phi, Gordon Parks, Virginia L. Martin, Linda Back McKay, and other acclaimed Saint Paul writers.

3362 pages, 5 3/16 x 8 inches, 150+ B&W photos. ISBN: 978-0-9772651-0-2

Selected Stories

River Prayer

By Linda Back McKay ● 2007

The old man was not really in a rowboat under the Mississippi River bridge. He was in the process of turning inside himself, as we all will do one day...

Art by Patricia Bour-Schilla

Boyd Park

By Virginia L. Martin ● 2007

The Selby-Dale Freedom Brigade, which emerged out of this melange of ideologies, objected to using Kittson’s name for the park on the grounds that this nineteenth-and early twentieth-century entrepreneur was not a fit man to memorialize. Not only had he had at least two and as many as four Native American “wives” before marrying European Mary Kittson, he sold liquor to the Indians and bought their fur pelts for a pittance and sold them for exorbitant amounts. One brigade member said Kittson “personifies the destructive, imperialistic aspect of American history,” and he urged that parks and public buildings be named “for people who have contributed to the struggles faced by those exploited.”

The Turf Club By Jenny Gehlhar

By Jennifer Gehlhar ● 2007

The Turf Club is an historic landmark in the Twin Cities music world. One might wonder how this club set in the Midway—the land between downtown Minneapolis and downtown Saint Paul—amongst porn and pawn shops, liquor stores and Ax Man, maintains a name at all. This is not the hubbub of nightlife; no river views, no skyscrapers, no horse carriages or antique fire trucks, no pretty street lights, no Snoopy. It's University bus stops and Snelling traffic.


GeGe Youngdahl Anderson is a retired grandmother living in northeast Minneapolis. When she can’t be with her incredible grandchildren and grand-nieces and nephews, she reads, writes, sews, quilts, makes dolls, and generally pretends she’s no longer a responsible adult. It’s a formula that works for her.

Heidi Annexstad could probably ride up Ramsey Hill if her kids pushed her. She lives in Golden Valley, where she prefers riding downhill.

Daniel Bachhuber was born in Milwaukee and now teaches at a Montessori school in Saint Paul. His poetry has appeared in many places, including The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic Review, and the Southern Review. 

Kelsey Bour-Schilla is a young photographer from Saint Paul who is about to embark on the greatest adventure yet: four months in Glacier National Park, Montana, working and photographing the spectacular scenery and wildlife. She aspires to become a Forest Service Ranger specializing in conservation.

Patricia Bour-Schilla is a nanny/freelance photographer from Saint Paul who loves long bicycle rides with her husband. She reads constantly but would never purchase a skinny book—she wants to get her money’s worth. The skinny ones she checks out from the library.

Carol Caouette is a freelance writer, singer, and musician. She was once a Saint Paul Winter Carnival Queen candidate but secretly coveted the title of Bouncing Blanket Girl. Carol lives in Stillwater with her husband but visits Saint Paul often.

Mark Connor is a freelance journalist, creative writer, and professional boxing trainer from Saint Paul. His work has been published nationally and internationally, much of it focusing on life in Saint Paul.

Anisha Dawan was married to Cliff Comb for forty-seven years before his death. She worked at Ramadan Meat and Seafood and the Urban League, and has volunteered at United Hospital and continues to volunteer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Teri J. Dwyer is a Saint Paul-based freelance writer. For years she has run, walked, biked, and inline-skated around Saint Paul’s lakes and parks. She has been a published writer for over fifteen years.

William Kelso “Corky” Finney served on the Saint Paul School Board from 1989 to 1992 and in 2005. He served with the Saint Paul Police Department beginning in 1971 and as chief of police, 1992–2004. Corky has had a lifelong appreciation of vintage cars and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and he is an Old West history buff.

Mary Gardner lives on the third floor of a 110-year-old condo building in the Cathedral Hill area of Saint Paul. She is a novelist. Her fourth novel, Salvation Run, was released in 2005. During the winters she teaches novel writing at The Loft, and she spends summers at her cabin in northwestern Minnesota.

Jennifer Gehlhar of Minneapolis has been playing music for over twenty years. She currently plays bass for a local band and publishes a local zine, Atomic TC, in support of the wildly independent punk rock scene here in the Twin Cities.

Cary Griffith is a freelance writer from Rosemount, Minnesota, and the author of Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods (Borealis Books; March, 2006).

Moira F. Harris is the author of Fire and Ice: The History of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, (Saint Paul: Pogo Press, 2004). Vulcanus Rex LXVII Tom Barrett named Ms. Harris as his “Matriarch of Carnival Memories.”

Vernon Holmberg made sculpture for thirty-four years, funding his work by employment with Univac, Sperry, and Unisys. Now he writes fiction and has published one novel, Mulcahey’s Meatheads, creates small movies, and still works as a technical writer for the military-industrial complex.

Ronnie Howell moved to Minnesota from New York in 1977.  She is a mother, accomplished cook, published author/writer, and executive director of Dreams and Visions, a National Heritage Foundation nonprofit that helps others achieve their dreams of owning/operating their own businesses.  Contact her at dreamsnvisionsnhf@yahoo.com.

Sao Sue Jurewitsch was born Andreas Jurewitsch in Hamburg, Germany. He’s been married to Blia Thao Jurewitsch for twelve years and they have two children. He was honored with his Hmong elder name, Sao Sue, by his wife’s family in 2005. He has been writing for the Hmong Times in Saint Paul since 2004.

Patrick Kahnke is a freelance writer and pastor of Saint Paul Fellowship Church in Frogtown. He has written numerous articles, poems, and songs, writes a blog (www.frogtownpastor.com), and plans to spend at least the next thirty years tinkering with an unfinished novel set in various Saint Paul neighborhoods.

Flint Keller loves spending time with his family. A fourth grade teacher in Saint Paul, Flint recently finished his first young adult novel, Millikin Home. He is currently working on an M.F.A in creative writing at Hamline University. Email at Flint.Keller@spps.org.

Nathaniel Abdul Khaliq is president of the Saint Paul branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mr. Khaliq owns a construction company and Malcolm Shabbaz Apartments. He has been married to Victoria A. Alexander Davis for thirty years.

Evelyn Klein publishes regularly. Her most recent award is from the Family Housing Fund for the poem “A Place Called Home,” touring the Twin Cities in an exhibit.  She edited and contributed to the multicultural anthology Stage Two: Poetic Lives. Her book of poetry From Here Across the Bridge was published last year (Saint Paul: Nodin Press, 2006).

Kelly LaBrosse (aka Artemis the Huntress) was born in Saint Paul in 1972, grew up in South Saint Paul, and graduated from South Saint Paul High School. Although she currently lives up north in the Mille Lacs Lake area, Saint Paul will always be “home.” She has self-published two volumes of poetry and is working on a third.

Susan Larson and Tom Lewis (aka the Larson/Lewis Project) have lived in Saint Paul since 1999. They were both born in California, but they relocated to the Upper Midwest because of the “healthy climate,” easy access to cheese curds, and opportunities to explore the region’s wealth of visionary environments.

May Lee is a writer aspiring to get paid for it. Instead of listing generic statistics, May believes in revealing more important things about a person, such as her idiosyncrasy for eating plain pho, her insistence on defending the legitimacy of reading romance novels, and her penchant for perpetuating Asian stereotypes by perfecting her skills as a karaoke singer.  She is a former member of the spoken-word group F.I.R.E. (Free Inspiring Rising Elements) and has been published in Paj Ntaub Voice, Unarmed Journal, and Bamboo Among the Oaks, the first anthology to explore the creative voices of Hmong Americans. She is a winner of the 2005 Loft Mentorship Program in Non-Fiction, a recipient of the 2004 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and of a 2002-2003 Playwright Center Many Voices Fellowship.

Jami Leigh is a writer who lives in Minneapolis but has for years secretly adored her hometown of Saint Paul.

Meridel Le Sueur (1900–1996) used her words to dig through our reserved Midwest façades and open up our tormented, tender, cruel hearts. The author and poet of many books, she challenged the status quo and spent her life championing the rights of women and the oppressed in the U.S. and overseas. Her work won numerous awards.

Virginia L. Martin, a writer and editor all her professional life, completed her M.A. in Mass Communications. Her varied workplaces have included the Minnesota Historical Society and hi-tech local companies. She has now returned to history, researching and writing a book on urban renewal, historic preservation, and Summit-University.

Linda Back McKay is a Saint Paul-born writer and teaching artist. Her books include Choppers (youth nonfiction), Ride That Full Tilt Boogie (poems), Iron Horse Cowgirls: Around the World with Women Bikers, and Shadow Mothers: Stories of Adoption and Reunion (both nonfiction). She lives in (gasp) Minneapolis.

Deborah McLaren is a travel writer who lives with her family in Merriam Park—dangerously close to Izzy’s Ice Cream. Contact her at Deborah@mm.com.

Tasha Merritt loves to cook southern-style meals, has an admiration for art, believes there is nothing compared to sledding in the winter, and is a sight to see on roller skates.

Melissa Mierva is an avid gardener, artist, and freelance editor specializing in herbs. She attended Minneapolis College of Art and Design where she received her B.F.A., and is currently working toward certification in botanical illustration at the Marjorie Neely Conservatory. She resides in a vintage cottage with her daughter and two cats in Saint Paul.

Deborah Louise Gilbreath Montgomery received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. from Saint Thomas University, an M.A. from the Humphrey Institute, and is a graduate of the Senior Police Management Institute at Harvard University. She and her husband, Robert, have been married thirty-eight years.

Judith Niemi is a freelancer with a home base on Saint Paul’s West Side and another on Lake Vermilion. She runs Women in the Wilderness trips, writes articles, essays, and books, teaches occasionally at Hamline and elsewhere, and canoes and rambles with her gun-shy German shorthaired pointer.

Kimberly Nightingale conceived and edited the Saint Paul Almanac. Kimberly is a Saint Paulite who has worked for many years as a book editor. Prior to that, she taught high school English, worked on a salmon processor in the Bering Sea, and hosted several radio shows. When she’s not seeing Bob Dylan or Billy Bragg live, she spends her time traveling, getting involved in her community, and riding her recumbent bicycle. She lives with her sweetheart and two teenagers in a 1928 bungalow in the heart of Saint Paul.

John O’Brien was born in the Bronx, New York, and moved to Minnesota in 1990. From 1998–2002 he worked as a freelance writer in Caracas, Venezuela. John is currently writing about his experience driving a cab in New York from 1985–1990, before it became Trumpatized.

Eva Palma is a Chilean journalist currently working as the Spanish acquisitions editor at Llewellyn Worldwide. She was the editor of La Prensa de Minnesota and one of the writers of Viceversa magazine in the Twin Cities. She also worked for The Resource Center of the Americas as the assistant editor of The Connections.

Gordon Parks (1912–2006) was a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and poet who blazed an incredible path of artistic brilliance. He was born in Kansas and moved to Saint Paul at fifteen years old. After working as a porter, against all odds he made a name for himself as a fashion photographer in Saint Paul and  later became a photographer and reporter for Life magazine, famous for his gritty photo essays about the grinding effects of poverty in the U.S. and abroad. He wrote several books, poetry, and screenplays. He wrote and directed The Learning Tree (1969) and Shaft (1971). His work won numerous awards.

Liz Pasch is a Twin Cities-based writer who left a twenty-year corporate career to cruise on a boat with her husband. She now writes feature articles for several marine and travel magazines.

Ron Peterson ended up getting a Ph.D. in physics and technology and worked at Honeywell through much of the 1990s. He’s retired now, finishing up a science fiction novel (tentatively called Children’s Chrysalis), playing with his grandson Peter, and generally goofing off. This is his first non-technical publication.

Thien-bao Thuc Phi was born in Sai Gon, Viet Nam, and raised in the Phillips Neighborhood in Minneapolis. A multiple Minnesota Grand Poetry Slam champion and National Poetry Slam individual finalist, Bao Phi is one of the premiere performance poets in the nation, and has been a featured performer in venues from the Nuyorican Poets Café to Stanford University. He was a featured poet on season three of HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam and remains an active member of the national Asian American spoken word community.  One of his poems was recently selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to appear in 2006’s prestigious Best American Poetry anthology. www.baophi.com

Russ Ringsak was a registered architect in Minnesota when he bought an over-the-road semi tractor in 1977, a career move that ultimately led him to driving the trucks and writing for the Prairie Home Companion radio show. He has now been with the show for more than twenty years—and about half a million miles. He lives in Stillwater, Minnesota.

John Rosengren is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in over seventy-five publications, ranging from Reader’s Digest to Sports Illustrated. John lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their two children.

Larry Schilla was born in Saint Paul and has lived near and worked on West Seventh Street most of his life. He’s fifty years old and prides himself in knowing a little about Saint Paul.

Jami Shoemaker has lived in Saint Paul since 1999. She works as a freelance writer and editor, and has a great fondness for the theatrical arts.

Karin Simoneau is a book editor and longtime resident of Saint Paul. Born in California, she has lived in the city since 1997 and continues to marvel at the new places and things she happens upon in the beautiful city she calls home.

Amy Siqveland is a social worker and a freelance writer. She grew up in Minnesota and works for the University of Minnesota Press and writes for msNBC.com in Seattle.

Dr. Ivar E. Siqveland was born in Michigan in 1872 and practiced dentistry in Saint Paul from 1891 until he retired in 1943. In 1899, after having saved some money from his dental practice, he was presented with a decision of whether to buy stock in his friend Henry Ford’s new company, or buy the first gasoline-powered car, a one-lunged Winton. He chose the car.

Vic Tedesco started out life in Swede Hollow and went on to become a Saint Paul City Council member for eleven consecutive terms. Vic is one of the best-loved and most colorful politicians in the city’s history.

Seanne Thomas lives in Saint Paul and enjoys reading and jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler on because she’s the biggest kid in her house.

David Tilsen resides in an extensive fantasy world, where he is a brilliant writer, a pundit whose thoughts are widely sought after, and the best-looking man in the Cities. He lives with the happiest married woman in the world, installing software for the most satisfied customers in the galaxy. His wisdom can be obtained at www.dtilsen.net/blog

Drew Tilsen is the new owner of Magic’s Automotive Repair and Towing in Saint Paul. He spends his days working on cars and learning all the new automotive technology, and spends his nights thinking of new cars to build and new projects to work on.

Bradley Wakefield stays out of trouble.

Stanley Gordon West was born in Saint Paul and graduated from Central High School in 1950. He attended Macalester College and the University of Minnesota. His novel Amos was a CBS Movie of the Week starring Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Montgomery.

James Wright (1927–1980) pried open seams of the world and ourselves with his writing. His poetry is deeply loved. Born in Ohio, he taught at  the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for his Collected Poems.

Beadrin (Pixie) Youngdahl is a lifelong resident of Minneapolis with a deep curiosity about the city “over there.” She works as a registered nurse and has recently completed a novel that is currently visiting the slush piles of publishing houses and agency round files. Sometimes her writing is funny. Sometimes the editors just laugh at it. Beadrin@aol.com.

Allen Zumach captures everyday Twin Cities scenes through digital photos—skylines, parks, neighborhoods—and extracts from them very striking, almost romantic, images. These images, available as notecards and prints, awaken memories and inspire awareness of the beauty found in our ordinary lives. For more information visit www.zumach.net.