From: Claire Freudenthal Horton
How I enjoyed Dr. Stever’s recent full page article, a Walk Down Memory Lane! It was sent to me by my dear friend, who knew I would enjoy it. After drinking in every word, I took my own walk—first through the neighborhood where I spent my first five years, living across from Swede’s bar on 4th and Olmstead, next to Leaf’s Laundry and kittycorner from my first friend, Marilyn Nathe. I, too, loved Madison School—the playground, my beloved kindergarten teacher, Fern Kinzie, and kindly Mr. Ellies in charge. When I was 6, we moved to Main and Howard where there were full blocks of old stately homes in which my new friends lived. I then attended Lincoln Elementary where Mr. Beckman’s gentle but strong voice over the new PA system made us feel safe and loved. After school in the winter months, we hurried to the ice rink at Main and Lake Park Drive and skated until the church bells told us to hurry home for supper. The summers were spent at the Lake Winona beach and in later years at “the Pits” or Latsch Beach. There were bike rides to the cemetery, hikes up the bluffs to Garvin Heights or to Devil’s Cave. Steamboat Days, the Winter Carnival, weekly band concerts and community concerts with guest performances were eagerly awaited. Winona State and Saint Teresa, where my father taught, provided musicals, plays, guest speakers and exhibits—special events that I eagerly anticipated. I loved to shop at Choates, eat at the Garden Gate, go to the Winona Public Library, where my mother worked, and bowl at Hal Rod Lanes. My first job was promised to me when I was six by Mr. McVey himself. I worked at McVey’s Ice Cream Shop for four years, starting on my 16th birthday. I learned much more there than just how to make malts, sodas, and nougat sundaes. Old Mrs. McVey was full of useful wisdom and stern guidance.
My dearest friends today are the ones I grew up with in Winona. The ties that bind us are more than just shared history, but bonds created by growing up in a whole town that seemed to assist our parents in raising us!
Well. We meet annually to “catch up” and to once again share a Sammy’s or a Rocco’s pizza, float on air mattresses at the pits, listen to a band concert, look out over the valley from Garvin Heights and meet up with as many classmates as possible. We still look out for each other the way our town did when we were young. We continue to make new memories and explore new places there. Thank you, Kent Stever and Winona Post, for the wonderful article and the opportunity to walk down my own memory lane…in my beautiful hometown.