Sunday, July 21, 2013

The 1950's in Winona

Minnesota author Kent Stever has published his first book, Growing Up on the Mississippi: the 1950's in Winona, MN. We doubt he had any run-ins with Anthony Monday but you never know. has an article about his August reading and some information on the book:

It began as a Christmas present for his children. He gave them each a bound collection of stories from his childhood "with the assumption that they couldn't all throw them all away at once." These recollections led Stever to scrounge the Winona Newspaper Project, an online repository of local newspaper archives, to learn about the happenings that preceded and succeeded his youth. Some of his stories were published in the Winona Post over the past years. Positive feedback from those pieces, and pieces for Minnesota Moments Magazine, led him to take the plunge and compile a full-length book.

Stever blows on the coals of warm nostalgia in some pieces, reflecting on his days at Madison Elementary School, for example. "Ah—the mood, the remembrances, the smells, the quiet night sounds, and the goodness of life in West Winona," Stever writes of a walk past the school after many years.

Other pieces bring more shadowed details of Winona's past to light. Intrigue, romance, scandal, violence, and debauchery light up the pages. Stever intermingles his stories of being a taxi cab driver with a history of taxi cabs in Winona. Astonishing tales of late night rides, drunken patrons, and the brutal hijackings of the "taxi bandit" prick the imagination.

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