Like I said

LenaMina is a tribute to Minnesota, particularly Stearns County, and especially the droll, hardworking people I grew up with and was surrounded by, notably my grandmothers.

I left Minnesota when I was 22 to live in Aotearoa, New Zealand. A journey over the seas not unlike the one my German forebears made from their farms and laboring jobs to the United States, landing in New York before venturing to the Minnesota prairie.

When I was young my sister and I would fantasize about maybe having royal blood. Or French blood. A tincture of something other than German blood. But nein. Going back centuries, our people were poor but aspirational German Catholics. This explains so much about us, and about the Stearns County of my childhood.

A Brazilian spouse snuck into the family tree once. I wonder what his life was like. And whether he liked pig’s feet, blood sausage, head cheese, or pickled turkey gizzards (it’s a nein from me).

Though I left Stearns County when I was young, it never left me. On visits back, and on reflection, the language and ways re-emerge, and I am simply Minnesotan. Wobegonian. One of you. One of LenaMina’s.

Mina and Lena, 1970s. It’s the only photo I have of my grandmothers together. They look happy, don’t you think?