Monday, June 26, 2017

What the what, over?

"In this vast and troubled world,
We sometimes lose our way..."

I got Rhythm
The Happenings

My grandparents on my mother's side, lived their entire lives in Minneapolis. Mr grandpa worked right in town. They lived a good portion of their lives in South Minneapolis. My mother grew up in South Minneapolis and went to South High. My grandparents didn't to South High - they both (as was common for that generation) only had an 8th grade education. In their "golden years" they lived within spitting distance of Powderhorn Park. I have great memories as a young boy, spending some time with grandma and grandpa and going to the park, and then walking down to Bloomington Avenue and sitting at a soda counter in a store.

I grew up on the border of Minneapolis. When I got into Jr. High, my mother worked downtown at Dayton's (part time). During the summertime, I would often walk to the bus stop, and hop on the old "5C". It would travel through a respectable North Minneapolis and then into downtown. How was it back then? Although not perfect, it was pretty close to living in a Norman Rockwell painting.

So what in the world has happened to the once safe, sane and fun downtown Minneapolis? For starters, the 60's. The anti-war movement, the protests, and in July of 1967, the Plymouth Avenue race riot. All of a sudden, Minneapolis started to change. Not the homogeneous city of the 1950's - it was starting to fracture. The "prairie populist" leftist politics started to take over. Gentrification started, poverty became entrenched, and all of a sudden, kids having kids was no longer uncommon nor shameful.

I often wonder what my grandparents would think if they were alive today. Would they look at the changes in Minneapolis as an evolution or a devolution? Would they feel happy and safe living by Powderhorn Park, or not? Would they even what to live in or visit Minneapolis?

When I was discharged from the Navy in January 1973, I was anxious to get home. Stationed up in the wilds of Maine for my last duty station, I thought a healthy dose of enjoying the nightlife in downtown Minneapolis would be the right ticket. It took me about a week, and I could not believe how Minneapolis had changed. My dreams of spending a lot of time downtown, soon went right out the window. 

Some like what Minneapolis has changed into. And that is fine - to each their own. I do not - not a bit. When I think of what Minneapolis has become, I think of lyrics from the song I got Rhythm by The Happenings:

In this vast and troubled world,
We sometimes lose our way...

Yes Minneapolis, I think you have lost your way. Not just a little bit, but a lot. Good luck in the future going forward - you will need it. That is my opinion, and I am sticking with it.


  1. Segregation and the concentration of poverty are no longer confined to the central cities. These problems have spilled over into the region’s older suburbs, particularly the first-ring suburbs in close proximity to segregated central city neighborhoods. Many of these cities are in the process of rapid, destabilizing racial and economic transition, as flight from growing segregation pushes middle-class residents into the urban fringe. These changes frequently start in a city’s schools, where open enrollment, alternative schooling options, and other instruments of white flight can help “flip” an integrated district into severe segregation in a matter of years. For instance, in the fifteen years following 1997, the Brooklyn Center school district transitioned from 41 percent nonwhite to 84 percent nonwhite, and 38 percent low-income to 82 percent low income. School transition often precipitates residential segregation. In the decade following the 2000 census, Brooklyn Center has become rapidly more segregated, with the number of white residents declining dramatically, from over two-thirds of the population to less than one-half.
    Plymouth is next!
    Have a great day! Dave Gjerdingen

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