Troutbirder II - Click pic below to view

Troutbirder II - Click pic below to view
Book reviews plus miscellaneous

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nostalgia

A little birding and lots of  nostalgia today. It was early fall and we had taken the ride down to the Mississippi to see if migrating waterfowl had begun to arrive yet.  It had also been some years since
 The Troutbirders had visited Frontenac State Park and also Villa Maria, Mrs. T’s childhood Catholic boarding  school.  That was the  place where the nuns had taught her to love God and despise liver and onions as well as splitpea soup (two of my favorites).  Come on along and take a look…..
We saw the usually ubiquitous honkers and more that a few ducks but the tundra swans had not arrived yet in their tens of thousands. Frontenac State Park lies on the bluffs, high above the Big River.  Every stop along roads and trails there   yields wonderful views.  Strangely we have never camped here before so we added it to our "bucket list."

 
Villa Maria lies on five hundred beautiful wooded acres in the river valley.  Closed for many years now as a school, it carries on it's service to the church as a retreat and conference center.  Alone, as a young girl, far from her mother, who worked nights in St. Paul,  her memories of the experience are bittersweet....
My own experience at Frontenac was at a summer Methodist Youth Camp right on the river. Think swimming, volleyball, campfires etc.  It was lots of fun and part of growing up. 










 
The chapel looked just as my memory recalled it but the dormitory and cafeteria site had seen far better days. The boat house and other buildings were gone. There was an air of sadness here but also the voices of teenagers running excitedly through my mind.  It was the mid fifties. I was fourteen and the whole world lay before me.....

22 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

the boarding school would not have been near as pleasant as camping. :)

NCmountainwoman said...

Nice bit of nostalgia. I can't help thinking of the young Mrs. T in the school.

Jo's World said...

I love hearing stories of days gone by! I also love reading your book reviews but I find I am excluded from Troutbirder2. If this is a mistake, I do hope you fix it.

Cheers,

Jo

Betsy Adams said...

I love nostalgia.... But--it can be sad. My old Methodist Church Camp in Jonesville, VA is now gone... I remember going to church camp for the first time --at age 8, and the big boys told me there were snakes in the outdoor potties... I was scared to go!!!!! ha ha... Ah--the memories!!!!

Fontenac looks like a gorgeous area. I'd love to be there to see those swans sometime. Wow!!!!!

I love both liver and onions and split pea soup!!!!! Are we related????? ha

Betsy

Far Side of Fifty said...

You can have that green soup..but I do like Liver and onions..it has been a long time since I had some:)
Poor Mrs. T so little in such a big place..but what a view..if it is like this part of Minnesota..the Catholic girls were pretty forwrd if they went out with Methodist ( Or Lutheran) boys..and viceaversa.
I enjoyed your visit to childhood haunts..14 where anything is possible:)

Ms. A said...

Beautiful, beautiful views, but regardless, it was still school for Ms. T and that alone is bound to take some of the fun out of it. Especially if she was missing mom and home.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Frontenac park was one of the first outings with my "boyfriend" on one of the first trips to his home town. It was impressive, especially since even the Mississippi was a big deal to me then. He grew up with it right in front of the picture window of the house. His extended family had a reunion at Villa Maria some years ago. It was a great place for that. Do they still have such events? It must be an expensive place to maintain.

betsy said...

Sometimes I think the Catholic world is crumbling. I worked at a big Catholic hospital in Nashville for almost 30 years. In the 80's the nuns ran it, and it was one of the best hospitals in the city. 600 beds then, half that now, and fading. No nuns left either-

Vicki said...

Love trips down Memory Lane. My husband went to Catholic schols in Cleveland.

Christys Cottage Wildlife Garden said...

Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane and for sharing the beautiful pictures.

Red said...

Good title ...nostalgia. Going back to look at things that you haven't seen for a long time is a very meaningful experience.

Michelle said...

Thinking of the young Mrs. T at the boarding school made me a bit sad. Cannot imagine what an experience it was for her.

Out on the prairie said...

An important event like this always stays with us.

DJan said...

I love split pea soup but am with Mrs. T about the liver and onions. A nice trip down Memory Lane with you, TB.

Should Fish More said...

Despite Thomas Wolfe ("You can't go home again...") you can go home, it'll just be a bit different. I went back to my hometown last year, 9K people when I left, 75K now.
Nostalgia seems to be one of those things where the memory is better than reality.
Having said that, my old elementary school is now a brew pub, and I had a beer in the room where surly nuns once whacked my knuckles with a ruler.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

A beautiful excursion with you and your wife. The Frontenac area is wonderful with its bluff lined shores. I imagine it gets pretty busy in the summer. -- barbara

Raelyn said...

TROUTBIRDER....
I love the cross!! ;)
--Raelyn

Janie said...

Visiting places of childhood memory is fascinating, but often bittersweet. Villa Maria looks so beautiful, but it must've been lonely for a young girl away from home.
Love the view of the river from the bluffs.

possum said...

Good to catch up and see where you've been... neat looking place but I would not want to have to be "locked up" in boarding school there. (shudder)
LOve your no hooting sign! They forgot to post my woods. Great Horned woke me up again this morning.

Jayne said...

But, how neat that you could even revisit a place that you went when you were but 14. :c)

Ginnie said...

What an interesting post. I knew nothing about the area and your pictures are great. Maybe your wife could tell us more about her school days there ... fascinating.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It is always bittersweet to revisit the important places of our youth. Our memories have them frozen in time while in reality life has moved on.