By Mike Austreng, Editor
With the planning of a move to warmer climates – and all the work that went into getting our current home for sale – up to the actual accepting of an offer from buyers – we’ve had lots of time to reflect on our time in Cold Spring.
We moved here in the mid 1960s. Our family home was one of the very first on the far west side of town on 14th Avenue – before Viking Court existed. The home had four bedrooms and sat on a fairly large lot – large enough to have a good sized garden in the backyard. It wasn’t in city limits yet, so it had its own well (a well that was planned to be shared with other homes as the development grew) and its own septic system.
There was no such thing as “cable” TV, so many experiments were performed to find the right antenna combination.
We were about eight years old at the time. We moved from St. Cloud and will never forget our first summer here. Our yard wasn’t finished yet and we spent a lot of time playing outside, only to learn the hard way that we were seriously allergic to poison ivy. At the time our first encounter seemed to cover our entire body – legs and arms the worst and it seemed to take forever to heal.
If we remember right we started fourth grade in Cold Spring. ROCORI wasn’t even a serious thought yet, so we started our schooling in St. Boniface grade school.
We came to town not knowing anybody. It didn’t take too long before we met some of the Theis brothers (and sisters) who lived at the bottom of the hill from us. There was a vacant lot between their house and the next one, so we spent lots of time playing baseball there. The Theis family had almost enough boys to form a couple teams, but needed a few more to balance the teams, so we became a part of those baseball games. When we weren’t playing baseball, we were watching the Springers at the local ballpark. During the summer we were rarely in the house, we always found something to do outdoors – and nothing we did required batteries, or had screen time. It was peddling a bicycle even as far as Big Fish Lake to swim at the “public” beach.
It’s been nearly 50 years since then and it’s amazing how much this little town has changed.
Our first school days here were spent learning from Catholic nuns. The talk is true, they used rulers across knuckles to remind kids to behave. We had to walk in rows of two to and from the classroom. We attended St. Boniface Catholic School from the fourth grade until the seventh grade when ROCORI High School was our next venture in learning.
We spent many days and nights in the woods behind our home. Sometimes pitching a tent and spending the night camping.
Our family purchased the Cold Spring Record around 1968 – that’s when we first started working at this newspaper. Our career path was set. We spent time in high school learning as much as we could that would help our career at the newspaper. We attended vocational school to learn printing after we graduated high school.
The first home we built was just west of our family home on what was being developed as Viking Court. The early years of Viking Court the road our driveway was attached to was gravel. The water tower (tank, really) was up the hill in the woods.
About 15 years ago we built our current home not a stones throw away from the area we pitched our tent in our younger days, the home is right next to that water tank – the quietest neighbor you could ask for.
To say leaving here will be difficult is an understatement. We’ve spent time living here since the mid 1960s. We grew up here. Our own family grew up here. We watched our boys grow from youngsters to fine young men right here in Cold Spring. Even their kids have grown to be fine young men. Our oldest is now 40 and is our boss at work – where does the time go?
We’ve been humbled by the people who have told us we will be missed once we leave. During our garage sale, more than a few mentioned they were sorry to hear we were leaving.
While we’ll be over 1,500 miles away, our plan is to continue this column as best we can and for as long as we are allowed.
Between now and when the truck is loaded for our departure we will revisit some of the changes we’ve seen to the ROCORI area. ROckville, COld Spring and RIchmond have always been important to us, and always will be.