Monthly Budgeteer columnist S.E. Livingston is a wife, mother and teacher who writes for family and education newsletters in northern Minnesota and lives in Duluth.
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I’m embarrassed that I’ve lived in Duluth for 21 years and this year was our first Homegrown Music Festival. Because we’ve been raising small children and immersed in the daily detritus of the American life, the Homegrown event always seemed like an indulgence for hippies and artists. Now I know that’s just plain stupid and pretty shortsighted.
This March the Duluth Playhouse Children's Theater ran Disney's "The Lion King Jr." The 16 performances sold out before the show even opened. "That may have to do more with the reputation of 'The Lion King," humbly admitted Kate Horvath, the play's director, "than the fact that we are awesome."
I didn't realize when I signed up to be a "Rolling Reader" in kindergarten classes that I was signing up for celebrityhood, a personal fan club and large group hugs. Every week my 13-year-old daughter, Annie, and I get an esteem boost when we go to Piedmont Elementary School as Rolling Readers. We walk in with our bag of books and leave with full hearts and smiling faces.
Like mothers everywhere, when my children hurt themselves I would kiss their injuries. One of my sons became so affixed to this routine that he panicked if the kiss wasn't distributed immediately. He'd tear into a room, tears flowing, elbow up and out, pointing at an abrasion yelling "Hurt! Hurt!" I would dutifully kiss the injury. The boy would stop crying immediately and take a jagged breath. Judging by the response, that kiss actually did heal the injury.
As I write, President-elect Trump’s inauguration is in the future. As you read, it’s in the past. How’d it go? Uneventful? Portentous? Here’s your Latin lesson for the week: “Inauguration” comes from the Latin verb “inaugurare,” which literally means “to take omens, augury, hence to install in office after taking auguries.” Which leads a logophile (someone who loves words) to ask, what exactly is an augur? Should it be plural and will this involve cold fish?
Two nights after the presidential election, a somewhat tender crowd of about 100 people filled the library rotunda at the University of Minnesota Duluth to hear author Fred Amram read from his new memoir, "We're In America Now: A Survivor's Stories."
Last week there was a shooting in Lincoln Park. We live less than a mile from there, but this news didn't have me or my neighbors considering a house sale. The west side of Duluth can be an edgy place to live. We have an abundance of natural beauty and also an abundance of poverty and need. We have an absence of pretension and an absence of convention which produce creativity and unique craftsmanship.
As our little children become big ones and go out into the world, our parenting deficiencies become apparent. Hopefully we hit the highlights: how to find meaning in life, how to be a civil human being, how to work, how to be financially responsible. During the midnight hours my mind spins ceaselessly and fruitlessly on these points. Apparently there is one to add to the list that I never considered.
I chose the vacation this year. Contrary to everything my family knows about me, I chose a backpacking trip to Isle Royale. I've been hearing about Isle Royale since I was young. I watched Boy Scouts and boy campers training and preparing for their coming-of-age Isle Royale trip. As a young girl, it seemed to be the magical journey where boys became men and returned home with tales of beauty and strength.