Posted: July 26th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Lake Bemidji | 3 Comments »
Photography by Julie Saari
Diamond Point Park
on Lake Bemidji
How long can a meeting get rained out, canceled due to sickness, or postponed in general? Apparently for months. That is what happened with Elizabeth and me. When we finally met that warm July morning in Diamond Point city park it was like meeting a friend whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. Wandering around the park we were never at a loss for a conversation topic. A little bit ‘crazy’, definitely spontaneous, and filled with humor, Elizabeth and I hit it off from the start.
I am sure you too would like to meet Elizabeth J.
I was born September 28th 1981 here in Bemidji. Shortly after my birth I was airlifted to the University in Minneapolis because my lungs were too premature to provide for me. At 100 dollars an hour 24 hours a day, 7 days a week my mother used to tell people I was her “Million Dollar baby”
My parents were divorced when I was five years old and my three half brothers and I remained living with my father in Puposky and spending every weekend with Mother who lived just south of Bemidji.
The majority of my summers were spent in Michigan, which is where both of my parents were from and all of my secondary family lives. I still consider northern Michigan my “Home away from Home,” My father moved back after I graduated and we go back at least twice a year now.
I attended Deer Lake Elementary school, which is no longer open but still holds a spot in my heart; I than attended Bemidji middle and high school. When I graduated Bemidji HS, I was asked to give a graduation speech at my old elementary school which happen to be the last year they were to remain open. When I entered the school my senior year in high-school, the nostalgia was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The smell was the same, the emotional feelings of the school came flooding back. Even the books smelled the same. This was a school where the teachers cared, they wanted to teach and they made you feel special. To this day I remain in contact with several of the teachers from my elementary school. Three of them came to my wedding and my baby shower.
All through my junior and senior high I tried to find a way to fit in. I never belonged to a “click” and I feel that being raised by my father and three brothers made it more difficult for me to find “myself” comfortable in one particular area. I was into sports, however wasn’t coordinated enough to compete. I always felt out of place. I was often teased but learned to deal with my insecurities with humor. So I was often seen as the class clown and got into trouble because than my classmates would accept me more.
It was in my junior year in High school that I met my husband. We started dating in 1998 and have been together ever since. After my HS graduation, we moved to Arizona and lived in Phoenix for 5 years. He went to Devry school of technology and I worked for a pet store. Then I went to school for general psychology and continued to work at the pet store. I left the pet store to work in a early childcare facility. We were married back here in Bemidji in the year and the day after we were married we both agreed we wanted to move back. We moved back in June and have not regretted our choice.
We live about 10 miles north of town on 3 acres of woods. My husband has a good job working for Paul Bunyan Telephone, and I work for a state psychiatric hospital. I have worked there since they have opened 3 years ago and hope to remain there once I take my MN state board exam. In January of 2008 we were blessed with the best news of our life. We were expecting our first child. I had just graduated from LPN school and we had agreed to wait until I finish school to even START to try to have a baby. Well, SURPRISE! My son was born September 15th 2008 1 week late. He was 9 lbs 12 oz and 21 ½ inches long. He remains to be the light of our life and surprises us every day. He is very smart and gives me inspiration to do better.
I have recently graduated college a second time with my associate degree in registered nursing, and am working towards taking my MN state board exam at the end of June 2010.
I love so many things about Bemidji. I love going for walks at the water front. I love taking my son to Diamond Point Park, this is where he had his first birthday party. I love being able to go to Buena Vista Ski resort in the winter to go snowboarding or skiing. My husband and I both share a love of Dave’s Pizza and have spent many nights there. We have gone there to celebrate us buying our house. We have spent anniversaries there and birthdays. It was even the first food I ate after having my child.
So to make a long story even longer, I am a young Nurse who loves Bemidji for its memories that it gives me. I am outgoing, understanding and someone who would drive out of my way to give you a lift if you called and needed one. I am someone who probably is not remembered for her popularity than, but I promise you that I will be remembered for my generosity now.
written by Elizabeth Jansen
pics by Julie Saari
Posted: July 12th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Mississippi River, Southwest of Bemidji | Tags: adventure, Bemidji, canoeing, coffee pot landing, family man, geocaching, Minnesota, Mississippi River, teacher, This is my town | 12 Comments »
photography by Julie Saari
Coffee Pot Landing
How can a person explain Allan? First you start by calling him Fargnot. Second you accept that Uncle Bill Fargnot is indeed his uncle (although he truly is a fictional character, I think. Having heard enough about his Uncle Bill Fargnot I have started to think of this character as a real man.) You learn what a fabulous story teller Fargnot is. You quickly learn that he cares for his wife and family immensely. Finally, you know he is always open for an adventure. He is a teacher of Mathematics (and wisdom) at Cass Lake High School, though I first met Fargnot through geocaching.
A note about the photo shoot- Standing knee deep in the Mississippi River at Coffeepot Landing I tried to keep my balance as the current swept by me moving rocks that knocked against my feet. The sky opened up and the rain poured down. Allan’s smile got bigger as he stated the weather could not be any better for pictures of him, pouring rain was perfect. If you look carefully you will see the rain drops on the river and even some in the air.
It is my true honor to introduce you to Allan H
This part of my story begins in Flint Michigan where at the age of fifteen I worked for my father selling Christmas trees in the front yard of our home on Miller Road, our location was good and business was steady. On Christmas Eve we sold the last tree we would ever sell from our lot as my father announced we were moving to Minnesota to chase after another one of his dreams, we did this every couple of years. He thought we were trading the retail end of the pine tree business for a chance at early retirement. He had purchased a piece of land where we could build a plantation a couple of miles north of a town called Bemidji. I was destined to become a tree farmer.
I made myself believe that it was fate that brought me to Bemidji and it was my lot in life to chase after distant shores. The land we had purchased was a cedar swamp and cedar Christmas trees never really caught on. We were good dream hatchers, but weren’t very good dream catchers. After a while you get used to disappointment, I learned to live with the angry insects and unbearable cold by numbing myself with a good dose of depression. All of that has changed now that I realize the role defining moments have had in directing my life. These days the prayer in my heart is that my children will find a place like Bemidji to raise their dreams.
Everyone starts life with a defining moment which comes from God. He gives us a place from which to start our journey and a time to travel. To some, place is more important as it determines the direction that gives form to our lives. To others, time is the stronger gift that gives us those precious moments to fulfill our destiny. These gifts are given to outfit us for the adventures that lie ahead and are meant to help us find our way back to Him. It is a sacrifice on His part to be parted from those whom He loves, so he has given us a time to return and a place to remember lest we forget. In His infinite wisdom, He realized I would need a little extra help along the way. Four defining moments in the form of pine trees, faith, education and rivers were placed upon my path to help me find my way home.
In the Northwood’s there is a saying “It’s all about the trees” and in my case that was the truth. It was the trees that brought my family to a land where I would meet my eternal companion. Soon after we arrived in Bemidji, I was standing at the bus stop right after the first snowfall when off in the distance I could see the neighbor girl walking along the edge of our swamp headed in my direction. Her beauty took my breath away. It was sometime later that I regained my senses and all I remember is looking out the window of the bus watching flowers sprout out of her snowy footprints. After many years of getting to know one another, I chose her for my wife and she chose me for her husband. I gave her my undying devotion and in return she gave me a family with five children which we will forever cherish.
Time was good to us, but over the years I could feel the gift of place pulling us apart. During the first years of our marriage I often thought about moving back home to Michigan, I had my father’s disease. One day I came home, sold it and packed up the U-haul. We were headed for the Promised Land where I could be king. One of my wife’s favorite sayings is “my husband is the head of the family, but I am the neck which makes the head turn”. So she quickly turned my head back towards her land and a westbound U-haul was soon parked in our Michigan driveway. At first it would seem that we had made no gains, but during our short stay in Michigan we had another defining moment as we found our faith and became Mormons, it was after all the Promised Land.
I have often thought that a happy wife was in my best interests and being in Bemidji certainly accomplished that. We built a log cabin and started our family. Back to basics was the theme of those years. We raised goats, had a midwife deliver the children, took baths in the lake, and lived the poor man’s dream. At times it was wonderful, at times it was a nightmare, but another defining moment soon put another U-haul in our Bemidji driveway. This time we were headed for Brigham Young University in Utah and an education were I was destined to become a mathematics teacher.
Five years, a few more kids, and the realization that we were both strangers in the desert helped us understand how important place was to us. We tried her place, then my place, and then another place and finally it all came together….Our hearts had become one and we realized we could be happy in any place as long as we were together and it was our place. In the end it wasn’t the trees, the seasons, or employment that helped us choose Bemidji in which to build our life. Simply put it was the river that was the deciding factor in our decision to call this place home. I remember talking to my Uncle Bill Fargnot (a world renowned geocacher) and will never forget the “Bill talk” he gave us. He said “Some people live east of the Mississippi and some live west of the Mississippi, but very few have an opportunity to live north of this mighty river”. For some unknown reason this connected with our spirits. When we feel disconnected, we load up the canoe and head for Itasca to make the sixty mile pilgrimage to our home for the past twenty-five years, Bemidji.
written by Allan Habedank
pics by Julie Saari
Geocaching site can be found HERE