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The Mississippi Corpse - CyberCorpse 12

From: Karin Lind-McAuley <karinl@eloan.com>

Will you be doing any spots in the film about the Mississippi headwaters in beautiful Itasca State Park, Minnesota (not finding dates of the production I hope that it is still in the making)? The river flows from Lake Itasca over a rock spillway into a small pool starting it's journey to New Orleans. Every year thousands of people walk across at that site...I have a pin attached to my cubicle wall that says "I walked across the Mississippi Headwaters Itasca State Park" Pretty cool!

My daughter, Katy (13 at the time), and I ("around" 45 at the time) went to visit my sister and family in August 2001 from CA to MN. My sister and family live about 100 miles east of the Mississippi headwaters in Bovey. We visited my aunt Mary (now deceased) who lived in Nevis only 30 miles southeast from this place. We went there after our visit which was the last time I saw my aunt. My sister, her two boys, my daughter and I spent several hours until sunset at the headwaters as we arrived in late afternoon. I was sure that my 11- and 8 year-old nephews and daughter thought they could walk all the way to New Orleans from there! It's wading depth for a "long way" although I don't know when it starts to deepen.

I went to college in Bemidji (70's) which is one of the towns that the Mississippi travels through which is also about 30 miles west from the headwaters and park. The river comes into Lake Bemidji and out. Lake Bemidji, named after Chief Bemidji, a Chippewa Native American, is a "kettle lake" which was formed by a chunk of glacial ice that was buried in the ground after the glacier receded. Cold and beautiful.

My parents lived on the Mississippi River for several years after my dad retired (80's). This was in Grand Rapids, MN, approximately 100 miles east of the headwaters. They used water from the river to water their garden. They would canoe on the river at times. In the summer the river flowed light blue. In the winter it flowed a dark, deep navy blue with white ice, sometimes in floes and sometime stationary attached to the shore. The water looked ominous in the places where the river flowed and didn't freeze over.

I was raised for a few years in a small town north of Grand Rapids (Marcell) in the late 50's. We had relatives in GR which brought us there often as did grocery shopping. I always thought it was a place where large rabbits lived (Grand Rabbits). The river is dammed at Highway 169 about 2 blocks south of Highway US2. There the power of the river is used by the formerly named Blandin Paper Company.

My maternal grandparents lived in a town (LaPorte) about 25 miles from Lake Itasca and the Mississippi headwaters. I have a picture (somewhere in a box in the garage) of my Grandma Swindells crossing the river at the headwaters. Grandma was crippled with arthritis and used two crutches and two adult assistants to get herself across the Mississippi at that time. She was always such a great sport! My grandparents lived in Laporte and raised their family of 5 girls since they married in 1917. They also are deceased (as they'd both be well over 100 - although my grandfather did live to be 100 and died in 1993!).

Now this is making me very homesick and I've lived in California for 20 years. When Minnesota and the Mississippi are in your blood, you can't shake it. At times I even have a hard time listening to Garrison Kiellor and "A Prairie Home Companion" because everything they talk about is less than 1/4 inch from the truth!! Minnesota melancholy is what I call it.

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