Late Summer 2018

There’s just too much catching up to do since my last post. I am certain I could go on and on for days! The most significant life changing event for me was the death of my wife, Mary Elizabeth Baxter Chudek three months ago. The effects of 20 years of Type 2 diabetes culminated into meeting her 11 year-old granddaughter, Kaylee, for the very first time and then Mary’s passing away a few days later. To me, this is a huge tragedy on many levels and has left other family relationships that will now never be resolved. A pity beyond words.

Mary’s end-of-life wishes were mostly carried out, with her desire to be cremated and ashes scattered into the ocean. Her sister Fran will be honoring that wish while some of her will remain here with me in Minnesota for the time being. A beautiful urn was chosen which depicts her artistic capabilities throughout her life and our 20+ year relationship & marriage. She is no longer in physical pain and the mental depression from the lack of physical ability to pursue her passions of cooking, gardening, travel, and other outdoor activities is gone. A celebration of her life achievements was held a few weeks after her death and many local and distant friends attended.

Now, in early September 2018, I am beginning to feel the true impact of not having my life partner here by my side. All of the out-of-ordinary activities have been a helpful diversion as I try to settle into a new routine. Personally, I have no immediate plans for significant changes, but the realization that what happens next is now my sole responsibility, not a joint decision anymore. That feels odd, and my mind races with an almost endless string of different scenarios that might be played out!

My biggest decision to date was to purchase a new dishwasher to replace the original unit that had stopped working several years ago. The humorous part of this is that I have become so accustom to washing dishes by hand that after one month I still have not run a load of dishes through it! But I was amazed how quiet it ran when it was put through a cycle to test that everything was working properly. The old one sounded like a car wash in the kitchen.

I continue to work / volunteer at the Chisago County Historical Society. In 2017 CCHS purchased a new storefront building in downtown Lindstrom. This was the former Gordy’s Gifts and the computer shop next door. All the other properties that were accumulated by CCHS over previous years have been sold and put into the hands of people and organizations that have the resources to ensure their longevity of existence. In particular, the Gustaf Anderson house is now a new Eatery that offers light food and ice cream. The new owners have kept their promise to restore the building and property, keeping its historic flavor while serving the community in a new capacity. Our previous office on north Olinda Trail was recently sold and will become a private residence once again. This was a late 1800’s Queen Anne style house that had previously occupied a lot between the Northwoods Roasterie and the Frontier telephone building and was later moved to its current location.

Over the winter of 2017/18 CCHS remodeled the original Gordy’s gift shop into an old-time general store and a museum that holds artifacts and history of the Chisago County area. The grand opening was celebrated on April 21, 2018 and was very well attended. There is a video posted on the CCHS website that will give you a tour.

More to come. . .

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