Growing Up in St. Paul
Fifteen Minutes with My Dad: Reginald Hopwood
Author: Victoria Hopwood
This is a daughter’s tribute to her father, a waiter on the Great Northern Railway’s Empire Builder that ran between Chicago and the two Pacific coast cities of Portland and Seattle via St. Paul. As a railroad man, Reginald Hopwood was never home for very long; thus his daughter didn’t know him as well as her mother. In answer to the question of what this daughter would do if she had 15 minutes with someone past or living, the author skillfully introduces readers to life in a middle-class African American family in the 1960s and ‘70s. During those years, the Hopwoods lived in five different residences, the first four of which were in the Rondo neighborhood. The fifth house was located, however, outside that redlined community, but the author’s confident and well-educated mother, Lorraine Hopwood, who was a nurse, bought that last house with the help of a supportive white lawyer. By the end of this essay, readers understand why this author would choose to spend 15 minutes with her Dad, if she were ever given the chance.
PDF of Hopwood article
Terror Visits Fort Snelling: The 1940 Murder of Mary Jane Massey
Author: Steve Lydon
On the afternoon of July 13, 1940, thirteen-year-old Mary Jane Massey disappeared from the grounds of Fort Snelling, a quiet U.S. Army base on the western outskirts of St. Paul. Mary Jane’s father was a sergeant stationed at the Fort and he and his wife and daughter lived there. Extensive searches for Mary Jane failed to find the missing teenager. The authorities came to believe she had run away from home until the desperate father persuaded the post commander to enlist the help of the St. Paul police. Eight days after her disappearance, two detectives located Mary Jane’s body. She had been murdered and her body had been stuffed in a barrel that was then hidden in a ravine on the Fort’s perimeter. By that time, however, forensic evidence at the crime scene was so deteriorated that the murder was never solved. By reconstructing the events of this case, the author explains how police today handle child abduction and murder cases and some of the forensic techniques that have been developed since 1940. Although use of these newer procedures might not have found Mary Jane before she died, they would have definitely improved the chances of solving this gruesome crime.
PDF of Lydon article