You gotta know I grew up in Minnesota…but you may not know it was in a small, northeastern town called Ely. I got to spend a couple of random days there over the weekend with my family " a whole lotta memories came flooding back. First of all, it’s awesome that I grew up in an itty bitty town. I knew everybody, everybody knew me. Unfortunately, this means everyone knew my business " I knew theirs…still do, as a matter of fact. My mom stays up to date on EVERYTHING.
First, a short description of Ely, MN. It’s an old mining town of about 4,000 people. The mine’s are closed now, so all that’s really left is tourism. It’s one of the gateways into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. There are three stoplights on the main street, and the town is about 2 miles long. One of the main streets has the local hardware store " Pamida…and it’s two blocks long. The main-main street has the touristy knick-knack " outfitter shops…and it’s about 6 blocks long. There are a few restaurants, at least 8 bars, just as many churches, and two little grocery stores. It’s a cute, simple little town. Hard to believe I grew up there…
Anyway, thoughts I had as I strolled through town with my mama:
-one of my favorite things is that you can run to the store " back within 5 minutes. you just can’t get to Target " home within 5 minutes. No matter what.
-everywhere you go, there is someone to say hi to. if they don’t know me, they know my parents…or at least my last name. I had three siblings, so there’s a good chance of connection.
-when you go to the store, you leave the keys in the car and windows " doors open. I often lock my keys in the car ‘cause I try to be local, yet can’t break the habit of locking my car. (this is a huge help in the winter, when it’s so freakin’ cold)
-a girl I graduated from HS with cut my hair at my old hair place. The hair cut " style is $15. I really don’t think it looks much different than the $60/haircut I get in Palo Alto.
Some things have changed:
-there are a bunch of new shops opening to try to diversify the town –a cheese shop that sells CA products, a surf shop opened by a guy from Florida, a t-shirt shop opened by a Greek guy, a Chinese restaurant, an actual coffee shop called the “Front Porch” (mom bought me a t-shirt)
-Pengal’s doesn’t sell Ely Timberwolves stuff, anymore
-I definitely don’t recognize very many people anymore. Some doubletakes, but rare. I also look pretty different " people never recognize me.
-Dairy Queen tore down another house to expand its parking lot
The new Charlize Theron movie coming out called “North Country” was filmed an hour from my home town. It’s even about mining. Ya’ll should go see it Oct 7!