6 episódios

This podcast presents non-fiction stories, written and performed by Robert Hale and occasionally others. Many tales are historic in nature, highlighting events that have escaped the attention of mainstream media and conventional historians. Take a listen and be introduced to some wonderful characters. These stories are also available online at http://www.MinnesotaStoryBook.com.

Minnesota Story Book Robert Hale

    • Livros

This podcast presents non-fiction stories, written and performed by Robert Hale and occasionally others. Many tales are historic in nature, highlighting events that have escaped the attention of mainstream media and conventional historians. Take a listen and be introduced to some wonderful characters. These stories are also available online at http://www.MinnesotaStoryBook.com.

    EthnoMusicology

    EthnoMusicology

    Ethnomusicology







    When I began Ethnomusicology classes at the University of Minnesota, I realized that I was a living specimen of our studies. Playing with Turkish, Mariachi, Polish and Salsa bands, to name a few, became for me, a bridge to other worlds and cultures, just what we were studying.







    The first group I played in was a garage/basement band, born on Atwater Avenue just east of Rice St. We instantly become a neighborhood favorite, performing regularly at Rice and Lawson Rec Center as well as numerous weddings and parties along the North End. We were 16, energetic and above all, affordable.







    Albert, our drummer and lead singer, sounded just like James Brown with a Tex-Mex kick. I played a red Farfisa organ which had a cheezy sharp sound popular in bands of the sixties ( hear Woolly Bully ) and Rob, the guitarist brought up the harmony section with his favorite Rolling Stones chops.







    My favorite gig the band played was a Romanian-Slovenian wedding. Someone heard us at the Rec center and arranged to hire us. The ceremony took place at Saint Mary’s Romanian Orthodox church behind what is now the Xcel Energy Credit Union at Rice and Atwater, and flowed across Rice into an old storefront that had been cleared out and converted into a party hall.







    No one in the wedding spoke much english and I knew less Romanian, or Slovenian. As we setup our equipment, a man, dressed in a black suit, who seemed to have some idea of what was going on, approached us. He wore a greyish moustache with a short brimmed Fedora, that floated atop his grey wispy hair. After directing our setup, he pointed to a large cooler of beer on stage left, grinned and made a drinking motion with his hands. We got the idea.







    As the bride and groom took the floor we waded into a raucous version of Johnny B Goode. We enjoyed it, but reading the faces in the crowd, I could tell the audience wasn’t quite digging the beat. The guy in the Fedora approached us and waved his index finger saying no, no, no. He proceeded to hum a melody, clapping to keep the rhythm, I assumed to be Romanian. We took a few notes at a time and when we had a close approximation he clapped and nodded yes. We played that song for about twenty minutes as the wooden floors buckled and creaked beneath the dancers’ feet. That tune did the trick and it wasn’t long before we wore out the old timers, who were quickly replaced by younger sets of legs.The whole place was swinging to the beat. We played a little rock n roll interspersed with the Romanian melody every few tunes. When the beer was gone, and Albert’s bass drum leg withered, the event was declared complete.







    The man in the suit presented us with four five dollar bills, smiled and nodded thank you. Everyone went home happy.







    Since then I have performed in many parts of the world and the things I learned that night have stayed dear to me. I discovered that music is a universal messenger, and, if you are going to be a career musician you’d better know some good percussionists, cultivate a good memory, and be able to fake your way through a gig. That melody still pops into my head once in a while.

    • 5 min
    A Tornado Named Har Mar

    A Tornado Named Har Mar

    People love to talk about the weather. If you are talking to someone with which you have nothing in common, there is always the weather. People are especially fascinated by special events, such as storms.







    Our Minnesota Story Book would be wanting without a storm story.The one we hear today features a tornado that was named after a mall that it almost destroyed; it was also a very up close and personal experience for me and my family.







    Severe weather is often referred to as having a recipe. In order to cook up a tornado, we have to begin with the finest ingredients.

    Take a warm, juicy afternoon, so sticky in made you feel as if you were wearing a sopping wet wool sweater. Mix in a mass of cool dry Canadian air along witht a hot, moist flow from the Gulf of Mexico and you have a the makings of a good storm.







    We pick up the story mid afternoon, June 14, 1981.







    3:00 PM, during a Sunday house cleaning event, an authoritative voice in the radio advised that conditions were ripe for an outbreak of severe weather and possibly, tornadoes. I shrugged. Nothing out of the ordinary for a hot humid June day. I continued doing the dishes which because of the party last evening overflowed the sink.







    3:45 PM, sirens streaked across the sky like banshees and the radio waves blossomed into a controlled panic. A tornado was on the ground in Edina and was traversing Lake Harriet. Whoa ! Time to turn on the TV meteorologists.

    ¨Seek shelter immediately!” the box warned. Yes indeed a funnel was rapidly moving from the SouthWest to the NorthEast across the urban landscape. I recalled my fatherś tale that the worst tornadoes come from the southwest. Further dispatches put the beast at Bloomington and Lake St. Two miles away! It appeared to be moving in my direction so I did what anybody would do; I dashed out to the back deck of my apartment building to look for it.







    My neighbors had heard the warning and joined me on the deck. “Tornadoes never strike the cities” we chuckled. The sirens continued blaring as we scanned the sky like Ahab looking for the white whale. From the top edge of my vision I detected movement. “What’s that ?” I said pointing to chunks of two by fours, sheets of plywood and roofing shingles swirling almost directly overhead. It couldn’t be a tornado, it was a clear of color, no dark ominous funnel cloud, no rumbling freight train sound.

    It looked harmless, lazily spinning, I could imagine riding along inside it as it drifted off toward the Mississippi River

    As it reached the banks of the river, I saw branches and leaves whipped about the treetops as the funnel dropped from the clouds again.







    [ the wind began to swithc the house to pitch ]







    4:00 PM I raced back to my TV to gather more details. The spinning column of air and debris, sailed over KSTP TV station, then St. Anthony Park where falling debris clobbered roof tops, then it cut a line across a dusty farm field headed for Har Mar Mall. Now uncloaked, it revealed itself as a dark funnel shaped twister.







    Rising in strength as it hit the ground, the twister ripped the roof off an electronics store and the the front part of the Target on Snelling and County Road B. My grandmother, living in the Golden Age Nursing Home a short block away, had no time to take cover, but except for some trees stripped bare of their leaves her building was unscathed.







    Central Park in Roseville was now the bull’s eye.

    [ withc riding broom music ]







    4:15 PM My mother was just pulling into her driveway on the sw corner of the park and saw the swirling dark cloud less than a block away and closing in. As she ducked into the house she saw birds being sucked ...

    • 9 min
    The Phantom Patriarch

    The Phantom Patriarch

    My grandfather disappeared shortly after my father was born. This is a story about that !

    • 8 min
    Workin’ on the Railroad

    Workin’ on the Railroad

    In 1970’s, I took a job with the Great Northern Railroad during a period of rabid, corporate consolidation. Decisions are made on the basis of the business case and the MBA’s who were hired to run the business with brutal efficiency made no one but the shareholders happy.

    • 5 min
    The River Serpent

    The River Serpent

    One of many stories of my life on the Mississippi

    • 5 min
    Franky Rides the Clipper

    Franky Rides the Clipper

    In 1928 Saint Paul, Minnesota, my great uncle Frank Rothbauer ran afoul of the "Drys", the Federal enforcers of the Volstead Act prohibiting the sale of alcohol. His death, at their hands, made the front page of the St. Paul Daily News for several days running before disappearing into the classifieds.

    • 5 min

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