3617– Thursday, June 6, 2019 – Living in Paradise?


Imagine living in a town with no stop light.  A town where we leave our back and front doors open most of the time.  A town that saw its last murder case over twenty years ago.  A town where people wave to you and stop on the street to talk to you.  A town where you still see kids on bicycles and people carrying their groceries home.  A town where a meat market, library, grocery store, bank, insurance company, hair salon, church, gas station, hardware store and bakery are all within five minutes walking distance of your home.  The local business windows are festooned each week with notices for things to do and events to participate in.  Never a boring moment up here.  This is my town.  I live in Frederic, USA, Wisconsin.


I spent the first ten years of my life in an apartment on Autumn Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Somewhere between Fulton and Atlantic Avenues.  I grew up reading the Hardy Boys stories, watching Spin and Marty and hating them for having a much better chance of landing Annette Funicello than I had.  I dreamed of living in a small town near a river and participating in some of the same adventures that Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Flynn had.

My parents eventually moved to a medium size town in Rhode Island of about 30,000 people at the time.  While no Bayport, (the town where the Hardy Boys lived), it was a considerable step up from Brooklyn.  For some still unknown reason, we moved from Woonsocket in only four years and my brief idyll with a “near” paradise ended.  It was back to a larger urban area.  I gave up pining for a small town and four years later left all thoughts of paradise behind when in 1964, I joined the United States Air Force.

20190604_090406Now fifty years later, I am living in the town that I dreamed of growing up in when I was young.  However, now I am a snowbird, since (Did I forget to tell you?) Frederic is no damn paradise in the winter.  This past winter, Frederic had more than 90 inches of snow, making it the snowiest winter in Frederic history.  Locals that often laugh at snowbirds for leaving the great North-Woods were complaining so loud that I could hear them in Arizona.  My spouse would be more than happy to leave Frederic for a full-time gig in Arizona.


You may ask how we ended up in Frederic?  It just so happens that Karen’s great grandparents were some of the founders of this town.  Her grandfather and father both grew up here and Karen was baptized at a local Lutheran church.  When we decided to sell our house in White Bear Lake, MN, upon Karen’s retirement, we also made the decision to find a small town to live in.  Karen having spent many summers and weekend in her youth visiting her grandparents suggested Frederic.  I had been up here several times with and without her and was always impressed by the atmosphere and small-town civility.  I was content to live here full-time, but we agreed to split our time between Arizona and Frederic.  Karen was not nearly so keen to enjoy the snow and cold as I was.

20190604_090423Since coming to this town, I have met some of the most wonderful people you could imagine.  Karen and I took a drama class given by Dr. Carolyn Wedin.  Carolyn and the other people in the class were all fun and inspiring to be around.  We remain good friends with several of them.

Sadly, Carolyn’s health has dictated that she gives up some of her teaching and spend a little more down time.  I looked forward each year for the past nine years coming back to Carolyn’s writing and drama classes.  Alas, this year Carolyn’s health took a turn for the worse and she is taking a hiatus from teaching for the summer.  If my writing is not quite up to the usual summer standards, you can blame Carolyn.  By the way, Carolyn, is definitely one of the people I know who deserves her own blog.  I will reserve my comments about Carolyn for this later blog.  Suffice it to say for now, she is one of the best teachers and nicest persons you will ever meet.


I could say more about small town life, but I think that is enough for now.  Many people growing up in such a town may have a more pessimistic attitude towards the life.  However, as age has taught me, there are positives and negatives to everything we do in life and everyone we meet.  This blog I want to share the positives about living in a small town like Frederic, Wisconsin.  The whole truth and nothing but the truth.  The pictures are some I have taken from a walk around the town.  A complete walk around will take less than thirty minutes. 😊

“All of us grow up in particular realities – a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we’re brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it.”Chaim Potok



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jacobp81
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 08:29:20

    Wow, all those places are within 5 minutes walking distance.



  2. johnpersico
    Jun 06, 2019 @ 12:33:01

    Yes Jacob. No more than five minutes walk to any of the places I named.



  3. jennygirl1278
    Jun 07, 2019 @ 21:04:48

    Magical place to say the least. I would want Frederic to remain Frederic. I remember when I was sitting in your living room and all of a sudden we heard a horsedrawn carriage carrying two teenagers and the driver teeming down the street. Life is good in Frederic!!!



    • johnpersico
      Jun 18, 2019 @ 10:33:54

      It is sort of magic. Funny, how we can find magic in everyday life if we only look. Great comment, thanks for posting.



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