One of the Toughest, Smartest People I Ever Met

I met Lucille Keil when she was a spry 84-year-old museum guide. She was my docent at the Young Museum in Bellevue, Iowa, leading me around the house filled with souvenirs collected by Joe and Grace Young during their world travels. During that first tour, she scowled when we reached a glass cabinet near

By |2019-06-30T11:28:17-05:00June 30th, 2019|Characters|2 Comments

Best of the Upper Mississippi: Dining with a View, 2019 Edition

It’s been six years since I posted my first list of the best riverside dining along the Upper Mississippi River. It’s time for an update, especially since a few places on the first list have closed, and new places have opened. A reminder about how I select places: the restaurant must have a good

By |2020-01-22T17:58:58-05:00April 27th, 2019|About the Mississippi Valley|0 Comments

An Immigrant Orphan and His Overachieving Family

Gerhard Gesell emigrated to the US from Germany in 1863, an orphan eager to start a new life. He was the first generation in a family of high achievers in the United States. Patriarch Gerhard was a gifted photographer; son Arnold was a well-known child psychologist; and grandson Gerhard a respected federal judge. Their

By |2019-04-01T17:58:14-05:00March 30th, 2019|Characters|0 Comments