Monday, June 1, 2015

Former St John student writing novel about Seward

Below is an e-mail and attached photograph that I have received:


Hello There,

I  accidentally came upon your Blog about Seward Nebraska. It was along time ago and we were there for a short time as the Atlas F Missiles were being built in the state. We stayed in a motel for what seemed like forever until housing could be located. We found our way to a house that had been moved on to the land at 1542 N Columbia.

In 2011, I was in Omaha to run the half marathon and took a drive over to Seward and was immediately brought back to that time in 1962-63 when we lived in Seward and I attended Saint John's school. 

2011 had been a difficult year as I had just lost my job during the financial crises of the time. I was lost and quite sure that my world was coming to an end. So much so that although we had paid the entrance fee and had our reservations before I discovered that my company was closing my office down, I was not able to train. So depressed that I could not lace up my shoes to train. I preferred sitting, staring at the wall to running along the coast of California. I ended up walking half of the 13 miles in Omaha.

As I returned to Seward and recalled the fun my brother and had living there, my mind was suddenly alive with thoughts. I think my husband was convinced that I was going nuts. I began telling him stories about our time there. We had went from a urban location to what at that time was the middle of a corn field. Our mother hated it, but my brother and I thought it was heaven on earth as we were free to explore our surroundings.

Seeing Seward again inspired me to return to school to study creative writing which I did and now and for the past three years have been writing a fictional novel based on our time in Seward. Please note "fictional." My life did not end, it has thrived and the loss of my job turned out to be a blessing.

I have since been back to Seward in June of 2014 with one of our daughters and stayed at the Liberty House, attended one of the concerts in the Clam and walked the trails that were once train tracks behind our house. This was when we were finally able to figure out which house was the one that we had lived in and the owners were kind enough to allow me a peek inside. I returned again in October of 2015 to meet Ted Koosler at Chapters books and walk the neighborhoods.

Seward is such a wonderful place to raise a family. I am jealous of those who are able to spend a life time there. I will attach a photo of me bundled up in front of our house. It is very poor quality but it is what I have.

Thanks for the blog and what you do for the community, 

Patricia [née Riney] Tennesen

[Mike writing now]

Thanks for your interesting letter about your unusual relationship to Seward.

Your letter reminded me of a strange memory of my own about missiles in Seward. I was a boy -- this might have been in about 1962 - 1963 -- watching a basketball game with some of my friends in the campus's basketball court. A couple of young men (maybe in their twenties) came in and sat in the bleachers near where I was sitting. 

We struck up a conversation, and they told me that they were driving a truck that was transporting a missile (or some missiles) to Alaska. They decided to take a break from their drive, and so they stopped in Seward, heard about the basketball game, and decided to stop by and watch.

My friends and I did not believe this strange story, but the young men insisted casually that it all was the truth. 

"Why would we lie about it?" they asked. 

"Aren't you supposed to keep that kind of thing top-secret?" we asked. 

"Who are you going to tell?" they asked back.

I remember that we continued to talk until the game. I don't remember any more of the conversation. They watched the game until the end, and the Bulldogs won. Then they left. 

I never have forgotten that incident.I wonder if it has something to do with "Atlas F missiles being built in the state".

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