Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Minnesota Story

For those who know me or those who have been following this blog, you probably have a sense of my love for the Minnesota Vikings.  I've had this love since I was a kid and my devotion has never waned. It's as strong as ever.  Note however, that I grew up in Southern California. Beverly Hills more specifically. Suffice it say, I took a lot of ribbing and teasing growing up, as the Vikings lost Super Bowl after Super Bowl.  Four to be exact. There is also the painful 1975 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. To this day I absolutely loathe the Cowboys, Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson. F them! I watched that game from an old fashioned barber's chair in the living room of my Aunt Barri and Uncle Bob's house.  Note about Aunt Barri....she has a brother named Jan. My uncle Jan. My mom's name, their oldest sister, is Merryll but is named after Robert Merrill, an old opera singer.

I digress. Back to Minnesota. As an adult, there's been a couple of near misses. 1998. 2010. Oh so close to getting back to the super bowl, but not quite. My favorite Vikings ever...Chuck Foreman, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, Alan Page and Ed Marinaro.  Alan Page is now a Minnesota Supreme Court Judge. I have a photo of me by the name plate on his office door in the state capitol. Ed Marinaro didn't have a stellar career but makes the list given he once dated Lisa Frazier. Who is Lisa Frazier? She was an older woman who I loved when I was about 20 or 21. I did everything I could to get her to fall in love with me, but to no avail. Interesting fact: Lisa Frazier's best friend was Debbie. My uncle's friend who also has myeloma.

Why the Vikings? I think I've nailed it down to 3 things. Number one: They played their very first game on September 17, 1961 ( Beating the Bears) and I was born shortly thereafter, on October 9, 1961. Cosmic link. Number two: October 9th is also Leif Erikson Day. A lesser holiday but a holiday nonetheless. And number three: my brother and dad were L.A. Rams fans and hated the Vikings and as a contrarian I adopted the Vikings.

Anyhow, what everyone doesn't know is that my love for the Vikings translated to a love of the State of Minnesota and all things Minnesota. Shocking really that I don't live there. Ask me my favorite state and I'll proudly state "Minnesota". Been there once in my life.

There's a guy who works for the city of Long Beach who I run into at meetings occasionally. He's a big Vikings fan as well. He's from Ohio.

But let's take a look at my Minnesota experiences.  In the 6th grade, I had a teacher, Miss Trafton. Her father was George Trafton, an original member of the NFL Hall of Fame. Until recently I always remembered Miss Trafton as being my 3rd grade teacher. But via facebook and connecting with a couple of kids I grew up with (and Miss Trafton), I learned she was my teacher in the 6th grade. Anyhow, my best friend at the time was David Elzer, and we convinced our parents that if we could raise the money, they'd let us take a trip to Minnesota without the parents provided we had an adult chaperon. We asked Miss Trafton to be our chaperon and she said yes. I had visions of jumping on a hotel bed in Minnesota with David and Miss Trafton. That trip never happened.

Around the age of 11 or 12, I painted a wall of Minnesota in my room. Maps, pictures, etc, etc.  My dad and stepmom once brought me dirt from Minnesota. I took it to show and tell at school. I'm not sure what happened to it.  But many years later, as an adult, I was friends with a guy who I met at the local YMCA, where I worked out. His name was Wick. I think it was short for Wickman, but I have no idea what his first name was. Wick was a movie buff and was always working on secret screenplays. His real job, though, was working as an accountant at the Hillside Cemetery in West Los Angeles. Hillside Cemetery is home to a whole lot of famous Jews. Wick once put together a map of all the famous folks buried at Hillside and took me on a tour. Michael Landon, Moe from the 3 Stooges, Jack Benny and Bugsy Siegal to name a view. My grandparents as well. Well, turns out Wick was originally from Minnesota and after going home for some holiday or  another, he brought me back two new bags of Minnesota Dirt. One from the banks of the Mississippi River and another from outside the Metrodome. Those bags I still have. Also, as a kid, I loved Hubert Humphrey. I so wanted him to beat Richard Nixon in 1968. I was 7 at the time and knew nothing about politics, but I knew that Humphrey was the senator from Minnesota. Favorite politician of all time. Still.

In college, I was a geography major. I met a girl name Cindy who was also a geography major. And from where? Minnesota. She had an identical twin who I never met. I asked Cindy out once or twice, but was always denied.

Around the same time, a friend set me up with her cousin who was visiting from Minnesota. we went out a couple of times, but I think tried too hard and it never worked out. I couldn't help trying too hard. Minnesota, I believed, was my destiny. I had dreams of having a house on one of the 10,000 lakes with one of those party pontoon boats in my back yard. I watched the tv show Coach religiously. He was the fictitious coach of the Minnesota State football team. He had the house on the lake that I wanted.

When I turned 40, I finally went to Minnesota. I went in December because I wanted to experience the cold. My brother met me there, but a couple of days after I got there. A few months before this trip, I had been planning to start law school. I went to the first day of law school orientation and decided it wasn't for me. Problem was I had quit my job and didn't really plan out the quitting law school after one day. I got in my car and started driving east. Ended up in Texas. A bit of a mental snap, you might say. Well, I made my way back to LA and got a job, which I have to this day. I was scheduled to start the new job when I returned from Minnesota. My first night in Minnesota it was snowing. New for me. But I wanted to be real a Minnesotan, so I didn't wear gloves. Who needs em? I stumbled from bar to bar that night in downtown Minneapolis. At the last stop of the night I ran into a group of lawyers who were having their annual christmas party, they were cool dudes and I vowed that night to try law school again, this time in Minnesota, and these guys would give me my first legal internship. I woke up the next day, hungover, and remembering not much except that I had no desire to do the law school thing. Another interesting tidbit: after that night in the snow, my hands have never been the same. They're now sensitive to cold. If I hold a cold drink for very long, my palms get red and itchy...like it's an allergic reaction. I think the gloveless night broke my hands ability to manage cold. Weird, right? When my brother arrived we drove by a bar & grill named Matt's. We took a picture of it. Why we didn't go in, I don't know. The place was actually featured a couple of years ago on the show Diners, Drive ins, and Dives.

Several years ago, I donated to the University of Minnesota. Just a $25 donation. But ever since then I've been on the university's mailing list. I get all kinds of alumni invitations and newsletters. I even took a survey to ensure the alumni had my proper information. I'm in the directory! Only recently did I notice the mail from the university is addressed to Matthew A Goldman. I'm Matthew P Goldman.  Oops, some poor guy named Matt Goldman, who is an alumni, is probably wondering why he never hears from the school.

I love 3m. They make scotch tape, post its and are headquartered in Minnesota.

So you see, my ties to Minnesota extend far beyond my love of the Vikings. There is kismet between me and Minnesota. Someday I'll make it back.

And to close this up and in case anyone is wondering, the Vikings lost today. Dammit!!

1 comment:

  1. Tib from Minnesota here. Reading this makes me wonder if you ever received the Minnesota Care Package we sent not long after you were diagnosed. If it was misaddressed, like the U of M mail, I really wonder what the recipient thought about the Metrodome dirt and Mn Hotdish tea towel...

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