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Stepping Stones – Menomonie

June 17, 2013

Wisconsin – Wednesday, June 12

I set off toward Menomonie this morning, where my mom was also going to meet up with me. Menomonie was my maternal grandpa’s hometown, and my grandparents and great-grandparents are all buried in the local cemetery, so I knew I wanted to make a donation somewhere in Menomonie. But first, we had to get there. I started my drive south, and after awhile I saw a sign for the Norske Nook Restaurant and Bakery. With my Norwegian heritage, I could not resist a stop there, to see what all they had. In addition to Norwegian pancakes, they had all kinds of lefse wraps, and fresh lefse to go. I enjoyed the Norwegian pancakes – thin, almost crepe-like (they reminded me of my homemade ones!) with lingonberries and whipped butter. Plus I got some lefse for both my mom and me.

After some more miles in the car, I met up with my mom, and the first thing I needed to do was get Tula out for a walk. We found the Red Cedar Bike Trail, and Tula, my mom and I walked 2 miles and got back to the car right as it started to rain. We then headed over to the local university library to try to get some sort of map for the cemetery so we could hopefully locate my great-grandparents’ graves (they are not buried near my grandparents). And they had a very helpful map.

After the library, we went shopping for my donation-of-the-day. I had decided to make a donation to the Stepping Stones Shelter, and when I called to see if their wish list was current, they said it was, but that they also could use some new pillows. So we shopped for a half dozen new pillows, some can openers, kitchen towels and dish cloths, and a bunch of food storage containers. Then we found the Stepping Stones office, which was right by their food pantry, and carried the stuff in. The lady I met was very kind, and supportive of my journey, and she told us the shelter can accommodate quite a few people in multi-room furnished apartments. In addition to emergency housing, Stepping Stones also offers housing assistance and referral services. I got a very nice email from the shelter coordinator a day or 2 after the donation – a woman with a special-needs child and a disabled mother had recently come to the shelter, and the coordinator was getting one of the apartments ready when she realized she was short on pillows – and then she discovered the new ones in the office, so they were put to good use nearly right away. That was fun to hear 🙂

From there we went to Evergreen Cemetery, and started trying to find the gravesites for some of the extended family on my mom’s side, according to the sites that the librarians had marked on the map. We found a gravestone for my grandpa’s uncle, but other than the last name, there were no other identifying names or dates – although a small marker partially hidden in grass had the name of one of his children on it. We went to visit my grandparents’ gravesite, which I have visited in the past, and then we had quite a hunt to find my great-grandparents’ graves, which I had never seen before. My mom was the one who finally found their marker, and with 6 names and dates engraved on it, it seemed to create more questions rather than answer any!

When we were finished at the cemetery, we stopped for dinner, and I was finally able to go through some of the family history that I had learned out in Massachusetts; some of which was new to my mom. So it was a real family history day! My mom headed back to Waupaca, and I still had a couple miles to walk, so I went back to the cemetery (it’s a really pretty one with rolling hills next to a lake) to walk around the whole thing in the falling darkness, but it wasn’t creepy – with extended family spread out from one end to the other, it seemed like a good place to finish up my Wisconsin walking.

So, State #36 is complete! I walked all 56 miles, and did 7 donations – Mukwonago Food Pantry, Food for Thought, King Veterans Home, Kinship Mentoring program, K-9 dog fund for Tomahawk Police Dept, Lakeland Food Pantry and Stepping Stones Shelter. I stayed in Wisconsin for the night before heading into State #37.














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