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Your Letters: 'Wadena is hometown to many

A hometown is a refuge. It's the place you go home to for the holidays. It's the place you go to see family that you don't get to see every day or week. It's a place you go to when you want to be reminded of simpler times. It's a place you go to when you want to relive memories, good and not so good. That's what my hometown means to me. As I drove through my hometown on Father's Day, I couldn't help but get a cold feeling down my spine as the evidence of mother nature's fury surrounded me. To my right, the high school that provided some many fond memories of my adolescence. It brought me fond memories of sporting events, high school dances, Homecoming, Prom, and the day to day interaction with my classmates. To my left, the fairgrounds and County Stadium, where we watched my dad play for the Chiefs every Sunday. Where my brother and I were bat boys, wearing our miniature Chiefs uniforms. Where I myself played town ball so many times. Where every July we spend four days at the County Fair on the midway, in the wildlife building, and at the Demo Derby. It was hard to imagine that all being gone.

I wake up each morning to see new pictures of what has happened to my hometown. I see pictures of the softball fields where we played T-Ball and Pee Wee Ball every day in the summer. I see pictures of what used to be the swimming pool we spent every afternoon at, doing cannonballs and jackknives off the diving boards or played "gutterball" with a Nerf ball. I see pictures of the homes of my childhood friends left in scattered ruins. All of this created by one small moment of time on a Thursday afternoon. There is no way of knowing what would happen as the sirens went off in the background of phone conversation with my dad that day. But the result of that moment has brought me back to all these fond memories of the place I still call "home away from home."

As the community rebuilds itself, piece by piece, don't forget all of the things that make my hometown and many other's hometown, Wadena, what it was to those of us who grew up there or are raising kids there. Rebuild that town I call "my hometown" to the way that myself and others so fondly remember it. Wadena is a great community. It was when I grew up there and it will rise from this moment to be again. Rebuild that community together, so future generations can look back with pride in where they grew up. So they can continue to say: "Wadena, my hometown."

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you!

John Stigman

WHS Graduate, 1988