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Re: Minnesota, Fridell
Posted by: Mara Fridell (ID *****2813) Date: December 28, 2004 at 20:05:24
In Reply to: Minnesota, Fridell by Justin Fridell of 39

Hi, Justin. You're my cousin, unbeknownst to ourselves. The Fridells are not a tight bunch. I grew up in MN, but have since left because Minnesota is cold, very cold. Here's more than you wanted to know:

There are a few Fridells in MN. My dad and sister are still living in MN, as I think are Amy and Rhonda Bartlewski and their parents. There's a very nice, although fairly big graveyard (in the summer) up on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in Red Wing, MN, where a lot of Fridells are buried.

Your dad is Gregory, right? Your Grandpa Bud was my Grandpa Chuck's (Charles August Fridell) brother. (My Grandpa Chuck died by accidently chopping a major leg artery with a cleaver he had just used to chop cabbages. The limestone stairs he built caved in under him as he was heading back to the house from his garden terrace. This happened when I was a kid--about 1986.) Grandpa Chuck was a mailman.

Bud and Chuck's siblings included Bernie (Laverne), Arlene Fridell Bartlewski (her family's still in Red Wing, and include my cousins), and Catherine Fridell Mendel (she lived and died in Florida). You might make a genetic note that both Bernie and Catherine died of brain tumors.

Our grandpas' father was Charles August Fridell Sr. I can remember him from when I was very young. Mainly, I remember the circus peanuts he gave me, which even then I recognized as pretty awful. Grandpa Charlie was friendly, tallish and thin, very Swedish-looking, and he lived into his 90s. He was a fireman and a bartender. Since he was a bartender, he was also an alcoholic, but there are no stories of anyone being scarred by him, although he didn't leave any money to Arlene when he died, and that was an issue for a number of years. He belonged to the Red Men's Club for years. (Red Wing is right next to the Mdewakantan Dakota reservation so in the old days, the guys combined some sort of vague, charitable, distant interest in Native Americans with the fraternal consumption of alcholic beverages.)

Grandpa Charlie's siblings included Anna Fridell, who was the Goodhue County, MN country superintendent of schools and did not reproduce; Ida Fridell Alexander; Lydia Fridell, who also did not reproduce; and John Fridell. I only remember Aunt Anna, whom I used to visit in the nursing home. She lived into her 90s also, and not only was she also tall and thin, she impressed me as quite smart and nice, which is an accomplishment, given that visiting nursing homes when you're a kid can be a little scary.

I study immigration and the social democratic state in Sweden and I went back to Sweden a couple years ago to do research. While there, I checked out the areas where the Fridells are from. Our relatives immigrated from Sweden in the mid-1800s. At the time there was terrible overpopulation, too little agricultural land, not enough industrial development, religious oppression (of non-Lutherans), and labor activists were oppressed. As well, the elites was trying to exploit people in the countryside at an unprecedented level (Sweden did not have the egregious feudalism of other European countries). So about a million Swedes took off for the US. Apparently, the Swedes who emigrated to the States were not usually the poorest of the rural proletariats, who had no money to leave. They were generally from the lower middle class. A famous relative is Folke Fridell, who was an avitar of the working class literature movement in Sweden in the early 20th century. But you just asked about the Minnesota Fridells.

Also, I believe there was a car salesman in MN who made commercials. He's named, improbably enough, Squire Fridell, but I never knew him, and I don't know how he relates.

Cheers,
Mara



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