This past week when I was going through an old bound edition of the Herald looking for Buried Treasures, I stumbled across an advertisement and small article about a Newcomers Picnic.
The advertisement said that a local community group would host a picnic for all new people who moved into the area to get to know people of the community.
What a novel idea! I like it!?Except the last time I remember there being such a thing was nearly 20 years ago.
I’ve moved a whole bunch. I?like the sense of adventure of exploring a new town or city. Of course, it was much easier to pack up and move before I?had a husband and two children, who don’t think moving is the same enjoyable adventure that I do.
Now that I’m older, my sense of adventure has been tamed to a heavy spring and fall cleaning twice a year.
When I?moved back to my hometown of Mountain Lake after college to work at the local newspaper, one of the first people to greet me shortly after I?arrived was a lady from the Welcome Wagon.
I received a call from this lady asking if I would be available for her to drop off a packet of information and welcome me to town. Having been born and raised in Mountain Lake I told the nice lady that I really didn’t think it was necessary.
She was insistant so I conceded.
She arrived several minutes later with a large bag filled with brochures and pamphlets from every church, civic and non-profit organization in the city. It also included some coupons to various stores and a free mug and a few pens from various businesses.
At that time, I?thought it was rather silly. I?hadn’t been gone long enough to lose touch with my hometown. I accepted her gifts and didn’t think much about the Welcome Wagon again.
Fast forward five years when I?move to International Falls. After being in town for a month or so I?called the Chamber to inquiring about the Welcome Wagon.
“The what?” barked the lady who answered.
“The Welcome Wagon!” I?repeated.
“And that would be....what?”?she asked.
I?explained to her that it was a person who stopped by to welcome new people to the area and with them they brought pamphlets and brochures of all the churches and organizations in the community.
The lady laughed at me.
“We don’t have anything like that here, sweetheart,” she said. “If you’d like, you could stop down to the Chamber and pick up some brochures.”?
Page 2 of 2 - Several days later I?stopped at the Chamber to visit with what was seemingly beginning to feel like the unwelcome wagon. A map of Rainy Lake and brochures for several resorts were tossed my way.
“This is it?”?I exclaimed when I saw what they had given me.
“Honey, we aren’t your babysitter. If you want to find things to do go down to one of the local bars on Friday night and ask around.”?
That didn’t sound appealing at all.
Thankfully, my welcome to Sleepy Eye has been a much better experience! Everyone here is very warm, welcoming and inviting. Sleepy Eye cares about their newcomers now like they did back in 1971.
While Welcome Wagons and Newcomers organizations may be a thing of the past, new people, like myself are still moving in to Sleepy Eye.
I’d like to become more involved. If you know of or have a group that is accepting new members, please let me know!