Springfield author to speak at Dyckman Free Library Wednesday evening

Deb Moldaschel, Editor

Author Michael Wellner will be at Dyckman Free Library on Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for a reading, signing, yarn spinning event with his book, Echoes from the Heartland – Essays, Folklore, and Other True Stories. Wellner said the book came about after continued prodding from his wife to create a book from his 35 years of journal keeping and his dozens upon dozens of notebooks.

Wellner has ties to Springfield, and through marriage, to Sleepy Eye. “I was born and raised in Springfield, graduated high school and left home to join the Navy at 18,” he said. “I came home a few times a year to visit my parents and for family reunions - normally at Christmas - and stayed gone for 35 years.”

Wellner and his wife, Nancy Moore - a teacher at Sleepy Eye Public School, moved back to the area in 2001. He explained, “We bought one of those southern Minnesota ‘red brick’ houses and settled in! Since I continued to travel to remote oilfields for work it really didn't matter where we lived.” He added, “Springfield was our best move ever.”

Wellner said, “Moving back to little-town-ville Springfield must have tweaked some dormant literary gene. That's when I began writing with an eye towards some sort of publication of some sort of book. This vagueness finally cleared up a few years ago and I began Echoes from the Heartland. Two years ago I retired from oilfield construction - mostly in northern Alaska - and this writing began in earnest.”

Wellner provided snippets of several essay story-lines to describe his book: “Come along and visit a reticent retired fishing guide in Northern Wisconsin who wordlessly treats the author as a son. The keeper of a gigantic used book store in Western Arkansas, operated by a single employee – the owner. Minnesota tales of the world’s best appliance repairman, the little hometown that never gives up and the result is heartwarming. Meet a 12-year-old paper boy and share the agonies of his few cranky old customers and the joy and love visited upon him by the sainted lady customers who in the depths of the January Minnesota winters tell him to ‘Come in the house now and warm up!’

“Join in [Wellner’s] nine year quest for that college degree as he works his way through it all in the “back of beyond,” the Allegheny Mountains and coal country of Western Maryland. See Minnesota’s most pristine county lakeside park tended to by fussy residents of German descent as it extracts memories of his own idyllic childhood. Join him for lunch with the working hands of the Minneapolis airport as he flies off to work in the oilfields of Alaska. Learn what the “Bear Guard” does during remote sub-arctic pipeline engineering surveys, meet the Bush Pilots in their hip waders and plaid wool shirts and the pair of expert helicopter pilots who – he thinks – saved his life. They’re all there, taking a break in a bush country grocery store operated on ‘the honor system.’”