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The Colony helps Cedar Ridge Elementary Students make “Senior Friends”
The Colony at Eden Prairie has a developed a wonderful relationship with the Eden Prairie school district. We have begun our sixth year of partnering with Cedar Ridge Elementary and Katie Thompkins second grade class to bring children into our community. Each year, we partner a child with a “senior friend”. We invite the children over four times throughout the year for games, singing, and sharing. It is a fabulous experience for all involved and many residents state that this is the best program available to them throughout the year. A number of our seniors have had continued contacts with their “grandchild” after the child has moved on to the third grade.
Jean Martin and the story of her Baked Steak and Onions
Jean Martin’s recipe comes to us all the way from Norway, where her grandparents started a family with six children. “They all came over to America on the boat,” Jean explained. Soon after settling on a farm near Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, Jean’s grandmother died. “Grandpa raised six kids on steak and onions.”
The recipe was passed down to Jean’s mother, and at the age of 11, Jean cooked it for the family. “After that I was chief cook and bottle washer.”
Jean met Ed Martin at the Spotlight in Nisswau when she was celebrating her seventeenth birthday. They dated for a year, then got married and moved to Brainerd. They raised five children in a house they lived in for 47 years. “My kids love this meal and guests ask me for the recipe.”
The Martins kept busy. Ed was in printing his whole life. Jean was a bank teller for 30 years. Her final job was in real estate at Burnette Realty in Eden Prairie.
While Jean enjoyed cooking, Ed enjoyed yardwork. He was an avid gardener, raising tomatoes and other vegetables. They made their own salsa and tomato sauce. One summer Jean put up 200 quarts of tomatoes. “Ed raised them and I canned them,” Jean said. Ed tends container gardens now on their apartment deck and patio at The Colony.
Judy Gerszewski and the story of her Scalloped Corn
Judy Gerszewski grew up in North Dakota on a cattle farm near East Grand Forks, Minnesota. She remembers it being cold there.
Judy was one of eight children. The recipe for scalloped corn was a holiday favorite. “Mom knew we all liked it, and it went a ways,” Judy said. She learned to cook by watching her mother. She never used a cookbook.
Judy became an accountant at American Crystal Sugar. She met her husband Phil there; he was a maintenance supervisor. At one point, Phil decided they should travel. They went to Yuma, Arizona. “We loved it there and decide to stay,” said Judy. They lived in Yuma for 18 years.
The siblings got together for holidays and continued to make scalloped corn. “My sister Sonja used to put crumbled bacon in hers,” Judy said.
Judy often wears rings that she has collected over the years. “Some of them have significance, some don’t.” They all sparkle.
The Colony’s Annual Fishing Trips are a Success
The Colony at Eden Prairie has been very fortunate the past two years to take part in a wonderful program available in Eden Prairie. The Eden Prairie Chapter of Let’s Go Fishing is an organization that allows the opportunity for seniors and others to experience being out on the lake fishing, or just taking a boat ride. Let’s Go Fishing is taking off all over Minnesota and is able to serve many seniors throughout the state. We are looking forward to our three fishing trips scheduled for the upcoming summer!
Bob Wilkins and his Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
It was Bob Wilkin’s senior year at Monroe High School in St. Paul, 1942-43. “Our destiny upon graduation was either enlistment or draft into the Armed Forces, compulsory at age 18.” The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, to involve the United States in WWII.
The high school faculty offered two new courses. The first, Commando Training, was required of all senior boys. “The physical skills we displayed to Leonard Tracy, our track coach, might raise doubts about the ability of the US and its allies to win the war.” But the patriotic students embraced the intensive labor, including running a mile. “When D-Day – the Allied invasion of Normandy – occurred on June 6, 1944, the casualties ensured that we would end up as foot soldiers in the U.S. Infantry.
The second new course at Monroe High was Vocational Cooking. It was voluntary and a lot easier than Commando Training. “My friend Howard Nessel and I took the course as a diversion.” It is where Bob acquired the recipe for macaroni and cheese.
Bob turned 18 on June 7, 1944. He entered the Army as an “infantry replacement”. After 17 weeks he was selected for officer training, which kept him out of the Battle of the Bulge. Bob served two years in the Army.
Both before and after the war, Bob was a cook at a Boy Scout camp. His mother helped by transforming recipes for groups of 35+. His macaroni and cheese was winner. Its taste and texture quickly stood out, probably due to soft bread crumbs, chopped onion and eggs. His mother adopted it, and so did his sister Eileen Momsen. Through her it got the name Bob’s Macaroni and Cheese and was printed in the cookbook for Central Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Paul. Bob’s oldest son likes to cook it.
Bob earned his Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1952 and enjoyed a successful career in the field. And even though Commando Training was difficult, it left a lasting impression on Bob. He became a long distance runner “to do something different.” Forget struggling with a mile – Bob ran the Boston Marathon twice!
Eagles bowl at The Colony
Now a preseason tradition reaching nine years Eden Prairie head football coach Mike Grant brings dozens of the best and brightest football players from his program for an afternoon of fun and entertainment to The Colony, an assisted living center in Eden Prairie.
This year, the team gathered indoors for conversation, a friendly Wii Bowling competition and serving up a hot dog lunch for staff and residents.
Grant introduced the captains, shared a few thoughts about the opportunity to visit and gave an update about his father, Hall of Fame Vikings coach Bud Grant, who turned 90 in May, was busy catching fish at the family’s cabin up north.
The younger Grant asked the two Colony residents a few questions about their background as both played football growing up before turning the four loose on the lanes where many loud cheers indicated strikes and even a turkey dotted the score sheet.
$3 million upgrade adds 19 memory care apartments, wellbeing programs and restaurants
The Waters, which last week announced that it has partnered with Senior Care Communities and Ebenezer to purchase The Colony of Eden Prairie, announced today that it is undertaking a series of improvements to the community. Over the next nine months, The Waters and its partners plan to invest $3 million to add 19 new memory care apartments, expand the current wellbeing studio to support The Waters’ signature programs such as “Rise-n-Thrive” and “Better Balance,” and to expand the community restaurant options to include a full-service café.