Category Archives: Uncategorized

DST, Nora Clauson (Jan. 29, 1974)


For two weeks now we, like other obedient citizens, have been playing “Simon Says” at the risk of our children’s lives and safety.

In pitch blackness and at the coldest hour of the day, we have marched them to one of St. Paul’s busiest corners, where valiant school police boys and girls daily step into the street and risk their own lives (unnecessarily) raising red flags that even with reflective tape cannot be easily seen.

At Maryland and Rose the situation is incredible. Here there are no semaphores or reflective tape and the sight of a shadowy line of small children crossing the onslaught of Maryland Avenue 8:00 a.m. traffic is chilling indeed.

Dr. Young says out of consideration for working mothers we cannot reschedule school starting time. Has he asked any working mothers whether they place their own convenience above their children’s safety? From my own past experience as a Day Care mother I’m sure that many working mothers must make arrangements for several hours before and several after school hours.

We at Phalen Park Elementary have now been given the option of sending our children at the regular time (8:10) or 35 minutes later (8:45). Although we feel this cheats our children out of 35 minutes of school time, we have decided to take the option and hope enough other St. Paul parents will do the same. Only if enough of us refuse to play “Simon Says” will we be able to get a change in this dangerous game before a tragedy occurs.


St. Paul


Handicapped Rights, Nora Clauson


The inconsistency of our City Council (Mr. Tedesco excepted) confuses me. They have weakened to the extent of granting certain basic rights, especially employment, to “gays” and at the same time they have tabled a city ordinance which would grant these same rights to the handicapped who are already entitled to them by state law!

Of course we all know that the problems of the simple working man really started when women were granted equal rights under the law! Ever since Eve men haven’t really been safe, but until recent radical legislation at least they could find refuge at work. We have Mr. Tedesco to protect St. Paul firemen from “gays” but heaven help Minneapolis firemen, now that women have been added to their ranks.

In one area, at least, St. Paul remains an island fortress-protecting its “able bodied” employees from total depravity. And you can thank our City Council, particularly Mrs. Hunt and her committee for this. For almost a year now they have successfully tabled a city ordinance that would have brought St. Paul into conformance with state law regarding handicapped.

Of course, it will cost us all more in welfare costs — to say nothing of lost tax revenues. Unless, that is, someone passes a law legalizing euthanasia to those we deem unworthy of either work or welfare.

But everyone knows that handicaps are “catching” and if we grant equal rights to recovered mental patients, epileptics, diabetics, paraplegics, the blind, the deaf — even arrested cancer patients — who among us would be safe? If you don’t belong to one of these minorities — or at least until you do — your City Council is protecting you.

St. Paul



Head Start Criticism Wakens Irish Temper

Head Start Criticism Wakens Irish Temper

Sir: Thanks to the letter by Mrs. Madden in the Feb. 2 Dispatch, my Irish temper which has been near the boiling-point found a vent.

Perhaps, ma’am, I can speak for my neighbors in public housing. We have lived in Roosevelt homes for five years now, and I believe we understand our neighbors a little better than we did when we moved here.

You say: “if some of these fathers” would go to work, it would eliminate the need for welfare.

Mrs. Madden, if you really mean that, if you can find work for all the husbands and fathers in my neighborhood (most of them are working) who have stood by their families in sickness and in health; work that pays an adequate salary so that we mothers can stay home and spend our time caring for our families, I will personally circulate a petition to elect you mayor, via write in. You are the best thing that has happened since Mrs. Butler…

Not all our children need Head Start; mine don’t even qualify. And some of us do take our children to museums and the library. But some mothers, for reasons you may never understand are too busy, too tired, too emotionally involved in their own problems to do this. But none of us can completely shelter them from hurts. The most disadvantaged thing they will ever have to face is the attitude of their affluent neighbors who label all of them “Project Kids.”

Most of us are disadvantaged in one way or another Mrs. Madden. Those of us who live in public housing have no corner on disadvantaged children. There are mothers in your neighborhood too who are neglecting their children. But here there are private organizations who are doing the same thing as Head Start, if you can pay the fee.

Sometimes the type of disadvantage in a more affluent home takes a different form.

You can take your children on trips, expose them to culture, and even give them every material advantage, and if they do not also learn understanding and compassion, they too are disadvantaged. This too, begins at home.

St. Paul

Nora Clauson


Preposterous Plans, Nora Clauson

Preposterous Plans

Sir: May I take this opportunity to plead with Gov. Harold LeVander and our esteemed legislators to remember their positions of responsibility and leadership — and drop their preposterous plans for a private fishing resort at the Capitol?

It was hinted in your news article that plans included re-routing traffic thru the Mt. Airy district to provide “peace and quiet” around the Capitol Approach.

May I suggest that Mt. Airy and other low-income areas in this city have absorbed far more than their share of traffic already and the time has come to say enough!

Mt. Airy is already bordered by a freeway, as is McDonough Housing. I-94 races thru the Dale-Selby area, and if that were not enough, it has been proposed that schools be built above the freeway to “conserve air-space.” If proposed plans by the State Highway Commission are approved Roosevelt Housing, too will be bordered by a freeway. As things now stand, it is bordered by heavily-trafficked Maryland Avenue, cut into by Ames Avenue, and residents have been told that stop signs, “slow-children” signs or lower speed limits would only increase accidents. (Yet the number of preschoolers concentrated here is almost as great as the number of school age children in any local school, and it has never been suggested that “slow-children” signs be removed from school approaches.

This combined with a Public Housing policy that forbids individual tenants to erect fences, would almost lead one to believe that the “powers that be” have hit upon an effective means of population control — if that were not too nightmarish to believe.

If we must plant trees, and build trout streams — why not as a buffer zone between these inner-city neighborhoods and the freeways that zoom by them? Make it an Arbor Day project and let the kids do the work! Or maybe a grove of pines around St. Paul – Ramsey Hospital to deaden the din.

But let’s keep traffic flowing by the Capitol, if only to keep our legislators aware of this city’s problems.


St. Paul


Rights official calls McWatt attitude racist

Rights official calls McWatt attitude racist


Staff  Writer

The vice chairman of the St. Paul Human Rights Commission has accused former chairman Arthur McWatt of showing a “racist attitude” when McWatt resigned recently.

Gordon Clauson, the vice chairman, sent copies of a letter to McWatt to Mayor George Latimer, members of the City Council, and members of the Human Rights Commission. The letter chides McWatt for the reasons he cited in his resignation letter to Latimer.

McWatt, who is black, resigned after Latimer announced that Johannes Huyen was his choice to become director of the St. Paul Human Rights Department. Huyen, the acting director for the department, is Vietnamese. The department formerly had been headed by Donald Lewis, a black man who retired in April.

In his letter of resignation, McWatt accused Latimer of a “disregard for the contributions in past struggles of St. Paul’s black citizens.” He said the reason for his resignation was that Robert Elcan, a qualified black candidate who received the most votes from the Human Rights Commission, was passed over in favor of Huyen.

Then process for selecting a new human rights director had been marked by bitter wrangling between blacks and women on the Human Rights Commission. Each group had proffered its own candidate for the post. The three finalists chosen by the commission included Elcan, a black, Ragnhild, a woman, and Huyen.

Clauson criticized McWatt’s reasons for resigning. “I am sorry to see that you have not learned (that) human rights are not based on color or ethnic background. You should have learned to be color blind in your position as chairperson of the Human Rights Commission.”

He concluded by saying, “I am sorry you showed such a racist attitude in your (resignation) letter — one that only a black could do the job.”

Huyen’s appointment will be considered Thursday by the St. Paul City Council. President Ron Maddox has said he will not vote for Huyen because he thinks a woman ought to head the department. Councilman Bill Wilson, a black, said last week that he thinks Elcan is better qualified for the job. Two other council members — Leonard Levine and George McMahon — said they have questions about Huyen, but stopped short of saying they will not vote to approve his appointment.

Huyen is a former college professor who has worked in the St. Paul Human Rights Department for six years.


To Nora, From Uncle Wilbur (Dec. 15, 1957)

Ingram, Dec. 15, ’57

Dear Nora & all,

I am sending the old cookbook and Grandma Darrow’s poems, but you can probably get the other things when are you are up here sometime. Rosie will probably get hers when she comes up next year.

Your Dad is selling his old farm. I think there is a trunk with your mother’s books & things in it out there. You might like some of your mothers things.

I am spending Christmas with the Kaisers.

Uncle Wilbur


Wisconsin Why do I Love You? by Nora Kennedy



Wisconsin, why do I love you?
  I don't know myself, but I do.
It could be your spacious farmyards,
  Stretched 'neath a sky of blue,
It could be 'cause my father and mother
  Before me loved you too.
Or it could be a hundred little things,
  That I connect with you.

The spicy perfume of your pine trees
  Your warm gentle summer rains,
Your hills and valleys and forests,
  Your winding country lanes,
Your cheese and your milk and butter
  Your fields of wheat and rye,
Your memories of childhood years
  All make me want to cry.

Your pastures of grazing cattle,
  Your meadows of strawberries, red.
Your pin-cherry trees in the springtime.
  That make you feel light in the head.
Wisconsin, dear old Wisconsin,
Why do I love you so true,
It must be because you spell home to me
  An 'cause I'm a part of you.


Happy Easter! Nora Clauson (April, 1984)

Saint Paul, Minn.

April, 1984

Happy Easter!

In our yard…this Easter season…the tulips are poking their thru the ground. In the kitchen window, under the Grow Light, are two-inch high tomato plants (Gardner’s Delight). Also Pansys, Luffa Sponges, Dusty Miller, and a half-dozen other “seed experiments” that were my birthday present from the family.

We enjoy watching the little ones grow…Sean’s vocabulary multiplies daily, for which we are so very grateful…remembering last year’s bout with hearing problems. Crysi’s imagination delights us…she is so impatient to read…and learn…last week she posed a real stumper…”Can Jesus stop the Volcano?”

We enjoy watching the little ones grow…life is never dull around 2 and 4 year olds! We enjoy being on ground level…it will be a year in May that we switched apartments with M, MJ, and family.

Mike drives every day to Plymouth, and sometimes goes along on the long delivery runs to Rochester and elsewhere in the state.

Mary Jo’s Day Care business is thriving.

Gordy completes his first ten years as Security Monitor for the schools, and has a little more free time now that he has finished three full three year terms as a Saint Paul Human Rights Commissioner.

I am still enjoying my work at the Minnesota Historical Society, where we are now the center of a controversy. It seems the State Supreme Court wants our building…and in the next few days it should be decided whether we will stay where we are and expand…or move…to a downtown location that would connect with the new proposed World Trade Center…pr to Fort Snelling, which is part of MHS…and out of Saint Paul entirely.

We enjoy the fellowship of the folks at Hazel Park Alliance Church, where we are looking forward to sharing a good Special Musical Program, Easter Breakfast, etc. in addition to our week to week activities. We appreciate the close friendships we have found here, something rare in urban congregations.

We look forward to some short “Discover Wisconsin and Minnesota” trips this summer…saving and planning for a possible “dream” trip South next Feb. or so…possibly to Nashville?…Especially if next winter is anything like this last one!

Have a good summer…and a good year! If you have time, drop a note. We always enjoy hearing from old friends! If you’re in town, give us a ring, and maybe we can get together. Our number is (612) 776-6495. Gordy usually sleeps mornings with his present schedule, but most evenings you’ll find us home. If we should pass your way, we’d love to do the same.

If we’re not overcome with flu, colds, the weather, or simple exhaustion come Christmas 1984, we’ll try to send you a card, because we do enjoy sending and receiving them, and its a tradition that’s hard to give up. But if you don’t hear, we hope you’ll understand.

This Easter Letter just may become our new tradition!

Love and prayers,

Gordy and Nora Clauson


Gospel Mission: Nora Clauson

I found the following (and attached) clipping in my grandmother’s files:


Night after night last summer we marched and picketed with Mrs. Chapman and our East Side neighbors to protest porno movies.

Now I understand there is a new target, the Union Gospel Mission. Sorry, my friends, but this time, count me out! Hospitals attract sick people, too, but the way to a healthier neighborhood is not to chase out the hospitals.

Rightly, or wrongly, the mission is being forced out of downtown, but do we have to be equally as short sighted? There are already a few entrenched establishments on Payne Avenue that are contributing to human wreckage. Let’s attack the causes before we go after those that are binding up the wounds. Or if we don’t have the courage to do that, let’s bring in a detoxification center, too, and try to cure the body as well as the soul.

For a number of years, because of ill health and resultant low income, we lived in public housing, and the Mission was the truest friend our children ever had! They found a welcome there that was missing in a good many churches, and I can never think of summer camps, or after-school clubs, or Christmas parties without a deep-deep sense of gratitude.

Surely, I can’t be alone. Aren’t there other East Siders who will join me in saying “Welcome, Neighbors!” to the Union Gospel Mission?

St. Paul