I was driving the 24 foot U-Haul, you know “the Adventure in Moving”! The adventure begins when you pick up the vehicle, you never know if your requested hand truck, blankets etc. will be there. When you’re ready to load and move, last minute disappointments are the rule.
Our two year old son was in the front seat with me, our 7 month old daughter was in the car with my wife, my work companion Dave with his wife was in their vehicle, trailing. My daughter wouldn’t ride with our friends, his beard made her bust out crying! We were relocating from South Bend, Indiana to a suburb of Minneapolis. In my world of work, it was a really new beginning.
Four decades later I was sitting in a restaurant in middle Indiana. My work companion, Dave had been my trainer in the year preceding our move to Minneapolis. Dan sitting across from me had been our supervisor at that time. It was Dan that assigned Dave to help us move. In the years that passed we continued with the same employer and had many changing functions. Near the end of my employment I had become supervisor to both of them, but in the last decade we had all retired and there we sat with our wives, sharing past and present memories.
Our lunch location, put me in a portion of the state I rarely visit. In the back of mind I had considered diverting our return path to visit Anoka, Indiana. A location that intrigued me.
We had just unloaded the U-Haul, boxes were stacked everywhere. We needed some eats, we found sustenance, and Dave and Beth found lodging across the river bridge in Anoka, Minnesota. We spent another twelve years and the birth of our third child in Anoka, Minnesota. Anoka a Sioux, (Dakota) name for, “On both sides of the river”. We learned that Anoka was the self-proclaimed Halloween Capital of the World. It was home for us.
Years after returning, I learned that Indiana had an unincorporated town called Anoka. A trip was required there, some day. Almost two decades after returning to Indiana, today was that day to visit Anoka. There it was, four individual blocks of houses, and a church, and up the road a mobile home park.
Interestingly, originally two towns were plated in close proximity to each other in the early 1800’s; Cuba and Herman, both long gone today. The U.S. Postal Service placed a post office between the two towns, and named it Anoka. There are no records that indicate how a Sioux name was chosen in a State that never saw any Sioux Indians, but if “on both sides”, is a clue then one of two explanations can be surmised. First, there is a town on both sides of the post office or secondly, the residential area lies at the apex between two railroad tracks.
We three friends retired at differing times in this decade, our employer’s retirement-enticement was different for each of us. But what I noted is that with our employer we each were able to support and raise our families, not rolling in money, but not in poverty.
It’s interesting, how life works. Paths our lives take, three friends whose paths have intertwined over the years. Two entirely different communities sharing the same name.