A farewell to Camden

The place Brianna and I found in North Minneapolis was not our first choice. In fact, it was low among potential home rentals we had targeted. We’d looked first at Northeast and found nothing in our price range. South Minneapolis was even more expensive. The suburbs? Not the lifestyle we wanted. So we looked north. And we found Camden—a place we’d call home for nearly six years.

It is bittersweet to leave the neighborhood, for that is what we are doing. An opportunity to own our first home has swayed us to depart. Many first-time homeowners are finding properties in Camden; it’s a promising time for the area. Our home ownership opportunity just happens to have us leaving for a new neighborhood. We will, of course, miss the Northside streets, parks and people. Again, it’s bittersweet.

Much has happened to Brianna and me in the time we have been here. First, we went from girlfriend-boyfriend to engaged. Then we became wife and husband. Now we’ve been married a few years. Our greatest accomplishment together is pretty common: simply adopting a couple of rescue pups. It’s been an idyllic life here in many respects, surrounded by dogs in an awesome environment.

With our departure coming, memories from the years bubble up:

Live on the Drive was always important to us. We’d bike over with our picnic dinners to see the bands and movies. As summer nights cooled and dew formed on the grass, we’d wrap ourselves in blankets to stay warm. (Biking home in the chill was not so comfortable!)

Open Streets on Lowry Avenue provided opportunity to celebrate the diversity of North Minneapolis neighborhoods. Pedestrian- and bike-friendly thoroughfares have become more common in the area. It’s been great to witness so many people enjoying the city at a slower pace.

Holiday on 44th has remained a staple of the area, despite warmer winters with less snow. Local businesses have been steady in creating experiences crowds are drawn to. We’ve enjoyed the events each year—from taking in ice sculptures to enjoying chestnuts heated on an open fire.

Ushering in spring: the Victory Garage Sale. People take to the streets after being confined indoors during the colder months. Great buys, live music and food from the grill drew us out each year. Our finds included camping gear for summer adventure, nice second-hand furniture and a great stash of records.

These are fun memories to reminisce over—for we have attended so many great events. Further, I’ve had the opportunity to write about a lot of them in the Camden News. It has been roughly five years since I began writing for the paper, and it’s better now than ever. I’ll miss contributing articles, but the news that happens in this Camden Community ought to be reported by the people who live here.

Leaving Camden, I feel it’s a better place to live than when we moved here. And we’ve lived some pretty wonderful years. There is no limit to the possibility here.

Thanks to Laurel Parrott, the editor of the Camden News. Her dedication to bringing informative, positive news to area neighborhoods is unrivaled. There won’t ever be a greater steward of this paper. It’s been a pleasure to write for her and for my community. I’ll eagerly read from afar all that new Camden voices bring to the fore.

Douglas Fehlen,