I Remember Mankato, Newpaper Article, June 4th, 1952
(Got this as a photocopy from Blue Earth County Historical Society, sorry I can't tell what paper or page.)


I Remember Mankato

Clara Edwards, Composer of "By the Bend in the River," Recalls Music and Musicians in Mankato, Tells of People in City's Musical Activities

Editor's note: This is another in a series of articles on "I Remember Mankato," by former Mankato residents, written in connection with the city's Centennial anniversary celebration June 29 through July 4. Clara Edwards, who wrote the following article, has gained international attention as a composer. Her songs, including "By the Bend of the River," have been sung by many of the world's great artists. She does a great deal of travelling, having visited both Europe and South America this year. Her songs are being published regularly. Mrs. Edwards lives at 194 Riverside Drive, New York, 25, N.Y.

By Clara Edwards
On being asked to contribute to the "I Remember Mankato" series I was tempted to decline. I seemed overwhelmed by memories of a succession of events of outstanding importance, but after contemplation - only so to me! How was I to write an article on these early days without putting myself too much in the fore? How tell my story without setting the stage for myself? This egotistical approach troubled me, until, on further thought, I decided that one owes something to the community in which he is born, and that I would make the attempt even though I succeeded only in bringing inspiration and perhaps a bit of courage to the generation now developing there.

If, at times, I have brought myself too much in the lime-light, please pardon me, for I would not intentionally shelve the beautiful spot in the Minnesota valley, by the bend of the river, where I spent the formative years of my life, and which I still think of as 'home.'

My earliest recollections are of the farm in Decoria township, where I was born the daughter of Bernhard and Catherine Gerlich. Here I lived with my sister Pauline and my brothers, John, Will, Henry and Howard. The farm was large or so it seemed to me - with all the usual activities going on, all of which were absorbing and interesting to a developing mind. Many of the impressions made there, I have carried with me through the years.

At a ridiculously early age my adoring brothers taught me how to dance, and I taught myself how to play the organ and later the piano. I mention this because it has a direct bearing on my life in Mankato later on.

Things became exciting when heightened by a vivid imagination, especially on the days when we "went to town" - meaning, of course, Mankato! The trip was made by wagon, sleigh, sled or buggy, whichever the occasion or the need demanded, and was usually behind horses that had to be prodded for greater speed, for they were used to pulling the plow or the reaper. We did, later, get a fine "pair of blacks" and, believe it or not, a surrey with a fringe.

The trip itself was often tiresome; hot in summer and cold in winter, but all discomfort was forgotten when we made the turn into the Ravine road! I might be cold, too warm or sleepy, but at this point I became wide awake and alert for things were about to happen! Here the pavement became smoother - very noticeably so, after the rough country road and we wound along an interesting way, between the hills, past the cemetary so peaceful and quiet, past a house where there were innumerable children and as many dogs.

(Not finished typing this in yet)