Song Title: Minnesota 1945
Written By: Robbie Schaefer
Performed By: Eddie From Ohio
Appears On: Looking Out The Fishbowl
Minnesota 1945 is a quiet and melancholy number from Eddie From Ohio's sixth album, 1999's Looking Out The Fishbowl. It features very mellow and quiet acoustic guitar work from Michael Clem and Robbie Schaefer and, as often with Eddie from Ohio, the vocals are led by Julie Murphy Wells.
The song largely retells the tale of how the parents of a mixed-race woman got together, about how they reached across the wide differences between them and the pains of society at the time to reach one another. It's about loneliness and confusion and the world that surrounds all of us.
It takes my breath away every time I hear it.
What is the value of love and friendship compared to everything else in life? What value does this eternal quest really have in comparison to the wonderful things I already have in life?
My mother was a black woman
and my father was a white man
And in the middle of a Midwestern winter
they took cover in the night
I look around me and I see the beauty of nature. Few things compare to waking up early in the morning, splashing cold water on my face, and stepping outside for the first time, a cup of hot chocolate in my hand and a red ball just emerging over the horizon in the distance, a faint chill in the air, and the smell of dew rising from the grass below me.
I cherish the way leaves look in the fall. I love the smell of the first blooming flowers of spring, emitting fragrance by the gallon. I love the way tree bark feels on a warm summer day. I love the shiny glow of a fresh patch of snow.
I love life.
And they talked about injustice
I look around me and I see a small handful of friends. I see people who I genuinely care about, and who genuinely care for me. I'll open my mailbox and sometimes there will be a letter in there, a stitch of time and writing from the hand of someone who authentically cares.
They may not always be present, but they do exist, and they do care, and somehow, every once in a while, across that great terrain that separates us, they manage to show that they care.
And they talked about freedom
I look around me and I see experiences. The taste of ice cream on a hot Sunday afternoon. The sound of an old man on his front porch playing a banjo. The smell of freshly-cut tomatoes. The sight of a mum in full bloom. The touch of a pane of iced-over glass.
And they talked about Hitler
I look around me and I see imagination. I see a world around me that I can twist around inside my mind and describe on paper. I see a gift where I can just take what I see and experience and dictate them, or build and rearrange them into something different.
And made love to piss him off
I look around me and I see a life that I am content with. I have solitude when I want it, and yet I can find people to spend time with when I need that, too. I have a wonderful and amazing person by my side that I look forward to growing old with. I have a beautiful world just outside my door, and just inside my head.
And they talked about forgiveness
Shouldn't all of these things fulfill me? Shouldn't they bring me happiness in and of themselves?
And they cried for their loneliness
What if someone reached through all of these things around me and touched my heart? Would I know it, and if I did, what would I do about it, anyway?
And they talked about belonging -- immigrant lives
Would I try to pull them into my world, or would I let myself be pulled away from the wonderful, amazing things around me into another place, separate from all of this? Could I change my world for it, or would I remain content and complacent?
Is my world really good enough?
And the snow raged past the window
If you asked me this question when I was watching the sun rise some morning with a fresh idea roaming in my head, I would immediately say that this is truly a wonderful world. On the other hand, if you asked me as I sit here now, on the corner of my bed, with a thick thread of loneliness strung through my heart, my answer would be quite different.
And they held on to each other
I realize that I am a lonely person much of the time. But, much of the time, I enjoy that solitude.
I realize that I don't have the capacity to reach out. But what more do I need than that one person I see every day?
I realize I wouldn't have to give everything up to change my life. But to lose the beauty, the crystal clarity, of some of the things that I have... could I do it to make things better? Is it worth the trade?
And they stared out at Minnesota
If I could step away from all that I have, to trade all of it in for another life, is it something I would do?
I don't think so. I can sit inside with the one I love, and look out at the world outside, and believe most of the time that nothing else matters.
And everything looked the same...
Is the place that we sit today really the best place? Or should one take that step and change things, and not be complacent with the life we already have?
I wish I knew the answer.
This is a song about love. But it's also a song about confusion, and not knowing how to relate with the world outside of that love. I identify with that.