Cold and Divided

How Did the Minnesota of My Parents Become Like the America of Today?

I live in L.A. and New York, but I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I go “home” often. My daughter, born in L.A., loves Minnesota, especially the cold and snowy winters that I once fled. My late husband was charmed by the fact that everyone in my very large family there lives on a lake. He loved the snowmobiles in winter and the speedboats in summer.

My father and mother “came up” during the Depression. They grew up in North Dakota on the prairie. My mother was from a …