Readers might recognize Rochester from the pages of the book

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Chris Schmitz. My father was a high school history teacher and Mr. Schmitz is a history teacher. Mr. Schmitz comes to class every day in a suit and tie; my dad also always wore suits and ties. So in the book I mainly used Mr. Schmitz as a prototype for the teacher, but also for my father.

My offices are in the Post Bulletin, and you call it the Rochester Daily. So I’m clearly the “handsome editor in the crumpled gray suit”, am I not?

Of course you are.

That’s what I thought. You come from a small town in Oklahoma. What brought you to Rochester?

My husband’s job. He received a job offer the morning of our wedding.

Truly? So before the service, before the wedding?

At 9 o’clock that morning. The wedding was at 6 o’clock. And he told me about it at 7:30 a.m.

So he told you after the wedding?

Yes. In short, he said he had received a job offer from IBM. And I said, “Oh, where is it in terms of location? He said, “Rochester, Minnesota. We were here 18 months and they offered him full time. And so he’s been in the same neighborhood for almost 30 years.

Okay, that sounds like a terrible version of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’, but are you carrying a cheap old handkerchief?

Usually, but I changed my bag before coming here. So my dad always had a handkerchief with him wherever he went. It sounds crazy, but when he passed away we obviously started taking different things that made sense. I took his handkerchiefs. I have maybe half a dozen and it’s kind of like a little talisman to me. My dad has always been my biggest fan. I mean, there was nothing I could do wrong.

So he liked your books?

My father, unfortunately, was still in the midst of dementia when I published my first book, “Edge Of Nowhere”. So I hurried to get the book out because it was inspired by his family, and I wanted him to have the chance to read it. But he was already in the clutches of dementia, so he read a little and he couldn’t remember what he had read. So I would call and he would say, “Oh, I’m reading your book, it’s just wonderful, I don’t know how you got it all” and I would say, “What page are you on? au? ”and he was like,“ I’m on page 52. ”The next day I would call and he would say,“ Oh, your book is so great, I enjoy it so much. ”“ What page are you on? “27.” He read the first 50 pages a lot! He took a copy in his jacket wherever he went and showed it to everyone.

It’s awesome. Usually, I don’t like to end them on a touching note, but I think I have to do it here.

It’s a good ending.

Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.


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