Friday, March 7, 2014

Talk About Going Viral!

In the grand scheme of the Internet and when a YouTube video, statement or Tweet goes viral, this is probably no big deal. However, to a small town in southwestern Minnesota where I lived when I had my accident this site has grown by leaps and bounds in a matter of a few weeks!

If you know anything about my history before my accident, you know we moved a lot. My dad always got a better job with a little more pay in a slightly larger town, in an area of the upper Midwest in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. Each coaching and teaching job gave him challenges and opportunities the previous one did not.

By the time we moved to Worthington, Minnesota in February 1969 when I was partway through the eighth grade and not yet fourteen years old, we had lived in seven other communities and sixteen different locations. We never lived in one spot more than eighteen months! Six of those years were in two different trailer houses in five of those towns, and I use the word towns loosely as one little community, Farmer, South Dakota had only seventy residents!

Worthington was by far the largest small-town we had lived in and offered all the amenities a young teenage boy could want. There was a YMCA complete with a pool, basketball and paddle ball courts, and weight room, Dad taught and coached at the local junior college and I had free-run of the athletic facilities when Dad would take me with him to his workplace, a lake across the road where I could go fishing and swimming at one of the beaches, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a local famously named drive-in, an A&W root beer stand, a golf course and even a daily newspaper. Worthington also has a beautiful park system with a bandstand that had Wednesday night concerts all summer long and a wealth of attractions for my growing interests. We did not have a McDonald's, but we did have a Quick Stop!

A few weeks ago, someone started a Facebook page entitled "Growing Up In Worthington, Minnesota What Do You Remember." As of right now, there are 4,343 members with 162 new members. When I joined about ten days ago, there were roughly 2,200 members!

People are building new relationships, rekindling old friendships that went away as people went their separate ways after high school, learning facts and long forgotten pieces of their past. It is creating a community of its own. Personally, I have had more than two dozen people asked to Friend me on Facebook. Some of them are people I never knew, and others are folks who had fallen out of touch over these many years.

People are putting their high school graduation years after their names and posts are drawing hundreds of Likes and Comments. Yesterday, for instance, was my B squad basketball coach's seventy-ninth birthday. His son put it on the site and it grew to having well over two hundred Likes and about the same number of Comments from his former students wishing him a Happy Birthday and sharing their experiences from having him as their teacher.

People are posting pictures of historic buildings that no longer exist. One friend posted a thank you note to all the patrons he has had at his business and within a few hours there were several hundred Comments about his store!

Here is the current Cover Photo of downtown Worthington circa 1900:

Click on the image to make it larger:

I know this is nothing compared to when a video goes viral and gets one million hits in one day, or Ellen sets a record for retweets of a picture from the Oscars and over two million hits in one day, but this site has been fun for a lot of people to learn and relearn the history and share memories of people from one small town in the southwestern corner of Minnesota.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



P.S. I am guessing someone will put this blog post on the site, and it will be interesting to see what sort of reaction I get to it.

1 comment:

Leo Martin said...

My grandfather, Michael Martin and his wife Katherine (Deighan) Martin, with my father Leo and his brother Frank lived in Worthington around 1900, and left in 1911 to move to Massachusetts. My grandfather ran a general store in Worthington, which I visited with my father in 1962, but I have no idea where that store was, or even if it still remains a structure in the city. Leo Martin Peabody MA 01960