My Proof of Survival: The Bloody Hand Print and South Minneapolis
by Warren Brewer
My mother died in 1965 of lung cancer. About a year later, my father died of a heart attack. A month or so after my father’s death, a neighbor came through the back door for a visit. She asked me who the man in the bedroom was. But there was no one in the bedroom.
Several times while leaving or arriving at the house, a large man’s figure was seen moving in front of the window. Searches of the house were relentless, but there was no man in the house.
Then one night, I was going up the front steps of the house with my fiancée when a loud slapping sound was heard. My fiancée screamed, and there was a large, bloody hand print on her arm. But there was no one there.
Shortly after the bloody hand print incident, I was drafted and the house was sold while I was in the army. I never returned to the house—and I never will.—Bremen, Ga.
by Holly Collett
In an old south Minneapolis district called “the Hub of Hell,” there was once a row of clapboard houses wedged between the tracks and the train barns. They were small, sooty houses with white-lace curtains, wooden walks, and picket fences with sagging gates. The warped porches showed signs of wear from the rough-and-tumble play of children, the harsh winters, and the scraping of chairs where renters escaped the hot, muggy nights after a day of toil.
This is where my grandparents lived and reared their three sons and one daughter after they had emigrated from Germany through Ellis Island in 1899. One son, Otto, became a streetcar conductor, married, and moved three blocks east toward the Mississippi River. Another son, Fritz, worked in the foundry beside his father. At age 14, my mother, Frieda, worked in a candy factory. She and Grandmother often waited up for the youngest son, Julius, who had become a brakeman on the Milwaukee Road.
They were on the porch this particular sticky, windless night in August 1914. It was nearly bedtime when they heard a clatter through the open windows. Thinking the cat was in the cupboards, they hurried inside. The cat was arched, with fur standing on end, the dishes were slightly askew, and the pendulum clock stopped at 9:55. Julius had visited. He would not be coming home again.— Tucson, Ariz.