RoadNotes Feb. 22 2014
While traveling southwesterly a friend of mine sought me out and handed me a book to read. The book quite unexpectedly unleashed a wave of emotion. I had not realized that Paul’s memoirs had been published 14 months earlier. Much to his credit Louis Martinelli has recognized the importance of this work. He has worked tirelessly to see it to fruition.
If you have grown up in Minnesota or even the Midwest you probably have been given the opportunity to appreciate Paul Gruchow. Paul had won the Minnesota Book & Lifetime Achievement Awards in the 1980’s. He also edited the Worthington Daily Globe an award winning newpaper. As I remember Paul was invited to give the keynote address for the 75th anniversary of the Foshay Tower.
Paul was a dear friend to many Worthington residents, myself included. When the oak leaves were the size of squirrels ears, we would canoe the Rock River. We found it to have more wildlife per square mile than the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. We identified confusing spring warblers, Redstarts and Blue Grosbeaks that flitted in the tops of old cottonwood trees. One minute our canoe would speed down the rapids and next it would bottom out on a gravel bar. It was the gravel bar where the rare and elusive Topeka Shiner found its northern most home.
The memoirs are a lucid glimpse into the darkness of mental illness. Paul was a professionally trained observer. His incredible writing skills captured his journey into this curious, yet sad episode of his life. He was bedeviled in that he could not appreciate his own talent.
In the ensuing years I suspect psychologists and psychiatrists could use this book in futher understanding the daunting challenges of mental illness by the insight he offers.
My final conversation with Paul was prompted because I had just become aware that he was suffering. Our conversation was forced and uncomfortable. A good friend had grown distant……he was to busy writing his last book. Paul Gruchow died Feb. 22 2004
Diary of a young madman- A Memoir – by Paul Gruchow
foreward by Louis Martinelli