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It's your place for engaging stories of the people that make Wisconsin feel like home.

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A Croatian Easter in Wisconsin

Eggs have a long history in Easter celebrations around the world. One Wisconsin woman keeps her Croatian heritage alive by creating and teaching others to make beautiful embroidered eggs.

Photo: Erika Janik 

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Trilliums: Jewels of a Wisconsin Spring

Trilliums are the jewels of the forest floor. For Gail Folkins, spotting trilliums in Wisconsin reminded her of growing up in Washington State. The flower’s distinctive three petals made her feel right at home.

Gail Folkins is the author of Texas Dance Halls and teaches at UW-Stevens Point.

Photo: monophysite57-zzz 

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Birchbark Canoe

As a young boy, Wayne Valliere’s grandmother said to him, “Your grandfathers are written throughout history. I challenge you and your brothers to think, what will your grandchildren say about you someday?”  That inspired Valliere to pass on his Native American culture to young people in his community.  One of the ways he does that is by teaching them how to craft traditional birchbark canoes.

Interested in learning more? Follow this link to a blog about Wayne Valliere’s work on the birch bark canoe.

 

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Sheepshead in the Family

Dave Cieslewicz’s family introduced him as a young boy to the game of Sheepshead.  The complicated card game bonded the men in his family together; and years later, Cieslewicz carries on the card game tradition with his Wisconsin friends.

Written and narrated by Dave Cieslewicz, animated by Michael Williams

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Holiday Drink Stirs Memories of Grandpa

For many of us, the holidays aren’t complete without a favorite food or drink. Writer Julie Buckles’ grandfather was famous for the holiday cocktails he served – not necessarily because they were good but because of the memories that drinking them stirred.

For Julie’s recipe for Not Your Grandpa’s Tom & Jerrys, visit her website.

Photo: Julie Buckles

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Musician Celebrates Yiddish Music Tradition

Music is a cornerstone of Jewish culture, especially during holidays and festivals. Milwaukee musician Lil’ Rev grew up in a musical family, steeped in his family’s Yiddish folk music tradition. He travels the country sharing his love of music, history, and his Yiddish heritage. 

Photo: Lil Rev 

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Growing Up In A Wisconsin Hunting Clan

Many Wisconsin families hunt for wild game. Carol Guensburg grew up eating venison and wild birds, but she was ambivalent about hunting and embarrassed by her dad’s enthusiasm for the sport. But as an adult, she came to appreciate her roots.

Carol Guensburg is a journalist at the Scripps Howard News Service and at American Food Roots

Photo: Carol Guensburg/American Food Roots

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Thief of Words and Music

As kids, the stories our parents and other relatives tell us about their lives often bore us. It’s only later that we come to value them. Writer Anthony Bukoski  tells us how he reconnected with his father.

Anthony Bukoski is the author of several books, including Time Between Trains and North of the Port.

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Bad Santa:

Gift giving often inspires noble intentions if less successful results. Writer David McGlynn tells us about his family’s gift giving history and how sometimes the best gift is the one you didn’t expect.

David McGlynn is the author of A Door in the Ocean and The End of the Straight and Narrow. He teaches at Lawrence University.

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Family Reunions:

Summertime is reunion time for many families as far-flung aunts, uncles, and cousins use their vacation to reconnect. Commentator John Hildebrand tells us about his summers at Delavan Lake.

John Hildebrand teaches English at the UW-Eau Claire and is the author of three books, including A Northern Front.

Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Image #88621.

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Trout Season:

Father’s Day is this weekend. Writer Susan Lampert Smith reminisces about her father and a 65 year tradition marking the opening of trout season.

Susan Lampert Smith is a science writer with the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

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Big Mama:

Mother’s Day: Commentator Cynthia Woodland remembers the woman she calls “the last of the big mamas” — the matriarch of her family.

Cynthia Woodland is a producer and commentator for Wisconsin Life.

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Mother’s Day at Horicon Marsh:

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. Every year, poet Kim Blaeser and her family celebrate by spending a day outdoors. Blaeser tells us how their annual trek allows her to connect with the earth and her memories.

Kim Blaeser teaches creative writing and Native American literature at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. She is the author of three books of poetry, including Apprenticed to Justice.

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Food Pantry:

With the holiday giving season over, donations to area food pantries are dropping off - making life harder for folks who are already struggling. That weekly bag of free groceries can make all the difference – especially in this economy. Today, we visit a food pantry run by the Middleton Outreach Ministry, and meet one of their customers.

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The Big One:

Musky season is here and many Wisconsin anglers are obsessed with catching the big one. With its dorsal fin, needle-sharp teeth and impressive size, the musky is Wisconsin’s very own Moby Dick. This fishing season, commentator Michael Fedo is hoping to complete a family quest.

Commentator Michael Fedo is the author of several books including A Sawdust Heart, The Lynchings in Duluth, and The Man from Lake Wobegon.

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