Author: Tamara Jorell

Tamara Jorell

About Tamara Jorell

Tamara Jorell lives in North Minneapolis and is a freelance grant writer, creative writer, and host mom for Safe Families for Children. Since 2012, she and her family have hosted thirty-two children in crisis. In her weekly blog, she writes about North Minneapolis’ jagged edges, violence, quirkiness, humor, and beauty. She lives with her husband of twenty-eight years, their three daughters, and their beloved pit bull Lala. Subscribe to her blog: www.tamarajorell.com, and follow her on Facebook: tamarajorell

Curb Appeal: So Much More Than The Front Yard

At a house just one block away, the grass looks like turf instead of something real and diagonal lines run through the weed-free growth, evidence of a meticulous mower. I haven’t ever seen anyone either living there or working in the yard, but I imagine an elderly homeowner loving their lawn so much that they […]

Streets Aldi Grocery

Shopping for Food, and Community, at Aldi

A grocery store arose at the corner of Penn and Lowry in the middle of a federally designated food desert some years ago, but it was no mirage. With healthy foods, organic produce and household items, Aldi is my oasis. The costs stay low through small measures: no fancy displays, no free bags, no piped-in […]

High Heels

What’s With the High Heels?

The world around us is strewn with evidence. I’m no detective, but when I see strange objects scattered around my life, I want the backstories. Like that positive pregnancy test ditched in our alley years ago, a pair of men’s boxer shorts discarded near it. What happened there? Curiosity ignited me, but there was nothing […]

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Homeless Dave

The panhandler at our freeway exit was as much a fixture as the billboard sitting in stalwart silence there. The actual person varied daily, but we could always count on someone camping out at the stoplight. I saw this from the very beginning of our life in North Minneapolis, and I wondered when my girls […]

basketball court

Goodness

“I think it’s brave, you living this social experiment with your family,” an acquaintance once told me. It wasn’t the first time someone from the outside had woven a conclusion about our life in North Minneapolis, and it wouldn’t be our last. “I see what you’re doing,” another well-meaning soul said. “Raising your girls on […]

watering cans

The Ten Blocks

I drive along Dowling, a busy avenue in my North Minneapolis neighborhood. As I travel the ten blocks I know like my own hands, a quote swirls through my brain. Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things. Small doings are in plain sight, […]

East Phillips Basketball

The Basketball Hoop

One morning in 2009, Husband pulled on his grubby work clothes and set out for the garage. He welded when he had the time, and that day, he needed to create a piece for the school’s art gala. Hours later, I glanced out the kitchen window. He had an audience. The two boys from down […]

Breakfast Image

Breakfast

A knock at the back door. From the other room, I hear Husband’s footsteps pass through the kitchen. The deadbolt clicks, then our alarm system’s computerized female voice announces, “Back door,” to let us know it’s open. A real woman speaks now and Husband answers, their voices muffled by walls. Curious, I saunter into the […]

Bakyard Pizza Oven

Angels and Bananas

“I drive around the block every night before I head to work,” Edward says, forearms resting on his back gate. “I check on your house too. Make sure everything’s okay over there.” I try to think of what we did to deserve our own nightshift-working guardian angel who happens to live down the alley and […]

A Miraculous North Minneapolis Bus Ride

A work meeting, an oral surgery consult, a volleyball game, and five other commitments. It had been a coffee-to-go and a wolf-down-a-handful-of-trail-mix-at-the-stoplight kind of day. And now at six o’clock, I fought through the evening rush hour traffic in downtown Minneapolis, each minute at a standstill twisting my stomach into a tighter knot. I would […]