I worked at St. Peter Herald for many years and always enjoyed the close-knit family feeling I had there with my co-workers. We used to say that we could write a great sitcom from our adventures and escapades there, putting together the St. Peter Herald, LeSueur News Herald and the LeCenter Leader.
I think about Ceil Headlee the front office person and writer of her own column, who always wore her flowered dresses with the rolled down nylon knee-hi's. The many publishers and a few editors we went through were all such colorful characters; and my friends and co-workers Susan, Bill, Jeremy, Kirsten, Tom, Lynn, Sara and all the others made working there more of a playdate than a job.
But the one person who in my mind will always embody St. Peter and the St. Peter Herald is Marilyn Witty. Marilyn was married to George Witty, who was the local sheriff. They were two people so much in love that George brought a red rose to Marilyn at work every Friday of his life.
Marilyn kept us all on our toes, and entertained. If you needed to know where something was, or who somebody was, or anything else about the St. Peter Herald, (or the St. Peter area), you didn't check the archives, you checked with Marilyn. Marilyn Witty worked as one of the salespeople, and I worked in the production department doing ad design.
Marilyn used to bring in home baked treats and my favorite was her Rhubarb Bars. I liked them so much that Marilyn used to make them for me every year on my birthday. I called them the "Make it Wonderful Rhubarb Bars" because whenever Marilyn brought me back an ad to do she would always tell me to "make it wonderful." I never saw Marilyn eat a piece of those bars, she would put them on the break room table and stop back for "just a sliver" every now and then. Marilyn said there were no calories in a sliver.
When I moved on from the Herald and worked at another business in downtown St. Peter, Marilyn surprised me on my birthday that year, marching down the street from the Herald office and followed by some of my old co-workers like a pied piper, she bore a single piece of that wonderful rhubarb dessert on a plate out front.
Click on the image for the recipe for "Make It Wonderful Rhubarb Bars."
A 1976 graduate of St. Peter High School, Kris Fultz now lives in Wisconsin. She dug out the recipe and her memories of the Herald at the request of Bluestem's editor and posted a version of this post as a note on Facebook. We reposted it here with her permission.
Editor's note: This recipe marks a new feature on Bluestem Prairie. We'll be presenting recipes using local, seasonal ingredients, along with the stories behind them. Food is culture, after all.