Walter Mondale returns to Elmore
Who says you can never go home again?
Obviously not former U.S. Senator and Vice President, Walter Mondale.
Mondale was welcomed back to his hometown of Elmore on Saturday during activities for the town’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.
And, while he might be known as Mr. Vice President in the rest of Minnesota and around the country he was just “Fritz” Mondale to the other folks who were in Elmore for the big celebration.
The former vice president flew into the Blue Earth Airport around 1:30 p.m., accompanied only by his grandson.
He was driven to Elmore and enjoyed watching the 2 p.m. parade and then visiting with anyone and everyone who wanted to talk with him, shake his hand or get an autograph.
Many shared a memory that involved Mondale and his family in Elmore from more than 65 years ago.
And the former Vice President of the United States loved every minute of it.
“This is my hometown and I like talking to as many people as I can,” he says. “It is great to come back here and catch up with everyone.”
Officially Mondale was born in Ceylon. His father was a minister, and the Mondale family moved to Elmore when Walter was in third or fourth grade, he recalls.
“I grew up here,” he says. “I knew most of the people who were here at that time.”
And many of them remember him as well. There were plenty of stories shared that dealt with growing up in Elmore. Although some of the stories were told by the children of the people he knew back then.
The 85-year-old former Vice President took the time to listen to those stories and tell some of his own with anyone who wanted to come up and visit with him. And, he happily posed for pictures with each and every person who wanted to have one taken with the famous Minnesotan.
After the parade and a bit of visiting with many folks there, Mondale walked a block and half to the house on the street that bears his name, where his family had lived in Elmore.
Now owned by Howard and Amalia Paschke of Blue Earth, it is the house they rent to one of their grandsons.
The Paschke family members held a reception for Mondale at what they now call “The Mondale House.”
They also had a variety of memorabilia about the former Vice President on display around the house. That included a very old magazine article that detailed his life in Elmore as well as copies of the Elmore Eye newspaper that had front page stories about Mondale as vice president and his campaign for the presidency.
Mondale gladly autographed all the items which will be on display at the house.
The former Vice President then attended the All-School Reunion in the former Elmore High School gym (now Elmore Academy) where he gave an address to the almost 600 people in attendance.
And, did a lot more one-on-one visiting with other Elmore High alums.
After dinner, however, he was back to Blue Earth and then flying home to Minneapolis.
“I have to pack,” he said. “I’m leaving on a fishing trip tomorrow morning. But I wasn’t going to let that interfere with coming here to Elmore.”
Walter Frederick “Fritz” Mondale was born Jan. 5, 1928 in Ceylon.
He was the 42nd vice president of the United States, serving from 1977-1981 under President Jimmy Carter. Carter and Mondale were defeated in the 1980 election, losing to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Mondale ran for president in 1984, but lost.
He served as Minnesota’s U.S. Senator from 1964 to 1976. He also was the state’s attorney general in 1960 and served as the ambassador to Japan 1993-96.