The Portland House takes you into the lives of a widow and her six children as they put down roots in an average Midwestern house in 1970. It welcomes you to the crowded dinner table, where hotdish is a weekly staple and table manners sometimes take a back seat to kids being kids. It shoves you into raucous teenage parties when Mom is on vacation. It chokes you with the smoke of a small kitchen fire. Later you wander the neighborhood and the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, with latchkey kids until the street lights come on. The house is full of love, teenage energy, and an adopted stray who walks with a limp. From the warmth of family on Christmas Eve, to the sadness of a losing a beloved pet, the Portland House is home to it all. So, come on in and experience life growing up in the era of disco, lava lamps, and Tang orange drink.
From flat cats to ball bats, foolish dares to seance scares, childhood games to stovetop flames, The Portland House is filled with all these and so very much more. Underneath the humor and behind the shenanigans of growing up with five siblings and his hard-working, under-praised mother, Jim Landwehr celebrates the love, compassion and camaraderie that made The Portland House a home. It’s a house of pure delight for all who enter and are welcomed to partake of its stories.
- Michael Giorgio, author of Justice Comes Home and The Memory Swindlers
Jim Landwehr has a way of telling a story that draws you in and helps you relive not only his memories but your own. The Portland House is filled with humor and heartache, and cleverly shows the maturing of a family in their first home. A must read. I look forward to the books yet to come from this talented author.
- Darlene Winter author of I Remember Samson and The History of the Milwaukee County Zoo
Landwehr’s Minnesota upbringing in a family of five siblings and a single mother helped form who he is today. A humorist who tells a potent story of the angst of childhood, daredevil antics, imagination to create play, isolation as survival, and the magic a house plays in family ties.
- Lynne Carol Austin, author of Gull Soup and Ten of Swords
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