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home : columns : columns
February 24, 2018

1/17/2018 8:36:00 AM
50-year-old New Year's baby
I've said this before and I'll say it again, one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is writing up the reflections column.
I usually spend most of a day and a little more writing up three months worth of columns, looking back at happenings and events 10, 25 and 50 years ago.
Because I began working at the Citizen in 1984, I remember many of the events that took place and stories that were written 10 and 25 years ago. That certainly is not the case (at least not yet) for the 50 years ago news. Having lived in Windom for over 30 years, the papers from 50 years ago probably interest me most, especially when it involves people that I know who are still living here, or who have either lived in Windom and have either moved or passed away.
One such item caught my fancy a couple of weeks ago - the new year's baby from 50 years ago.
If you noticed, it was Thomas Scott Riordan, who was the first baby born at Windom Hospital in 1968. Tom was born on Jan. 2 at 7:03 a.m., to Mr. and Mrs. Lane Riordan. The newborn's dad, worked with the construction crew for the Minnesota Highway Department.
Now, of course, there is a Tom Riordan living right here in Windom these days. He was a former mayor of our community. I remember when Tom and his wife, Candy, moved to Windom. Could that possibly be the same Tom Riordan as the 1968 New Year's baby?
Tom happened to be in the office a few days after I put that reflections column together. So, I asked him if he was, indeed, Windom's first baby 50 years ago.
He was.
However, just two years after his birth, the Riordan family, which included his three older sisters, moved to Mankato and then to Detroit Lakes where Tom graduated high school.
Fast forward to 1993. There's an opening for an IT person at the Minnesota Department of Transportation district office in Windom, the same place Tom's dad worked.
Tom applied and got the job. In fact, he was the first person Al Peterson hired when Al started at Windom's MnDOT office.
Tom told me that he and Candy planned to stay for maybe five years and then expected to be moving somewhere else, maybe back to the Detroit Lakes area. Those plans never materialized. They found a home in his birthplace and have remained here for the past 25 years.
Interestingly, Tom lived in his grandmother's house when they first moved to Windom. But that lasted just six months before the house sold. They rented for a year and then bought the home in which they now live.
Tom told me a few other interesting things about his family's connection to Windom. Tom said that his family lived in Windom about eight years and during that time they lived in four different homes. No, they didn't rent homes that were sold while living there. It seems Tom's dad, Lane, was quite a handyman and enjoyed buying a home, fixing it up with a variety of improvements, selling it and then moving to another home. Maybe you're living in one of those homes that he renovated.
When the Riordans moved north, Tom's dad built the home in which he and his wife now live.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I filled in the gap of the one critical name that was missing from his birth story 50 years ago - his mother's name.
If you read newspapers from the 1800s until sometime in the late 1970s or early '80s, you'll find that when a couple was mentioned by name in a news story, they were always referred to as "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith," never John and Jane Smith. Even in a birth announcement, when the woman was the one who endured the pain and exhaustion of child birth, her name was not mentioned.
At least in this instance, that long-held tradition will be rectified. Tom's mom's name is Marjorie.
A belated happy 50th birthday, Tom. We're glad you stayed!

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