Mildred Kortuem turns 100
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by Laramie Jackson
What defines a legacy? A life well lived? By what metric do we measure the value of our existence? We often face these questions as we confront our own understanding of worth, fulfillment and purpose. Life, in itself, is abstract in every way. Time is linear, but life is not. We are the products of an ever-changing world that shapes and molds the lives we live and the people we become. Do we view ourselves as part of history, or rather, someone who is simply watching it happen?
The answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask. However, for Mildred Kortuem, she can say she’s been not only someone who has witnessed history, but played a role in it, too.
Born on her homestead in Long Prairie on June 27, 1919, Mildred Edna Petrie was raised on a farm two miles outside of town. The Treaty of Versailles had just been signed officially ending World War I, the average annual family income was $1,568, and the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The world was moving at a rapid pace, like a locomotive at full speed. Yet, in the midst of the monumental change happening in the world she was born into, Mildred’s roots began to take hold as her legacy started to sprout. . . .