Moms Who Make Duluth is a monthly series featuring interviews with industrious, local women who are shaping the face of Duluth’s professional sphere while simultaneously raising their families. Duluth Moms Blog and Krenzen are delighted to highlight the positive impact working moms have on our community. We want you to get to know some of Duluth’s most notable women: professionals who balance work, community, civic engagement, and family.
Introducing... Mrs. Delicious!
If you haven’t had the pleasure of stopping with your little ones to pick out one of Mrs. Delicious’s frozen wares, then you’ve been missing out. The Duluth-based mother, intervention teacher, and ice cream vendor spends the summer months riding her tricycle and selling delectable treats. Even more special than her freezer full of goodies is her conversation, and Duluth Moms Blog is lucky to have chatted with her recently.
Mrs. Delicious, will you share some of your background with us?
I was born and raised in Austin, MN, a town of about 20,000 near the Minnesota/Iowa state line. Growing up, all of my extended family lived away, so a couple times a year my mom and I would traverse Iowa to visit family in Missouri. Those trips are some of my fondest childhood memories.
We were poor and paycheck to paycheck living was stressful but we always managed to have silly fun and I learned a lot about making something out of nothing. It also gave me the opportunity to learn that friends, amazing friends, can be family, too. My mom’s single-women-raising-kids friends and fantastic neighbors were a large part of shaping the person I am. My hometown, while now a diverse place, wasn’t when I was growing up. I fully credit my mom for providing me with opportunities to see a world bigger than myself. When I was young she worked with people with cognitive and physical disabilities (young and old) and being with her clients was a part of my upbringing. She also participated in being welcoming to immigrant/refugees in our little town and spent time growing in faith with folks who were incarcerated.
With her encouragement, I began volunteering to tutor English and US culture with a Cambodian refugee family when I was 16 and it set the course for a life of service for me. I moved to Duluth to finish college. I was a junior with an AA degree from my local community college when I came here, and, other than a one year stint working with migrant farm workers with AmeriCorps and two years in St. Paul, I’ve stayed and I’m happy to call Duluth home.
My life didn’t turn out as I expected. My path to both motherhood/family and being an intervention teacher for homeless kids and an ice cream lady has been, at times, more like riding a rollercoaster, blindfolded, backwards than a fairytale and, just as often, it is a quiet kayak on a placid lake. Mrs. Delicious was born out of curiosity, thoughtful planning and darkness. I had thought about vending from a tricycle for about 10 years before I started to plan in earnest.
In the summer of 2012 I had the experience of reading a family statement in court at the sentencing of a young man who had killed my elderly aunt in her home. I spent a lot of time reflecting, wondering what happens to a person that they could commit such a horrible crime. In that darkness, I decided that what I needed was to intentionally be more joyful, to plant seeds for social change, to visibly demonstrate how it is possible to take better care of each other. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now for the interview!
What advice do you wish you could have given to your younger self?
You’re plenty. Be grateful. I always knew my way of thinking didn’t fit well with my peers. I wasn’t cute. I wasn’t an honor student. I wasn’t a great musician or artist. I certainly wasn’t an athlete. There isn’t much space in middle school/high school for people who live inside their head and think about the world outside of their very small bubble. I was awkward at best, but not in that “cool nerd” way.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Choosing to honor people and experiences I don’t understand. It is easy to decide that your way of life is “the right way”. The hard work is deciding to find common threads with people whose lives are different from yours. It’s hard to think about things like parents who struggle with heroine addiction love their kids, but they do, I promise you they do. And as someone who also works with people who have chaos and yuck once said to me, “If my clients and I had to throw all of our problems into one big pile and look at them; I’d be grabbing mine back damn fast.”
What’s more difficult? Cycling an ice cream cart up Duluth’s steep hills or mustering up the self control to not eat all of your frozen wares?
What is the most exciting thing about your job(s) right now? Most challenging?
What is your family’s favorite way to relax together?
Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what are they?
Tell us your biggest joy and most challenging part of motherhood?
Raising up independent, wise women is my biggest joy. There is so much minutiae in parenting I need kids that can be problem solvers. I think there is an untruth that parents have to manage every fine detail, I’m ready to explode that lie. The most challenging part of motherhood is dirty dishes, we do not own a dishwasher and every year I try to make peace with dirty dishes.
What is your favorite cheesy movie?
I’m not much for cheesy movies. We don’t do cable or Netflix or anything like that. I guess I’d say Best in Show, though I don’t think of that as cheesy, more like clever and my kind of humor.
Name a favorite “hidden gem” Northshore spot.
Thank you, Mrs. Delicious, for sharing your light and kindness with us and with the people of Duluth. This city is a better place with you in it!
Join us over the next few months as we get to know some of Duluth’s most notable women. Do you know a mom who is making waves in the community? Speaking out? Pushing for change, or implementing new and innovative ways to better our schools, neighborhoods, government, or commerce and agriculture? Drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know!