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The Old place above. I Don't live there anymore. (Definitely Haunted!!!)
I started making musical instruments in the late 1970’s.
My instrument building career really took of after I dropped out of
college. (Mankato State…God Bless their years of infinite patience with
me!) However…poverty soon followed and I took employment with the Green
Giant Company in LeSueur, Mn. I worked like an Egyptian Slave in the
warehouse for 9 summers of my life…and every Autumn after Corn Pack was
done…I bought a new power tool. By the winter of 1995…I was all set. It
was also very convenient that the plant in LeSueur closed down just
then, too! “Free at Last…Free at Last…”etc. That year also marked the
real beginning of my other passion.
I started building Mandolins in 1986 when I moved into this cheap little basement apartment near downtown Mankato. (Photo left) The lower basement area contained a disastrous trash pile complete with broken glass, old moldy mattresses and some dead mice. I promptly went to work cleaning it up. The landlord was impressed and agreed to let me build a workshop in a corner room. And that’s where I was for nearly 20 years. ??? Can it be?!!! Guess so.
It was a nice place...because from that little Hobbit Hole emerged:
53 Mandolins, 17 Hammered Dulcimers, 12 Mountain Dulcimers, 17 Bowed
Psalterys, 8 Irish Drums, 10 Banjos, 2 Hurdy Gurdys (NOT counting the
one I got mad at and destroyed!) 3 Nyckelharpas, 4 Norwegian Fiddles…and
about a dozen other weird medieval instruments that defy description!
(And have funny names anyway)
Tom Jessen (TJ) Madelia, Minn.
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