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Winona is city in southeast Minnesota, the seat of Winona County, located along the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

John Bellairs came to Winona in 1963 for his first full-time assignment at the College of Saint Teresa. During his two years in Minnesota, John taught courses in English, participated in various theatrical programs, and worked on his story of Saint Fidgeta.

Residences

Bellairs lived in house on West Broadway Street, blocks away from the college campus (see Residences in Minnesota).

Bellairs Corpus

  • The geographic layout of Winona, specifically its size and shape and being located beside the Mississippi River, were the model for the fictional city of Hoosac where Anthony Monday and Myra Eells lived.
  • In April 1965, melting snow and heavier-than-normal rainfall led to rising rivers that endangered small communities in both Minnesota and Wisconsin that lay along the Mississippi River, such as Winona. This flood seems to have served as catalyst for the flooding of Hoosac as detailed in The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn.

Quotes

  • "O God, Who knowest that there are some of us who live in fetid swamps which God knows do not need more rain, disregard the [Prayer for Rain], parch the mushy earth with blistering drought, dry up the mosquito-infested dank smelly lakes of which this damned state is so proud..." ("Prayer for Fair Weather", Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies, p. 119).

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