Clubs continue tradition of Morningside

Morningside Athletic Club members after a pickup soccer game. Photo courtesy Ed Mathie
Morningside Athletic Club members after a pickup soccer game. Photo courtesy Ed Mathie

The Morningside neighborhood of Edina was once its own village, after residents voted to secede from the city in 1920.

Residents voted to rejoin Edina in 1966, but they haven’t completely abandoned the Morningside name. More than 150 residents are members of the 80-year-old Morningside Women’s Club, which meets monthly during the school year at Edina Morningside Community Church. Another 150 are part of the 15-year-old Morningside Athletic Club, which meets weekly for pickup sports games.

Here’s a look at the two neighborhood institutions:

Morningside Women’s Club

A look at the annual Morningside Women's Club Holiday Market, which will run from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Nov. 18 at Calvin Christian School. Photo by Ruth Valgemae
A look at the annual Morningside Women’s Club Holiday Market, which will run from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Nov. 18 at Calvin Christian School. Photo by Ruth Valgemae

When asked what the Morningside Women’s Club does, 2017–2018 President Jilene Framke smiled.

“What don’t we do?” she responded. “In between the luncheons speakers, board meetings and the fundraising, there’s a whole lot of socializing going on within our club sections.”

The club’s general membership meets monthly for lunch or tea, followed by a speaker. It also presents college scholarships to Morningside students who are graduating from Edina High School and hosts an annual holiday market, set this year for Nov. 18.

Members also say they enjoy the 11 different social sections the club offers. The sections are smaller groups that revolve around topics such as gardening, knitting, French and more.

The club is open to all residents and friends of the Morningside neighborhood. It attracts residents old and young, with childcare available at its monthly meetings.

Member Judy Plant said she has met many interesting, creative and smart women through the club, adding that the luncheon programs are informative, uplifting, entertaining and diverse. She wrote in an email that she’s learned to play bridge because of another member and has been part of a weekly game for the past six years.

Member Jenner Stevens also noted the excellent programs and lunches from Turtle Bread.

“I always leave our meetings feeling like I am a part of something special,” she said.

The Morningside Women’s Club will host its annual holiday market 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Nov. 18 at Calvin Christian School, 4015 Inglewood Ave. S. The market will feature more than 60 local, artisan vendors selling products from clothing and accessories to handbags and jewelry. Admission is free, and the Kabomelette food truck will be in attendance. Visit facebook.com/events/2008495862702861 to learn more.

Morningside Athletic Club

Morningside Athletic Club members gather for a group photo after a softball game. Photo courtesy Ed Mathie
Morningside Athletic Club members gather for a group photo after a softball game. Photo courtesy Ed Mathie

The Morningside Athletic Club is probably one of the few Edina institutions that can claim Bill Murray as a member.

Club members were on a father-son trip to a St. Paul Saints game a few years back when they saw the actor and comedian, who also is a part owner of the minor league team.

Morningside Athletic Bill Murray

“(Murray) said, ‘Who are all you guys?’ because we all had (Morningside Athletic Club) hats on,” club member Jeff Carlson recalled.

Murray said the group was like a “middle-aged men’s fraternity,” according to Carlson.

“He said, ‘I want in,'” Carlson said.

So count Murray as a club member, albeit a very informal one.

The more formal members have built a pretty impressive structure over the years.

The group started about 15 years ago, when seven men met at Weber Park in the neighborhood for a pickup football game. It’s evolved into a club that holds weekly pickup soccer, football and hockey games, depending on the season. They also host basketball tournaments, soccer games, chili bowls and community service leaf-raking events.

“A lot of friendships come out of it,” Carlson said on a recent Saturday morning, where about 14 members gathered for a pickup soccer game at the domed Braemar Field.

Member Steve Engel said he became involved in the club about 10 years ago when he was looking for a pickup soccer game. He said he likes knowing a lot of people in the neighborhood and that it’s nice to have a sense of community.

He added that he’s surprised how serious the members were about the games but said they were welcoming to all skill levels and people.

Carlson said guys gain confidence as they get in better shape, noting the skill level of the soccer players. Everyone lives within a 20-block radius of one another, he added.

“You can know your neighbor,” he said, “and you can know your neighbor like this.”

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