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Fritz Mondale first cast his eyes on Washington, D.C. in the late summer of 1941. He was 13 years old when his father, the Rev. Theodore Sigvaard Mondale, loaded his wife and three sons into the family Ford, stuffed $150 in his pockets and set out from Elmore, Minn. to New York City and the nation's capital. By day they slowly moved East, towing a homemade trailer filled with canned food, mattresses and a bedroom dresser. By night they slept by the roadside to avoid paying campsite fees. After four weeks they arrived in , gazing in wonder down Pennsylvania Avenue at the glittering dome of the Capitol. "We must have looked like a bunch of Minnesota hicks," says Fritz' younger brother by seven years, Mort Mondale, 49 (now an executive with the National Education Association in Washington, D.C). "Dad insisted we visit the Senate and our Senator from Minnesota, Henrik Shipstead. He invited us for lunch in the Senate [b][url=]Golden Goose Shoes[/url][/b] dining room. I can still see Fritz eating the spaghetti and meatballs and hiding his bare feet under the table." Recalls Fritz, "I was a little embarrassed going without shoes. See, in the summer I never wore shoes except on Sunday mornings, and my toes had spread out like duck feet. I'd have tears every Sunday morning because Dad would have to push my feet into those shoes."

Young Fritz Mondale never forgot his first excursion into the stately epicenter of American power. Back in Elmore he set about forming his first political organization, which he dubbed "the Republicrats." "I don't remember it going anywhere," laughs brother Mort. But Fritz' next few years in Elmore would witness the awakening of a political ambition that would propel him over the next four decades into roles of mounting influence: campaign organizer to Hubert Humphrey (1948), Minnesota Attorney General (1960-64), U.S. Senator (1964-76), Vice-President (1977-80) and now, as the Democratic National Convention meets in San Francisco this week, his party's probable nominee for President.

It's hard to recognize the poor preacher's son of 40 years ago in the polished, starched politician Walter Mondale has become. [b][url=]Golden Goose Shoes Sale[/url][/b] Yet the compassion, caution and inner strength that have marked his political rise took shape during his boyhood.

"Welcome to Elmore, Home of Fritz Mondale!" reads the sign on Route 169, which rolls past towering grain elevators and cornfields stretching clear to Iowa. "You are never going to understand Fritz unless you understand the land he grew out of," insists Mort Mondale. That landade a small fortune for Theodore Mondale during his days as a farmer and speculator in the early years of the 20th century. But with the sudden drop in farm prices after World War I, it turned him into a virtual pauper overnight. In the 1920s banks foreclosed on both his farms. In 1923 he lost his first wife, Jessie, to encephalitis, leaving him to care for their four children. (Two of Fritz Mondale's half brothers from that first marriage survive, 80, a retired Unitarian minister from Fredericktown, Mo. and Clifford, 78, a retired [b][url=]Golden Goose Shoes On Sale[/url][/b] salesman now living in Pine Island, Minn.) The elder Mondale never fully recovered from those tragedies.
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