Community Connections profile: Catching up with former Times intern Sally Palmer

Mike Christopherson
Sally Palmer

What year did you work in the Crookston Times newsroom?

It was so long ago, but I believe I was the first intern in the summer of 2000, right after I graduated high school.

What was your favorite part of your experience at the Times?

I honestly loved interviewing people and learning from the staff in the newsroom.  I have a lot of fond memories of everyone who worked at the Times.

What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself and/or the biggest life lesson that you took with you when you left the Times?

Working at the Times was incredibly transformative for me. It solidified my confidence in writing, meeting deadlines and working collaboratively with a team. I also learned that my words had a lot of power (some words I definitely regret writing in hindsight) and what I had to say resonated with members of the community. Complete strangers who knew me via my family would stop me and compliment my writing, which was incredibly unexpected. So, on that note, I learned about the kindness of strangers and how the smallest gesture can stay with a person for years. 

What have you been doing since? Give us an update on where you’re at, what you’re doing, who you’re with...

Well, it’s been over twenty years since I was at the Times, so a lot has happened and changed. I currently live in St. Paul, MN with my partner and two kids. I spent many of my university years living abroad and traveling in various countries such as England, Mauritius, Mexico and Romania. After I graduated with a Master’s degree in Publishing and Print culture in 2008 from UMD, I chose to stay home with my kids for nine years. Once both of my kids were in school, I opened my holistic business, Rocksteady Life, where I weave together various modalities such as Somatic Experiencing, mindfulness, Craniosacral therapy, Reiki, Holistic Nutrition, Animism, Ancestral Lineage, exploring gender identity, ritual and grief/loss work (I am a trained Death Doula, but call myself a Life Doula). Due to covid, I recently closed my physical office and am focusing on virtual and outdoor sessions with clients.

What are you passionate about these days?

I have so many passions in my personal and professional life, but they definitely revolve around noticing and dismantling internalized systems of oppression and holding space for any human being to be seen, heard and acknowledged. I love spending time at my cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and teaching my children how to be connected, empathetic and free spirits in a pretty intense world.

Sally Palmer dances in the rain with her kids, similar to what she did as a Times intern.

Way back when, someone described you as being a “free spirit.” Do you agree with that assessment? Are you still a free spirit, or has age, added responsibilities and wisdom shortened your reins some?

I am absolutely a free spirit - always have been and always will be.

Possibly piggy-backing on the previous question, when you were at the Times, one day we had a massive downpour and thunderstorm, to the point that the storm sewer across the street in front of the post office backed up and the gutter and street were flooding. You ran outside and laid down in the water and splashed around as we looked out the window in amazement, and I think we even took photos. First, do you remember that moment? Second, assuming you do, what made you do it? Would you do something like that today?

Of course I remember that moment! In fact, I continue to dance in the rain with my kids (I am even attaching photos as proof). That memory actually triggers an older memory of me as a young kid, doing the same thing with my dad and siblings during a rain storm. He would tell us to grab the shampoo and conditioner and we would run to the church parking lot behind our house and dance in the rain. He was the one who taught me to lie in the gutters and let the water rush over me! So, since my children will never meet their grandfather in real life, I pass the magic to them (plus, who doesn’t love to splash in puddles?).

Tell us how the pandemic impacted you/continues to impact you…

As I mentioned before, I recently closed my physical office space. I didn’t have a single in-person client for a year and couldn’t justify the cost anymore. I’ve been relying on unemployment to get me through and I’ve spent the past year focusing on my own trauma work. I’ve also been taking lots of online courses and reading a lot of books, which will allow me to add more services for my future clients. My partner works from home, so the biggest transition was leaving my office space and returning to an at-home parent role. My kids continue to distant learn and I’m planning to keep them home unless the cases start to go down in the Twin Cities.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to read, bake, garden, write and spend time outside. The outdoors has been such a powerful mainstay in this pandemic life.

Look in your life’s crystal ball: Where do you think/hope you’ll be 10 years from now, and what do you think/hope you’ll be doing?

Ha. I honestly avoid thinking into the future, as I find it causes all sorts of anxiety and unrealistic expectations. That being said, I hope that I continue to find happiness in the little things and laugh more than “expected” by society. I wish my future self joy, resilience, good health and love.