Saturday, June 15, 2013


Two weeks ago was my 40th (that’s right kids) reunion from college. It is in an idyllic town whose motto is “Home of cows, colleges, and contentment.” At the edge of the prairie sits this small, Lutheran-oriented institute of higher learning.  I was not the greatest student, but I muddled through. The military draft was still in place, but ended during my senior year, so I didn’t have to go off to Southeast Asia to kill people for some political reason or other. 

From "The Hill" to the Prairie.
Note the symbolic goal post on the football field. Reminds me of the song, "Drop Kick me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life".
It was fun to see that many of my class had good and productive lives and some happiness. Unbelievably, 37% (about 255) made it back to “The Hill” forty years after we graduated. There were doctors, lawyers, preachers (I did mention the Lutheran thing), data processors, housepersons, salespeople, artists, musicians, writers, and just about anything you can imagine. Marriages, divorces, children, out of the closet, cancers, aches, pains, surgeries, and a couple of dozen didn’t live this long. Several had achieved great humanitarian things, but overall someone thought we blew it. There was a great opportunity to make this world much better. We had the world by the short hairs, it seemed, but the entrenched culture and human condition was more than we could move. Sure, we made some advancements and eased some of humanity’s suffering, but we thought we could do so much more for the improvement of the species. Maybe we were just young idealists whose bubble was burst by the harsh realities of the world.
On the other hand we still could party pretty well for a bunch of people approaching geezerhood. Even I, who usually conks out by 9 or 10 in the evening, managed to stay out and up past midnight for two nights in a row! Downtown and Bridge Square were rocking all weekend and they even did a reenactment of the Great Jesse James Bank Robbery. The music was good and the beer was expensive and some of us regained that spring in our step. The next morning that was followed by the proverbial hitch in the get-along. 

Bridge Square

Our friend Ellen came with her father who was there for his 70th year class reunion. Unfortunately, only about 6 or 7 were able to make it to that one. He was a great guy with more hair than I have.  

The campus was even more spectacular with the addition of a few things. Here is a chime tower, the timber framing coming from my own local Folk School.
For a while they had me fooled as I thought they had actually grown these basaltic columns right in there own rock garden.

 Yes, colleges and universities are amazing places. Many important things have been discovered at research facilities. I was always told that if they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can make something out of you. I know they tried.


  1. Your college reunion included EVERYONE? wow! I enjoyed reading your summary of who did what over the ensuing decades.
    My college reunion is only for my college (Agriculture). Other colleges of the U of Saskatchewan have their own. I have only attended one. My 30th in 1999. Maybe I will go to my 50th in 2009. I am hoping my former prof, role model and long time friend will be there. it will be 70 years for him then too. He just got a new knee at 87 so he better wear it out.

  2. It all looks very wholesome. :)

  3. I wish I'd gone to college.

    And it DOES look wholesome. :-)


  4. Ah, yes, the idealism that flourishes in a small-town, Lutheran college. I know it well, as I also know the reality of the world which hits once the students leave such a place. But don't be so hard on yourselves. It is a monumental task to change the world-I think all that you can hope for in reality is to live the best life you can for your little corner of the world. I think you've achieved that Jono. You should be proud of it.

  5. BF, every class year ending in '08 or '03 was there. One of my favorite ladies there was originally from Weyburn, Sask.

    irbii, it certainly APPEARS that way and in may ways it is, but there was always an undercurrent of devious, creative, and revolutionary thought.

    Pearl, You missed a great party and possibly a formal education, but you seem to have done just fine without it.

    Thanks Carol, it's not for lack of trying.

  6. Jono, our daughter, Emily, is a Carleton alum. :)

  7. Donna, we have an Ole neighbor up the street whose son is also a Carleton alum. Can you imagine the shame?!? To top it off, we have another neighbor about a mile or two from there who have a mixed marriage. She's an Ole and he's a Carl! :P The real question is, how can you possibly be old enough to have a college grad kid?

  8. OMG, a mixed marriage! lol And-sigh-I am somehow old enough.

    Northfield is a great town, I can even forgive the Malt-O-Meal smell. Better than Provo, UT. ;)