Sunday, June 10, 2018

Return to the Ivory Tower

Last weekend I went out of town to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota for my 45th college reunion to go hang out with people I have known since we were eighteen or nineteen years old. Not all of us are even alive anymore! There were some nice meals and presentations, but just hanging out with old friends was the best part. There were still some old haunts that we were able to visit as most of us seem to be ambulatory still.

There are some new buildings, all done with the same limestone facade of most of the other buildings with only a couple of exceptions. The exceptions being some of the original ones when the college was young (the school was founded in 1874). They have been well maintained and are still in use today. I even had a few classes in Old Main. As always, click on the pic to embiggen.
The old Steensland Library still stands, too.
The limestone walls of the other buildings can be imposing, but modern bike racks take the edge off of serious.
That picture is by what turns out to be the chapel. I always thought it was the math building because of the big "plus" symbol on top. I wasn't much into math.

The trees have gotten bigger, but the green spaces have been gussied up a bit with landscaping, memorial bell towers, and possibly functional sculpture.

Now that they sell beer and wine on campus (a very recent update) we didn't have to leave as much, but we went to into town a few times anyway.

The bullet holes in a few buildings left from the days of the Jesse James /Cole Younger raid (1876) are still visible. One of the stores in that building sells vinegar now.
There was a small gathering of local entrepreneurs selling their wares in Bridge Square.
The Cannon River flows through town and on for about thirty or forty miles before emptying into the Mississippi.

Mostly I hung out with these two Bozos, Jim and Greg.
We walked through the Arboretum (or "the arb") at Carleton College on the other side of town. There are some nice trails that go along some of the feeder streams as well as the Cannon.

Then it got close to leaving time again. We had stayed in one of the dorms and here we are heading to one last breakfast in the snazzy new eating facility.
Then we had to say goodbye to some more old friends (old is starting to be the operative word here) before heading back home. Good-bye Donna and Kathy!
At least I see Jim and Greg in between these things. Next time it will be the fiftieth for those of us who are still on this side of the dirt. I really hope that will be all of us, but realistically it won't be.

Until we meet again, old friends!


  1. It looks like a lovely spot. The bike racks made me smile, and the trees and the paths look like the very best kind of heart balm.
    I have always wimped out of reunions. I wonder whether I have made a mistake (another mistake).

  2. That's certainly a beautiful campus! I laughed at your remark about the math building!

  3. I don't like math either.

    beer & wine on campus??? (faints)

    LOVELY architecture; and bullet holes!

    3 cheers for good times and good friends!

  4. Looks like a nice college .... B and I were just visiting Walla Walla, WA where Whitman college is located. Washington is a state that has legalized marijuana, and were wondering if -- forget beer and wine on campus -- legal marijuana is a draw for college students these days. Anyway, great that you keep up with old friends.

  5. Apparently not into “chapel” either. Great pics Jono. Sounds like a nice time.

  6. What a beautiful campus. Sounds like a good time was had by all. I laughed at the "big plus symbol" remark :)

  7. Elephant's Child, You can go to your next reunion. I'll bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Debra, Yeah, math was never my strong subject. :)

    anne marie, I have to do math (arithmetic, algebra, and geometry) every day for work and most of it is second nature. Calculus and I never got along, however. Old friends are always friends until the end.

    Tom, I can't imagine what would have happened if everything was legal back then. We would have had to find some other way of flipping off "the man."

    Linda, It was lovely, indeed. It was nice to be there with no academic pressure.

    magiceye, Yes it is! Thank you.

    jenny_o, We have some big math buildings around our town. In other parts of the world you see a crescent moon which I assume means "outhouse zone", or something like that. At least it is practical.

  8. Cue Steely Dan’s My Old School

  9. That's a really nice-looking campus. Beautiful architecture and it's obviously well maintained.

    Big "plus" symbol.....heh.

    Keeping students and alcohol apart has always been a losing battle. Guess they just decided to accept reality.

  10. Sounds like a wonderful trip! The architecture and materials look very similar to the University of Manitoba - it must be about the same vintage, and limestone is cheap and plentiful in that area.

    I haven't been to any reunions because I've never be notified if any have happened(or will happen). Maybe that's a not-so-subtle hint to me... hmmm...

  11. I've never been to a school reunion of any kind, in fact I don't know if there ever have been any. But it looks like you enjoyed meeting up with some of your past associates. The campus looks very nice, well kept and so many attractive college buildings.

  12. Love to hear they are math buildings, Now I might actually visit them. I thought they commemorated torture.

  13. Batty, Played on your Les Paul Special.

    Infidel, It only took them since the end of Prohibition to figure it out.

    Diane, I'll bet you would be the center of attention. We often have a book signing table where the alumni authors get writer's cramp.

    Shammickite, A lot of my motivation is curiosity. Whatever happened to so-and-so? Sometimes it's a great surprise.

    Onevikinggirl, I am pretty sure it is interpreted in many ways. Most folks seem to pick and choose their theories.

  14. Those are some awesome bicycle racks!