The following memory is from:

(This is an article Marty wrote for the newspaper regarding our reunion.)

It was a Great Place …Faribault

It’s an old saying …a message from those wiser than you …that you can’t go back. Or is it a message you found in a novel? Even after forty years, you can’t go back. You know it, and I know it. Going back is both bittersweet and sad, to an earlier time that you and I can’t re-capture. It is a sadness we feel personally like the stone of regret.

I felt that stone, driving across the rolling prairie into the lake country around Faribault, scene of my 40th class reunion. Inside Faribault, we found my Junior High School gone …leveled …replaced by a county services building. The Olympia Café is now an insurance office. Faribault High School is still there, with a theater addition and a gymnasium addition. The Memorial Library with its kasota stone exterior still stands at the head of Central Avenue, reminding us all of the value of education.

I was an East-Sider …a term for those of us who lived across the Viaduct on the east side of Faribault …we attended Washington Elementary, a two story square with three classrooms and a library/phy ed room. Washington is gone, but the one-story addition of 1955 remains. The hill behind Shattuck (the private school) for some of us was a perfect place to park and ‘neck’. No longer. It’s an eighteen-hole golf course.

But the icehouse and the ice ‘arena’ behind Washington School are still there. It was here we learned to ‘crack the whip’ and to play tag on ice, and perhaps where some of us formed lasting friendships. We found each other at the reunion …Mike and Chuck and John and Kay and Steve …part of the East Side Gang.

That first night of the reunion we went to a cocktail party at the Evergreen Knoll …the ever-surviving supper club. I met guys that I recognized. Imagine walking up to someone 40 years later, knowing the face, but having no clue as to the name. And I met some good-looking ladies …but again with nary a clue as to their identity. I have to admit …high school was a confusing time for me. I was scared of the opposite sex and undereducated about females.

We were out on the deck …elbow to elbow meeting people we hadn’t seen in 40 years …when I met a special friend. I walked right up to her where she stood in a group of classmates. I didn’t recognize her …she was twice as gorgeous today as she was in 1961. And just like 1961 …I fumbled my way out of that encounter. And felt regret that I couldn’t stand and talk to her like I wanted.

It’s true. You can’t go back. And some memories, hurt. During the dinner, our Reunion Organizer Jim Hanson played a tape from past reunions that included the faces of those who have died in past years. I saw the girl I took to the prom, the girl who served in the State Legislature and died from cancer. I felt sad that we lost her, knowing that her family also lost her. In the death of others we are reminded of our own mortality.

We can’t recapture the past. Faribault, Minnesota has changed. My classmates still accept me for who I am …unconditionally. (Isn’t that great?). It was a great place in which to grow up. But you can’t go back. If you do, expect to feel the stone of regret for things that could have been, for the opportunities to be a friend to another human being that you somehow fumbled.


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