Many of the people in the class came from far western North Dakota, currently the site of the next great American oil boom, and also the place where I went to first grade as my dad served his first call after seminary. Hearing about what Williston is like today and trying to integrate the descriptions of this boom town with my memories of the town we visited once a week was mind-boggling. Those conversations were little bit of time travel too!
The next stop was 1974. Pictured at the right is about one-half of the Selby (SD) High School class of 1974. It was a 40 year class reunion and hats off to organizer Ivy who pulled it all together. The weather was wet but the atmosphere warm as we wandered backwards in time and laughed at our younger selves, and then met again, almost as new friends. We are quite scattered, most of us coming from someplace else. No one's life was unmarked by experience over the past four decades:
- We've had jobs and careers, families and travel.
- Most of us have kids. Many of us have grandchildren and one of us just became s a great-grandmother!
- All of us had lost at least one parent, and some of us spouses and siblings as well.
- Some of us are retired, and one of us has retired and then un-retired!
Together we remembered three who didn't live to see this reunion. Most of us had someone to visit in the nursing home (where, by the way, I had my first real job) and a surprising number of us no longer had family in town. Our high school has been demolished and replaced with a new, single-story building and classmate Kim, who recently came out of retirement to teach math there, gave us a tour that started at the kindergarten door. I heard many stories new to me since I didn't arrive until 7th grade.
I traveled home to Blooming Prairie for a few days of work before making the biggest time leap of all: back in time to a Fourth of July celebration of yesteryear! I've been hearing stories about Blooming Prairie's annual celebration yet I really wasn't sure what to expect. Our lovely city park was completely filled with vendors, games, a stage, and lots of people beginning Thursday night. A street dance for the adults and a teen dance at the Servicemen's Club rounded out the local celebration on the third. Friday, the Fourth, was all about the parade. I joined Pastor Heidi and her family on Main for the
- Marching bands, antique cars and tractors,
- Mayor and first lady of Blooming Prairie (to the right) who are my friends H & Jean,
- Stix of Fury, the local drum and flag team,
- Shriners from most of the nearby towns came in clown make-up doing great tricks on motorcycles or driving tiny cars, and
- Mower County Sheriff's Department horse deputies were amazing.
- Princesses in flowing gowns from every area festival and pageant were pulled through town on floats.
- Most local businesses were represented with a float or an interesting vehicle and everyone threw candy to the kids. Except the dairy princesses - they threw cheese sticks!
Zig-zagging through time and memory this month, and realizing the gifts of both, it's been interesting to reflect that most of these trips wouldn't have happened if I weren't 1100 Miles North.