Archive for August, 2016

Road Trip: Day 35

Posted: August 31, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Dateline: Cloquet, Minnesota.

I have written about reunions at which anything can happen in THE ADVENT OF ELIZABETH. Advent front coverMy first classmate-reader wondered, “Does it have to end this way?” I grew philosophical:

“You anticipate, wonder, maybe hope, certainly grow excited. You go to your reunion, and three days later, you go home.”

Admittedly, it may and sometimes does turn out differently, but this is a 50th. The time for change and excitement just might be in the past.  The time for issues and illness just might be in the immediate future. Let’s be realistic.

walk a

What is left of my 5th grade classroom

I spent some time before and after the reunion catching up with a past that holds on into the present. My walk in Cloquet rediscovered and uncovered surprising things (at least to me). The library for example stands, but the glass floor housing the “adult” books

walk 4

Our library now a historical society.

had to be removed. It was held up by the bookcases themselves which gave way to an exhibit area. Still, the preservationists prevailed and saved THE ENTIRE FLOOR which is now stored in the basement. Who will come up with a renovation plan and the cash to reinstall the floor? Hey how hard can it be?


No surprise here but still enough. The McKinney/Lindholm family has spruced up the Frank Lloyd Wright station and, I believe, have it placed on the historical register, as well it should. The station now has only two pumps which make for a roomier Wrightian look below the famous copper canopy (originally meant to house hoses for gassing up cars from above). I’m hoping that at my next visit the planters will again be growing flowers and junipers. How about it Mike?

The big surprise was at the former Cloquet Theater. I drank a latte (really very good) in the cafe which replaced the lobby and next door jewelry store, and called Jef whose family owned the place. He and Kathy came down, and we toured the Arise church which is housed upstairs. What did we find?

An intact balcony and projectors which had never been removed from the booth in which Jef spent his high school nights working (and studying, no doubt), filled with film reels and cases. I wonder if Ben Hur is in one of those cans. Arise likely doesn’t allow necking in those seats (prayer room is above) but Mr. F would send Jef up there to stop it anyway.

Road Trip: Days 32 – 34

Posted: August 31, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Dateline: Cloquet, Minnesota. Site of the Cloquet Class of ’66 Reunion

The crowd was large and none too rockus. Read Pat’s take on it here:

We, the Cloquet High School Class of 1966.

Before I attended walk aa
my fiftieth Cloquet High School
class of 1966 reunion,
I wondered aloud who I might see there.
My brother-in-law told me
“All you’re going to see is old people.”

He was right.
That’s who l saw,
old people, old friends, old loves
Old folks I knew or didn’t know chs 4
loved, or didn’t love,
who brought tears to my eyes,
or flashing, sharp momentary memories to my mind,
as we recalled our days together
so very, very long ago.

We’ve lived the most part of our lives already,
we old folks.chs 5
built our dreams
copulated long, long lines of babies,
and babies of babies.
Fought our wars.
Buried our beloved.

Tonight we old folks
trade worn photos of chs 3
Billy and Sally, and
whoever that is standing there
in the middle.

We lined up in long ragged rows
to get our picture taken
by some kid with a camera,
promised immortality in the image.chs 9
We ate hearty, laughed loud,
danced a bit.
celebrated our age
our great fortune
our past and present,
future, future perfect.

We congratulated each other
at having managed to reach this age
and our freedom, once getting herechs g
Our joints ache, our minds slip,
we nap too much and whine
about all those kids piling up below us

We are mostly happy,
mostly satisfied with the way chs 1
we’ve all turned out

We, the Cloquet High School Class of 1966.walk 4


Road Trip: Day 31

Posted: August 27, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Dateline: Cloquet, Minnesota – Exploration and Explanations

Leif Erickson must have felt this way, though I must admit he did not see his name up in plastic letters. Any Scandinavian would feel at home at Bergquist’s Imports, especially a Finn.Bquists 5

I’m here talking up my Finnish characters and their exploits over the course of three novels. Taddy and Paul are hardly Finnish names though I now note a progression from Taddy Langille’s half-Finnishess to Paul Tuomi’s full Finnish-American heritage to Pekka Pyykonen’s easily recognizable ethnicity-of-name. Are my Finns coming out of the closet? Stranger things have happened.

The accommodations in Cloquet, courtesy of Catherine and Chis Wagner, are spacious, clean, and convenient, just a quick walk or drive from all the hot spots of Cloquet (featured in a later post) and not too far from the 1966 Class Reunion.

The Corvette whick doesn’t come with the deal is Catherine’s holdover from her Bowling Green days (the epicenter of Corvette).

committee These folk are at the epicenter of reunion planning in Cloquet of 1966. The mixer which came a half hour later grew crowded, hot, and happy.  Cheers!

Road Trip: Day 30

Posted: August 26, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Dateline: Cromwell, small town America is very much alive. And I mean vibrant and tiny (by Oakland standards).

I’ve already reported on Irene’s Favorite things (Maytag story) and now my second favorite stop Cromwell, Minnesota.  On last year’s tour, Observation Hill, a novel of class and murder, returning from Baxter along 210, I took on gasoline at the Cromwell crossroads.sag 5
“Look there [kittycorner from the Clark station]! A bookstore!” And so the saga began. I’m in Jim Northrup‘s neighborhood, (1943 – 2016), Walking the Rez Road, an august literary influence from Saginaw, just down the road. So why shouldn’t there be a bookstore here?

Doug Peterson runs the place Fish ‘n Tales and was tickled pink to take on both Listener in the Snow and Observation Hill. When he sold his first copy, he shouted out on face book with the enthusiasm of a newly published author. That’s what makes ‘rural’ so good. I think it takes a dram of isolation and a drought of ‘down-to-earthness’ to create joy out of thin air. He’s doing a fair job of servicing the reading community in Cromwell/Tamarack/Sawyer metro area. You go guy!

If you are having trouble finding the bookstore, stop in at Aardvark Septic Systems next door. Ask John for the key and make your selections. It’s a trip! Stop in, too, at the Sawyer Store which sells everything – if we don’t have it, you don’t need it – and boasts a 2 hour US post office, 5 days a week, a community center icon.

Road Trip: Days 28 & 29

Posted: August 23, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

R & R : how to relax in Duluth, or “eat your heart out, Gore Vidal.”

  1. Soak in the natural beauty to rest the mind. Fun 3




2. Take in a public spectacle that occurs only biennially, say something like the Tall Ships festival coupled with an art fair. Fun DFun F

3. Listen to a group who really likes to play their music, not-for-money-or-fame, but one Fun 5 Fun 6 that likes to have fun with their music. Hey, the pizza wasn’t bad either (they eat too much pizza here: food of the Norse gods).

4. Eat fine food: Coney Islands on 1st Street as this mother-daughter team is doing. A coney and a coke goes a long way toward complete restoration.

5. Go to the beach and swim in Lake Superior: Air temperature 89 F. Water temp 48 F.

6. Visit with a friend and share what you and he make (books and maple syrup, for example). Fun 2I’m pictured here with my good friend from 6th grade, Terry Bassett who makes a dark, rich, and sweet maple syrup worthy of the name Fond du Lac. He and wife Shirley are readers too.

Well rested and ready,  in the next few days it’s back on the road to the high spots of the tour: Cromwell, Cloquet, and Grand Rapids. I feel like I can fit a high school reunion somewhere in there, too.