Dancing in the clouds.

When I was seventeen I went to school in Minnesota for a year. I’ve written about it before. Suffice to say, it was the 70s and I was welcomed with open arms.

Out on the prairie, there wasn’t a lot to do.


The Red River Valley at dusk

We made our own fun: movies at the drive-in, ice-creams at the Dairy Queen, riding around in cars, and at the weekends there was “The Canteen”.

This June, I went back to Minnesota and The Red River Valley for the class of 76 forty-year reunion.


More than half the class attended.

Life has changed us all but not in ways that seemed to matter much. We laughed and talked the night away. At one point I looked around the room, at all those familiar yet changed faces. It was like catching a glimpse of my youth; no, more than that—like being with my own ghost.

The next day I went to find The Canteen.

It used to be a large space with a stage and a wooden floor that shook when things got going. But, as one of my classmates remarked during the reunion, there was never much chance of serious mischief or trouble of any kind—the police station was downstairs.

The building has gone now, there’s a bank and a parking lot in its place.  A local initiative saved  a portion of the facade.


In that space above the lintel, there in the clouds, on Friday nights we danced, or not, to the music of the times—The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Bread.

Bob Dylan might have featured, I don’t remember. It wasn’t until later I became a fan. He’s a boy from Minnesota and it’s only fitting that for this post he should have the last word.

Norm’s Thursday doors

11 replies »

  1. Oh how sad they weren’t able to restore the building, it looks more like a war relic the way it’s been left like that with bits of the old brick showing! Love that image of dancing in the clouds in the space above the lintel.


  2. Sometimes it catches me and takes my breath away. all those decades behind me so quickly. Your reunion sounds like a wonderful gathering with some of those where did the time go feelings.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am very happy that you were able to make the trip back for your reunion. Things change, but we keep our memories. That’s what’s important. Enjoy the rest of your adventure, Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

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