Category Archives: Minnesota

MN Flashback V: Back to School (MSU-style)

With K heading back to Mizzou on Sunday to start her sophmore year there, I thought it would be an opportune time to flashback to my own college dorm life at Moorhead State University.

My first three years were all in room 272 of Nelson Hall, on the second of 11 floors. It was fun living in “The Beer Can”, whose cylindrical hallway was perfect for driving golf balls, throwing a frisbee, or maybe a bowling ball. Room 272 had a clear shot across the building and the elevators in the middle, right at the top of the stairs, so we always had a view of everyone’s comings-and-goings.

Nelson Hall room 272, Fall 1980

My sophmore and junior years we had a deck in our room, with the mattresses on the floor and chairs, shelves, and stereo on top. You always had to have a track queued up when someone else let their stereo get a bit too loud; “Carry on Wayward Son” always worked well against “Another One Bites the Dust” for instance.

the desk of a freshman CompSci major — note my roommate’s quadrophonic box on the left side of the desk

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MN Flashback IV: Kise Commons, Moorhead State University

Okay, this photo ID is just plain scary.  I’ve blurred the important info on the image to protect the privacy of anyone who might unfortunately look like I did back then…God help them.

The primary everyday use this card got during my time at MSU was to gain access to the college cafeteria, located in Kise Commons; “Kise” as it turns out rhymes with “queazy” in a bizzare yet sometimes apropriate twist of fate.

In the mid-winter months, after hitting the shower and getting stuff together for the morning classes, we’d trek the block or so from the dorms to Kise, where we’d shake the frost out of our hair after letting the frigid air freeze-dry it.  Typical breakfast was OJ, toast, and a bowl of Captain Cocoa Jacks (Captain Crunch/Cocoa Krispies/Apple Jacks).  I forget what we’d have for lunch and dinner, but it was edible but oftentimes gristly.  The all-you-can-eat setup was a potential disaster for a kid who has grown up in a large household, but after the initial Freshman 15, I plateaued for the last three years.

Initially I thought it was neat to see my ID move up the cafeteria checklist as each year/quarter progressed, until I considered that everyone before me either graduated, moved off campus and eats elsewhere, dropped out, transferred, or died (not necessarily from the food).  I was right near the top of the first page left column when I finally graduated.  I imagine the whole process is all automated with a swipe card now (no, cards back then did not have a magnetic strip), but back in the day it kept some work study students employed.

A tip of the (Tums bottle-) cap to you, Kise.  They are pretty much good memories, whether or not it is due to the blurring of time.

Marty’s Tip for Buffets*:  if ice cream or frozen yogurt is being served, you are not required to use the tiny bowls stacked nearby — grab a cereal or salad bowl, or better yet, pile it onto a dinner plate.

* Wherever you are, Marty, you’re not forgotten. 😉

MN Flashback III – Christmas at Beltrami School

Forty years ago, Beltrami, MN used to have it’s own elementary school, before it completely merged with the school in Fertile, MN. I was lucky enough to have attended grades 1 through 4 there, the last four years of its existence.

One of the treats for the parents (and for the kids, I guess) was the choir concerts we would perform in the auditorium at various intervals during the school year.  Earlier this year, a good friend treated me with the following photo attached to an email.  My memory is pretty fuzzy, but I would guess that we weren’t particularly thrilled with the outfits.  And yes, that motley bunch represents Mrs. Regedahl’s entire 1st and 2nd grade classes.

Christmas concert group photo, 1969
I am front row, third from the left; AZ Bro is directly in front of the tree

Have a Merry Christmas, and a safe and healthy New Year.

MN flashback II – Jack Knoft for MSU Student Senate

Finding out that K was elected treasurer of her dorm floor (way to go, K!) reminded me of this story, and I managed to find the clippings in a box in the basement…

In 1981, during the spring quarter of my freshman year at Moorhead State University, a couple guys on my dorm floor got the wild idea of entering a fictitious person in the Student Senate election. With several openings for the next year, we hoped that our candidate would slip through the cracks and get elected. Paperwork was filled out and submitted, and the wait began…

5 to run for 5 senate seats

When this blurb came out in the weekly Advocate (or “Badvocate” as it was known), we were pumped — five positions, and five candidates! We also noticed that someone’s handwriting was poor enough that the second F was read as a T in Jack’s last name, but since it would be many years until Homer Simpson’s favorite bartender Moe began answering prank calls on his telephone, it was probably for the better.

As the article mentions, there was an open forum later that week. Since Jack could not attend (obviously), “he” prepared and submitted a written statement of “his” positions instead. All that remained was the general election…

Senate Discovers Fictitious CandidatesThe election was held, and it was a slam dunk. From what we learned later, at that time an attempt was made to telephone Jack to tell him that he had been elected. He had left no telephone # on his application, so the registrar’s office was contacted. It was only then that it was learned that there was no Jack Knoft registered for classes at MSU.

While write-in candidates around campus scrambled to drum up enough votes to try snag the opening in the final election, the guys on 2nd floor Nelson Hall enjoyed a good laugh over it all.

MN Flashback – “The Ranch”

Throughout my school years, I grew up on a 560 acre farm 5 miles WNW of Beltrami, MN.  The homestead was called “The Ranch,” although it’s been close to a century since there was any cattle there.

We had everything we could want growing up:  great neighbors, enough trees and road ditches to house interesting wildlife and hold tree houses of all kinds, lots of lawn for any type of sport, dark night skies, and great farming soil.

“The Ranch”

Many a 2-on-2 baseball game was played between the quonset and the barn.  Many an evening was spent in the bedroom (in the top left window in the photo) listening to Herb Carneal call the Twins ballgame while the train whistle blew four miles to the east.  Many hours were spent tag-team mowing the yard with my siblings, and just as many hours snowmobiling in the winter.  Army men battles raged in the sandbox.

We speared carp in the ditch just to the south, trapped many $$ worth of pocket gophers, shot skunks that the dog had cornered (always in the middle of the night), and even had a moose wander through the yard.  After coming off the combines in August, we’d head outside after supper to track satellites and meteors or look through the telescope, with “Mystery Theater” playing on NPR.  We rode at least the distance to the moon and back on the school bus over the years.  Pulled many a weed (and thrown them at the pigs) but harvested vegetables of all sorts (and rhubarb!!), and had many a crabapple fight.

Yeah, I’d do it all over again.