Yeah. That one.
I’ve been getting the house ready for family to visit, and part of that included finding and putting away all the tools I’ve got lying around from fixing this, that, or the other thing. So. As I was down in my workshop putting things away, I noticed this big box of photographs that I’d seen before, but never really bothered with. Here are a few things, people, and places.
This photo of horses, taken some time in 1968/1969 (the date on the photo is the printing date):
Some of the rockets I built before I was 13 (the big one on the left, an MPC Moon Go, was probably my favorite. Yes, that’s a model Gemini capsule on top:
My cat, Miss Meow. She was acquired when I was in second grade, IIRC. She was supposed to be my brother’s cat, but she was really mine. She lived to be 20… This photo is probably from some time in the late ’70s/early ’80s, when she was 15 or so, and the location is the family home in Shoreview, a suburb of St. Paul:
In 1976, I started college. The building in the background is the University of Minnesota’s Pillsbury Hall, home of the Geology department. In the foreground is the building that was the campus bookstore, Williamson Hall, a massive, underground, modernistic structure that was subsequently turned into a computer center. It was a great place to hang out in the winter–or actually, any time:
Next is Cedar Square West, c. 1979, a complex of apartment buildings where I lived for three years. The tallest building was Building M, or McKnight Tower. I lived on the top two floors (yep, a two-floor apartment!) of the lower unit in the foreground, Building F. Building E is to the right. The red brick buildings in front are/were part of Minneapolis’ West Bank culture. They housed the Viking Bar, the 400 (see below), the Coffee House Extempore, Midwest Mountaineering, Belville Guitars, and–of course–the New Riverside Cafe. This was literally the corner of Cedar and Riverside, the closest Minnesota had to the Haight.
Across the street from those red buildings was another set of red brick buildings, including the 400 Bar and Annie’s Parlour, simply the best ice cream I’ve ever had. This view, looking at the back of those buildings, was my front yard when I walked out of Building F. This photo is probably from 1980, shortly after the 400 burned down. It was later rebuilt. Lamont Cranston used to play there, IIRC.
Here’s the view from a pedestrian bridge than ran (IIRC) from next to the West Bank Coop Pharmacy, across Cedar, to an alley next to Palmer’s Bar. You can see down Cedar, past the Cedar Theater, across Riverside. The building on the right of the intersection, far side, was the New Riverside Cafe. Numerous shops moving back toward the viewer on the right, including the West Bank Coop Grocery, which carried, inter alia, generic beer.
My bedroom, on the 13th floor of Building F (our entrance was on the 12th floor). My first decent guitar (still have it), bed, posters. I remember assembling the frame for that bed in an otherwise empty room that smelled of roach poison (yes, we had roaches) and almost crying for feeling alone. I was 19. I lived in that apartment for about three years, with two roommates–first Bruce, then Otto (who was the brother of an ex-girlfriend).
Another view, taken at a later (?) time (lafter Dylan released Live at Budokan–which I think I purchased at the nearby Wax Museum). A few posters have changed.
Downstairs, same place, stereo to the left, TV to the right, 50-watt Peavy Pacer guitar amp and a briefcase containing my effects board in the middle. This photo was likely taken late ’80 or early ’81.
And a couple of old Polaroids of yours truly, playing the guitar that went with the amp. Both taken in the dining room of the house in Shoreview. I think that second photo shows me wearing a University of Florida shirt.
After I graduated in the Spring of ’81, Otto and I went our separate ways and I moved from Cedar Square West to a tiny apartment on the outskirts of Dinkytown. The block I lived on ended at a grain elevator and railroad yard. Overall, the place was much quieter than the West Bank, and much smaller, but at $50 a month furnished, sublet, it was a deal I couldn’t refuse.
Here’s the outside (I was on the left, on the second floor):
The inside of the apartment which, as you can see, was crowded. Almost none of the musical stuff or furniture in that shot was mine! That all belonged to the guy I sublet from. The bike (a Raleigh Gran Prix, my pride and joy for many years) and the tie (ugly, ugly, very ugly) were mine, as was the music stand.
And a sticker I put on the Window.
Summer 1981 was idyllic. I was 23 years old without a care in the world. Not only did I have a cheap apartment, I had no bills to pay to speak of. I had received a $1,500 cash award on graduation. It was supposed to help pay for grad school, but since I had already received a graduate school scholarship, I decided I didn’t need to work that summer. I hung out, rode my bike, read books, drank beer, went to concerts (Bonnie Raitt, who had a few albums out, but was not really well-known, and Arlo Guthrie, who of course was), went to a theater festival (The Gathering, in St. Peter), and generally had a very good time. I have had many good times in my life, but if there’s one for which I get nostalgic on any kind of regular basis, it’s that summer.
That summer, I hung out a lot with, got somewhat romantically involved with, and hoped to but did not, get further romantically involved withl L. She was part of the group with which I hung out, and we just sort of paired off. We went to some friends’ wedding that summer, and on the way back, stuffed flowers into the muzzle of a tank on display outside a military base. We protested, read, did our laundry together, she worked, we went to movies and shows (see Bonnie Raitt, above) and biked around the city. We parted, more or less by agreement, about two weeks before I left for Chicago.
It was also one of the times I reread Dhalgren. I know this was that summer because the keys are, respectively, for my apartment, my bike, and various University facilities, and the date on the cassette label is early September 1981. From this I also know that this photo was taken after my apartment was broken into. They took my typewriter and my camera (insurance replaced both) and a couple of boxes of cassette tapes–which lead to me re-recording tapes like mad, such as this one with David Bowie on it. Ironically, the thieves failed to open the closet, in which I had my three very nice guitars, and they failed (probably because of the component-and-cable mess) to get my stereo, though they tried.
Two last photos from that Dinkytown apartment. I never knew this cat’s name, but it hung around for a while. It would come to my back door and I’d set out a little milk. Not mine, but it sort of felt like this cat and I intersected for a while. Kind of like me and L.
There are lots more pictures and way more stories, but this covers a time. On September 23, 1981, I left Minneapolis for Chicago. I never lived in Minnesota again.