Tales from Russia, the Tracy swimming pool, the girls’ bathroom, a science room and more entertained those of us who gathered Saturday night for a 35-year Wabasso High School class reunion.
I thought the Russian tales worthy of sharing with you. But to protect the not-so-innocent, I won’t reveal names. I’m not so sure those involved told their moms these stories even three-plus decades after the fact.
Picture several Minnesota farm boys traveling to Russia in the early 1970s on a Future Farmers of America good will trip. Then imagine them at the Kremlin, where one is hauled away by gun-toting guards—for wearing a tank top. Seems he was improperly dressed, or so we were told Saturday night.
The explanation sounds a bit unbelievable. But then this was Communist Russia at the time.
A second tale from Russia followed, this one even more humorous. Guards detained one of the farm boys after questioning his identity. He was asked to write his name 50 times in an effort to match his signature to that on his passport. Not feeling well and not wanting to miss his plane home, he refused and walked away. He too was hauled off. The plane was held for 20 minutes while the FFAer wrote his name, 50 times.
Laughter, shared stories, memories—all marked our evening together, a night that became more comfortable while touring Wabasso Public School.
As we walked the halls of a building that looks nothing like it did in 1974, we began remembering. More laughter. More stories. By simply standing close to each other, back in that school atmosphere, the decades fell away and we were, for an hour, those high school students.
Later, back at the community center, we wondered. How had 35 years passed so quickly?
(Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling)