Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Wabasso High School class of 1974 still rocks August 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:02 AM
Yes, they do know how to spell at my alma mater in Wabasso. The sign marking the current building came from the old building. And apparently back in the day, a "u" looked like a "v."

Yes, they do know how to spell at my alma mater in Wabasso. The sign marking the current building came from the old school. And apparently back in the day, a "u" looked like a "v," so I was told by a classmate.

We discovered this muscular rabbit in the wrestling room and quickly decided we prefer the gentler, kinder rabbit of the 1970s. For those who wonder about the unusual rabbit, Wabasso means "white rabbit" in a Native American language.

We discovered this muscular rabbit in the wrestling room and quickly decided we prefer the gentler, kinder rabbit of the 1970s. For those who wonder about the unusual mascot, Wabasso means "white rabbit" in a Native American language.

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)

The rabbit we remember, the friendly rabbit of our era.

The rabbit we remember, the friendly rabbit of our era.

As tempting as it was to step onto the Wabasso High School gym, we were warned to stay off the newly-polished floors. The gym is one of the few area of the school unchanged from the 1970s.

As tempting as it was to step into the Wabasso High School gym, we were warned to stay off the newly-polished floors. The gym is one of the few areas of the school unchanged from the 1970s.

And then we discovered this vintage stove in the Wabasso High School home ec room. Could it possibly be a  vintage stove from the 1970s?

And then we discovered this aging stove in the Wabasso High School home ec room. Could it possibly be a vintage stove from the 1970s?

This says it all: "Class of 74 still rocks." We do!

This says it all.

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