For this young boy, a night at the Vali-Hi Drive-In left a lot to be desired!

Gee, our old La Salle ran . . . smoky!

Tim Torkildson: “Subject: Memories of the Drive-in Movie.

“As a child of the 1950s, as well as of deep-freeze winters in Minnesota, the coming of summer meant drive-in movies. I write this not as a piece of fond nostalgia, but as further proof of children’s second-class status back in those Bad Old Days.

“First of all, I never got to pick which movies we went to see at the Vali-Hi Drive-In. When I meekly suggested a fun-filled evening watching ‘The Brides of Dracula,’ I was firmly told that such movies were not for little boys (not so little, really; I was 7 years old in 1960) and that the family would attend ‘Lover Come Back,’ starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. That kind of romantic dreck was an insult to any red-blooded American boy, but my parents ate it up.

“Which brings me to my next point. On a warm summer’s eve, a young boy’s thoughts turn naturally to salt, sugar, and grease. My dad always managed to park right next to the shack where they fried up the hamburgers and French fries, fricasseed the popcorn, and displayed a fascinating little contraption that pulled taffy on a series of ascending and descending bars. The place smelled like heaven to me. But do you think my folks would indulge my lust for a burger and a Coke? Which, I might add, I distinctly remember as costing a mere 75 cents. Not on your life! Mom brought along a banana or an apple for me, and there was a thermos jug of cherry Kool-Aid to quench my thirst. As Rock Hudson and Doris Day cavorted on the screen, and patrons lined up six deep at the shack for their cholesterol fix, I suffered alone in agony — disconsolately peeling off and putting back on the Chiquita banana tag.

“The final iniquity on those long-ago summer evenings, which should have been so cozy and happy, was that both of my parents were heavy smokers — and as soon as the huge white screen in front of us flickered to life, Dad lit up a Salem and Mom lit up an Alpine. Even with the windows down, the whole car soon filled with a nicotine miasma. Hindsight, of course, tells me that all that secondhand smoke is responsible for my annual bouts of bronchitis today. But more to the point: Way back then, it was considered cool to smoke, so when I was 10 or thereabouts and we were at the drive-in, I summoned up the courage to ask my dad for a cigarette. I thought the old man might go for it; he’d already let me have a sip of his Hamm’s beer one night during a back-yard barbecue. But his only response was: ‘Shut up and eat your banana.'”

Where we live
Plus: Our pets, ourselves

A pair from Al B of Hartland: (1) “A little bit of bad weather can go a long way. It’s like chewing on tinfoil. I visited with a Missouri truck driver in LeMars, Iowa, the ‘Ice Cream Capital of the World.’ The weather was colder than necessary and teetering on the edge of becoming a blizzard. The truck driver said: ‘Humans should never have moved this far away from the equator.’

“We laughed. Our lives are measured in storms, but defined by how we deal with them.”

(2) “I’m sure you’ve been thinking: ‘I wish I had a cat that could predict the weather.’ Folklore says cats are capable of weather prognosticating. When a cat sneezes, it’s a sign of rain. Bad weather can be expected when a cat licks its fur against the grain. A snoring cat foretells foul weather.

“I’ll add a caveat: A dog of my acquaintance tells me that all cats are liars.”

The Permanent Sonly Record
And: In memoriam

Twitty of Como writes: “Subject: Cookies.

“I had a bit of a flashback this morning when I stuck my hand into the cookie jar.

“My son, Matt, used to visit the cookie jar on every visit. In the middle of conversation, coming or going, talking about anything else, he’d just automatically make his way over to the cookie jar, remove the lid, and dip into it.

“I usually had Oreos in there. Sometimes homemade cookies. Sometimes a mixture. Oreos were his favorite — the white, double-stuffed, natch. I try other flavors sometimes. Oreo makes peanut-butter-flavored stuffing, and dark-chocolate stuffing, and milk-chocolate stuffing, and I even tried the green, mint-flavored stuffing — once. Ick. But the white (vanilla?) double-stuffed cookie is still the best.

“Funny how certain actions can trigger a memory.

“We’re still here, still missing you, Matt.”

This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other
Photography Division

All from Mounds View Swede: (1) “Subject: Seven nearby signs of spring.

“I took my camera with me while taking a look at the water-retention pond nearby, to see what was happening with spring there. I found these strange tree buds that reminded me of pussy willows, but it was nothing like a willow — rather a regular adult tree.


“I was happy to see the tree reflections in the water. My views like this may become more limited once the leaves are out.


“These three mallard drakes were together at a sheltered end of the pond.


“Strange, to me, budding on this tree.


“As is this one.


“It’s kind of fun for me to discover the great variety in how plants go about doing their thing. I liked these red buds opening up. I will try to remember to go back to see how they change from this to green leaves.


And one of the large trees had really shaggy bark all over it. I’ll try to research that to see if I can learn what kind of tree this is.


“Nature is more varied and to me ‘exciting’ than I ever realized until I began to look at things. Being able to share my findings is the incentive. Thank you, Bulletin Board, for providing this opportunity. I enjoy reading all the submissions.”

(2) “Subject: Four favorite place in Minnesota photos.

“One of our assignments for last week’s Swedish class was to talk about our favorite place in Minnesota. Several of us chose the North Shore of Lake Superior. I brought photos with to show what I was talking about:

“My favorite place in Minnesota is the north shore of Lake Superior . . .


“. . . especially in the fall.


“My favorite river is the Cascade River on its way to Lake Superior.


“And my favorite place to eat up there is the Naniboujou Lodge, where I always have the French onion soup.


“I had to say all that in Swedish, of course.

“We used to go up there at least once a year, but now that we are retired and have more time, we don’t have the same urgency to get away for a well-needed break.”

(3) “Subject: Four egg reflection photos.

“The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis currently has a sauna for members to use. It is built in the shape of an egg, with reflective surfaces. When I noticed the varying patterns, I decided to bring my camera along the day of our Swedish class, to capture some of these abstract patterns and to share with BB readers.





“It’s always fun to see something that makes things look so different. The reflections vary depending on your angle of view, so there is a lot to look at as you move around.”

(4) “Subject: Seven spring is taking off photos.

“When I went to pay my utility bill in Mounds View, I noticed there were flowers already blooming near the city hall — the first flowers I had seen this spring. I liked how the inner blossom had such nice ruffles on its edge. Fancy, that.



“My next-door neighbor’s strawberries were pushing up through the leaves. Yum soon!


And back at the school where I used to work, the forsythia were busy blooming.


“A crabapple tree in Roseville was busy putting out its first leaves and buds while some of last year’s fruits were still there. It provided the robins with a lot of spring eats while the ground was still frozen.


“The pussy willow buds were being transformed back at the retention-pond area.


“And my back-yard wild area had a whole bunch of bright green ‘lights’ that caught my eye one morning.


“The changes are really rapid right now, and that is exciting to see as everything wakes up and gets going. We’ve been busy getting all the leaves off of the plants getting ready to sprout. They seem to do that by the next day after cleaning all that stuff off.”

(5) “Subject: Six more early-spring photos.

“I was expecting rain today, but got sun instead and went out to continue getting the leaves off the perennials. I noticed the maple-tree red thingies were starting to put up leaves, too. Happy to see leaves again!



“And one raspberry cane was sprouting leaves, too! Rhubarb and raspberries are the only big food producers that we grow, and I really like them. Seeing them getting going makes me feel good and hopeful, provided I can keep the Japanese beetles under control.


“The rhubarb plants are going strong.


“And back in the ‘forest’ part of my yard, I found this thing sticking up. I don’t remember it from the fall . . .


“. . . but at the base, I recognized young ferns uncoiling, so assume the big thing is a fern.


“I just don’t remember it looking like this. But then, there’s a growing number of things I don’t remember these days.”

Our theater of seasons

Gregory of the North: “I have to marvel at the change from the beginning of April to the end.

“Here is early April. The ducks are swimming alongside an ice sheet. I don’t know how thick the ice is, but I also had seen the ducks, geese and eagles standing on it around this time.


“And here is today. The magnolia tree is budding, and spring is here! (We won’t talk about the snow storm between these two pictures!)


“Thank you again for keeping Bulletin Board going.”

Now & Then

Horntoad of White Bear Lake: “Seeing the ‘From the Archives’ feature in the PP and the stories and photos of bygone days in Bulletin Board every week inspired me to get out an old Pioneer Press item I discovered years ago.

“My wife and I bought our first house in 1977, a two-story on the East Side of St. Paul, built in 1915. Since energy saving was becoming popular at just that time, I decided to insulate the floor space of the unused attic. Then, because the attic wasn’t ventilated, I needed to cut several vent holes outside in the overhanging eaves. Those eaves had to be cleaned out to allow for airflow. To do this, I lay on the attic floor and stuck my arm as far down into the eave spaces as I could get, removing a lot of various ‘stuff,’ like shredded paper, old clothes, and mouse nests and their accompanying contents.

“In one of those spaces, my hand pulled out something very interesting: a rolled-up copy of the National Sunday Magazine from the November 28, 1915, Pioneer Press! To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised.

“My discovery caused an immediate, lengthy, enjoyable break in my workday. It was amazing to see the changes that had taken place in the 62 years since that paper was shoved into that eave: writing style, design, products and prices.





“I’ve occasionally leafed through the magazine over the years. It still brings a smile to my face, and I’m even further amazed by how far we’ve come since I first found it 42 years ago.”

Ask Bulletin Board

Vertically Challenged:I’m still going through my cousin’s totes of genealogy stuff . . . and while we seem to still be between seasons weather-wise, I wanted to ask if anyone can tell me what year this Ice Palace is from? [Bulletin Board says: We’re certain that someone can, and will.] On the back of this postcard, they wrote: ‘Bell Telephone Carnival Club posing for a picture in the ice palace.'”





Our times

Dennis from Eagan: “Subject: Spice of Life.

“Just in time for Cinco de Mayo parties, jalapeño-infused candy and beer are now available to complement your spicy Mexican entrees.



“I love Wabasha Brewing’s artwork on the ‘Westside Popper’ T-shirts that are sold in the taproom!”

Everyone’s a copy editor
Or: God (and/or the Devil) is in the details

Carp Lips of Wyoming: “Subject: Only A Blank Would/Should Know.

“I heard three different News Sportscasters (Channels 4, 9 and 11) at various times Sunday talking about Max Kepler’s home run in that day’s game.

“They all made the same false statement, claiming Max hit ‘the first pitch of the game’ for a home run.

“Uh . . . no.

“The first pitch of the game was made by Kyle Gibson to the Orioles’ Jonathan Villar in the top of the first inning.

“Mr. Kepler hit Dylan Bundy’s ‘first pitch,’ but that happened in the bottom of the first inning.

“So, NOT the first pitch ‘of the game.’

“I was equally disappointed when the esteemed Dane Mizutani stated the same in his PP article about the game.

“I hate to quibble [Bulletin Board interjects: Why do we doubt that? LOL], but Sports people should know of which they speak/write.”

One moment, please

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: If a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

“They’ve done it again: On Tuesday, the Twin Cities dailies carried what appear to be identical photos on the front pages of their Sports sections. Both feature Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi with his right fist clenched and his mouth wide open. The captions:

“Pioneer Press: ’Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi lets out a yell after striking out Houston’s Yuli Gurriel to end the sixth inning of Monday night’s game at Target Field.’

“Minneapolis paper: ‘A highlight for Twins starter Jake Odorizzi, above, came when he struck out Yuli Gurriel with two men on to end the Astros’ sixth inning.’

“The photo credits were:



Vanity, thy name is . . .

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Here’s one right out of ‘The Sopranos’:

“A Rolls Royce SUV spotted at Lexington and Randolph: ‘BDABING.'”

Today’s helpful hint

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Problem solving.

“A thought: A local nature center has too much buckthorn on its grounds. [Bulletin Board notes: Any buckthorn is too much buckthorn.] I suggested that folks cut it down for walking sticks.

“When life gives you buckthorn, make something useful from it!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Yes, but first brush the stump with high-test Roundup, or it’ll soon be back in even greater profusion. (And wait till spring is over, because the stumps take in the poison better in the other three seasons.)

Life as we know it

April 28 email from The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Subject: Reflections on May, and mesmerizing pictures.

“We are almost into May, which I have been simultaneously anticipating and dreading in equal measure. You see, our oldest is a high-school senior. Daily, more events are added to my smartphone’s calendar app, and I live in fear that the entire device is going to spontaneously combust from overuse or exhaustion. Checklists! Parties! Prom! Haircuts! Concerts! More parties! I also worry there is little time to reflect or reminisce. The senior’s little brother (who has grown three inches to 6-foot-1 since eighth grade started eight months ago, so he’s ‘little’ in age only) is feeling like Jan Brady (‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’) and hasn’t grasped the ramifications of getting The Monkey Lover’s and my undivided attention for four years while his sister goes 1,000 miles away for college. There are dichotomies all over the place: The senior sometimes seems to have reverted to her tween years — when she was desperately needing us one minute, and pushing us away the next. We are having deep, thoughtful discussions one day, and then we are all being silly and trivial. I’m getting whiplash just thinking about everything that is going to happen in the next month, and remembering the last 18 years and how I used to wonder how she would ‘turn out,’ because of (or maybe despite?) my clueless parenting. My procrastination tendencies seem to have intensified, which isn’t helping anyone, but which I realize is my go-to coping mechanism. I am therefore going back to a trick which got me through grad school: Find something small to look forward to at the end of every day, almost like a reward for accomplishing even the most basic of tasks on my to-do list. Today I’m going to start a gratitude journal. Wish us luck! I’ll keep you updated.

“Can I ask a question of (or suggest a new category for?) Bulletin Boarders? What’s the best (or worst!) advice you got upon graduating from high school, cliché or not?

“Finding photos that make me happy is one of my rewards:”

Band Name of the Day: Eat Your Banana

Website of the Day, recommended by The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “The Case of the Stolen Ruby Slippers”



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