Three days and I’ve only used the first person singular once.It was tough but ultimately worth it.
Warning: This is going to be a long, nostalgic post.
One of my college art professors, Timothy Lloyd, is retiring this year. Last night was the opening of one of two exhibitions honoring him. Bec and I drove down, her sporting the beautiful pin, made by Tim, that I gave her for our 25th Anniversary last year. Carleton College, my Alma Mater, is located in Northfield, Minnesota, the town of Cows, Colleges, and Contentment, or so they say. I can vouch for the cows and the colleges. There are two colleges, St. Olaf (boooooo) and Carleton (Yeaaaaah) being by far the more prestigious. You may recognize it as the place where Senator Paul Wellstone taught since way back when I was there. Northfield also is famous for a big shootout at the bank on Division Street where Jesse James and the Younger brothers got their asses handed to them by the local farmers. Lesson: don’t mess with an armed Minnesota farmer. Another significant feature of the town is the Malt-O-Meal plant. My entire college experience was flavored by the constant smell of Malt-O-Meal. To this day, when someone is cooking Malt-O-Meal, I get pangs of guilt and feel that I should be studying more.
Tim Lloyd is an amazing artist. A jewelry maker with pieces in the Smithsonian, who’s work has evolved into the making of Japanese influenced vessels crafted out of sheet copper and other metals. The show featured the work of four Japanese kettle makers and two Americans, Tim Lloyd and Wayne Potratz, inspired by their work. Stunningly elegant pieces, I wish I could show you more of but my camera battery went dead.
The evening began at Boliou Hall with a lecture on the Tea Ceremony in the Art History lecture room where I spent so many mornings happily sleeping through lectures. We got there late and didn’t get seats. I spent the time wandering around the building where I spent most of my college career. The students still look the same. I stopped one young girl and asked her if she was Pat Anthony’s daughter, she looked so much like Pat way back then. She wasn’t. I visited the expanded printmaking studio and saw Old Ironsides the litho press that I fought for so many hours printing editions of my student work.
The other exhibit honoring Tim was an alumni artist show (gosh I guess my invitation got lost in the mail). One of the exhibitors was David Hero a potter and classmate of mine, who now lives on the Olympic Peninsula. In 1970 David and I dropped out of school, he bought a Volkswagen bus at the factory in Hamburg and we drove it around Europe for three months. I was sure David would be there and was relishing the thought of the spectacle he would make when he saw me. I knew I had a bear hug coming. The lecture went on forever, a half hour past when it was supposed to end. My anticipation of seeing David was about to boil over. I paced. The lecture ended and the crowd filed out on their way across campus to the opening at another gallery. No David. I saw Tim and ask him if he was there. He was supposed to be. We went to the opening, the usual thing. Professor types wearing Dean buttons, students there just for the food (they served sushi), artsy types and of course all kinds of people that I thought I recognized but couldn’t quite place. I positioned myself for a good view of the entry and watched for David. He never showed.
Of course, the disrespecting of St. Olaf is all in jest. It’s a great Lutheran Liberal Arts College in the Minnesota tradition of great Lutheran Liberal Arts Colleges. They have a Choir that will knock your socks off, competitive sports teams (regularly whipping the Carls and hence the animosity), excellent Academics and really great sweaters.