Thursday, June 8, 2017

Boys and Girls together...

"Yes, boys and girls together. What a ride, what a journey. Robbinsdale High School does not exist anymore. Closed down years ago. But for those of us who went there, Robbinsdale will always be somewhat of a Camelot."

My journey (as well as my classmates) started in 1954. It started in a small school, basically fit for only Kindergarten called Twin Lake School. In 1954, Dwight Eisenhower was President. The flag had only 48 stars on it. The famous Communist hearings, chaired by Senator McCarthy had started. The words "under God" were added to our Pledge. And the Dow set an all time record of closing at 382.

Because I had a very late birthday (yes, in those days you could actually start school at 4), I was always young for my grade. My family lived on a shifting boundary line, so the schools I attended seemed to change every year. Twin Lakes, followed by Lee, then to Northport, followed again by Lee, finally at Cavanaugh. Then it was on to Robbinsdale Junior High for grades 7 - 9. Following that, our journeys started in earnest at Robbinsdale High School, one of the shining stars of the Lake Conference. 

But this story is not about the schools we all attended - it is about the boys and girls who went to them. With kids who started in 1954 and then graduated from Robbinsdale High School exactly fifty years ago today. It is about a bunch of 4 and 5 year old children, who had a 13 year sojourn in one of the finest school systems this state has ever produced. It is about boys and girls together, who became more than just friends during this sojourn - they became family.

High school was different 50 years ago - much different than today. First off, it was fun. Yes, fun. We had a job to do (which was to learn), and because of the staff and the culture at Robbinsdale, we had fun - and lots of it.

Fridays in the fall were full of high caliber football. It was one of many sports that Robbinsdale excelled in. If it was not for Edina Morningside, the Robbinsdale football team would have ruled the roost statewide for most of the time we were in high school. As it was, the mighty Robins still were the second best team in the state.

I was in plays back at Robbinsdale. Among other things, Robbinsdale had a top notch theater department with top notch directors. Some who were in Robbinsdale plays went on to Hollywood. One received an Emmy and an Oscar. I was in some plays after Robbinsdale, but nothing compared with the times I had being in Robbinsdale plays.

Kids were good back then, Not perfect, but good. We actually learned when we were in high school. Not how to "feel", but learned things which were important. If someone forgot their lunch at school, one of us would share. There we no fights after school in the parking lot - that is not how we rolled. Yes, high school was learning for the future and making friends, some of which would last a life time.

After high school, some of our classmates went to war. Viet Nam was a hot ticket and the draft was in full force. Sadly, some who went to Viet Nam never came back. Some came back with wounds which were visible, others invisible. Some went in the service and served elsewhere than Viet Nam. Some served for two years, some for four, some for a career. 

Some classmates went to college. Others went into the trades. Whichever path was chosen, be it the service, college or the trades, this was the jumping off point. This is where the boys and girls of 1954 became adults. This is where the learning, the socializing, yes, even the fun of the thirteen years in the Robbinsdale school system, paid off in spades. 

The boys and girls of 1954 who traveled the journey at Robbinsdale which finished that day in June of at Mielke Field, have now become the elder generation. Some married, some more than once. Many had kids, some grand kids. Some have passed on. Many left their mark on what they chose to do with their lives. Some small marks, some larger - but all marks. It is part of their legacy.

Yes, boys and girls together. What a ride, what a journey. Robbinsdale High School does not exist anymore. Closed down years ago. But for those of us who went there, Robbinsdale will always be somewhat of a Camelot. And to quote a line from Camelot (with one minor change) - "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, known as Robbinsdale High School."


  1. Nice trip down memory lane. I had a similar experience in a rural MN school, except for athletic excellence. Hard to field anything of consequence but a basketball team when there are only 30-40 boys in the school.

  2. Beautiful true story, Larry. Our years in Robbinsdale schools were wonderful and indeed, Robbinsdale High School our Camelot.

  3. Nice job!! I pray everyday for those friendships especially those who served and never came home. The camaraderie and pride of belonging to the best, be it athletes, actors or musician. I am still a proud Robin '67.

  4. A heartfelt thank you to you, Larry, for putting into words many of the reasons reuniting our dear RHS Class of 1967 every five or ten years is such a rewarding endeavor!

  5. My sentiments exactly. Thanks for putting into words!