NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA: Where I Wrote a Letter Home From College
Dear Mom and Dad and Sis and Grandma and Crazy Uncle Charlie,
Greetings from beautiful Northfield which, as you know, is 25 miles southwest of MY Town. What you probably DIDN’T know is that I have recently become a student of sorts at St. Olaf College. In fact, I just enrolled this morning. It doesn’t get much more recent than that, does it? Ha ha!
Now that I’ve been in Northfield for at least a couple of hours, I can safely say that I’m enjoying it here. But I am having a hard time figuring out how such a small town came to be the home to two of the most academically elite–and most expensive–colleges in the upper mid-west. Sad to say, I can only afford to attend college here at St. Olaf for one day because the yearly $45,000 tuition is way out of my price range. It’s a far cry from the days when I went to college the first time around, back in the late 1970’s, and paid about $1,400 per year. But then, Northern Michigan University certainly didn’t have the same elite academic reputation as St. Olaf. And it definitely was never referred to as being “The Harvard of the Midwest” like our cross-town rival, Carleton College, which has a tuition of $50,000 per year.
Mainly, I’m writing to let you know that I am quickly adjusting to the rigorous discipline of college life and so far I haven’t failed any classes, though I should forewarn you that my grade in “Remedial Mathematics” is likely to be a D-minus.
I seem to be assimilating into the campus social scene despite my advanced age and even more advanced awkwardness. Luckily I have a knack for pretending to be all hip and cool and groovy, so that helps me to fit in. Three or four of my fellow students actually said “hi” to me today. Okay, it was TWO students and, yes, it was only after I said “hi” to them. But, hey, that’s almost as many friends as I made in four years at N.M.U. LOL!
I’m thinking of trying out for a part in St. Olaf’s upcoming theater production of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. I know I would excel in the lead role, even though I’d only have about two weeks to learn my lines and to work on my sub-standard singing voice.
Like a lot of my fellow college students, my bike is my main mode of transportation. I pedaled over to the campus of Carleton College–our evil arch-rival on the east side of town–and through the historic downtown area as well. I received some friendly nods and waves from the townies.
I mentioned the historicality of Northfield. (Now the squiggly red line underneath the word “historicality” makes me question whether it’s an actual word. Maybe that’s something I’ll try to find out in my “English 101” class today. Anyway, if it’s not a word, I just coined a new one.) Most of the historicality derives from THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID. A Hollywood movie by that title was made in 1972 and it starred Cliff Robertson and Robert Duval. The film recounts the famous bungled robbery of Northfield’s First National Bank in 1876 by Jesse James and Cole Younger and their gang of ruthless desperados.
If you don’t give a hoot about those Hollywood picture shows, you can still attend Northfield’s annual “Defeat of Jesse James Days” celebration next September. One of the highlights of the “Defeat of Jesse James Days” is a live re-creation of the bank robbery. It features local citizens as actors. The actors shoot guns and it looks like people are really getting shot because the victims clutch their chests, gyrate, stagger, emote, and fall down in the middle of the street. Now THAT’S some historicality.
I hope all is well back home. I trust everybody is in good health and sis isn’t getting into too much trouble. Ha ha, LOL! I sure miss you guys. A lot. You’re the best family a college kid could ever have.
By the way, I was hoping you could maybe send some money. My college expenses are running a little higher than expected. Just today I had to fork over $4.45 (plus tip) for a “White Chocolate Mocha.” I mean, the Goodbye Blue Monday Coffeehouse was really nice and all, but golly, FOUR-AND-A-HALF BUCKS??? If you could send me, say, fifty dollars, or better yet, a hundred, that would sure help me out with coffee and food, text books, and miscellaneous party expenses. Thanks in advance for your monetary assistance.
Your loving son,