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Rolfe Alumni Essay

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Guy Eccles
Rolfe, Iowa
Rolfe High School Class of 1940

Assuming one has reached a certain point in life, we can all remember what we did on any Saturday morning at 10 a.m. sixty years ago! Conversely, we can't remember what we had for breakfast this morning.

This thought is mentioned because it reflects the mind and memories of one who has claimed Rolfe as residence since 1924. Not a record among some of this crowd, but a good piece of time. Thoughts and memories jump up, and they are sometimes hard to believe.

An example of the weird. No matter what part of town one finds himself in - someone or some experience comes to mind as if it were yesterday. A trip past the school brings memories of late afternoon summer tennis games. This was a big deal for some of us, and was looked forward to all day long.

A walk in the halls of the school building pulls back to mind unforgettable sounds. Music coming from the auditorium. Orchestra, operetta and play practice at 3:10 in the afternoons.

Memories of a business on Main Street, even as late as the fifties, where as much money was taken in after 6 p.m. on Saturdays as was collected all long.

Going back to the late thirties, a Saturday job in a grocery store involved working until midnight. one farm family would buy their groceries around 7 p.m. and pick them up about midnight.

Regarding Saturday night crowds in Rolfe during the thirties and forties. one family would park their car on main street in the afternoon so they would have an "Observation Post" for the evening sidewalk traffic.

Parents were just not as worried about their kids in Rolfe in those days. We used to skate the creek all the way to Plover. This usually involved falling through the ice several times, up and back. So what!?

There used to be hockey in the winter and swimming in the summer at Lake Okabena. Lake Okabena, so named by Doc Butler, was a small muddy narrow part of the creek North of Sunnybrook restaurant in North Rolfe, just east of the bridge, going up the hill. We made our own fun, and it was great.

Life in Rolfe has changed since that innocent, interesting and safe period in time.

There are now gaps instead of some of our business buildings. More doors may be locked more often than before. There are more strange faces on the streets.

This change is the fault of no one. It is the trend of the times, and the direction taken by most small, mid-western towns.

Having said this, in the opinion of one who has been here primarily for 75 years, living in a small town like Rolfe has many advantages. One half of America realizes this, and a lot of people are heading for more safe, rural areas.

Long live small-town life! Long live Rolfe!

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