Briarwood

At what point does rumination become a thicket, wherein you’re tangled in your own thoughts and unable to move forward?

And at what point does over-examination of the past become navel-gazing, lint-picking nonsense?Briarwood1

Well, likely now.

Just because I can refer to the journal and slice and dice the past isn’t any different than a “random” stroll past an old girlfriend’s house, or any place associated with a happy memory. Sometimes we all cast backward. It’s just part of being alive.

Sunday, March 11, 1979, the journal declares, “was interesting.”

It was the last week of winter quarter at the U and schoolwork was the last thing on my mind. I was reaching back to a past I could no longer be a part of. I was thinking of Michelle, but felt stalled. Frozen. Lingering in the last wonderful moment we’d had together.

“Around seven or so,” the journal continues, “Dad gave me a ride over to Steve’s and Steve and I walked up to Briarwood to watch Skeeze and Greg play.”

Two things: Dad giving me a ride to Steve’s is an interesting detail. I wonder now what admonitions, if any, he had about what he thought I’d be doing that night. After all, I was still just 19. Secondly, Briarwood itself: a smoky bar and restaurant at the fork of an intersection in Spring Park, Minn., just yards from Michelle Berquist’s mother’s apartment at Tipi-Wakan.

Tipi-Wakan—what it was—holds a lot of memories for me. Skeeze’s parents lived there awhile, and a lot of high school friends who didn’t have single-family houses called Tipi-Wakan home. Skeeze and I often swam in its pool, and Sara Berquist’s birthday party was held in its party room. There was a huge ’70s “Tiki torch kitsch” element to the place and the pool room always smelled of cedar from the sauna and chlorine from the pool. I loved being there.

That Sunday I watched Skeeze and Greg play music in Briarwood’s bar. “Steve Eidem was playing for the first set, Steve and I sat over by Mrs. Eidem and Greg and Skeeze. It was really strange. I talked to Skeeze about Michelle and he seemed pretty interested but, as Steve said, ‘If he laughs too much, you know he really isn’t listening.’ He didn’t laugh that much.”

It was a strange time with my old high school friends: I was at the University, they were either at other colleges or out on their own. But what’s interesting about that 1979 journal entry is the way I absorbed that moment at Briarwood, even to the point of repetition: “My generation can’t sit still. Briarwood. I travel alone. Briarwood.”

Briarwood. Since I was without a car, and Steve had to leave for college in Duluth around 9:30 p.m., I was starting to feel like an outsider during the show.

So I left.

“Started walking. I walked over to Tipi-Wakan, got up to the door of Michelle’s apartment, stood around there, I didn’t ring the buzzer or knock on the door or anything—just stood there. [Michelle’s] Monza was outside so I guess she was home. I think it was around 10:30 then.”

CarefreeCascoIt was an old feeling. “I wanted to see her, but not then. I just wanted to know if she was home. But the feeling of Tipi-Wakan—that place struck me. I hadn’t been there for quite awhile. Just to step inside for a moment brings back the oldest memories—I held that for a long time. In fact, I stood outside, looked back, like MacArthur, and said, ‘I shall return.’”

I walked all the way to the Spring Park 7-Eleven. “Randy was working” and I “got a Pepsi and a bag of M&Ms, just like ol’ times. Started home. The further I walked, the colder it seemed to get. I enjoyed the time I had then—to walk and think.”

—Nightwalking. Just my imagination…

“Got home to a warm bed. What’s homework? I’ll tell you what early sleep is: everything in the world.”

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~ by completelyinthedark on December 6, 2013.

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