Denfeld High School Class of 1963
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04-26-2003 - Yesterday's memories trigger today's dreams

Commentary: Yesterday's memories trigger today's dreams
Dick Palmer
Budgeteer News
Last Updated: Friday, April 25th, 2003 12:43:46 PM

A friend of mine is working on her class reunion and has put together (with help from others) a Web site that is being beamed all around the world in seconds. It’s absolutely amazing how our lifestyle has changed in just a few short years. If you are interested in that Web site, or just curious, call up for a closer look. I certainly was impressed.

Observing today’s technology has triggered another thought, the historic evolution of our fine city. Oh sure, there are some who think we are going backwards, but that is far from the truth. Let’s just say Duluth has a great deal of untapped potential, and we, as friends and neighbors, need to stop and smell the roses. Those who have carried the torch in past years have definitely shown us the way, and now it’s time for today’s generations to take the reins.

Sometimes looking back gives one a special perspective and eagerness to seek new horizons. Let’s look back for just a moment.

As a little tyke I remember riding on the Incline located at about 10th Avenue West downtown. It went up to Duluth Heights but was torn down in 1939, with the materials used for the war effort. Those Saturday afternoon movies at the Doric Theatre in West Duluth consumed much of my interest. Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger and others were certainly heroes most of us dreamed about nearly every night.

Going downtown on the streetcar from West Duluth took about an hour, but it was worth it when mom bought me a 5 cent box of popcorn at the downtown Kresge’s dime store. The movies were the principal entertainment center in the 1930s and ’40s. Who remembers the Lyceum, Lyric, Strand, Garrick, Granada, Lake and others in the downtown area? Remember the radio serials featuring Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy? He had a walk-o-meter that was available at your neighborhood Skelly gasoline station. I had to have one, and dad had no choice.

Who remembers the chocolate fudge sundaes at Bridgeman’s? How about standing in line for hours waiting to see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at the movies? How about placing a classified ad in the Family Budgeter for only 35 cents? Did you ever play cops and robbers using a homemade rubber inner tube gun? Does anyone remember when gasoline was only 15 cents a gallon with full service? It’s time to stop dreaming and move on.

Living in Duluth today is a whole lot different than the “good old days,” but the differences are positive. Television and now the Computer Age have really affected our lifestyle, but there is so much more to come. Our grandkids and great-grandkids will be laughing their heads off about the way we existed at the beginning of the 21st century. But that’s okay, the evolution of time waits for no one.

One final thought: Duluth is indeed on the threshold of some exciting times. This is still an excellent area to raise a family, enjoy the diversity of nature to the fullest and anticipate a new era of scientific advancement and economic revival. All the tools are in place. Only the leadership needs to be constantly redefined and challenged. The memories of the past are only a footnote to the future, and for that, we are all the beneficiaries.

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