|Rolfe Alumni Essay|
Rolfe High School class of 1969
I lived on a farm but I always said I was "from Rolfe." What I didn't know then was that I had it made. A farm. A big family. Small town life and values. Good neighbors. Friends in need.
Because I now live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I had the cultural distance to make a film about Rolfe (among other things) with my husband, Steven Ascher. We have shown the film Troublesome Creek all over the world. The Rolfe part of the film is always very popular, especially when I talk about "Daddy Date Night" and Rolfe's Main Street. (Bon Appetit!). It turns out that half the world thinks growing up in a small town in Iowa is a fantasy childhood. Here I was thinking it was all about too many brothers and sisters and getting picked on in 8th grade - and instead it was nirvana.
People ask me a lot of questions about Rolfe. More than I can answer. But I know it is a singular town. Full of character and characters. I come from a family full of storytellers. We all have our own. And the Daddy of all storytellers is my father, Russ Jordan. He has thousands of anecdotes. For instance, I can't tell you how many Robinson Implement Store stories he tells. The cast of characters are owner Spike Robinson, Robley Steinholzer, John Hoefing, Bud Hoefing, Ray Wolfe, Howard Spencer - I'm assuming late 50's, early 60's. Ah, the stinging wit! The men are mostly gone now. I was with Daddy last March when he got an early morning call from Shorty (Alice Spencer) saying Howard had died. Russ proceeded to tell "Howard stories" for days .
It's almost Halloween. The last of the century. I have the strongest image of walking in the middle of the street near Miss Marcum's house carrying Unicef boxes. We didn't have the nerve to knock - what with the tower and all on her Victorian house. We went running past to the Lutheran church where we would turn in our Unicef boxes, bob for apples, and be fed delicious cakes and candies by the Lutheran (or Methodist or Presbyterian or Catholic) ladies.
I miss a lot about Rolfe - my friends: Joy, Peggy, Marilyn, Barb, Diane, the Wilson girls, Becki Ives, Debbie Erickson. I miss the boyfriends: Jim, John, Bob (boyfriends weren't my forte - only three I can remember). I miss football games down the street from the school. I miss band (Sandi Spencer, Ruthie Rickard, and me on French horn). I'm always surprised how much Rolfe, Iowa, figures in my dreams.
I've often wondered if anyone has copies of the old Dart when I was editor (1968-69). "Ramdom Thoughts" should be good for a few laughs today. Or that lovely poem I once wrote "A Candle is Like Christmas." Yikes. If anyone has copies, let me know.
The web site is a great idea. Judging by the responses we got about Troublesome Creek, there are a lot of Rolfeites out there - still "Old Gold" at heart.