Performance brought memories gushing back

Published 1:29 pm Saturday, October 25, 2008

Going to the play at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center to see “Tales of Two Counties” was one of the best experiences ever. Maybe being a nostalgia nut helped, but I totally enjoyed the stories, the pictures and music. I am originally from Brownsdale, a small town by Austin, and I may only be 57, but I lived many of the events talked about through stories I was told, what I have read and of course lived.

I laughed and cried as the stories were told and unfolded on stage and screen. I want to thank Joan for allowing her books to be brought to life and to the cast and musicians for a perfect night. To me, this is what community theater is all about — normal people, not professionals, not being perfect, but doing their best to entertain those that came to watch.

Stories of the baseball teams meant a lot to me, for when I was a very young man starting work at Hormel, I met some of the former players and listened to their stories. The Tower, what a great place to go as a teen. It brought teenagers from every little town around together and when you were there you made friends with kids that normally you would be competing against. Memories of the Terp, the old railroad walking bridge connecting Austin to the east side. The names of bars and business of the eastside. Man, I think I had been in everyone of them at one time. Then Ole Hansen’s story and seeing his daughters playing was so heart-wrenching since I knew Ole as I had listened and danced to his music many times.

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Now not to snub Albert Lea, but the only things I know about the area are stories the Tribune has printed or traveling to Albert Lea for high school district basketball tournaments and stories I heard from Mark Jones. Minnesota, Freeborn and Mower counties should be very proud of the history that was relived for Minnesota’s 150th year.

Great job and many thanks to all involved. I am ever so grateful to had been taken down memory lane if for only a couple of hours.

Jerry Tapp

Albert Lea