Friday, March 29, 2019

JC Revisited

A re-post from 10 years ago (with reworked pics):

Junior College, that is.

In the late 60’s a side effect of the baby boom was the proliferation of numerous 2-year “Junior Colleges.” There were so many kids coming of age that the established universities had no place to put them all. In the middle of corn fields or nestled in the periphery of downtown areas community colleges sprang up, almost overnight, or so it seemed. I had already attended the U for a year and while my grades were decent, I was miserable. Metropolitan Junior College, on the western side of downtown Minneapolis right across the street from Loring Park, was housed in a funky amalgam of buildings purchased from a small bible college/radio station (Jim and Tammy Faye Baker were notable alums.) The classes were small, taught by mostly by part-timers and other academic misfits, and were, on the most part, pretty good. The politics of tenure was absent (or at least minimized), the jock culture was small (I was on the badminton squad!) and most of the instructors actually had some practical experience in their fields.

All of the college buildings were connected by underground tunnels. The older buildings possessed sort of a horror-flick vibe (Roman Polanski’s The Tenant comes to mind) with long dark corridors, crumbling plaster, dark wood trim and hissing radiators. I had gotten a part time job attending to the photo lab located on the second floor of what had previously been an old apartment building. The darkrooms were in what had been a bedroom and its adjacent bath—which still retained toilet, tub and sink. The other apartments in that building were used as offices and small classrooms, some complete with functional fireplaces. There was an elderly caretaker who had an office in a basement room full of tools and supplies. I think he came with the building. There was even a small room with a piano—if practice time hadn’t been scheduled you could go in and play, no questions asked.

I’ll stop the reminiscence now as I’m starting to realize what a good thing I had there. And it would never do to the have this ersatz prof start wallowing in blubbering sentimentality, would it?

By Professor Batty


Blogger jono said...

It may be sentimentality to you, but it transports me to somewhere I have never been and can only see in your pictures and my mind's eye. I enjoyed the momentary respite. Thanks!

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