Fort Snelling was here when my parents were young , I know -- my dad left for Japan from Fort Snelling. And the University was here, too, although it was by no means as large then; you can see some of the square vaguely Williamsburg-looking brick buildings with white trim that people in the twenties thought a college probably should have. They were there. And Hamline was here then, very different in appearance from.the way it looks now.
The stainless steel houses along Nicollet Avenue weren't here then: they were a fifties thing -- houses built entirely of stainless steel, floors, ceilings, experior and interior walls, a whole row of them. A remarkable idea for a cold climate. I bet they're worth a lot of money now, just because of their oddness. But the grand old apartment buildings, large and dark brick -- they must have been here. And the turn-of-the-century houses were here. Dayton's was here. A couple of the taller buildings downtown were here, the ornate ones, but the Minneapolis skyline barely existed then.
They were here: she a young girl, too young to go off by herself, so young that her mother came down from Duluth her first year of college to chaperone her. They rented an apartment; which one, I wondered. Was it one of these? Or these? And where did he live? Where did he walk? He was poor then; where did he eat? Did he work at the college during the semester? Yes, I remember that he did. And he was already finished at Hamline when she arrived, so their paths never crossed then. Not until a few years later, in a town way north of here.
Young people, unfinished people. People who had more of life to live than they had lived so far, whose futures seemed to stretch out before them for miles and miles. Anything can happen then.
You, slim girl walking along the sidewalk, your arms full of books: Is that you? Can you see me? And you, long-legged young man, so serious. Is that you? But of course, you wouldn't know me. I wasn't here then.
Oh. Sorry! I thought you were someone else.