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Nightmares of being lost
August 3, 2009
by Jim O'Leary

I have frequent nightmares about being lost. Those dreams have their origins in my real life experiences. Two of those experiences involved Waverly’s most prominent citizens, Father Morgan and Doctor Roholt.

One of my worst episodes of being lost was when Father Morgan loaded 10 of us altar boys into two cars to treat us to a trip to the Minnesota State Fair.

There was only one rule: we had to stick together so we wouldn’t get lost, but I was hardly past the gate when my attention was diverted by the cattle barn. I have no memory of the others drifting away, perhaps off to the Midway.

In any case, it was several hours later when someone yelled, “There he is!” and I was dragged off by fellow altar boys, one on each arm, and hauled in front of Father Morgan, who informed me that I had single-handedly ruined the entire trip.

The other boys, instead of enjoying Machinery Hill, the rides, the cotton candy, and so on, spent the entire time looking for “Professor O’Leary,” (my nickname). I was called that because I had a rather nerdish air, was a sissy at sports, and wore glasses.

I had acquired those glasses on another trip to the Cities, this time with Doctor Roholt. He had determined that I needed an eye examination, only available in the cities where they had drops to dilate your pupils so they could get an accurate reading of just how blind you were.

Right after the examination, my eyes still blinded by the drops, Doctor Roholt took me to the movies. I remember it was a Marx Brothers film. At the time, Waverly didn’t yet have a movie theater so this was a real treat for Doctor Roholt. The bright screen blinded me even further. I was hoping to be relieved when we got out of the theater onto Hennepin Avenue, but no sir, it didn’t happen.

I was even more blind and unable to keep up with Doctor Roholt. I fell behind in the crowd and soon was lost. Hopelessly lost and almost totally blind, I found my way somehow into the Forum Cafeteria, which looked like heaven to my hungry self.

They were having a Blue Plate Special for 39 cents. I was penniless and stood there, a lost, little kid at the front of the line holding everybody up. I had no money, of course. One of the women behind the counter took pity on me and soon found out I was lost and hungry. She got me a Blue Plate Special, but before I could enjoy it, a Minneapolis policeman came in with an angry Doctor Roholt and I had another very quiet ride back to Waverly.

(If you see him, return him to: 461 Claremore - Corpus Christi, Texas 78412. Call (361) 992-2618, and his wife will come pick him up. She won’t be at all surprised.)