The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #25—Part IV: A Brief Autobiography of the Valley Underground: Education of the Undergrounders

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
November 16, 2015
Chronicle #25—Part IV: A Brief Autobiography of the Valley Underground: Education of the Undergrounders

Like all of life's education, high school also played an important in learning how to survive and thrive in the Valley Underground.

The old Osceola High School on Chieftain Street, now demolished and over-built, had its littler, and some rather larger, nooks, crevices, and passageways. Many of these domains belonged or connected to the personalities of the school experience. Those personalities who left a large imprint on life in Osceola—the staff and the custodians, the teachers, and the administrative workers—both taught formally and cared informally, for their students, not only in the book work and tests of the “formal” type, but with the sharper insights on life we learned from them, outside the classrooms.

To students, some grades mattered, some grades more than others, but inspiration, creativity, noble models, and personal ideals mattered most in the end. Such things we only learned later in life the importance they held. We had plenty of the good and bad impressions and examples to disseminate, sort away; to keep the best, of those people and lessons in our lives; and to learn from the inevitable mistakes all made at some point.

As kids, the non-permanent population of the high school, we used our transitory presence to shape our worldviews, although those would await important development much, much later, if lucky. We, the young, like the young always, explored limits, defined some edges, exceeded tolerances of a few of all descriptions, and otherwise tried to have fun.

In the Underground, and its true spirit, as we always should, fun must never take a mean spirit, or expense itself at the harm or cost of others, except at the frustrations of the senior class, who get a second, less satisfying laugh, in this,“Case of the Missing Mascot.”

By my sophomore year, that old high school underwent yet another construction and remodeling. In the old study hall and theater (a large, high ceiling, room used for other purposes, too), up the short steps from the old library in the half basement, the school had constructed a new media center, a.k.a., the new library. In the corner by the northeast entrance to that new library, the principal, our very good man Mr. Vesperman, proudly placed a 5-foot high wood carving, an artful and respectful totem, of our school mascot, the mighty Native-American warrior and Chieftain. Under many names, we must call him Osceola, that Seminole leader after whom our ancestors named our town on this bluff above the St. Croix River.

That 1986-87 school year, in anticipation of festivities upcoming, at the end of which we would hold an old-fashioned pep rally, the stern-smiling, and enigmatically grinning mascot disappeared. The senior class, or at least the more adventurous with good natures, kidnapped, temporarily, the Osceola mascot. They took him, the mascot, places, in Osceola and Dresser, over a couple days after school. He flew in planes, rode in vehicles, and stood symbolically in front of the sawdust pile at the lumberyard. All of this mascot-in-action appropriately got photographed. (Some, not all, of the photos found their way into that edition of the yearbook). Back at the school one early evening following more of the mascot's adventures, the “kidnappers” smuggled the mascot through the lower parking lot doors and hid him in a janitor's closet, behind the machine engines classroom, in the main basement across the hall from the gym locker rooms.

At that point, the case of the missing mascot became a little. . . bit. . . more. . . complicated. . .(This story continues in the next chronicle of “Sub Terra Vita”).


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