Passing of the Van Etten Finn Hall
The Passing of the Van Etten Finn Hall
by Marilyn Loos (2004)
When mem'ry keeps me company and moves from smiles to tears
A lonely little structure stands through the mist of years.
It stood along the sleepy road, the main road into town
I just found out the other day that they will tear it down.
It must have been quite sturdy, it stood the test of time
When it was built with loving hands to be a church so fine.
Perhaps somewhere there's someone who knows its history
To me it was never known, it's still a mystery.
What I remember very well was the fun I had in there
The music and the dancing and the life without a care.
There were some kids about my age, we played outside the door
At intermission we came in to chase “chickens” on the floor.
These “chickens” were but little spotlights moving in the hall
Suspended from the ceiling was a large mirrored ball.
It spun around reflecting all the light
The illusion it created was a wondrous sight.
We amused the grown-ups with our antics, they liked to watch us play
They were mostly chicken farmers who worked hard every day.
Their social life was centered there, it was their recreation
While they preserved the heritage of their ancestral nation.
America was their homeland now, there was no turning back
The country changed in one dark day, the Pearl Harbor Attack.
Sons of farmers volunteered to serve their country well
I was there when the war ended to hear the tolling bell.
The hall had a room downstairs, the aroma wafted up
Nisua and coffee were served, and folks lined up for a cup.
I don't remember lemonade or things for the kids to drink
The water from the pump sufficed from a ladle in the sink.
One summer there was a play performed upon the little stage
The star was Mrs. Laine, her performance was the rage.
She had the most beautiful auburn hair worn in a single braid
Years later we met at her home, and discussed the part she played.
One night sticks in my mind when many cousins came to stay
We squeezed in the back of uncle's truck, 'twas early in the day.
At night the trip going home was very dark and cold
We huddled under a blanket and laughed so loud and bold.
The music seemed to linger on long after it was done
We did not want to let it go we were having so much fun.
Ed Pylkas was the music man, he was a one man band
Sometimes someone played with him to lend a helping hand.
His accordion could not be beat, he also played the drum
His heart was in the music, his spirit like the sun.
He worked in the Co-op hardware store, I'd visit him some days
A friendly smile, a bit of chat would greet me always.
The hall stands in disrepair and became infested with some mold
And so it must be demolished soon, I've been told.
In memory it stands with other halls that stood the test of time
Where Viola Turpeinen played and sang with voice sublime.
It has been many years since the building was a hall
I'm sure it stood for many things of great importance, great and small.
I know there are others who remember more than I
Farewell Old Hall, hyvästi, näkemiin, goodbye.
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