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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