There were few older folks in the vicinity of Loring Park, at least as far as I remember, circa 1965-6. A wonderful urban park by day with a pond in its center. Squirrels ran this way and that, hoping for a handout from the families and tourists that frequented its grassy knolls or sat on its benches . Pigeons did the same. To the west, across busy Lyndale Avenue South, which now feeds directly into I-94, lies Walker Art Center and in front of the center its sculpture garden. To the north of Loring Park lies the Basilica of St. Mary. To the south were cheap apartments—one of which I lived in for a brief time. To the east, as I recall, the apartments were a little nicer.
Farther to the west, past the Art Center and back then the Tyrone Guthrie Theater (since relocated nearly to the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis) lies Lowry Hill—old, luxurious homes a 100 years old or more. Tudors, Victorian, Mediterranean and a whole ensemble of eclectic styles. By night a different crowd frequented the southern border of the park. Working boys plied the sidewalk, waiting for cruisers unable or unwilling to hookup for free at the 19 Bar a couple blocks away. As a pre-20 young man, I got my share of eyeballs but I was straight and not in the trade. Still, it made for an educational and entertaining time. Of course, had I been a young woman in most any community in America then or now, the eyeballs and more would be commonplace.
I had come back to Minneapolis in 1965, intending to save some money and get into the University of Minnesota in 1966. The draft got in the way of that plan, but that’s another story. I had spent the preceding two years with my with my older brother and his family after my mother died in 1963. He couldn’t afford to support me when the Social Security dependent benefits ran out and I needed to establish residency in Minnesota anyway. I couldn’t afford much so I stayed at the YMCA until finding a dumpy apartment with a roommate I met while at the Y. The old building was south of Loring Park, just across the street.