In mid-January 2021, I announced that after a 50-year career as a craftsman, I will be scaling back a bit as I approach my seventies. That hasn’t changed. [Above photo: This is me taking a load off. It feels pretty good.]
Like I’ve said, expect more funky furniture making its way to the gallery ... but I am excited to announce that I'm debuting my blog simply revland. Sixty-plus years of storytelling about how a simple, ordinary boy got from point A to point B as a simple, somewhat ordinary, and some might say, eccentric man.
Some of the tales could be funny, some not so much, as we all have had obstacles to hurdle. Provocative, perhaps ... hopefully more informative than anything.
I would like to leave some history for my son, and perhaps for myself ... for as I continue along this path, I may need to read about myself to remember who I was. Such is life.
simply revland has been in the works for a couple years, and I hope some of you will enjoy it and glean something from it. For everyone else ... forgive me for being so presumptuous. Stay tuned.
[February 14, 2021] Welcome to simply revland, a collection of memories and musings spanning eight decades as an artist and musician, most notably the last 50 years as an award winning designer and furniture maker. Like my sister, mother, and grandmother before me . . .
the early years
[February 21, 2021] Ah yes . . . the 1950s:
Life was simple and things moved at a much slower pace . . .
the magical mystery door
[February 28, 2021] In 1960, as a 7-year-old, I was beginning to understand my parents . . . and perhaps they were on the road to figuring me out as well. However, on numerous occasions, I could overhear them talking about me in Norwegian, which usually meant I was in serious trouble . . .
[March 7, 2021] According to Webster, a fort is a place that’s made strong and secure. It can also be a fortress or a fortification. But for a child, it can simply be a patchwork quilt held up by clothespins or a large cardboard box turned upside down . . .
the treehouse (1962)
[March 14, 2021] I’ll never forget the view as I sat comfortably in the penthouse, or the “crows nest,” as I so proudly called it. It was the third level of my treehouse, my bachelor pad, 30 feet off the ground, my official den of iniquity. Musty old pillows stuffed into. . . .
solitude, the early years
[March 21, 2021] I closed last week's chapter by stating we would discuss the choices I made as a child . . . specifically the solitude, seclusion, and isolation that I experienced.
. How does a small child make decisions like this on his own? . . . .
"Party Line" (1962)
[March 28, 2021] It was a rare occasion that I was ever allowed to leave class early at Jefferson Grade School, considering my expertise was actually failing to show up. I had been watching the clock all day, knowing I had permission to leave at 1:30.
the wood lathe (1965)
[April 4, 2021] His huge gray, overgrown nicotine-stained mustache hung over his top lip, weakening his smile ... if there ever was one. ... he shuffled awkwardly across the dusty floor. Most noticeably, however, was the realization that half of his fingers were gone. As in, missing.
the revland municipal (1967)
[April 11, 2021] My last hurrah, as I saw it, was to create the Revland Municipal Golf Course on our family property ... Providing the “gentleman’s” game, one of history's oldest and most revered sports, with free admission,
slowpitch softball (1968)
[April 18, 2021] It was the Summer of 1968 and we were forced to sit on the grassy knoll that day, only because the aluminum bleachers were fully occupied. Excitement was in the air ... as we waited for the home team to take the field.
senior year (spring 1971)
[April 25, 2021] While our fellow students were back in class, we were combing through the ball rack at The Bowler on South University Drive, a weekly required ritual meant to track down our perfectly-fit, black-colored, three-holed sphere.
grave digging blues (1972)
[May 2, 2021] I was prepared to begin my first full-time job as a grave digger at Sunset Memorial Gardens on South Highway 81. It paid well at $2 an hour, and I could only assume this experience would foster an adventure or two.
Ted Mack (1953) / Wikimedia Commons
NDSU spring blast talent show (1974)
[May 9, 2021] It was the night for NDSU’s annual “Spring Blast Talent Show,” emceed by the legendary Ted Mack, host of CBS’s Ted Mack Amateur Hour. I had been preparing for this for months, and had written an original song to unveil: “My House.”
first vinyl record (1974)
[May 16, 2021] It was now late September ... and I had an appointment. For on this day, I was cutting my first vinyl recording at Mark Custom Records in Moorhead. I was battling influenza, complete with a fever, and knew I wasn’t up to snuff, but felt an obligation to work my way through it.
the wood shoppe (1976)
[May 23, 2021] ... we soon opened “The Wood Shoppe” directly across the street from “Betty’s Beer Depot” on 13th Avenue and Fifth Street South. The location turned out to be advantageously serendipitous to both of us, as six packs were just a few steps away ... as we hopelessly waited for the phone to ring.
a child is born
[May 30, 2021] I had turned 26 earlier that year , and happened to be a healthy young man of leisure, enriched with advanced hormonal tendencies. Like many others my age, I was on the prowl. ... Within about a month, even though it seemed like just a few days, I was informed that I was about to be a father.
mark your calendar
[June 6, 2021] After publication, offers for modeling came our way, and a few of us started doing ramp work, escorting, and, of all things, disco fashion shows. (Use your imagination in picturing that one.) I was also asked to attend a woman’s bridge club event one night, wearing only a robe.
[June 13, 2021] Meeting “Elvira” at her California home ... wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I’m quite certain she was equally dismayed ... for some absurd, far-fetched reason, I expected the door to open to the character “Elvira,” in full wig and makeup, with a residence filled with Halloween-themed memorabilia.
paying the piper (1991)
[June 20, 2021] It was March 6, 1991, a Wednesday morning, in the vicinity of 10 o’clock. The phone rang. I had yet to possess one of those fancy new cellular phone gadgets, as it appeared to be as substantial and cumbersome as a patio paver.
if only for today (1993)
[June 27, 2021] I had little memory of any of it, as the entire dance was choreographed while I was under the influence. Quite frankly ― and it took awhile to wrap my head around this ― I had come to one conclusion: for now, all I had was today ...
[July 4, 2021] I had been preparing for a featured appearance on HGTVs “Modern Masters” program. I was one of four artists chosen from North Dakota to appear on this weekly series, based on precise criteria, but not exactly certain what that criteria was.
fresh new digs (2003)
[July 11, 2021] To commemorate 50 years on this magical, earthly planet, and with every intention of perpetuating 50 more, I thought it was time to create some fresh new digs. Consolidating mid-century modern living quarters with a detached backyard, state-of-the-art woodshop …
matrimonial bliss (2005)
[July 18, 2021] ... she is kind, thoughtful, calm, loving, and attractive to boot. I have waited 52 years to get married.
Perhaps I have met my match?
[July 25, 2021] Cletis Bernell Revland, like me, another simple, silly, fearless, uneducated man, who through sufficient schmoozing and a lovingly firm handshake, two-stepped his way through the Great Depression, WWll, and Typhoid Fever.
[August 1, 2021] Reinvention is like skinny dipping. It is risqué and refreshing at the same time. It’s not defined as a mid-life crisis, which I’ve always found to be somewhat silly. Many artists that I’m familiar with say there is no such thing.
[August 8, 2021] Negotiating with building owner Mr. Gil was no wienie roast. ... Mr. Gil had the demeanor of the deplorable “Soup Nazi” from the Seinfeld sitcom.
dakota fine art (2018)
[August 15, 2021] After six years of gallery creation and sole ownership, I am now convinced that the only reliably infallible way to keep the doors of an art gallery open is the cooperative business model.
[August 22, 2021] Well, here we are. Present day. Chapter 28 of “simply revland," the final biographical chapter, is in the books ... commemorating 68 years' worth of adventure.
Going forward, on no given timetable, I will blog about what’s currently up my sleeve: the great community I live in ... golf ... woodworking tidbits ... cultural info. No politics. No religion. Just good, old-fashioned, Revland-enhanced bullsh!t.
So, STAY TUNED and ... thanks for reading!