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 Welcome to the "Blakes" area of the Roxy website. This is where you'll find personal ramblings, memorabilia and newspaper articles that are not directly related to the Roxy.

I've always loved writing, but lately I've written more for this website than anything else. Recent additions here include memories of our little music store, Valley Music, and our popular mobile DJ service, Valley Music Sound & Light.  These two enterprises pretty much occupied my life from the 70s into the 90s.

Another recent addition is an essay on what it was like to be a young adult in Forsyth in the 1970s and '80s. People say nothing ever changes around here - well, read that article and you'll see the inaccuracy of that statement!

I've also unearthed some other interesting pictures and memories about Forsyth in years past, including an excellent history of the now-gone Blakesley's Cigar Store, written by my great-uncle Max Blakesley. 

There are also several collections of pictures from various years of the Valley Auto train layout, which we have put up every Christmas season since 1980 or so, along with a couple of newspaper articles that were written about the layout.  I have pictures from more recent years that will be added...eventually! 

One of my favorite parts of this area is the "River Rats" boating news columns that were written by my dad, Bruce Blakesley, for the Forsyth Independent in the 1960s. These articles are accompanied by pictures (mostly taken by my dad) from that same era.  Read these columns for a glimpse of what water sports in the Forsyth area were like in those days. I'd dare to say, people had more fun when they didn't have so much electronic gadgetry distracting them.

I wrote various columns in two Forsyth newspapers for about seven or eight years. Starting in the late '70s, I wrote a music news and reviews column in the Forsyth Independent. It lasted a couple of years before I ran out of steam with it.

My next foray into print was a column called "View from Up Here," which was published in The Enterprise News, a free newspaper, starting in around 1983. The column's title came from a picture of me looking out from one of the upstairs windows at the Roxy.

Eventually the owners of The Enterprise News bought the Forsyth Independent, and merged the papers into "The Independent-Enterprise." My column was retitled "The View From Here," which I thought sounded a little less pretentious.  The "View" column ran for a few more years before small-town politics and censorship by an overzealous editor and (occasionally) a lack of ideas silenced my byline.

This area will also contain some of my favorite "View from Here" columns. I'll try to embellish them with appropriate pictures when possible. There are a couple hundred more columns that are still waiting to be digitized and reproduced here... someday.

-- Mike Blakesley

(More added periodically)

Historic Forsyth photos
1916   1955  1961  1975

Blakesley's Cigar Store

Cruising Main <NEW!>

Valley Music
Valley Music Sound
& Light


Memories of the Forsyth Boat Club with
 newspaper articles from 1961-1966


Valley Auto's
Lionel Train Layout
1997  2003
2004   2005   2006

Model Citizens:
Billings Gazette article about our train layout

Independent Press article about our train layout


Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion
(Pictures and essay)


Newspaper columns:

South Dakota:
Our Mountains
Will Not Kill You

Springing Into Action
April 1989

My trip to
Green River, Wyoming

Dance! Dance! Dance!

My Life as a Disc Jockey

McDonald's Is Out
 to Get Me

Life with a Saint Bernard (Keep a towel handy)

Why English was John's Favorite Subject