Class of '63
Volume 42, Number 2
It’s that time once again. I have to keep going back to previous class letters to figure out what Volume it is that I am writing. It is amazing how quickly time flies when you are having fun. If my math is correct, this is the 42nd year of class letters, not counting the ones we got from Howard Holcomb ’49 before we arrived on campus.
There are a few signs of spring here in the land of Lake Woebegon! The sun is warmer even when the temps outside are 10 degrees. The sun is retreating on my living room floor as it rises higher in the sky and is blocked by a large overhang on the south side of the house. Minnesotans are talking about basketball tournaments and preparing their snow blowers (hardly used all winter) for the deluge of snow which usually arrives at tournament time! Ice houses are being removed from Minnesota lakes before the thaw arrives and they sink to the bottom of the lake. It is a grand place to live!!
I don’t report a lot in this section any more since so many of you receive e-news from the campus. Gusties finished first in the conference in men’s basketball and enter the MIAC tournament as the top seed. The men swimmers also won their fourth consecutive MIAC championship. That huge new pool in the Lund Center has made a difference. Old Main is empty and is being remodeled with a complete gutting of the interior of the building and replacement of all systems. An elevator will be part of the new building. A new residence hall is being built and will be ready for the fall semester. Plans are being made to finally move the football field to a new location. Gustavus promised the Olin Foundation decades ago that the field would be moved. Moving the field opens up an expansion to the West (a West Mall) of which Olin Hall was the first building, the International and Swedish House the second, and the new residence hall will be the third building on the West Mall. A new social science building on the West Mall is also being planned where the current football field is positioned. I am looking for someone who appreciated John Kendall ’49 so much as a psychology professor and president that he/she would contribute $2-3 million to have the social science building named in his honor!!!
Retirement is great says Karen Pierson Tommeraasen. She and Cort are traveling to New Zealand this February to visit her sister Linda (Pierson ’60) and Paul ’59 Engebretson who is on a six-month medical exchange in Hobart, Tazmania. Eden Hutabarat continues to enjoy fun in the sun in Sun City, AZ. Bo Cote is thrilled to announce that one out of four of his children are out of their house and in college. The other three will soon follow and by the time of Aspen High School graduation in 2008 they will be eligible for “empty nester” status. Phyllis Morgan Herstad is living in Duluth and working for the United Truck Body Company in Duluth. J. Stephen Benson is director of the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at the University of Minnesota. Many Gusties in the area have discovered the wonderful classes and programs at the Life Long Learning Institute. I highly recommend that you check it out. Steve was married last June to a delightful woman, Judith Hornbacher. They have a six-month-old grandchild.
Jan Heaberlin is enjoying a new home on Turtle Lake in Shoreview and delighting in five grandchildren. Michael Holm has joined the American Institute for CPCU and the Insurance Institute of America as marketing director, Midwestern region. Mike headed his own consulting firm and was a senior consultant/advisor for Zurich North America Insurance Company and previously was with Great American Insurance Company where he started his career as a senior underwriter in the surety department. Now Mike, all of that came from a clipping service. Why not write a short note on your gift envelope and tell me what it all means?!?
Heather Harshberger Fluck writes from Hector. Daughter, Karen, is a captain in the U.S. Army and has returned from Iraq and Baghdad and many months in Kuwait. Heather traveled to Ireland as a singer and bell ringer. Her daughter, Linda, is also making news in opera having been the winner of the Met opera district of St. Paul and is continuing on to competition on the Met stage in New York. Keep us posted on her accomplishments! Daniel and Mary Beth (Longe) Malloy have moved into a condo in Cedar Rapids, IA. They still have the Yellow House Bed and Breakfast. Dan is trying to retire, but still repairs and restores pianos while also selling commercial property.
Phyllis Sneesby Sorheim passed away November 27, 2004 after a courageous battle with metastatic breast cancer. Our sympathy to Dennis and her entire family. I spent a delightful hour or so with Sandy Harlan Tandler in California a couple of months ago. Much fun to talk about Gustavus memories.
Each year, I try and find a volunteer to write a guest letter to the class. This year I asked Sue Curnow Breedlove to chronicle her experiences in living in “the hood” of the north side of Minneapolis. Here is her letter and many thanks to her for taking the time to write.
Dear Classmates of the Class of ’63,
I live in the near-Northside of Minneapolis not far from the Sumner Library situated on Floyd B. Olson Highway and across the street from where Governor Olson grew up in what were the Sumner Projects. This Carnegie red brick library looks similar to many of those in small towns and cities throughout the U.S. As a member of the Friends of Sumner Library, I spent a recent Saturday from 9 to 6, hosting and celebrating its re-opening after two years of planning, renovation, restoration, expansion, and installation of art work and displays. The event, and the building itself, represents much of what living on the Northside for the past 35 years means to me.
The re-opening ceremony began with songs, drums, and flute music of the indigenous people of the site. Students and staff of Anishanabe School dedicated a song not fortuitous to the day, a song of friends renewing friendships. I have never before witnessed the number and intensity of so many people reconnecting. An elder pointed to the panoramic photo of hundreds of Finns gathered for the Tercentenary Celebration (1638-1938) of the Northside Finnish Community. He declared with excitement: “I’m in there!” A gentleman standing 15 feet away was studying a display of his Jewish heritage in our community. He perked to the voice of the Finn, rushed over grasped the man’s hands. They hugged each other and tears of recognition and happiness flowed. Similar scenes were repeated so often I lost count. The day’s events and reunion were moving and remarkable. I returned home separating myself from the world to relive and process the day. What a joy!!!!
Want to understand the Northside? Stop at the Sumner Library and immerse yourself in the elegant structure sheltering 15 exhibits of our history, embracing the Dakota, Ojibwa, Finns, Swedes, Germans, Eastern European Jews, African Americans, Mexicans, Somalians, and Hmong.
I write to you from under a dryer at Hair by Carol on West Broadway. Carol George is salt of the earth, honest, friendly, compassionate, and good to the heart. Students have asked me: ”Why does Mrs. George stay in the ‘hood’ when her son is playing for the Lakers?” Well, part of the answer is that her shop is where stories, long and short, sad and joyous, are shared. She, like me, has a stake in this community. We continue to address issues of injustice and the various isms because we are loved by, and love one another. We live in a community where, in the past, our relatives led civil rights by taking a stand for Marian Anderson when she wasn’t allowed to stay in a downtown hotel while performing at the University of Minnesota, due to racist policies and people. We live in a community where, in the present, we recently stood up to NSP asking them to convert their particulate emitting coal plant on the Mississippi River (and we won!). Our newly organized group, EJAM, just received notice that we have been designated one of five sites receiving funds as a Sierra Club environmental justice site. Dr. Tyrone Hayes of Berkeley, who recently challenged the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency by taking a stance on the pesticide Atrazine, is with us side by side in efforts to increase the knowledge base and hope for the citizenry, especially the youth.
Geographically, economically, and socially, the Northside of Minneapolis has been isolated going back to the days when Thorpe Real Estate Company put exclusionary clauses in their Edina and Southwest Minneapolis land development. On the other hand they offered rifles to migrant African Americans to homestead on specific blocks of North Minneapolis. Lakes and ponds in our neighborhood were filled with dirt dredged from Lakes Nokomis, Calhoun, and Harriet to make the later more desirable for people of means. When my husband died in 1970, he had to be buried in the Black people’s section of the cemetery.
Despite this history of adversity, Northsiders, for the most part, enjoy life and each other. Family is paramount and anyone you are close to may be included as family. We claim one another. And we definitely feel a kinship as neighbors with a shared history. As actor Joe Minjares was quoted in a news article, “Once a Northsider, always a Northsider.” As for me I am headed for our neighborhood Theodore Wirth Park to ski this afternoon. The anticipation of spring in the adjoining Eloise Flower Garden has never been stronger. Then I’ll feed the birds. I counted 10 species on my feeders yesterday and some are singing their mating song. Later on, a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (only 5 minutes away) will complete the afternoon. If energy holds out, a stop at the Quest tonight to hear a teacher colleague’s band. Life is good for many of us Northsiders. Despite setbacks, we bounce back and direct ourselves to trying to make life as good as we can, for as many as we can, for as long as we can.
Class of 63, have a healthy, life-fulfilling Year of 2005!
Susan Curnow Breedlove
Thanks again to Susan for her wonderful letter. And thanks to all of you for your continued kind comments and for keeping news notes coming. (My e-mail address is below...you can send a note directly to me!) Remember that if I don’t get news notes from you I will have to start making up things! I don’t want to go there!! Thanks also to the dozens and dozens of you who have already made your gift to the Gustavus Fund. Many of you were called by Gustavus students asking for your support. They are the reason that we continue to give. Remember, this year’s Gustavus Fund closes on May 31. Please make your gift soon...avoid the rush!!!
Paul F. Tillquist
1963 Class Agent