Class of '51
March 2001

Dear Classmates,


So, the big May 25-26 weekend will soon be here. Should be a fun time as we rekindle old friendships after deciding who is who. Dorothy Johnson Lutz has been very clever in getting us "letter writers" involved, encouraging attendance, for the May reunion event. However, I don't think there are many of us who need to be urged. Gustavus means a great deal to all of us. Gustavus was a place where I felt "at home" after moving around so much. (Four high schools in four years). Dad had been a chaplain in WWII. I wouldn't have exchanged those experiences, but Gustavus gave me the opportunity to have some security as a person, as well as to be educated, thanks to professors, friends, and the college atmosphere. My husband, Kenn, a graduate of Indiana University, recognizes the importance of that part of my background even though he asks, "What is a Gustavus?" It's interesting, living on the West Coast where the name sounds so strange to many, and they stumble over the pronunciation. However, at times like that, one must be gently pejorative as one acknowledges their ignorance!

I repeat the thanks from us letter writers and classmates to Dorothy for her faithfulness all these many years in providing us news of the college and classmates through the class letters. We also thank her for being the class agent. They've been time-consuming and active tasks of love.

I really hesitate going back for our 50th, too. The recognition factor is a real dilemma. In the "Family Circus" cartoon a few days ago: Two of the children are looking at a book with their mother, and Dolly says, "It's mommy's yearbook. Everybody in it has old-fashioned hair." I suppose all will have their natural hair color, and I'm the only one who is gray. However, as I told the man at the Naval Base when I got my latest ID, "It's blonde," and, by George, that's what it says on my ID! I refer to Dr. Marion Edman's speech at her 50th and our 25th anniversary banquet where "she noticed changes in her classmates, like hair transplants moved to the chin." And then, Jenny Craig probably has made a fortune these last few months on the Class of ’51. Not on me, she hasn't, unfortunately. People who write these lovely poems and articles on the joy of "The Golden Years" deserve to be in a loony bin, if they're not already. Getting old? Bah! Humbug! Nevertheless, life is good, and has been good to me and my family, and I am thankful. Even in retirement, we lead an eclectic, busy life¾ so many varieties of interest¾ church (pulpit supply for Kenn and organ subbing for me), concerts, theatre, travel, Rotary, reading, family events, dining out, etc. I did enjoy being Dean of our Ventura County American Guild of Organists (AGO), but it's a relief after three years not to have that responsibility. I'm still on the Board and involved. "Last summer I attended the National AGO meeting in Seattle, which is always a rewarding experience. Can't help thinking of that today when they just had their big earthquake. We were at the dedication of the new pipe organ in their Symphony Hall, and I hope that wasn't damaged.

YEARBOOKS: I wonder if it would be possible to get replacements for my 1948 and 1949 yearbooks. My books were in a musty, moist area for a long time, and the pages are stuck together. I've tried getting them apart, but haven't been too successful. If anyone knows where I could get replacements, I would be grateful since they've been most helpful in identifications as well as memories.

CLASS MEMIORIAL/ENDOWMENT GIFTS: Carol Hoorn Fraser was not only one of my best friends, but also received the "Distinguished Alumni Citation" at our 25th Anniversary. She had been most active in the art establishment in Canada and had exhibits at various times and places. Carol died several years ago, and her husband, John, has been compiling biographies of her from her many friends and co-workers. He also is planning to give some of her work to a museum in Canada (he lives in Halifax). I think Gustavus should have some, or at least one, of Carol's work and I would like to contribute my gift money to that acquisition. Anyone else so minded? I don't know who is making these decisions.

MEMORY STORIES: Dorothy Johnson Lutz writes me that Marilyn Barnes Robertz wants our memory accounts of Gustavus by March 15, not April 1, if possible. So¾ maybe we're already late. Send them to Marilyn anyway. Also, from Dorothy¾ the "Old Main" picture is a print, not a painting. It is a gift to anyone who contributes to the class Project Endowment Fund at the level of $15 or higher. If you can't come to the reunion, the office will mail it to you. (I've already received my brochure concerning this). Kenn and I heard the Gustavus Choir when they were in North Hollywood in January, and it was a beautiful concert. The pastor, James Schoenrock, is a 1968 Gustavus graduate. Choir members were thankful to be where it was warm, but we Southern Californians thought it a very chilly evening.

In rereading some of our class letters, I came across an article Dorothy had reproduced, written by Vern Bergstrom in the Cambridge Star in 1998. He was writing about Mother's Day and commented that his mother had taught him "Children of the Heavenly Father" in Swedish, and the song means so much to him. One day, years ago, when I was at my grandmother's home in Minneapolis and playing. "Children… on the piano, my great Aunt Helen came out of the kitchen crying. She said that this had been sung at her husband's funeral, so I told her it had been sung at my marriage to Kenn in NYC in 1969. I taught my friend, Neil Raber, who was with the Robert Shaw Chorale and had a gorgeous bass voice, to sing the first verse of "Children of the Heavenly Father" in Swedish and the other verses in English. Most of my friends were not Lutheran, some not even Christian, and most had never heard the hymn before. The incredible thing was that there was hardly a dry eye in the church when Neil finished singing. Both music and words are so poignant and appropriate for just about any occasion. Vern & Marie have written new Confirmation words to this hymn. Speaking of Vern...I have enjoyed reading his complimentary copy of "Home Folks II¾ and more." It's delightful reading, and I recommend it. He's written others, too. We have so many talented people in our class!

We don't see many Gusties in our area, and have not been able to attend alumni events in the Los Angeles area recently. Some of you might remember Jeanne (Youngquist) and Marold Strand ’52 ’52. They live in Camarillo, a few miles east of Oxnard, and we occasionally see them. Marold retired in ’99 from the business world of finance. Jeanne is one of the first Stephen ministers in that program at Mt. Cross Lutheran. They both are "into" gardening and have beautified both home and church.

We see Paul Nakamura at least once a year at Synod, where we retirees attend a luncheon on the first day of Synod. Of course, Paul is not retired. They're going to have to carry him out!

Adele Lund Brown lives two hours east of us. We all keep so busy that we're not together as much as we'd like. She subs at the high schools in homemaking (or whatever they call it today). She's always on the go¾ to the theatre in L.A., concerts, travel, always taking some class, and is into all the "holistic stuff." She's going to Turkey in August. Her daughter, Elizabeth, and husband, Richard Egan, live in Lakewood in the LA area. Adele's husband, Leon, died a few years go. Adele, Elizabeth, and Richard spent last year's Thanksgiving in NYC, and loved it¾ Macys's Day parade, dinner at Tavern on the Green, etc.

Dr. George Forell's daughter, Madeleine, is married to Dr. Gary Marshall, our Bishop's assistant for Program and Training in the Southern California-West Synod. So far, I've only met him, and she will remain in my mind as the "little girl" in St. Peter. We attended the Winterbreak at California Lutheran University when Dr. Forell was one of the featured speakers a few years ago. We're only 30 minutes from CLU in Thousand Oaks, so attend many events. Dr. Luther Luedtke ’65 is the president and did belong to the same church in Pasadena as current Gustavus prexy Axel Steuer. In fact, we first met Dr. Steuer at an alumni get together at the Luedtkes's home in East Pasadena before Luther became president of CLU.

Marilyn (Barnes) and Bill Robertz will be visiting us on March 9 after their trip to San Diego and environs, plus a short cruise, before they continue to Palo Alto. We shall take them to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum when they arrive. To those of you who will venture to the wild west of Southern California, the Getty Museum in LA is a must! You do need reservations to park your car ($5), but the magnificent museum is free. The campus itself is unique.

ADDED LIST OF ATTEENDEES TO REUNION: Adele Lund Brown, Keith and Annette Dickie, Kent Eastlund, Barbara (Lundstead ’50) and Don Wulf (who celebrated their 50th Anniversary in September¾ Congratulations!), and David Hilding who writes, "This past year brought us to Turkey-with beautiful mosques, and Ephesus, where we saw where Paul preached to the Ephesians at a time when the city was ancient¾ several thousand years old. Retirement is sure great! Haven't been so busy since college days."

I hadn't known that Ray Thompson had, or does, sing with the Dale Warland singers. I'm impressed! Gerry (Erickson) and Ray had 6 children (one deceased), and Gerry writes that they have 18 grandchildren-all good looking and way above average!

Earl Leaf lists many books that he's written. I hope he and Vern Bergstrom bring them along for display at the reunion.

When a cousin of mine died, his brother sent us this old phrase which we heard in the Augustana Lutheran Church, "We are again reminded that we have no abiding city. It has pleased the Lord in His infinite wisdom to call from our midst..." (Kenn wonders about the theology of that last sentence). Dorothy just received this information and sent it to me: Stewart Carlson, husband of Marilyn (Crentz ’48) died January 14, 2001 at Scottsbluff, NE; Classmate, Joel Hansen died on February 24, 2001; Ted Wolf ’50, husband of Myrna (Thorsell), died January 30, 2001 in Scottsdale, AZ; and Howard Holcombe ’49, spouse of Hildegard (Linnee ’50) died February 11, 2001 in Rockville, MD. Our sympathy and prayers go with the families of these Gusties.

Remember the times you've had here.

Remember when you're away.

Remember the friends you've made here,

And don't forget to come back someday.

That day is soon . . . .

Remember: 1. Send all your requested information to the Alumni Office

2. Send Marilyn Robertz your memory stories

3. The Project Endowment Fund

4. Bring something for the display table


See you soon,

Louise Borg Bergmann

1951 Guest Letter Writer