Class of '52
A couple of weeks ago I attended the 20th annual MayDay Peace Conference at Gustavus. It was my first, and I was thrilled to be there. After registration and coffee we met in the Chapel for a short worship service. A young woman played her guitar and sang the words to that familiar song, "Blowin' in the Wind," a haunting melody. Remember? Chaplain Elvee read from his October 17,1967, homily, "Cry the Beautiful Boys," and when he finished a student in the balcony played "Taps." Tears flowed.
Fought well, but there was nothing. These were very young, sirs, they deserved better, deserved to die for something better than an era outworn.
So just in this chapel hour, before thy slip from view, leaving the temporary ache― in this minute before they are overwhelmed by obscurity―I raise this cry!
Following the service Daniel Ellsberg spoke to the topic, "Could It All Have Been Averted?" He has been credited with hastening the American withdrawal from Vietnam when he released the top-secret documents, popularly known as "The Pentagon Papers." His story was unbelievable in scope, darkness and intrigue, and undeniably and sadly true. After lunch, David Hackworth, the Army's youngest colonel, who angered the political and military establishment by speaking out on national television in 1971 against the Vietnam War, told of his army experiences, especially those relating to the war. Both men stated clearly their convictions that speaking out on issues and protesting what we believe is wrong can make a significant difference in outcomes and decisions in this great country. It was not only interesting, but also inspiring and I cannot help but wish that each of you might have been there with me. A day like this is typical of the present Gustavus position on social issues. Be open and honest. Students are encouraged to seek their own answers in a spiritual environment and then devote their energy to service for others.
I believe my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can." ~George Bernard Shaw
In March we participated in Phonorama, Bobby and I. All members of our class were contacted by phone this year in one way or another. I know I talked to many of you and tried to leave messages for those who had recorders. There were a number of "no answers," however, because folks were out of town or have caller ID and chose not to answer an unknown number. Dick Brown and Red Rehwaldt helped a lot! Thanks, guys! Now I have a little news to share. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to the personal highlights I received from some of you. You will go unreported, but not forgotten, I guess. Elizabeth (Betty) Halverson Agar is a #1 basketball fan. She has been at all the NCAA games and was hoping to go to Indianapolis. You'll like this Danish poem that I had planned to share somewhere in this letter because it comes from a basketball player whom many of you will remember from Gustavus-Hamline rivalry and this seems to be the appropriate time to insert it in my letter. My friend, Vern Mikkelsen, former Hamline player during our era, and later a professional with the Minneapolis Lakers, sent this to me a while ago. He and Jean live nearby, and I see them often. Mik is 100% Danish, you know, and thought we Swedes needed a little philosophy from Denmark.
Do remember to forget
anger, worry and regret.
Live while you have life to live.
Love while you have love to give.
~Piet Heine, Danish Poet Laureate
I know you liked it. I'll tell Mik. Marie Schafer Benson and Stan '51, wrote last fall about their plans for a wonderful Christmas. For the first time since 1980, then in Arusha, Tanzania, with just "Ma, Pa, and three sons," their entire family, now 15 strong, would gather in St. Peter for the holidays. That includes three sons and their families: John '80 from Moorhead, MN, Todd x82 from Malawi, Africa, and Jeff from Denver, CO. What a wonderful reunion and celebration that must have been! I also want you to know about Stan's guest visit at our church, Gethsemane Lutheran, in Hopkins. Bob Larson '51 and Ruth Peterson Larson are members there as well, and Bob arranged for Stan to speak to a retired men's group, the Sonshine Boys, this winter about their missionary experiences in Africa. Women were invited too. It was informative, inspiring, entertaining, and I recommend to anyone in this area to contact Stan in St. Peter. Perhaps he'd be willing to talk to a group of your choosing. Hope you don't mind this little promotional bit, Stan. Marie was unable to come that day, but she usually accompanies him. A wonderful note came from Mary Iverson Anderson at the end of last year, and I want you to know all of it. "In September, 1999, our daughter, Kristin, was married and happily all of my bridesmaids from my wedding were able to attend. All Gustavus, circa '52 or thereabouts-except my dear Gustavus roommate, JoAnn Akerson Steele, who passed away years ago from cancer. The group included Lois Oleson Krantz and Roger '54, Evie Swenson Skjelbostad, Louise Weigt Haugh, JoAnn Gustafson Swanson (my cousin '53), Phyllis Anderson Swanson Adamson (sister-in-law '54). A great time!" Yes, Mary, I'm sure it was a grand reunion and a special wedding. Thank you for sharing that. I love that note because it speaks to the Gustie spirit and the loyal friendships that are the treasured gifts of those college years.
Along that same line, Lee Jaenson Nelson Zopff moved to her Gunflint home just a week ago, and she has invited Gloria Anderson Samelian, Nancy Messman Malcolm, and me to visit her early in June. I talked to Ruth Gustafson Jette x'52 from Phonorama in March, and I hear from her regularly. We hardly knew each other at Gustavus, but now we have a special friendship. A note included with her alumni gift reminds me of not only her generous spirit, but also that of all of you who respond generously to my appeals for Gustavus. In part she wrote that she and her husband are financing, at least in part, college educations for two grandchildren and supporting eight children through the Christian Children's Fund. She writes, "God has richly blessed us and we thank Him all the time. We celebrate life!" And you truly do, Ruth, so I hope you don't mind my sharing this giving message with our classmates. One last item Ruth Lundvall Zahler has moved here from Iowa to be closer to her daughter. I enjoy seeing her occasionally when she visits our church. Welcome!
There is not only joyful news, but sadness to report as well. Last fall I learned that Russ Gustafson's son, Kent, who graduated from Gustavus in 1976 and lived in Florida, died suddenly while on a trip to Minneapolis. A terrible shock and grief for one so young, and I've talked to Russ. With me, I know you offer him our caring and sympathy. Neil Anderson, Yukon, Canada, died last December, and Shirley Glowe Hanson living in Shalimar, FL, died of cancer early in January 2000. Her close friend, Jo Heyman Cory, sent me a beautiful tribute written about Shirley by one of her teacher friends. Elaine Zuidema Anderson, Eden Prairie, MN, died in March after a long struggle with colon cancer. Gloria Anderson Samelian stayed in close touch with her giving much care and comfort. Just recently I heard that Dennis Nordling, basketball player extraordinaire, died in March in Anoka, MN. I know none of the details. Let us remember these friends with gratitude and their families and loved ones with deepest sympathy.
Now let us celebrate LIFE! My birthday gift to you this memorable year of 2000 is this poem, entitled "THE BIRTHDAY BEATITUDES." I hope you enjoy it and read it on your birth date. It comes with appreciation for your responses and good wishes for the year.
Blessed are those who take birthdays in stride, who can smile when the big day is here ...
Blessed are those who can look back with pride on another enjoyable year...
Blessed are those who have stayed young at heart, who will always seem right in their prime....
Blessed are those who have mastered the art of living one day at a time....
Blessed are those who could never be said to have bowed to today's tears and sorrow...
Blessed are those who keep looking ahead to a brighter and better tomorrow...
Blessed are those who have learned how to see all the beauty of sharing and giving....
Blessed are those who’ve discovered the key to a life that is really worth living!
There is news from Gustavus too. Ground was broken during the first week in March for the new International House. The residence hall will house Crossroads, the Swedish House, and the Office of International Education. This new facility will support the mission of bringing an international perspective to the curriculum and preparing students to communicate and compete in the new millennium. The 80-bed, 30,000 square foot facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2000. The building is going up west of Olin Hall. You can view the progress of this facility on the net gustavus.edu. Why don't you visit the Gustavus web page? It's wonderful!
The outdoor track/soccer fields are progressing on schedule. Soon Gustavus will have an outdoor regulation track for the first time that will match all the other MIAC schools so they will be able to hold competitions on campus.
Men's swimming and diving team completed its most successful season in Gustavus history finishing undefeated in both non-conference meets, with a record of 7-0, and conference meets, at 6-0. At the MIAC championships Gustavus placed first for the first time since 1960. They beat conference power St. Olaf who had won 20 consecutive MIAC titles before this year. Why not? Their coach, Dave Hauck ’53, is a Gustie well known to all of us. Earlier in the year, the Gusties also handed the Oles their first conference dual meet loss since 1981, breaking an Ole streak of 96 straight wins. These records are reminiscent of the late ’40s and ’50s. Don't you agree?
The newly named C. Charles Jackson Center, where the beautiful, new dining facility (named after Evelyn Young) is located; is now complete. It was dedicated in April when the Association of Congregations held its annual meeting on campus. If you visit the campus, be sure to visit this awesome structure. It's a far cry from the canteen and the dining area in the basement of Uhler! However, we didn't seem to mind. The food was good there, too and at Grandma's downtown where many of the vets ate their meals.
Put this G.I.V.E. date on your calendar―Saturday, October 7. Then watch the Quarterly for more information on Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors day of community service.
May 31 is the deadline day for the Gustavus Fund this year. There is still time to send that special gift to Gustieville that you had planned to send all year, but like me, you've put things off until now! Perhaps you got back more than expected on your income tax refund. Why don't you share that with Gustavus? Please, please, please don't forget your school or your class of '52! Remember that it's a way to say thank you and to invest in the future of this country! It's more than worthwhile! And send me a note now and then. Include any news about you and your family, your activities, your adventures. Of course, we want to hear― nothing is insignificant! My apologies if I forgot to include "you" in the news section. Next time!
Now I must close and drop this in the mail today or you won't receive this reminder in time to mail your check before May 31st . Have a happy, healthy summer wherever you are and whatever you do. And remember....
Everyone makes a difference... especially you!
Love you all and see you in the fall!
Barb Eckman Krig
1952 Class Agent