Class of '53
I thought that I would wait to write this class letter until spring had returned to Minnesota. Well, here it is May 7, the fishing opener is a week away, and spring is a bit reluctant this year for those of us still hanging out in the Gopher State. So, best to get on with the task and bring you up to date on some things of modest importance.
Just received an email from the Gustavus Alumni Office that Gustavus and St. Olaf were listed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best colleges for students applying to the Ivy League to consider as an alternative. Seems that there is an upsurge across the nation in students seeking admission to prestigious colleges. No more flower persons seeking a place to meditate and smoke peyote. This is a serious generation of students seeking to find an education that will get them into graduate schools that will lead to significant life styles.
Hard to imagine that the small college that we attended back in 1949-53 has become a close second to Yale and Harvard. Back in our days, the college didn't have enough money to water the grass in the summer and it had to lay off such stars as Karlis Kaufmanis, the astronomy wizard and later a University of Minnesota award winning faculty member, because it couldn't make payroll. The chemistry department was on the top floor of Old Main, the biology department had the second floor, the physics folks were on the first floor, and the geology department, appropriately enough, was in the catacombs of the basement. Now those departments have the Nobel Hall of Science and the Olin Hall of Science to hang out in. These new buildings are classy, but they lack the charm of Old Main where the wind blew right through closed windows.
The drive from the Twin Cities was on a long, winding two-lane road that snaked through almost every small town in southern Minnesota. Hitch hiking home for a holiday was common since St. Peter was the route followed by the hundreds of traveling salesmen who had spent their week hustling customers in Iowa and Minnesota and were eager to have company on the lonely journey back to the Cities. There is not likely a student on the campus today who even knows what hitch hiking was, or is. Or has ever done any.
Some of us would have a hard time getting admitted to the college today. My high school record was certainly not something to brag about and it was only my high scores in Lutheran confirmation that got me admitted. That, and I had an uncle on the Board of Trustees.
Well, however we got in, and out, it is with satisfaction that we look back on our days at Gustavus and a source of pride in our alma mater as it has prospered. Part of that prosperity is because so many of you have sent in regular contributions to what was called the Annual Fund, and is now called the Gustavus Fund (I think-not important. Just address your check to Gustavus and someone on the hill will find a way to cash it and put it to use.) The Fund closes out for this year on May 31 so if you have forgotten to mail something in, you still have time. Not much time, but a little.
This past winter the TV game show "Jeopardy" had this question, "It follows the name Gustavus in the name of a St. Peter, Minnesota college." The guess was "Augustus." No one got it right. Let’s all work on getting the word out!
Reunion Weekend for the 50 Year Club and Class of 1951 is May 25 & 26. A schedule of events and registration material was sent in early April. Homecoming 2001, September 21 & 22, will feature gatherings for anniversary classes of 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2001. Class reunions will be held in the Twin Cities Friday evening, and events will return to campus for activities Saturday. A schedule of events and registration material will be mailed in August. Complete schedules will also appear in the Spring and Summer issues of the Quarterly.
NOBEL CONFERENCE® XXXVII, "The Second Nobel Century: What Is Still to Be Discovered?" will be held on campus October 2 & 3. What is next? What is still to be discovered? As the world embarks on the 21st century, these questions rise to the surface of popular speculation. Scientific frontiers of the mind and body, space, energy, and materials have expanded immensely during the past 100 years. Great thought and writing, the laudable pursuit of peace, and the ability to observe and participate in a global economic system have been stretched, challenged, and embraced. As we stand at a pivotal point between centuries, we can only imagine what greatness lies ahead, what contributions will be made for the well-being of all peoples on Earth. As we commemorate the first Nobel Prizes, given in 1901, Nobel Conference® XXXVII brings together five Nobel laureates, two respected science writers, and the secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences—the organization charged with selection of Nobel Prize-winners in physics, chemistry, and economics—to give us a foretaste of what the next big discoveries might be, as we look toward "The Second Nobel Century."
On Saturday, November 17, 2001, the Gustavus Library Associates will sponsor Delight in the Season A Royal Affair, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, MN. The realized proceeds from this biennial event are designated for the library endowment. This will be the 13th Royal Affair and each event is unique in itself. The hallmark of our party is the expansive silent and live auction. We encourage you to participate by donating an item to the auction, volunteering in the preparation for the party, and/or attending the event. Invite your friends, fill a table and welcome the holiday season together. For more information, contact one of the co-chairs: Lois Allen 952-888-2735; Susan Wilcox 952-944-5972; Fran Engelsma 952-929-0671. You may also contact Dean Wahlund, Executive Director, Gustavus Library Associates at 1-800-726-6198.
There is some news from classmates, thank goodness. With so many folks retired and doing their geezer things, the news tends to slow. Maybe it is that you think that people aren't interesting anymore without reporting on new babies being born or marriages to consummate, or new jobs to take, or new degrees to accumulate. Wrong. Now we're interested in where you retired what you discovered on your travels, what good deals you've found, and where you think the best places are to escape to for part of the long winter.
Amaryllis Samuelson Reeves has given up buying electronics products for Turtle Mountain and is concentrating on catching up on household projects this year. She enjoys hearing from college friends. So, there folks. Write something in so we have something for Amaryllis.
David Lundin was getting ready for a trip to China. By now he is likely back unless he is suspected to having something to do with the spy plane that the Chinese are holding. In that case, we may not hear from David for some time.
Lois Bratt Genis write that life is good in Naples, FL. "What a great way to spend the 'cooler' months." There is an annual Gustavus gala on Marco Island in February and it is one of the social highlights of the season. If you missed it this year, book a place to stay with Lois and be ready to attend next year.
Miriam Zimmerman Giannone, of the singing violin (and viola), is still playing shows, symphony concerts, and teaching private students. She comments, "Gustavus was such a good education and preparation for an interesting life!" So true. And it still is. Maybe that's why Gustavus made the prestigious Wall Street Journal list.
Norma Johnson Hein is off to Scandinavia this June, but had to fill us in on the exploits of her daughter, the designer. She specializes in designing boutique hotels as well as designs her own silk screened wall coverings. You might be able to catch her on HGTV. The name to watch for is: Kristin Hein, Inc.
Charlie Hardt, the science guy, is still doing his science shows, but has added wood carving and recording Bible readings on tapes and CD's, for people in nursing homes. Great project, Charlie. We'll likely all be listening to your mellow voice some day.
Shirley Svendsen Thompson who lives in Burns, Oregon, reports that her county is larger that a couple of New England states yet has a population of less that 8,000 people. She says that she has 19 grandchildren, all of whom live fairly close by prompting many family get-togethers. It is likely that Shirley's kids are single-handedly doing their part to keep the population up.
Rod Hokenson checks in regularly by email. He is always up to some interesting adventure with his old parishioners and likes to enlighten those of us on his Gustavus alias with witty stories.
Jim Ford is another emailer. He is apparently going to remain living in the vicinity of the Nation's Capitol. It is not that he still has lobbying contracts, but he and Marci have kids that have settled in the area and that's a big draw. He flies an ultra-lite airplane and is looking for volunteers to join him. Keep that in mind next time you are in the D.C. area.
Donald and Marian (Edstrom ’53) Lundberg have sold their home and looking for something smaller (with wheels that can be towed to AZ for the winter?). The family has a long tradition with Gustavus and hopefully some of the grandchildren will be choosing Gustavus. He credits his grandmother and her Swedish heritage as a source of great pride and conversation.
And speaking of Sweden, we had a Swedish high school choral group from Duluth's sister city in Sweden, Vaxjo. They came about a month ago for a visit (the director was a Duluth high school graduate who fell in love with a Swedish exchange student and eventually migrated to Sweden where he now heads the choral programs in Vaxjo. So he finds any opportunity to come back to Duluth to visit family). Anyhow, we had four of the young women stay with us for three days as they toured and sang their way around town. They were absolutely the nicest, friendliest, young women one could hope for. Such fun! They spoke fluent English, having taken it in school since fourth grade. In stark contrast to my Swedish language skills that consist of "thank you" and "pass the lutefisk."
Hope that you are well. Don't hesitate to write a note when you send in your check to the Fund. Or use email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Gustavus. Or check out the Gustavus web pages.
Spend your summer wisely. Watch out for high gas prices and rolling blackouts in California. And be prepared for another class letter come fall.
Co-class agent (with Bobby Krig)
2045 Woodland Ave
Duluth, MN 55803