Class of '53
May 2007

Hi ’53 Gusties,

A while ago I received a call from Tom Boman asking me if I could write a class letter since he was preparing to leave the snowy hills of Duluth in his RV (named Lena) to explore the Southeast.  I agreed and have been struggling ever since to come up with something of interest to write about.  He is probably back by now wondering where his class letter is.  So here goes.

Let me start with a thank you to all of you who have found the time and money to make a contribution to the Alumni Fund and other meaningful funds at our Alma Mater.  Your generosity continues to make the Gift of Gustavus, which we now cherish, a reality for others.  A gold envelope is enclosed for everyone to send in news and your gift before the May 31 close of the Alumni Fund.

The plaque I received many years ago for participating in the G-1000 campaign hangs on the wall in my office and I can see it as I write this letter.  As I recall, the objective at that time was to contribute $1,000 over several years.  Assuming that program started around 1960, a quick check of the inflation index on the internet would indicate that goal would now have to be the G-7000 fund.  Hard to imagine isn’t it.  You might consider that when you make your next gift to Gustavus.

Secondly, a plug for Tom’s suggestion that we have a mini-reunion during the Nobel Conference on October 2-3, 2007.  Seems he found a number of classmates that regularly attend Nobel Conference and why not use it as an excuse to get together again to reminisce about our youthful days at Gustavus.  The plan is to meet for box lunches at noon and see if anyone is interested in hanging out somewhere for dinner on Tuesday evening (Wednesday is the conference banquet).  Here is the web address to check out the program.  There is online registration available at that web address.  This year’s conference is titled “Heating Up – The Energy Debate,” a very timely subject.  Tom suggests his experience is to go for the reserved seating to avoid anxiety attacks.  If you do decide to attend, let Tom or me know and we will try to keep everyone informed of who will be there.

As I thought about what to write in this letter my thoughts went back to 1950, my first year at Gustavus, after attending Augsburg and living at home.  So, as with so many of us, that first year of dorm life was full of new experiences.  I lived in South Hall that year.  As you might remember it was an old cream colored brick building, sandwiched in between the BA (business administration building) and the Book Store and the Post Office with our mail boxes.  There was a small front porch that soon became the place to sit and “button” freshman girls as they made their way back to Wahlstrom Hall.  They would obediently drop all of their books to put both hands on their beanies.  I don’t remember how long they had to wear the beanie, but I suspect nonsense like that would never play in today’s world.  Funny we didn’t get some books thrown at us.  On second thought, maybe we did have to dodge a couple.

For some reason we thought South Hall was a former president’s residence.  If so, I was convinced that the room I shared with a fellow from Fairmont was a pantry, even though it was on the second floor.  It was so small we really could not get up and dress at the same time.  I was trying to picture that room and wondering why it was so crowded.  There was the standard bunk bed, two desks and chairs, no closet that I can remember―and then I remember those big, ever-present footlockers.  That big plywood box covered with sheet metal, appropriate rivets, hardware and a big lock to make it look like a safe and secure place for all of your worldly goods.  I remember going to an Army-Navy store in Minneapolis to buy it.  For me that was the beginning of living out of a footlocker for some five years when you add the two years I spent in the Army after graduation.  That poor Gustavus footlocker was dragged from South Hall, home for the summer, back to Johnson Hall, home for the summer and then to Uhler Hall for the senior year and back home again.  Today it sits in a hard-to-reach storage area under our stairway collecting dust along with my wife, Ruth’s locker, both still filled with old school memorabilia and maybe a couple of old textbooks that I felt I might find some use for in later years.  They are not as pretty as the rosemaled trunks of our ancestors but they too contain many precious memories.

So the question for the day is what became of your footlocker?  I assume most of us had one.  Maybe yours has a good story to tell.

I have to tell you about something that happened last week since it involves Gustavus.  In the year 2000 I wrote a class letter and sent it to the Alumni Office by e-mail.  Somehow it got lost and was never printed, but was later incorporated into one of Tom’s letters.  Today it sits out there in cyberspace for all to read at: http://www.gustavus.edu1953apr00.html. In that letter I mentioned seeing high school and Gustavus classmates, Jerry Goldschmidt and Jean Berglund Case at an Excelsior, MN, high school reunion.

Fast forward now to May 2007.  I received an e-mail from a woman living in Excelsior referencing that same old Gustavus class letter.  She now lives in Jerry Goldschmidt’s parent’s home in Excelsior.  She suspects that the house is a Sear’s Craftsman house and being a history buff would like get in touch with Jerry for more details.  Sears Roebuck sold do-it-yourself kit houses many years ago.  I assume she did a Google search for Jerry Goldschmidt and from that she got the class letter, my name, and some how my e-mail address.  So the point in this narrative is if you are looking for a lost friend, type their name into Google (in quotation marks so it searches for the full name) and you might be surprised what you will find.  Also be careful of what you say in class letters; big brother/sister is out there watching.

Your contributions to the class letters are always welcome.  Do not hesitate to drop an e-mail to Tom or Marv with your comments, stories or suggestions.

Note:  Any misspelling or grammatical errors in this letter have been done deliberately, for those who like to look for them.

And now for some comments from class mates:

“Retired ten years.  Summers in Minnesota and winters in Arizona.  Nothing new (Thank goodness).”  Carol Retzlaff Swenson

“I am still fiddling; play in two orchestras, going to Prague (Czech) in January 2007 for chamber music workshop.  Lots of violin students.  Have eight grandchildren and now a great-grandson.  Love life!”  Miriam Zimmerman Giannone

“Still on the road doing science shows from Iowa to New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan and Wisconsin.  You name it―Betty and I have been there.  So far we have reached about 50,000 children with the show―and many adults.  Who wants to retire!  It’s fun being with young people.  They have a new idea every 10 seconds―old people have a new idea once every 20 years.”  Charles and Betty Hardt

“Enclosed is a picture of Haldo ’52 and Jane (Nielsen) Norman’s great grandson, Theodore Haldo Green.  We gave him a Gustie sweatshirt when he was born.  He is just now growing into it.  His birth date is October 20, 2005 so he is a little over a year on this picture.  Blessings!”  Jane Norman

Note to Jane:  I was exchanging some small talk with a friend at Apache Wells, AZ, and mentioned Gustavus since he coached in Chaska, MN.  He told how he was hoping to take over the head football coach’s job there early in his career, but had to wait awhile since they wanted to hire this guy named Haldo from Gustavus.  His name is Vern Steinmetz and he indicated the Norman’s and the Steinmetz’s were old friends. - Marv

Del and Betty Anderson celebrated their 50th Anniversary this May in Minneapolis along with two of their wedding party, Marv and Ruth Larson.  Personal note:  Ruth and I met at their wedding.

Until next time,

Marv Larson

1953 Co-class Agent

Campus News:

Gustavus Forensics Team Continues to be National Leader

The Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team participated in the 30th American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) in April, earning a top 20 national ranking for the first time in school history.  Fourteen of the top 20 schools are Division I institutions.  The team has had a full schedule of tournaments this year, although the AFA-NIET is considered by many to be the most competitive collegiate forensics tournament in the country.

Refer a Gustie

Are there outstanding students in your church or neighborhood?  Are there sophomores or juniors in high school who are related to you or are friends of your family and whom you think could be a good fit at Gustavus?  Please send their names to the Office of Admission at Gustavus to help recruit the next generation of Gusties.

Gusties Gather!  Hosts Needed

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, September 30th.  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a day to intentionally connect with other Gusties.  In its inaugural year last August, 60 hosts planned events.  Want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Sign up to host a Gusties Gather! event for your neighborhood or with your friends.  Sign up by contacting Alumni Board member Dick Swenson ’62 at: or 612/824-8052.

A Royal Affair — Razzle Dazzle

Save the date!  Saturday, October 27, 2007 is Gustavus Library Associates’ biennial benefit for the Gustavus Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It will be held at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in Bloomington, MN.

If you have volunteer time to offer . . .

If you have an auction item to donate, or know someone who does . . .

If you know someone who should receive an invitation . . .

If you would like to contribute financially to defray expenses . . .

We’ll welcome your call today!

Co-chairs:  Susan Engelsma Wilcox ’73, 952/944-5972 and Nacia Dahl ’92, 952/808-3212.

Rare Flower Bloomed at Gustavus

A Titan Arum or Amorphophallus titanum, otherwise known as a Corpse Flower, bloomed in the Department of Biology’s greenhouse May 12-14 and 7,000 thousand visitors came to observe.  The first known Corpse Flower to bloom in Minnesota, this rare flowering plant is found only in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.  The largest un-branched inflorescence in the world, the flower’s name comes from the repulsive scent it omits during and after its bloom period.  The plant’s cluster of flowers can grow to almost 10 feet, although the plant at Gustavus was slightly smaller.  “This plant is one of the wonders of the botanical world,” says Brian O’Brien, associate professor of chemistry who received and planted the seeds in 1993.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Class of 1962 - 45th Anniversary Reunion — May 25 and 26
  • Class of 1957 - 50th Anniversary Reunion — May 25 and 26
  • 50 Year Club Reunion — May 25 and 26
  • Gusties Gather! — Sept. 30