Class of '56
November 2005

Dear Friends,

“Seems like old times” as I begin a class letter once again.  It also seems impossible that almost 50 years have passed since we graduated!

When I began thinking about writing this letter my thoughts immediately focused on so many of you and the lasting friendships and memories we have shared over all these years.  Gustavus gave so much to each of us and I know I am not alone in thinking that the friendships we made are most important.

I asked my roommate, Jo Cipra, who now lives in the “wine country” in California, to add a comment and memory of our time together at Gustavus and she kindly responded with:  So many memories flood my head and heart as I reflect on my four years at Gustavus.  Some are humorous others heart warming and many just plain ‘devilish’ escapades!  ‘Humorous,’ the pranks played out in the chapel during morning worship.  Streaking at night down Hello Walk in the winter…Brrr!  ‘Heartwarming,’ touring with the Gustavus Choir.  Our host families always so kind and generous.  Many times our Swedish songs brought tears to their eyes.  Music inspires, comforts, heals and brings joy.  You cannot sing and be grumpy!  Just try it!  ‘Devilish,’ crawling out the dormitory windows after hours NOT to do anything in particular, but just to break the rules.  Often we’d just sit in the abandoned ‘smoking car’ off campus.  I definitely have the most memories of ‘devilish,’ but at 70 I’m still not going to squeal on anyone.  With all the foolishness I had those four years I really learned a lot, have many wonderful Gustie friends and a great life!

Thank you, Jo, for your comments, for being my “roomie” and especially for your constant support and caring during the past year and a half.

This summer Mary Swanson was in St. Paul visiting an elderly aunt.  We got together with Ruth Hanson Haberman and Mona Amundson Burns and as always it was great being together.  Mary continues to lead an interesting life in Washington, D.C. and is planning to attend our reunion.  Conversations with her are always filled with a sharp, bright and fun wit.  Both Ruth and Mona are kept busy with traveling and are looking forward to our reunion.

Carole Kilander Griggs says she is planning to lose “50 lbs. for our 50th!”  She still loves her life living on 10-Mile Lake in Hackensack, MN.  She was surprised to hear that our beloved Wahlstrom Hall, which was a “new” dorm when we all met in 1952, is now torn down.  Remember how couples lined the front wall when saying goodnight―was there actually a “curfew” back then?

We happily name four names to add to those attending reunion.  They are George Hieber and Ray “Padre” Johnson, Erland Nord and Lee CarlsonCarolyn Jens Brusseau had a chance to visit with Lee Carlson while attending A Royal Affair (the Gustavus Library Associates fundraiser).  Lee and Karen’s (Hyllengren ’61) daughter, Gretchen Carlson was the auctioneer.  Have you seen Gretchen recently as a newscaster on FOX news?  We understand Karen was having back surgery early this month and we wish her a speedy recovery.  She and Lee winter in Rio Verde, AZ.

Carolyn visited the Lundborgs in Leavenworth last month and Jo (Johnson) wrote they “enjoyed nice fall weather, walks along the river, the shops and beer gardens.”  They mailed a list of classmates who are “lost” to the Alumni Office.  If you know of their whereabouts or have an address or phone number, please contact the Alumni Office at Gustavus as soon as possible so they can get them back on the mailing list.  You can contact them at: or call:  800-487-8437.

List of “Lost” Classmates

  • Gerald K. Anderson
  • Dennis Bergman
  • Carol D. Christensen
  • Eugene Erdman
  • Ingrid Kihlstedt
  • Martin J. Kreykes
  • Ellen Danielson Lyon
  • Colleen R. Matthies
  • Charles A. B. Olson
  • LuAnne Carlson Olson
  • Howard H. Park
  • Talita Penner
  • Harold E. Pooler
  • Dawn Warnike Raymond
  • Douglas R. Roper
  • June Gustafson Satter
  • Bob Sweet
  • Befeqaudu E. Taddessa
  • Arjun K. Teckchandani
  • Dale L. Westphal
  • Donna Kaeberle Westphal
  • Janet Renquist Wiewel

Our reunion committee is working hard to plan a fun and eventful reunion and we all appreciate their efforts and say “thanks” to them.  Elsa Cornell ’61 is planning a social event in her home in St. Peter for us, too.  Details will be forthcoming.

Please let the Alumni Office know if you will be attending our reunion so we can get your name on the list to see who is coming, however, this will not register you for the reunion events (that form will be coming out in mid April).  Also, notify them if you have any information of our “lost” classmates.  Your interest and support to Gustavus for our 50th reunion is important and we hope will reflect our wish to give back a measure of everything Gustavus has given to us.

One more special thought received by email from Jo.  It was from an article about what is most important in life and seems very appropriate right now.  They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.  As you read this, please know that you are not forgotten.

“Take the time to live!  Keep in touch with your friends, you never know when you’ll need each other…and don’t forget to run in the rain!”


Vonnie Anderson Casserly

1956 Guest Letter Writer