Class of 1962
Thank you, thank you, thank you! My dear classmates, I have tons of news from classmates far and near−some we haven’t heard from in a century−well, no, in 48 years. So sit down, put your feet up and (I hope!) be entertained and informed.
It was particularly pleasant to receive so many Christmas cards this year because instead of being in Paris (more specifically St. Sulpice for Christmas Eve and the Paris Opera Ballet on New Years Day) I was home sick in bed. Of course, not going on the planned trip was disappointing, yet I look upon it as a blessing because I got sick 12 hours before scheduled departure. I can think of nothing less pleasant than being in Paris sick. Paris won’t go away and maybe one day soon we will be able to go. So while I was lying in bed I had the pleasure of reading Christmas cards and letters and looking at pictures from classmates. Thank you to all of you.
Nicole Blake Lyells ʼ08 and her husband, Casey ʼ06, even sent a card, which is probably meant for all of the class. Nicole is one of our former scholarship recipients and is now in Denver at law school. She and Casey were married in Christ Chapel right after Nicole was graduated.
This long section of news includes some of the people I hear from regularly (always love that), some family pictures AND messages from people I haven’t heard from in a long, long time or AT ALL. Always, I encourage you to send news to me directly to my Raleigh address or to my email address. Unfortunately, the news that goes to the general college news is very slow to get to me and, unfortunately, some of it never reaches me−or the Quarterly. So I am going to begin with messages from classmates I haven’t heard from. You too may have been wondering where they have been these past 48 years.
Hint: Read carefully for names and information. Do you remember the old radio program called “Name That Tune?” Well, we are going to play “Name That Classmate.” There will be a prize for the winner. Read on for news and opportunities to win not only a prize, but also fame and glory amongst your classmates…
Steve Dwimoh sent a card! I remember him from campus days but haven’t ever heard from him. I was so happy to hear from him that I called him on the phone. He lives just up the freeway from me in Silver Spring, Maryland. His wife’s name is Evelyn and he has one daughter. He is retired after 40 years in dentistry. Of course, I encouraged him and Evelyn to come to the 50th. Evelyn and Steve, we’ll be expecting to see you!
Another person I have not heard from is Carolynn Wahlstrom Rowell. Indeed, I was so happy to receive her long, newsy letter. She and her husband, Dave, live in Garden Grove, California (not too far from Disneyland). And they love it there! Kids are close enough to see often. Their son, Breck, lives in Placentia and their daughter Brenda, son-in-law Tom, and two grandchildren live in Folsom outside of Sacramento. Brenda taught chemistry and science in junior and senior high school until Sean and Megan were born. Her husband, Tom, is a stockbroker for Edward Jones.
Although Carolynn enjoyed teaching kindergarten and first grade for 20+ years and Dave is an electrical engineer, both she and Dave truly enjoy being retired. They travel a lot−cruising in Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and the Mediterranean−as well as river boats in both America and Europe. She says they want to do all they can.
Dave is in church choir and Carolynn is in Chancel Circle in charge of paraments/chancel design, which she says is a challenge sometimes. She also finds time to play bridge. They still live in the big house so Dave has plenty to do at home as well as at the kids’ homes. Also, they keep up with the grandchildrens’ sports and other activities.
Karen Noren Talle, ever the traveler, sent pictures of her granddaughters−six-year-old, Olivia and four-year-old Fiona−as well as pictures from her many travels−Germany, Sweden, Oregon and a Llama adventure in Colorado. Betty Jensen Avant sent a great picture of her, Bob, three kids and spouses and five grandkids. Karen Koehn Anderson sent a note from Golden Valley, writing during one of the many blizzards of winter 2010-11. She says she is looking forward to our 50th reunion.
Carolann Belmont Minor and her husband, Jim, enjoyed meeting baby, Caroline Rose, adopted daughter of their daughter Jessica. The family celebrated Carolann’s mother’s 93rd birthday in January 2010 and then all the kids came to celebrate with their mother for her 70th birthday in October. Carolann said, “It is extremely difficult to think that I’ve already reached 70−don’t feel anywhere near that age−seems like 50 was just a few years ago.”
Lou Ann Eckberg Reese sent lots of news about the active living in her family and she also mentioned a poem that her mother wrote, “The Sunrise is a Message from God, the Sunset His Benediction.” Is it published Lou Ann? She also mentioned in the midst of all the family news, “I’m so grateful for my Gustie friends.”
Toni Bennett Easterson is back in Minnesota from Connecticut. How long have you been back, Toni? Now that you are back, we’ll be counting on you to participate in reunion planning and execution−along with a lot of other people.
I really had to study the picture that said “Tom, Peggy and grandkids.” There was this young blond woman midst all the kids. I looked and looked and said, Ohmygosh! Margaret Helvig!! (Sediva)
Joanne Stollenwerk and her daughter, Mary, reported in from Clear Lake, Iowa. She said she loves the snow; however, I am wondering if she still loves the snow after this record-breaking winter. Gerald and Julia Swanson celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two sons, Matt and Steven, and grandchildren Avery, Nora and Levi. Jerry also has a new hip. Welcome to the “hip” crowd! The Swansons live in Kansas City. Bruce and Barbara Seastrand, St. Peter residents, will be at the reunion. Bruce says, “Go 50!”
Lynn Rosendahl-Johnson sent a picture from their son’s wedding which included their two handsome sons, a beautiful bride and two young parents! Both the Leadholms and the Eckmans sent family pictures. Matt says that he is the guy in the back with the flat wallet.
Byron ʼ60 and Gail (Nelson) Helgeson sent a picture of their beautiful kids and grandkids. They live in Vero Beach, Florida. Also a beautiful “batch” is the “Kruse Crew.” Five grandchildren! Nancy (Larson) says Cam ʼ63 is still on the employee roster at Braun Intertec and does client relations and lobbying.
Wow, what beautiful families. And wow, look at the Olson crew! (Jan Helgeson Olson, that is) I count six grandchildren. Looking at all of these great family pictures I wonder how they manage to get a picture of everyone looking at the camera and looking happy. We found that getting four grandchildren into one picture was akin to keeping frogs in a bucket with not a chance of adding the parents to the mix.
Somebody I haven’t heard from in a looong time is JoAnn Olson Ree. JoAnn lives in Maple Plain. She says she is doing well−good health, busy. She enjoys spending time with her granddaughter. Her mother is now 96 and lives in Le Sueur. Another person who has been out of touch is Harvey Hanson. He lives in Minneapolis and says, “See you at the 50th.”
Moose Malmquist ʼ53 is not a member of the Class ’62; however, he is a man near and dear to many, many Gusties, especially those who were involved in athletics. It was while serving on the Alumni Board that I got to know and love Moose−just like everybody else who has ever known him. A few years ago I heard that Moose had been diagnosed with ALS. This was very bad news and I thought of him often and worried about him. The good news is that the ALS diagnosis was incorrect. More recent news reveals that he has back pain caused by some fairly significant problems in the spine. This has affected his balance making walking and getting around difficult. He has constant pain but (you guessed it!) he is in good spirits. This news is relatively old; you may have something more recent to share regarding Moose.
Roz (Johnson) and Mark ʼ60 Anderson write, “Life is good when you have grandkids to cheer you up and keep you young! We love the time we spend with them at the lake and in Minneapolis….and sometimes in Arizona.
Roz and Mark sent along a great quote from Garrison Keillor: “We are getting older, but are in fairly good shape and moving forward insofar as we can tell. We still drink strong coffee and read the paper and drive the same.”
Joan Henes Chesley lives in LaCanada, California. She has not sent news of how she and her home fared during the mud slides. Hope all is well, Joan. Joan has one son who is married and has a daughter.
Linda Jones Lawrence sent a long newsy letter. I’m still hoping that her football playing grandson will choose Gustavus. Mark Skoog, why don’t you and some of our football players from Class ’62 call Tyler and tell him about playing football at Gustavus, scholarships and all the fun you had. And here’s some good news about Tyler’s grandmother: she will be at our 50th!!!
Marion Peterson Swanson is one of our dear x62ers who is so good to keep in touch. After reading the last class letter, Marion wrote back, “As I read this issue, it was heart warming to hear of all the lasting connections our classmates have held onto. As one of the x62 class, I still enjoy reading about classmates, and have wonderful memories of my two years at Gustavus.” See you at the reunion, Marion!
Marion went on to explain why she hadn’t been in touch with me for some time. “…we had a tragic event happen November 11, 2009. My 36 year-old daughter died in childbirth. As you can imagine it was a horrible shock and quite a nightmare for all of us. On the bright side, her little daughter, Kelsey Marie, survived. She is now one-year old and a delightful help for all of us on our grieving journey.”
My lasting connection I wanted to share is with Joan Eckberg, my freshman roommate and dear friend. Joan and I have just finished nearly a one year project of making a book for Kelsey. It’s a book about her mother with pictures and writings from friends and family. Our hope is that it will help her to know her mother, what she looked like, what she did, what was important to her, and what her friends and family thought about her and how much she wanted Kelsey. “It is also a testimony to Kelsey about how much she is part of our family and how we will continue to love and care for her always.” Joan did a fantastic job. It truly was a labor of love and a wonderfully healing experience to laugh and cry together while making this book for Kelsey.
Ed Blair sends some interesting information. He says that several years ago Margo Callaghan lived in Payson, AZ where Ed and his family lived. Margo sang for many years in the community chorus. Ed also writes, “I saw the article about the Martens family getting to 75%.” (I think he is referring to family members attending Gustavus.) “Dare I mention the Blair family is at 100%?? Ed Blair ’62 married Karyl (Krantz ’64) and John Blair ’66 (my brother) married Starr (Hall ’68). Plus: I gave haircuts in the fourth floor bathroom 1960-62 to all the future grooms from Sorenson Hall!!” He signs it, “Ed the historian, who once was, Ed the custodian at the Rancherino.” Choosing not to enter into any sort of family feud, I will move on to other news…
Back in January Dick and Linda (Johnson) Blanding hosted Gustie alumni at their home in the San Francisco area. They had a good turn-out−about 20 including four of Class ’62: Judy Flom Hill, Karen Koehn Anderson, Carolann Belmont Minor and Linda. Blandings have been skiing. Says Linda, “We were happy to discover that all of our body parts still work.”
Continuing, Linda writes, “During our trip back to Minnesota environs last September, Audrey Kylander Kramer took us out to visit the building that housed the first Gustie students. It was called St. Ansgar, just a bit south of Chanhassen. When I saw the date 1863, above the doorway, I thought perhaps it was a mistake that we are called the centennial class! Then I found out that the real origin was an academy in Red Wing that moved to St Ansgar.” Linda says she isn’t sure she is totally accurate on details.
Speaking of Audrey−she was in California in February visiting a teaching friend, Gustie friends and relatives. She liked the California February weather. And she attended Giselle at the San Francisco Ballet.
It was great to hear from Joan Eckberg! She wrote in December saying they were about to depart for a return trip to India. They should be coming home soon−she mentioned a spring return. Joan says she likes the reminiscing about our Gustie days in the class letters. And then she reminisced a little about our childhood days. “As you know, we have snow just like we grew up with−snow drifts over the cars. I don’t know about St. Cloud back then, but in Minneapolis we walked to and from school four times a day (lunch at home during elementary school). Tough, weren’t we!”
We are tough and we also like our Ole, Lena and Sven jokes. My sources are a friend of my mother’s in St. Cloud and (you certainly won’t be surprised by this) Lowell Anderson. Thanks, Lowell. I have spent some time at my computer laughing until I almost fell off my chair. Thanks for that, Lowell. Laughing at Ole jokes is the best way I know to break the body out of computer crunch and crossed eyes after writing a class letter.
Send your answers to the Name That Classmate contest. On the next page photos, numbered 1 through 11, are included in this Class letter. Send your answers to email@example.com. You must give the first and last (or maiden) name. In order for the answers to be counted you must include news of yourself and your life as well as information as to whether or not you are coming to the reunion. The person or persons who answers all eleven correctly and provides the required news will receive a prize, class notoriety and possibly recognition at the big reunion!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1962 Class Agent
NAME THAT CLASSMATE
Send your answers 1-11 and your own family/personal news andyour 50th Reunion plans to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Jan Hoomani, 2537 Carriage Oaks Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
Be sure to put your name on your answer sheet.
In case of ties, a drawing will select the winner.
Deadline for receipt of answers is TAX DAY, April 15, 2011.
Nancy Moen (Payne) Loewe '62 died February 11, 2011. She is survived by her husband, Pierre Loewe and a sister, Susan Perry ʼ63.
Several months ago, Jan Eiffert Hoomani and Sharon Maurer Edberg volunteered to co-chair our 50th Class Reunion at Gustavus on May 25 and 26, 2012. We have talked frequently, spent time with staff on campus, contacted hotels, and begun plans for a Reunion Committee meeting in the spring of this year.
Our Goal: to plan a weekend event where we can celebrate our successes, renew acquaintances and enjoy our 50th reunion together on campus as the centennial class, being a part of the sesquicentennial celebration.
Since we signed on to the above, there have been some changes by the Alumni Board of Directors. They have adopted a new class leadership structure which finds us holding positions on paper that we did not seek and that you did not vote for us to have. The good news is that at our 2012 reunion, a slate of officers will be proposed and you will vote for them. For the interim, we are called Interim Class President and Interim Vice President/Reunion Chair. If there are any of you in our class who would like to assume these positions immediately, please let us know.
We are expecting that the new structure will be more fully explained in the coming months, possibly in the Quarterly, and we encourage you to consider participating. It will be valuable for the college as it grows in size as well as alumni involvement.
See you at our 50th reunion,
Jan and Sharon
"Life isn't about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain!"
By Kermit Swanson
The fall of 2011 kicks off the Gustavus Sesquicentennial. Strangely enough, I have been named to the Gustavus Sesquicentennial Sports Advisory Committee in charge of plans to showcase athletics at Gustavus for 150 years.
During the four years that our class passed through Gustavus, we had our sports heroes and personalities that we watched and followed in the old Field House, the open-air hockey rink behind the Art Barn and the original Hollingsworth Field.
Our committee is looking for candid snapshots of athletes/action photos of contests and any other shots you may have that were taken on your old Kodak during that time. We are planning to put together a montage of photos on various walls and surfaces in the Lund Center that will become a permanent display of GA athletes.
Plans are underway to capture and tell stories about the mentoring, friendships, and great sports moments from all eras and sports in our history. I, as a member of the Class of ’62, want our era heroes to be a part of that display. As student-athletes at Gustavus, they were a very integral part of the campus. We need your help to represent all sports from all decades: Search your archives for old photos and videos and send them to Gustavus (digital version preferred). Write or video record a favorite memory.
Please send your photos, stories, videos to:
Office of the President
800 West College Avenue
Saint Peter, MN 56082
Say YES to help with a showcase event for your sport by contacting Barb Larson Taylor ʼ93 in the President’s Office at email@example.com. Dates for the sport specific reunions will come in future mailings. Don’t put this off, we need this information.
The Sesquicentennial Athletic Advisory Committee is made up of members:
Moose Malmquist ʼ53, Evie Cieslar Erdman ʼ73, Jay Schoenebeck ʼ80, Sarah Garrison Moe ʼ02, Buster West ʼ71, Richard Olson ʼ82, John Huepenbecker ʼ80, Kermit Swanson ʼ62, Milt Brostrom ʼ49, Travis Prunty ʼ00, Brent Olson ʼ00, Sara Schonrock Southworth ʼ99, Willie Lindquist, Bri Radtke ʼ10, Tim ʼ90 and Monde (Wisch ʼ91) Schwartz.
The committee would appreciate whatever information you could contribute. Become a part of a sports photo montage that will be a permanent display. Send in your photos!
By LouAnn Eckberg Reese
It’s been reported that Ernest Hemingway once boasted that a complete story could be told in six words. You may wish to skip to the end of this story as those six words summarize the adventures of my last 30 years. I hesitated when I was asked to write this article for our class letter as many of you have equally interesting tales of travel. But we have found that exploring the world on bikes or on our feet provides a pure, direct and authentic connection to one’s surroundings that’s more deeply rewarding then any conventional tour.
I grew up on a dairy farm near Lafayette, MN where a big adventure for me was a trip with my parents to Minneapolis and lunch at the Forum Cafeteria. Fast forward to 1980. I turned 40 that year and was physically and mentally “over the hill.” I realized that I needed to make some major changes in my life. I decided to celebrate my birthday by joining the “Jaunt with Jim Klobuchar” 500 mile, 6-day bike tour in northern Minnesota. Jim was a columnist with the Star Tribune and had written interesting articles about this trip the preceding summer.
I loaded my trusty 10-speed Schwinn with tent and sleeping bag, filled my two new panniers with clothes and other necessities and joined 300 fellow bikers on my “journey through hell and back!” Headwinds, 100-degree temperatures, thunderstorms, tornadoes, cold freezing showers, 100-mile days, aching muscles...what was I thinking?! I returned home sunburned, skinny and sore; but I had survived and I was smiling. I soon forgot the hardships (they only made for great stories over the years) and what I remembered was the camaraderie I shared with my fellow cyclists. I was hooked on bike touring and was determined to convince Larrie that he needed to share these adventures with me. The “Jaunt with Jim” ride is now in it’s 37th year and we have returned for many of them. The wonderful people we’ve met on these rides are now life-long friends.
We soon realized that there was a whole world waiting for us to explore on our bikes. Larrie’s work as an international quality director for a German company gave us many opportunities for foreign travel. We would often meet in an airport when he finished a business trip and begin a new adventure in some country. We’ve been fortunate to bike, hike or ski in 35 countries and several U.S. states. We’ve traveled by ourselves, with friends or with a tour company that provided bikes and made arrangements for lodging, etc. Although tour companies would give us a daily itinerary, we were always encouraged to explore on our own. Every trip has been an adventure of the mind, body and spirit. Most have been “off the beaten path” where life is less complicated and nature and culture are deeply intertwined. It’s impossible to select a favorite.
Here are some highlights.
- Peru - Pedaled the Andes Mountains thru Quecha Indian hamlets where sandal clad children with dirty faces laughed and smiled as we biked into their village to set up our campsite (a breath-taking experience since elevations were between 11,000-14,000 feet). Spent three days in the Amazon hiking in the world of macaws, butterflies and giant otters and then hiked the ancient wonders of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
- Chile and Argentina - Our 800 mile, 18 day journey across South America from the Pacific to the Atlantic was a wonderful journey through several cultures…indigenous Chiloe, Spanish, Welsh, Austrian…and we had memorable 40-mile an hour tailwinds blow us across the Argentine Patagonia.
- Austria - Biked through tiny villages with towering church steeples and flower decked balconies. Changed from spandex to formal wear and spent three days at the Salzburg Music Festival.
- Tanzania - Hiked above the clouds on a full moon night to reach Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peaks…thought about Dr. Richard Reusch, my Gustavus Christianity professor, who often told of his adventures on this mountain.
- Spain - Biked the Camino de Santiago from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela.; immersed ourselves in the unique cultures from Basque to Galician to Maragatos.
- Italy - Biked past fields of vineyards...enjoyed the grapes from the fields and the “fruit of the harvest” each night!
- Greece - Biked thru ancient olive groves, up and down picturesque mountains, ate roasted red peppers fresh from the kettle and explored Classical Greece.
We’ve skied several areas in Austria, hiked in the rain in England’s Lake District, biked in the Czech Republic shortly after the fall of communism, hiked hut to hut in the mountains of Norway, biked along the sunflower dotted hillsides in Provence where Cezanne and Van Gogh received their inspiration, biked and hiked amongst the exotic rain forests, colorful birds and tropical flowers in New Zealand and Costa Rica, biked along Ireland’s green landscapes with sheep and more sheep, biked and hiked Copper Canyon in Mexico−home to the fascinating Tarahumara Indians, enjoyed rainbows, snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes in the Canadian Rockies, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. That’s more than any of you ever wanted to hear and by now you are probably wishing you had taken my advice at the beginning of this story to immediately skip to the end! It will end almost as it began - BIKED, HIKED, SKIIED. STILL HAVING FUN.
By Al Henderson
We landed and started our trip in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We arrived during the ending of the Chinese New Year celebration. They had very festive lighting and display decorations; people and families out at night in the park and streets enjoying life in balmy 80 degree weather. Saigon is a huge, maybe 8 million people, city with rapid growth.
We stayed at the communist government owned Rex Hotel−a great pleasant location in the center of government and commerce with easy walking to major sites, stores, and large open market squares. The Rex is near many landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, a classical French colonial architecture built from 1877-1883 with every stone used, shipped from France to Vietnam; the large Ben Thanh market which has a wide variety of goods; Historical War Museum, and the Reunification Hall which was the Presidential Palace until a North Viet army tank crashed through the gates officially ending the War in April 1975. The people were very upbeat and friendly. We spent 3-4 days enjoying South Vietnam before the rest of our small group arrived. We like to travel with a small group of people and arrive several days early to see and enjoy places on our own and acclimate to the new environment. Almost all of our land travels were by minivan.
In our small group we had two Vietnamese refugees who escaped in 1974 as part of the boat people exodus, Minh, a minister from Ohio, whose father had been a minister in Vietnam, plus Hong and her daughter Hannah who was born in the U.S. Minh is an incredibly wonderful man who joined us (Susan and Alfred) in Chicago to arrive about 3-4 days before the tour began.
Minh from Vietnam still goes there about 4-5 times a year. He has Vietnamese friends who also traveled with us, showing us around and telling us about the country and what we were seeing. Minh and his Vietnamese friends all spoke good English as did most of the people we encountered as tourists. Minh borrowed a minivan from his Vietnamese minister mission work partner that also has a small travel operation to make mission travel arrangements. Minh took us and his Ohio friends; Roger, a 1960’s Vietnam war veteran, and Kaleb, Roger’s grandson to the Mekong Delta. There we had boat rides to and around Ben Tre a three-island area that saw some of the worst carnage of the American War. Ben Tre was one of the original 1960 attacks against American and Vietnam soldiers that initiated the war that lasted until 1975, plus home of the famed all-female “long haired army.” Now there is the large new modernistic Rach Mieu bridge to a peaceful coconut enchanted Ben Tre that had only been reachable by boat. Besides miles and miles of rice fields in the Mekong Delta we enjoyed palm trees, orchids, thick foliage and the beauty seen in tropical rainy areas. Roger told us that when he served in Vietnam in the 1960’s there was only a dirt road running through the rice fields that went about 50 miles south of Saigon to the Mekong Delta. Now there is a freeway going through urban development all the way reflecting the population explosion and economic development.
The next day Minh brought Roger, his grandson, Caleb and us northwest of Saigon to the famed Cu Chi tunnels part of a vast 200+ mile tunnel system developed over many decades to fight off the Japanese, then the French and lastly the U.S. The Cu Chi portion of the total network was started in 1948 by Vet Minh fighting the French and was continually used, expanded and repaired by the Viet Cong from 1960 through 1975 end of war. The Cu Chi tunnel ran 250km. from Saigon to Cambodia and was three levels deep. Tunnels would extend under U.S. military bases including the Dong Du GI base where Roger served. The Viet Cong used the tunnels to hide during our bombing raids, steal our goods, spy on us and to stage surprise attacks. Our GI’s had no idea where or how food and supplies would disappear at night for a long time. We watched a video showing how the tunnels were made, saw displays of their mantraps to maim and kill our troops, tank remains and bomb craters. The U.S. really found out about the tunnels and how extensive they were as the tunnels were used as the base for the wide spread 1968 Tet (Vietnamese New Year - 15 days from late January to early February which start their new lunar new year) offensive. The tunnels had virtual, whole city caverns where 17,000+ fighting soldiers lived, stored food, living and fighting supplies, had sleeping quarters, schools and hospitals, and fought from. The passageways were often very narrow going distances from place to place that were almost impossible for the larger Americans to travel through.
Neither side played nice. The Viet Cong lost thousands more lives than us, as we know we killed over 40,000 Viet Cong when tunnel passages were found as we bombed, flooded out, gassed and burned out the Viet Cong and their tunnels. We saw and heard many examples of war atrocities.
In Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon we enjoyed a Chinese New Year night celebration and entertainment on a special Mekong River party boat. They use motor bikes like we use cars and SUV’s hauling whole families, chicken cages,(we saw 12 cages with live chickens being brought to a restaurant we ate at on one motor bike), pigs, furniture and whatever. It is certainly a sight to behold seeing mothers nursing babies in a family of five riding on a bike in extreme traffic filling the streets completely from road side to side and front to back. In Saigon there often is a mile or more between signal lights and all the traffic-motor bikes, pedestrians, trucks, carts, with many drivers texting or talking on cell phones all going nonstop switching lanes, making left, right and U-turns, plus crossing streets. Somehow everyone seemed to manage pretty well, but we did see many accidents.
We flew from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) to Ha Noi (Hanoi to us). For historic reference Hanoi like Oslo, Norway was founded 1000 years ago. Vietnam’s many temples, pagodas, and religious practices reflect a strong Chinese influence and heritage after many incursions from China over thousands of years. Ngoc Son Temple dating back to the 13th century is on a small island on Hoan Kiem Lake the local focal point of the city. Coincidently, Hoan Kien Lake was where Senator McCain’s plane crashed and we stopped at the monument memorial. We also went to the prison where McCain was kept (Hanoi Hilton). It is a dungy French prison from the late 1800’s where Vietnamese had been kept as prisoners by the French and Japanese for many decades. During our Vietnam War the Vietnamese kept U.S. troops and allies imprisoned there.
We saw the Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace “palatial estates,” government buildings, Ho Chi Minh Museum and burial memorial covering a large area of very nice tree-lined boulevards of many blocks. We visited the Ha Noi church and met with Pastor Au-Vinh and leaders of the ECV Church North. We did not get to know Haiphong – Hanoi’s port city nor did we get to the very beautiful Halong Bay. If you ever get to North Vietnam I recommend seeing Halong Bay with over 1,000 picture poster beauty limestone tower islands rising out of the Bay.
From Hanoi we drove north and stayed at Thai Nguyen City. We drove thru the hills and mountains north east of Hanoi to the Bac Son Church dedication where we met different mountain tribal peoples not far from China. It was a very impressive over filled dedication with more people seated outside in temporary seating than inside. We saw many tribal mountain groups of people walking across fields, some women and girls in their native special dress costumes and a field by the church filled with motor bikes. It was a very welcoming and joyous celebration followed by a large meal.
We flew from Ha Noi to Da Nang and stayed at the first five-star hotel in the city. Top hotels cost us $45-50/night in Vietnam. Da Nang is home to China Beach where American soldiers rested and is now becoming a popular beach resort. We met the pastors and leaders of church. On the Marble Mountains where they mined and carved marble, are also several interesting pagodas plus beautiful views of the South China Sea and shore. We also visited Hoi-An an ancient city.
From Da Nang we flew to Nha Trang where we stayed at the wondrous Vin Pearl Resort on vinland island. VinPearl Land is their attempt at Disneyland having tropical grounds, shops, an amusement park, small zoo and a light and water show. People get to and from VinPearl by cable cars and fast passenger shuttle boats. Nha Trang is like Hawaii with beautiful beaches, parks and sculpture gardens spread along the shore, turquoise waters, offshore islands, good diving, stunning mountain views, and nightlife. Nha Trang, the beach capital of Vietnam, is developing miles of beautiful sandy beaches into international resorts. Nha Trang draws many European and former USSR visitors. We visited Cau Da the Vietnam Oceanographic Institute that seemed to be run by the military, but had some interesting things to see. The facilities were old and barren by our standards. We met the pastor and leaders of Nha Trang church. From Nha Trang we returned to Saigon/Rex Hotel. We met with several pastors and church leaders of the large Nguyen Tri Phuong Church. The church service and retirement dinner for the senior minister who was the first Vietnamese church leader Pastor Dave met and worked with, was very emotional. It was obvious that a strong bond had developed between Dave and the minister who was also very loved by the congregation. The church garage where all the motor bikes were parked also served as the banquet hall for our great pastor retirement feast. We again enjoyed, shopping at shops, walking to enjoy the sights, sounds and people.
From Saigon we flew to Ban Me Thuot where we again stayed in a nice resort. We also visited a coffee plantation where we were walked through the many steps of growing, harvesting, drying, roasting, taste testing and grading coffee. There are huge price differences in coffee for different grades and markets. Japan pays by far the highest premium price to them for Japanese elite flavored varieties and highest grades. It was most interesting to visit and see homes, fields, fishing and the life of tribal groups as we road elephants through some of the Ban Me Thuo region. As usual we met the pastor and leaders of Ban Me Thuot church. Flew from Ban Me Thout to Saigon to home.
Vietnam General Information Observations
Vietnam is derived from “Viet” which is the dominant ethnic group and “nam” meaning south which I think refers to south of China. There is a natural divide near Hue between north and south Vietnam where the Truong Son mountains jut east into the sea in the narrow middle of the country. The mountain divide creates an ethnic, linguistic and weather difference between north and south.
Vietnam is a relatively small nation about the size of South Carolina. It is a beautiful long, narrow country over 1,000 miles long with 2,000 miles of shoreline spanning the south China Sea and narrows to 37 miles wide near the middle. Away from the coastal belt and deltas mountains and hills with less productive soils cover 80% of the country. Mount Fanispan at 3,242 m., about 10,000 feet, is the highest peak. Despite its small size Vietnam has a population of over 88 million up from 22 million before WWII. Remarkably, Vietnam feeds its population and is a major exporter of food with primarily centuries-old technology methods using people and animal power. The high food production and population areas are the Red River Delta (Hanoi area) and the larger Mekong Delta (Saigon and South Vietnam). The Mekong River, one of the world’s 12 great rivers flows from Tibet to Vietnam splitting into 9 deltas for about 200 km/125 miles forming fertile, alluvial plain depositing fertile silt as it flows into the South China Sea. The larger Mekong Delta is less flood prone than the Red River feeding Hanoi. Since the end of the Vietnam War the Mekong Delta has gone from 2 to 4 crops of rice a year, and Vietnam has jumped to number 3 in world coffee production. Maize, sweet potatoes, peanuts, soy beans, rubber, lacquer, tea, tobacco, cotton, coconut, sugar cane, jute, and a wide variety of tropical fruits are also grown. Vietnam’s commercial mineral resources’ include coal, iron, aluminum, tin and oil.
All of Vietnam was very poor, suffered greatly and had little economic or living conditions improvement until about 2000 when the nation decided to follow China’s lead in upgrading their nation. Economic policies were changed with the goal of privatizing 20% of the economy, signing open trade agreements with many Asian countries, and sending students abroad to study. Trade broadening agreements have been signed with most of the southeast Asian nations and are expanding with countries worldwide. These enlightened policies have produced a compound annual real GDP growth rate of 5-6% for the past decade. The U.S. accounts for over 20% of exports and is the top export destination. Vietnam has advanced from walking, bicycles and animal transportation to having millions and millions of motor bikes. Despite making a lot of progress in the past ten years they are still a poor nation.
The south was very warm and pleasant when we were there in the winter, but the temperature is consistently in the 90s and over 100 in the summer which is also very humid because it’s the rainy monsoon season from May to October. Despite losing the war the south remains more prosperous, higher populated and the cultural center of Vietnam.
North Vietnam and the Ha Noi (Hanoi to us) area is cooler nearing cold in the winter with drizzling rain. The people are more somber and less friendly. They may be less friendly because we were the enemy for a long time. The mountains and scenery around Boc Son is beautiful as is Haloon Bay with similar shaped hills formed by eroding limestone.
Most of the field work and labor is still done by hand and with animal help in the countryside. The communist party and papers talk a lot about the need and desire for increased technology usage, but what is described as technology advances are mostly very basic adoption of simple old basic machines.
There is only one political party in Vietnam and that is still the communist party which monitors and controls everything. The communist government provides the only internet service and at times when we would go online in the hotel lobby our group noticed there were Vietnamese that would bring up our screen pages on another computer and read everything we were looking at. No privacy. The nation and it’s people suffered immensely all the way through the 20th century. After our war the people and children of U.S. supporters were not allowed to go to school and could not have good jobs.
Hi Fellow Classmates,
I hope you have all put the date of our 2012 Reunion on your calendar (May 25 and 26) and will soon send a message to either Jan or me that you’d like to be part of the planning.
The Hilton Garden Inn in Mankato will hold 25 rooms for us beginning May 25th of this year at a price of $99.00 per night. 1-507-344-1111 and be sure to mention that you are part of the Gustavus Class of ʼ62 for the above rate.
Jan Hoomani and I will be on campus for graduation this spring to observe the events. You will be hearing more and we hope many of you will want to be involved in the planning.
The tulips are peeking through the soil, the rabbits are eating the green tops and the squirrels are digging up the bulbs! I shall be thankful for any flowers that bloom in the weeks ahead.
See you in 2012!
I am so excited I just had to share with a few of you....Thanks for listening!
What a marvelous Christmas present!!!!...Many of you remember I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines for two years working at the Normal School in Zamboanga City, Mindanao, as a drama teacher and teacher of English. During the time I was there, I wrote two plays and directed others using many of the students in class as actors/actresses. We created our own plays, had a radio show and took theater out into the barrios to share plays in English and Chavacano to help inspire and to teach rural students the English language. I wrote about some of this in my book “Hold On! Life is Precious!”
To my surprise, the past two days I was contacted by some of them who are now U.S. citizens, living in California. One of the girls, who was in some of my plays, worked at the United Nations for 30 years and just retired. Another is living with her family in Anaheim, California. She said, “We have been looking for you. We were told you had died, but I met your Filipino sister, Agnes, and she told me that you were alive! I could not believe it! I had to contact you immediately! Remember me? I am the shy one who was afraid to say anything and you got me talking; and now I can’t stop!.... Many of your former students also live in the U.S. as well. We live in a large Filipino community. Many of us were in your plays in Zamboanga. I am so happy we have found you!” she said. “Now we can have a grand reunion!”
I have wondered for so long whatever happened to some of them; and they are now closer than ever−as USA citizens and part of our future of America. How incredible! I am honored and pleased that “my kids” are living here and now we can be in communication−forever! (I thought I had lost them too, because communication had been lost!)
Thank you, Lord. What a way to begin the new year!
Please note my new gmail address: freewaykaylj@gmail.
Sincere thanks to everyone who has sent pictures and news and special super thanks to Kermit Swanson, Kay Jurgenson, LouAnn Eckberg Reese and Al Henderson for the very interesting writings and articles that they have provided!
The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College. Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award. Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002. Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.
Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.
The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class. Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State. The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.
In 2011–2012, Gustavus will celebrate its 150th academic year. The Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of this Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the College. Please submit nominations online at Gustavus.edu/150 . For more information about the Sesquicentennial Awards, visit https://gustavus.edu/forms/sesquicentennial-award .
“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts
Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts. The speaker at both the breakfasts for April will be Warren Wunderlich, director of the physical plant. The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, April 20, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd. Cost is $10 at the door. Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-487-8437.
The St. Peter breakfast will be Wednesday, April 13, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center. Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door. Reserve your spot by e-mailing email@example.com or by calling 507-933-7512.
Books in Bloom
“Books in Bloom,” a new initiative hosted by GLA to benefit and celebrate Folke Bernadotte Library, will be held on Honors Weekend, May 6-8 2011. Based on the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s “Art in Bloom,” floral arrangements depicting more than 20 different books, films, and periodicals will be placed throughout the library. Each arrangement is sponsored by a $500 donation with all proceeds going to fund new acquisitions for the library. Professional floral designers as well as those who simply love plants and flowers will create the arrangements. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Hours are Friday 3-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 6p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. A brochure with a brief description of the materials and a map for self-guided tours will be available. Also, student led tours are scheduled throughout the weekend.
This year President and Kris Ohle have many travel dates planned in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College. Please mark your calendar if you live in or near one of these locations:
Jacksonville, FL – March 26 – Bill and Sharon (Hansen) Johnson ’65 ʼ64
Orlando – March 28 – Orlando Airport Marriott
Tampa – March 29 – Tampa Marriott Westshort
Naples – March 30 – Island Country Club
Chicago – April 2