Class of '63
Volume 41, No. 1
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
I experience just such moments on September 26 and 27, 2003, and I know I wasn't alone. For two days all was right with the world, and the friends and good times we had as students at Gustavus Adolphus returned with a rush. At the Friday night gathering the din of the crowd vibrated with steady chatter and laughter, and reminded me of one of those perfect parties where everyone you invite is compatible, full of fun, eager to party and loathe to leave. Many said: "Will we have to wait another five years to do this again?"
The evening started with a blessing by our resident chaplain for the class of 1963, Rev. Gary Anderson. Following dinner, the program began with Steve Benson once again coming through with some of his great Scandinavian stories. And, of course, a reunion would not be complete without tackling some trivia questions. As it turns out, our memories do not reflect our age!! Perfect score on such questions as "Who wrote the history of Gustavus sports?" "Who was the chaplain before Elvee?" (Clair Johnson) "Who was struck by lightning at a Gustie football game?" (Roger Amdahl)
Tom Anderson brought articulate thoughts all the way from Santa Fe, NM. He will continue with some of those thoughts in the January class letter as our guest writer. Tom asked us for a moment of silence as we remembered classmates who have died: Jerry Bell, Fred Christensen, Lois Hendrickson Escherich, Paul Goulding, Calverna Arends Green, Rennie Dahlstrom Holmberg, Gary Johnson, Rolly Johnston, Bill Kreie, Scott McDonald, Elsa Johanssen, Carolyn Johnson Norling, Nancy Gustafson Peterson, Gerry "Dusty" Rhodes, Don Sprengeler, Bruce Stohl, Joyce Richmond Swanson, Jean Novak Toczek, Judith Larson Larson, Mary Lou Kuhn, and Robert Lennartson, Jr. It seemed like a long list to me. Exercise more, good friends, and eat right!! I want to see you at the 45th reunion and beyond!!!
Abby Arthur Johnson brought a glowing report about the performance of the Class of 1963 in our reunion fund-raising. We met most of our goals including going over the $25,000 goal for a Class of '63 Scholarship Fund. We have had excellent participation in the Gustavus Fund. We did not meet our goal of $1M in bequest intentions but we had a good start reaching almost $500k. This is an area where I hope that more of you will give consideration to including Gustavus as a beneficiary of your estate, IRA, or living trust. More on that in upcoming class letters.
We borrowed on a new version of the Alma Mater, which was written by Steve Lundgren '60 a few years ago for his reunion. Many of you requested a copy so here it is:
Gustavus Adolphus—a silly sounding name.
It ought to be Swedish; it's Latin all the same.
When people first hear it, they think they hear wrong.
The name is too foreign, too strange and too long?
Chorus: Gustavus Adolphus, A Swede of great renown
Too bad that his name wasn't Cornell or Brown.
Gustavus Adolphus is such a lovely school
It's name should project someplace elegant and cool.
Instead as you hear it you picture a place
That's ugly and gauche. . .the name's a disgrace.
Gustavus Adolphus, we're singing your song
Though we don't understand it, haven't all along
We sing it and wonder, what is a rune?
And carved or uncarved, what's it dune in your tune?
Gustavus Adolphus, your song's a battle cry,
But who are we fighting and may we ask why?
The words are a jumble, obscure doublespeak;
And who the hell cares if our phalanx is weak?
We roared with laughter! The rest of the evening was filled with chatter. We were all bounding around like Energizer bunnies going from one group to the next, eager to talk to each and every person before the lights flickered and the room darkened. Sue Curnow Breedlove had prepared a picture display, which had old pictures as well as some new ones of classmates. Camera flashes filled the room as many sought to capture the excitement of the moment. It was a memorable evening!!
But, that was only the beginning. About 12 hours later we gathered again in St. Peter for reunion events that involved the whole campus. There was a service of remembrance in Christ Chapel, a tour of the Arboretum, a luncheon, football game, and a post-game gathering for our class in the Church Retreat Center.
At the luncheon, conversations began anew with some folks who had come for the Friday evening gathering. Matt Swenson, a freshman student and recipient of our Class of 1963 Scholarship made a great presentation. He closed with an old family prayer:
PRAYER FROM MATT SWENSON
May da ruts always fit da wheels on yur pick-up
May yur ear muffs always keep out da nort wind
May da sun shine varm on yur lefse
May da rain fall soft on yur lutefisk
And until ve meet again,
May da good Lord protect ya from any and all unnecessary Uff das.
Clair Johnson, retired religion professor, brought warm greetings to the class. Dr. Allen Ivey, the Class of 1963 resident psychotherapist, and spouse of Mary Kay Bradford Ivey, spoke for all of the non-Gustavus graduates and commented on some of the quaint behaviors that he observed were displayed over the two-day reunion. He was outstanding! Unfortunately, I did not get a copy for publishing in the class letter. However, we will invite him back in five years to present his observations!! Thanks, Allen!
I had asked Abby Arthur Johnson to speak to the class, and once again she made a wonderful presentation. I did get a copy and the following is for your enjoyment:
Introduction: Paul mentioned that I could talk about anything today. After some deliberation, I decided to focus on "Speed Lines" and the connection between this topic and our current age of 62 or thereabouts. The words "speed lines" became fixed in my mind a couple of months ago, as I was proceeding around the beltway of Washington, DC, in traffic that actually moved that late morning. While driving, I was listening to commentator Steve Roberts on a popular radio talk show based in Washington, DC. He was interviewing Billy Collins, currently Poet Laureate of the United States.
During the conversation, Roberts asked Collins if he would read his poem "Velocity," the subject of which certainly seemed appropriate to the speed of the traffic that day, as it does, I think, to this celebration of our 40th class reunion. In Collins' poem, the narrator describes a trip he took on a train during which he wanted to write some verse but couldn't find a subject. And thus he proceeded in this way:
"I kept my pen moving by drawing
over and over again
the face of a motorcyclist in profile—
"for no reason I can think of—
a biker with sunglasses and a weak chin,
leaning forward, helmetless,
his long thin hair trailing behind him in the wind.
"I also drew many lines to indicate speed,
to show the air becoming visible
as it broke over the biker's face."
He concludes in this way, talking about speed lines, drawn to show motion through time and space:
"We must always look at things
from the point of view of eternity,
"the college theologians used to insist,
from which, I imagine, we would all
appear to have speed lines trailing behind us
as we rush along the road of the world,
"as we rush down the long tunnel of time—
the biker, of course, drunk on the wind,
but also the man reading by a fire,
"speed lines coming off his shoulders and his book,
and the woman standing on a beach
studying the curve of horizon,
even the child asleep on a summer night,
"speed lines flying from the posters of her bed,
from the white tips of the pillowcases,
and from the edges of her perfectly motionless body."
So the Big Question is, "What Do We Do When We're 62 and Have Speedlines Shooting from Our Very Fingertips ?" We can, of course, do many things. I'll suggest three, pausing a bit on the third possibility.
Suggestion Number One: We can come together, as we are doing this weekend, to acknowledge the astounding passage of time—to think that, as Collins might suggest, an illustrator sketching a class portrait could depict us sitting here today with speed lines coming off our shoulders and legs. The reassurance in such a portrait would be, of course, that we are here together, that we share friendships of some 45 years, even longer in some cases, and that we can experience strength, resilience, and a wonderful continuity in this community we share.
Suggestion Number Two: We can come to this rock of a Gustavus that was not blown away by the recent tornadoes and that continues to advance in such remarkable ways. There is certainly stability as we stand on this ground. I felt this stability once again during the Memorial Service in the Chapel this morning, even as we acknowledged there the passage of time.
Suggestion Number Three: We can pause briefly over the wit and wisdom of others as they have reflected on the passage of time. I'd like to share a few pithy observations about age and then about the experience of being in the 60s in terms of age.
Age in the Singular (a comment focused on chronological age)
- Someone once asked Zsa Zsa Gabor, "Who's the oldest of the Gabor women?" She paused for a moment and then said, "Well, she'd never admit it, but I do believe it's Mama." Zsa Zsa always did have a problem with chronological age.
Age in the Plural (it's perhaps more important to think in these terms)
- "The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been," observed Madeleine L'Engle in an interview published in the New York Times (1985). In a sense, don't you think, we're meeting here together at two ages, if not more: at our current age of 62 and also at the age of 22, when we graduated together. The age of 22 is not on our exteriors, but it has to still be within our minds and hearts, as evidenced by our coming together to celebrate the 40th reunion of our graduation from Gustavus.
One of the Possible Advantages Associated with Age
- "It's wonderful to be married to an archaeologist—the older you get the more interested he is in you"—Agatha Christie. I don't know of anyone in our class who is married to an archaeologist. It could, however, be an advantage to have a spouse who has the outlook of an archaeologist, at least in terms of his or her marriage.
The next and final comments all focus on this time of our lives, specifically on being 60, 64, and then 62 years old.
Opportunities we have in our 60s: A character in her 30s who was played by Glenda Jackson made this comment in Popcorn in Paradise, a movie that made the rounds in 1979:
- "I can't actually see myself putting make-up on my face at the age of sixty. But I can see myself going on a camel ride to Samarkand." I continue to contemplate her first sentence. Perhaps this character in her relative youth could not imagine that it would be worth bothering with make-up at the advanced age of 60. On the other hand, she may have thought that a person of 60 would have more important things to think about than make-up. I do believe that she was right on target in contemplating the possibilities of high adventure—"a camel ride to Samarkand"—for someone of this age.
Possible Anxieties in the 60s when looking to the future, when wondering, for example, what it will be like to be 64. Do you remember this one:
"When I get older, losing my hair,
many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine,
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three,
would you lock the door?
Will you still need me?
will you still feed me?
when I'm sixty-four?"
John Lennon (1940-1980) and Paul McCartney (1942- ): "When I'm Sixty-Four" (a song they wrote in 1967, when we were all around 26 years old and the age of 64 seemed way over the horizon, way out of sight)
A Summary Comment About Our Current Age of 62 from baseball great Ty Cobb (1886-1961) in the year 1948, after he had retired:
Reporter: What do you think you'd hit if you were playing today?
Cobb: About 320.
Reporter: Why so low?
Cobb: You have to remember, I'm sixty-two years old.
(From David James Duncan, The Brothers K,5.7.4, 1992)
When I read this comment by Ty Cobb, I'm mindful of the fact that very few baseball players at the top of their careers ever hit 320. And then I'm mindful of the very real possibilities we still have at the age of 62. As this declaration by Ty Cobb suggests, we still can, each in our own way, loft home runs over that proverbial center field fence, even though we have speed lines shooting from our very fingertips.
Thanks much, good friends, for giving me the opportunity to share these comments.
Singing "Remember" concluded the luncheon, but the day was not over. A football game followed, and after the game about 40 of us gathered in the Church Retreat Center for some "refreshments." The last of us left at about 6:30 p.m. Ruth and I talked non-stop on our way back to the Twin Cities about the wonderful time, the stimulating conversations, and our gratitude for wonderful friendships spawned out of our class. We are indeed blessed!
From the four corners of the country friends came. . .with greetings from Indonesia (Eden Hutabarat) and Denmark (Lee Miller) along with e-mails from many of you who couldn't come. Travels to Sweden, marriages of children, etc. etc. were all reasons for not being able to attend. I would be remiss if I didn't express gratitude to the committee for their help in making our class reunion a big success: Diane Hammargren Anderson, Joyce Gulstrand Amdahl, Mary Carlstrom Strand, Dorothy Jacobson Delegaard, and Sue Curnow Breedlove. Just in case you were wondering, here is a list of those who registered for any part of the two days reunion:
- Sandy Beehrle Ahlstrom
- Ted Almquist
- Roger N. Amdahl
- Joyce Gulstrand Amdahl
- Diane Hammargren Anderson
- Gary F. Anderson
- Mary Ann Carlson Anderson
- Tom Anderson
- Janet Gardner Anthony
- David C. Arlander
- Barbara Lindberg Arlander
- Barbara Lundell Benson X
- Steve Benson
- Tom W. Bohn
- Susan Curnow Breedlove
- Lorna Johnson Breiter
- Dale L. Carlson
- David L. Carlstrom
- Dorothy Jacobson Delegard
- Sandra Englebert-Johnson
- Char Luecke Engstrom
- Heather Harshberger Fluck
- Janet Bramsen Gerecke
- Donald O. Granberg
- Patrick Hart
- Sherry Erkkila Hauck
- Dick Hauck
- Janet Heaberlin
- Mary Bradford Ivey
- Lloyd R. Jafvert X
- Abby Arthur Johnson
- Brian R. Johnson
- Jan Hultberg Johnson
- Jeannine Brunskill Johnson
- R. Kenmore Johnson
- Ralph H. Johnson
- Karen Lindborg Jonaitis
- Sharon Sampson Jordahl
- Roger Josephson
- Rose Omodt Jost
- Nancy Johnson Knoell
- Cameron G. Kruse X
- Bill Lahti
- Mary Sundberg Larson
- Steven G. Larson
- Karen Grahnquist Lawson
- Barbara Berry Leonard
- Carolyn Helgeson Liebenow
- Duane A. Lindeen
- Judy Anderson Lindell
- Bonnie Lewis McClees
- John A. Monson
- Helen Johnson Monson
- Richard B. Monson
- Sharon Shaver Pinney
- Edna M. Rask Erickson
- Adeline Blotter Roadfeldt
- Claudia Hayden Schroeder
- Miriam Larson Stohl
- Richard C. Strand
- Mary Carlstrom Strand
- Marlys Schneider Swenson
- Paul Tillquist
- Ruth Anderson Tillquist
- Karen Pierson Tommeraasen
- Christine Swenson Wilmot
I don't have a lot of news to share with you since my last class letter, but I will write what I have. I wish that I could have taped all of the conversations and news from the reunion. It would have made for a newsy letter!!!!
LARRY HEDLIN has retired from full-time work having sold Hedlin Ag Enterprises after 25 years. He is working part-time for the new owner on a contract basis. Vicki (Krenik '64) Hedlin has retired from the Iowa Youth Chorus. They have two daughters living in Denver. PAUL and KAY JOHNSON HANSON sent a nice note from Bratislava, Slovakia. They had just had a visit from CHRIS SWENSON WILMOT who was dispatched from Gustavus to make sure the Hansons had their Gustavus Fund gift in on time!!! They write: "We have been here now for six years and still love the work― teaching religion at the Lutheran high school, a kind of advanced placement school, bilingual―Slovak and English and serves as pastor. If we were to stay until 2006 we would be here to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the school's founding. But we have decided that next year will be our last, albeit the prospect of "retiring" from what we're doing here is not particularly attractive…but, there comes a time." EDEN HUTABARAT was sad that he couldn't attend the reunion as he was visiting Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore at that time after postponing the trip several times because of the political situation. DALE CARLSON retired from his work as an employment counselor in St. Cloud. KAREN HEGLAND HAGEN has retired from teaching and is enjoying grandchildren. JAYNICE HAFDAHL TODAK has also retired from teaching in Anaheim, CA. BARBARA BERRY LEONARD has distinguished herself in her field of nursing. She is a professor of nursing at the University of Minnesota with a professorship in the long-term care of children and youth. She was recently cited for her work by the American Academy of Nursing. Congratulations, Barbara!!! On a sad note, I received word from DIANE HAMMARGREN ANDERSON who was traveling through Nebraska and happened to pick up a newspaper and learned that GERRY "DUSTY" RHODES died unexpectedly on October 24, 2003 at his home in Emery, SD. Dusty was an "OK" and had a distinguished career in the Navy and was retired. Our sympathy to his wife, Sharyn.
Well, that's it for this long tome. I write this on the first Sunday in advent! My hope for all of you is that you will take time from your busy lives to prepare for the coming of the Christ child once again. It seems more and more difficult each year to slow-down our busy lives. Erase some of those speed lines in your own life. Contemplate the blessings and the friendships we enjoy. Make intentional preparation for the celebration of Christmas.
Paul F. Tillquist
1963 Class Agent
79 Pleasant Lake Road East
St. Paul, MN 55127
P.S. We didn't have time to go through the books and movies list which some of you sent before the reunion. I will include those in the spring class letter.
College opens 142nd Academic Year - More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.
The Alumni Fund Turns 50 - On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013. The Alumni Fund has had a strong tradition at Gustavus exceeding 50% participation for many years, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards. Help return the Alumni Fund to reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004. Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.
Sculptor Paul Granlund '52 dies - Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003. He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996. His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.
Alumni Board members selected - Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board. They are Liesl Batz '90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani '62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist '53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz '74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker. Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou '02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer '93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell '94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.
2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27. Inductees are Val Flom Ashland '87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman '87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop '86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta '87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson '53 (football), Jim Hearn '81 (tennis), Dave Najarian '82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen '84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer '76 (soccer).
Gustavus Finishes sixth in Director's Cup - Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director's Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs. Last year Gustavus placed 10th.
Chapel Program - The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel. In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends - visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.
Upcoming Events - call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437
Alumni Chapter Events: Washington DC - February 6; Atlanta - February 26; Tampa Bay - February 27; Naples - February 28; Sun City - March 19; Phoenix - March 20; Tucson - March 21