Class of '69
When I first thought about writing this letter it was nearly Christmas and I would have shared Christmas in Christ Chapel, a magnificent performance in the traditional nine lessons format, harkening back to our student time with Mrs. Young as one of the readers. I was going to describe the simple yet beautiful decorations adorning the chapel - huge colored spheres hanging from the ceiling, some of them draped in white lights. Then I would attempt to relate the lovely time that was St. Lucia - as ever a beautiful chapel service led by a bright young woman wearing candles in her hair and her impressive predecessor from last year sharing her interpretations of the Lucia legend. Next, I would have tried to give an impression of the luncheon that followed - Alumni Hall decorated with many white-lit trees, the incredible array of food including lutefisk and Swedish pancakes, and the delightful performance of George Mauer (locally renowned pianist, St. John's grad) that finished out the event.
We had hoped to get to several church lutefisk dinners to mark the holiday season (well, truth be told, I did, but David and Karlie agreed to come along), but only managed one. It was ever so much fun. It was held at Faith Lutheran in Spicer. A successful strategy for the lutefisk was telling Karlie to eat enough of it to say she had and then concentrate on the meatballs - which promised to be much like the ones her grandma makes that she likes so much. We went to the noon seating and for that one there was a band providing entertainment - several men who appeared to be between 75 and 80 and a young woman of about sixty. The lead singer was one of the men and he was just great. And if nothing else, both Karlie and David agreed that it was worth the trip for the fancy cookies. The event was a fundraiser for their youth so youth were serving cookies. We soon discovered an interesting secret. These youth servers would come out of the kitchen carrying trays of cookies and would disappear into what appeared to be a Sunday school classroom. Then they would come back out with their trays and miraculously, their trays would then include rosettes, krumkaka, and sandbachels. No doubt they were a controlled commodity along with the krensekake. (One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a set of pans to make my own version of krensekake - after many years of admiring the ones at Byerlys. Hopefully next year I will be able to describe making my own creation.)
I would have included wishes for a happy new year of course, but now it's the Ides of March so I will say that I hope you're nearly three months into a good year. Just last Friday we Girl Scouts were again volunteering our help with the sportsmen's fish fry at the Legion. Our job is clearing and resetting tables and helping the Boy Scouts with the dishwasher as needed. As I was helping a fourth grader with a too-big stack of plates full of the remains of baked beans, I was astounded that it was not three months but exactly a year ago that I was last doing the same thing. Only last year, I think we had fewer than the present 37 boxes of Girl Scout cookies awaiting delivery.
Phonorama is fast approaching so I'll take this opportunity to thank you for your gifts and news and let you know I'll be calling and seeking them again. Incredibly another reunion year has come around for us - it is not 35 years ago that we were in our last Lent at Gustavus - starting Wednesday vespers in late winter darkness and ending in early evening sunlight - and starting to realize that graduation was getting close at hand. This will be our first fall reunion so mark your calendars - the first weekend in October.
Earlier this fall Barb Seeley Devlin traveled to Ethiopia on a Rotary-sponsored trip. While she was gone I received an email via John that she sent home. It's extremely interesting and she said it could be included.
"I'm sitting in an Internet cafe in Addis Ababa writing this e-mail message. As in Kenya, the telephone lines are limited and unstable, so I'm just starting this letter after about 15 minutes of boot-up time. At least nothing has crashed yet!
We have had quite a few adventures since I wrote to you from the airport in Nairobi. Our flight to Addis was quick and smooth - just 2 hours. We all sat next to interesting people. My seatmate was a gentleman who works with an organization that helps people with disabilities. Jean sat next to the person who is heading up the UN Peacekeeping mission in Eritrea, which is currently in the middle of a border battle with Ethiopia. Amy sat next to someone who works with an organization engaged in international development. Ethiopia is clearly a place which needs and invites organizations and individuals engaged in helping.
Physically, the Addis airport is very impressive. It is only 2 years old and very large. (Later, we found out that foreign aid funds that others thought should have been used for other purposes have been used on physical structures like the airport, much to the chagrin of many in the country.) Our first adventure was trying to find our luggage, since only Amy's suitcase appeared with the other luggage from the flight. After trying to speak with many people, who only knew a little English, we ended up in the airport Lost and Found, with a woman who seemed very philosophical about the fact that not everything arrived, as though such losses may be usual and customary! I think the confusion was that our remaining five pieces of luggage were boxes, not suitcases. We tried to convince them to look in other airport locations where boxes might have been put, but I'm not sure they understood what we were talking about. At any rate, we were told to check with the Kenyan Air office at the Hilton the next morning, and file a report with them. We were also told we would get 800 birr each as compensation (about $100), so we would be able to purchase some clothing.
The Hilton is a large, impressive hotel, and our accommodations were very comfortable. After an enjoyable night's sleep, we went to the Kenyan Air office the next morning. Again, we told our story, showed our luggage tags, passports, tickets, etc. The lady at the desk didn't seem to know anything about our receiving 800 birr each, and told us to come by on Monday to pick up the money. That turned out to be unnecessary, because after breakfast, we received a message to come out to the airport and pick up two more pieces of luggage (out of five) that had been found. By the time we got there, they had found it all. As we suspected, the boxes had been there all along, but someone put it back by some other boxes. The customs officials were going to make us open up one of the boxes, but they decided they were satisfied when we reviewed the items on the packing slip with them. I wasn't so worried about our clothes. I was worried that we wouldn't get to deliver the vitamins and school supplies that we were carrying to the Don Boscoe Schools in Addis and Zway.
Addis is a city of about 5 million people - interspersed with herds of goats, mules carrying goods to market, and an occasional cow grazing along the clay brick fences that line the roads. There is a ring road that resembles 494, but few "spoke" roads that lead to the city center, so getting places is long and circuitous. There are also few walkways going over the ring road, so the many pedestrians simply climb onto the freeway and cross the road in between the traffic. The motor vehicles include lots of blue and white taxis and vans, and buses, with assorted vehicles of varying vintages. There are no emissions standards, and many oil burners on the road!
Most of the people live in countless shacks that are off the side roads (most unpaved). Families are large and the living is crowded, so most people get up early and walk around during the day. There are many small markets along the side of the road, and the shopkeepers work long hours. The sides of the roads are crowded with pedestrians.
Since our first few days here were on the weekend, we were unable to do much in the way of our central mission, which is to investigate potential international service projects in the areas of children's education, children's health, and safe water. However, it was arranged for us to visit a children's home (orphanage) run by the Franciscan Sisters. The orphanage is housed in a new building, but is already 50% over capacity, serving 150 children rather than the 100 for which it was designed. They are particularly oversubscribed with babies, since the police regularly bring babies to them who are abandoned in the marketplace or other locations. The previous night, the sisters took in three babies, one of whom was born prematurely and is extremely tiny. Last year, 16 of the babies tested as HIV positive, although 12 of them subsequently tested negative and are thriving. Apparently, when HIV positive mothers give birth, the children test positive, but do not always acquire the disease, which is a relief. All of the children in this orphanage attend school outside the orphanage, because the sisters believe it is important for them to intermingle with outside society. The children seem well cared for, and very fortunate to have landed on the doorstep of the sisters. It was extremely touching. I left understanding that it is going to be very difficult to recommend just one project. There are so many needs, it is overwhelming.
The other evening, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. We had a buffet, so we got to taste lots of different things. I was pleased that the doro wet (chicken stew) that I ate, tasted just like what we made in Minnesota before we left, only spicier. Everything is eaten with enjera, the spongy flat bread we were also introduced to in Minnesota. The dinner was enjoyable, as was the live music and dancing by two couples who donned various costumes and performed a variety of dances, representing the various regions of Ethiopia and surrounding African nations. It was mentioned that the costumes and dances were not truly authentic (adjusted to add "show business"), but it was enjoyable, nonetheless.
Yesterday afternoon we had a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, who gave us a 2-hour tour of the museum. It was hard to understand everything he was saying because he had a very thick accent and spoke very fast, but the general impression was that Ethiopia truly is the cradle of civilization. There is even a large painting (by an Ethiopian artist!) depicting the Last Supper, and Christ and his disciples are eating enjera! Among the lines of Emperors, Haile Salaisie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, was part of the Solomonic line of Emperors, i.e. descended from Solomon. The museum also housed many ancient artifacts and fossils of early humans and pre-humans, the most complete of which is Lucy, who was discovered in 1974 and named "Lucy" after the Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"! Lucy lived 3.2 million years ago, and is a "pre-hominid" because she was one of the first beings to walk on two legs. When we told an English woman about some of the things we learned, she said it sounded like the museum tour guide had been reading articles by Graham Hancock (which he did reference), because Hancock also makes the case that Ethiopia was basically the center of the universe! She disputes that - but acknowledges that she is slightly biased in a different direction, i.e., that Great Britain is the center of the universe!
Last night we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. A man named Chris took us, and we shared the cost of his dinner. Even so, the per person cost, including tip, was less than the equivalent of $10.
We need to sign off now, since we need to register at the American Embassy and then go to the Rotary Club meeting. This afternoon, we're going to meet with one of the Rotary members who will help us plan the rest of our week, including visits to the Don Bosco Schools at Addis and Zway.
What a fascinating experience to hear about! Barb is willing to speak to groups interested in finding places for service. She wrote me recently, "To date, I have spoken to four groups of students at school, three local service clubs, given two adult Sunday school presentations and one presentation to youth at church. I also read a children's book about Ethiopia to various classes of students during Read Across America week! Later this month, I'll be speaking to several classes of students in the high school world history classes."
When I talked with Noel Nelson Reed (she's the director of the senior center in Mankato) she was getting ready for her third festival of trees. It's a great community outreach - was anticipating 80 - 100 trees. She was with me at St. Lucia and gathering ideas for Swedish trees for next year.
Greg Benson has lived in Scandia for 35 years, and not surprisingly, lives in the St. Croix valley. He's president of First State Bank & Trust in Bayport - and marks 33 years in banking. Retirement is four to five years away; he noted that he can now see it at least. When we talked he was enjoying two new grandsons - both his daughters-in-law had baby boys within days of each other.
Tim and Sandra (Leasure '70) Bloomquist live in Cambridge and have 4 grandchildren, 4,3,1, and 8 months. They all live in the Metro area so they get to see them often. Two years ago Tim and Sandra had a chance to spend 3 weeks in Spain and it sounded wonderful. Tim said they especially loved the Alhambra in Granada; and Barcelona, Madrid, and Prado, noting it was "even more spectacular than expected" talking about the beautiful mountainous land and the fascinating history and art.
Steve and Rosemary (Lange) Guttormsson's youngest son, Nick, graduated from Macalaster last spring. Andy, their middle son lives in St. Paul and works at United Health Care. Oldest son, Jake, is living in Brooklyn with three friends and they've formed a group called the Saline Solution. They created an introduction for a film called Mortal Enemies about Sherone and Arafat - and the introduction won an Emmy! It can be seen on their web site: salineproject.com. They've also recently done three commercials for McDonald's and their Monopoly promotion. Rosemary and a friend had just opened their seasonal art gallery, Just for the Season, selling works of about 30 artists, sculptors, and potters until Christmas. I missed hearing about it from her because when I called she'd gone to dog class with their dog. Steve said they were scheduled to work that night on agility - tunnels and balance beams. And my first attempt to talk to them found them both gone - in England of all the wonderful, interesting places. Steve attended a medical conference and Rosemary joined a group of painting friends in Gorgohne.
Neil Fenske recently did some fascinating traveling. He is director of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at University of South Florida College of Medicine. Each year for the past three years he's led a continuing medical education conference cruise for physicians from around the world. This year's cruise went to St. Petersburg in Russia. What a very incredible time that must have been!
Ginny Lund Anderson has been at IBM for almost 30 years and may retire next year. For a little while she's thinking about just relaxing and then will think about some new things to do.
Diane Johnson Conley sold her business and claimed to be "considering myself retired. I think golf is my new job." She'd recently returned from a fabulous-sounding trip to Europe. They picked up a Volvo in Sweden and drove around Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
Paul Anderson had traveled in one of my favorite spots, Door County, during the summer, noting they camped and did "all the tourist spots." Tourist spots in Door County are wonderful places like Al Johnson's, a restaurant with a sod roof with goats up there constantly "mowing."
Mary Wynnemer Davis is still teaching math in Robbinsdale. Eight years ago she was involved in instituting a standards based math curriculum. The premise is that if there is only 1 year of math, here are the essentials. In 8 years they haven't had a student say they'd never use the content. Mary teaches two levels of that course plus pre-calculus. Recently she had two Gustavus students come and shadow her and another teacher and she recommended to them two book titles - good suggestions for many of us: Will the Real Teacher Please Stand Up, and The Elements of Teaching by Banner and Cannon. Older daughter Stacy's health required her to interrupt mechanical engineering after finishing 3 years. In the interval she's working as a welder near Peoria and having a great time. Their younger daughter is at the U of M in theater and Asian studies. She got great help from a life-long friend from Japan and an ear for languages. It also helped to have spent time in Japan as an exchange student speaking only Japanese.
Ron and Marci (Gustafson '70) Kirchoff's daughter, Krista, is a freshman at Gustavus - class of '07. Their son, Jon, is a senior at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management majoring in finance.
Last September Brigadier General John Bergman relinquished command in the 4th Air Force Service Support Group in New Orleans. Congratulations on that retirement milestone Jack!
Marilynn Strachan Peterson is program chief, department of pediatrics, UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with 80 employees providing medical and mental health services for abused and neglected children in the Sacramento region. She also oversees a statewide training grant to healthcare providers on how to provide quality medical evidentiary exams for victims of child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault. Marilyn recently had the interesting opportunity to edit a book entitled, Child Abuse and Neglect: Guidelines for Identification, Assessment, and Case Management, published by Volcano Press. She also contributed several articles to that endeavor. Her daughter, Whitney, is a freshman at UC Davis as an art and technology major. Son, Bobby, is a high school junior and playing on the junior golf tour for the area. She wrote, "As a McGovern Democrat, I voted for Arnold as many did…with a 60-70% voter turnout in most places…we had to stand in line to vote…it will be interesting to see what the Terminator can do to blast though the politics of impasse!" Many of us have watched California with interest Marilyn. What a fascinating place it must be to live!
Bill Tews is in his 35th year with the Cumberland School System - continuing as an elementary counselor.
Howard Sandin is an ob/gyn in practice in Ashland, Wisconsin and Ironwood, Michigan since l977. He's presently a physician with St. Mary¹s Clinic Health System.
Kathleen Giese Skoller has a new grandchild, Julia Pascal, who lives in France. Kathleen's son is traveling in Europe with a blues band.
Margo Wayland Neilson's daughter, Chloey, is at the University in London and having a great time. Mary and her husband had a great visit there in August.
Kathryn Nelson Burk's son, Frank, graduated from medical school in Oklahoma last spring. Congratulations to him on that accomplishment!
Anita Youngquist Lindquist's daughter was homecoming queen in Fort Dodge, Iowa. What a fun fall that must have been!
Sandra Hayes Teiken's daughter is with the Peace Corps in Africa. No doubt she is having a tremendously interesting time.
Two of Jean Polzin Lorentz's daughters are back in Minnesota, with one remaining in Colorado. Jean stays busy with two granddaughters and camping with horses.
David A. Hanson's son, Evans, is captain in the first cavalry division of the U.S. Army and went to Iraq in January.
Mark Iverson's son, Mark, is a sophomore at Gustavus and involved in music and football.
And so for now friends, that's all the accumulated information I have. Easter will soon be upon us and may its incomprehensible miracle renew you. As days warm into spring may your mind hear Grieg coming from the auditorium on later afternoons and send you to reflect on that special spring of our 21st year.
Jane Norman Leitzman
1969 Co-class Agent
Building a Greater Gustavus Reaches Target
Gustavus celebrates reaching the $100 million target for the Building a Greater Gustavus capital campaign. The campaign includes reconstruction projects following the 1998 tornados, the creation of the Center for Vocational Reflection, growth of the Christ Chapel Endowment, the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center, the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, the Barbro Osher Svenska Huset (Swedish House), the new soccer and track complex, and more than 100 new scholarships. Efforts continue to raise funds for campaign projects, such as Old Main renovation, Gustavus Alumni Fund, and further endowment growth. Special thanks! goes to the volunteers and donors who contributed their resources to assist current and future Gusties.
New Gustavus Video
Have you been to campus lately? Can you remember your first time seeing Gustavus? The Admission Office has created a new video/DVD for prospective students to take a look at the College. Take a look online if you wish at <http://gustavus.edu/admission/tour/video/>.
The Gustavus Symphonic Orchestra took a 16-day concert tour to China performing in such places as Beijing, the Great Wall, and Tianjin. The Gustavus Choir took a 10-day concert tour to selected cities in North Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, and Minnesota and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, formerly the Gustavus Band, also toured during Spring Break.
Gustavus is among leaders in Academic All-Americans. The College Sports Information Directors of America have recently released a list of institutions with the highest number of Academic All-Americans over the past three years. Gustavus ranks 14th out of all programs competing at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, and NAIA levels.
Peter Krause '87 returned to Gustavus in November to meet and conduct workshops with students. Krause has been nominated for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy awards for his role as Nate Fisher in the critically and commercially acclaimed HBO drama, "Six Feet Under." With the hope that the day would focus more on the students than on his newfound fame, Krause spent the afternoon doing acting work with classes and theatre and dance majors.
In case you missed the note in the Fall 2003 issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we are asking alumni to send in short reminiscences, tributes, and anecdotes about professors who made a difference in their education - "the teachers and mentors who have made a lasting impression, who have imparted life lessons, whom you remember for their wit, or their mastery, or their encouragement, or their exacting standards . . . or their idiosyncrasies." We are planning to focus an upcoming issue of the Quarterly on "great teaching" and would like to hear from those who experienced the classes of those great professors. Send your paragraphs and stories to either Randall Stuckey '83, director of alumni relations (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Steve Waldhauser '70 (email@example.com), managing editor of the Quarterly, or in the mail to the College.