Friday, September 25, 2009

Class of 1990 Week 5

The school work was starting to get quite heavy and I was going mad trying to think of what to write for my newspaper column. Monday night I went back to rule number one of writing: write what you know. So I wrote about being mad. The sophomores were selling World's Finest Chocolates and bought two boxes of Mint Meltaways. The school typewrites were also a problem for me. They were primitive compared to my Smith Corona at home, so I resolved to do all my typing at home. We played a new game in phy-ed, Branna Ball (sp??) I don't remember what it was, but I actually enjoyed playing it. On Thursday we had a Lyceum. As I wrote it in my journal:

We had a lyceum today, a magician, Rusty Ammerman. He was OK, but he ended his act by making his two doves disappear. That was it. The birds were gone. End of show. We didn't know what to do. Even as we left the gym we wanted to know what happened to the birds. Jaci & Margo went back to the gym to find out, but they were too chicken to approach the guy. He walked out of the gym and coughed and out through his hand came feathers. The guys who helped Rusty pack his stuff up know what happened but they're not telling.

Friday I summed up my school life as a contradiction in terms:

I love physics-hate the class
I love to sing-hate chorus
Enjoy writing-tolerating newspaper
Enjoy writing-surviving word processing
Love to read-not getting any time for it.

At home I got my ACT application in the mail. Mom added some fabric to the bottom of my pajama top-she had originally made the top too short so it didn't stay tucked in. This was a problem since I had a thing for doing cartwheels in the living room before I went to bed. I spent a lot of evenings watching TV with the folks. Saturday night Dad and I enjoyed seeing the season premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I also spent time playing with Sarah's old Light Bright doing different patterns within a large hexagon.

Sunday was LWML (Lutheran Women's Missionary League) Sunday and the women decided to commemorate it by all sitting together on the lectern side of the church. This meant that all the loudest voices communed together. I was on the pulpit side and just about sang solo for a few verses and tried to sing loud so Mrs. Hollis (also our church organist) would not be left stranded. That afternoon we had a Lutheran Youth Fellowship meeting and went bowling in Cavalier.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Evidence that I have been here before

Despite the fact that Rincker Memorial Library at Concordia University Wisconsin has undergone two major renovations since I graduated, the marks of my more than four years as a student employee are still to be found. This is most noticeable in the books themselves. The collection was bar-coded between my freshmen and sophomore year. Just as my sophomore year was ending and I was gearing up to work in the library full time for the summer, a terrible discovery was made. All the smart barcodes (smart meaning they had the title and barcode of the book printed on them) started with the wrong digit. The barcode wand would not read them. The best the programmers could do for us was to change the first digit in the system and we could key them in by hand changing the initial 3 for a 2. So it began. For the next two and a half years (full time in the summers, 10 hours a week in the school year) I spent my time in the stacks and ripped out those smart barcodes, replacing them with the dumb barcodes (dumb because they did not have a title or call # on them) that started with the correct number. The books were then loaded on carts taken to cataloging and the barcode was corrected in the system so that it could now be read with a wave of the wand. (Wave may be a poetic extrapolation-more like a swipe and several before it takes-but still so much easier than typing 2505400...The work of my hands is on almost every book purchased before 1991.

Today I discovered another place that my presence left an enduring mark. When I lecture students I often make use of visual aids. I grab a drawer out of our shelf list (we still have one-that's the card catalog that is in call number order and thus only useful to catalogers and librarian types. No it's not current-we stopped
collecting new cards long ago) and a volume of the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature and explain how when I was a student we used one for books and the other for articles as a way to impress on them that there was and still is a different way to get at each. (You'd be surprised how many students despair of finding journal articles in our catalog and resort to Wikipedia.) Anyway when I was a student worker the shelf list was current and we used it to track our progress in the rebar-coding process. You had books without cards, books without any barcode, (smart or otherwise) and tragically cards without books. Those were pulled and gathered into an empty drawer and so we would know what those cards were about I labeled the drawer "Missing books." Today I happened to notice that my hand written label of 15 years ago is still there. I doubt than anyone but I would recognize it as my hand, but for me it was like a time capsule. This library is so different from the one I worked in, but there are still impressions from the past if you know where to look for them.

lhg edited and approved

Friday, September 18, 2009

Class of 1990 week 4 (homecoming week)


PJ day-almost all the girls dressed up, almost none of the guys did. The most exciting part of the day for me was discovering the book, Bells on Their Toes, in the school library. It is the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen. I had spent many hours speculating why 3rd born sister Mary was only mentioned three times in Cheaper by the Dozen. In Bells on Their Toes there is a foot note near the beginning that explains that Mary died of diphtheria at the age of four. I was so excited about it that I startled a few people by loudly exclaiming as I left the library, "Mary died! That's what happened!" Ten years in St Thomas, three as a student librarian, and I didn't find that book until I was a senior.


50 & 60s day-the day ended with a soc-hop in the gym. I was anxious to get the day done because Mom & I headed for Grafton to Twetens to get my senior pictures taken. We went to Twetens because he gave us a discount for living so far away. Float building happened at Jaci's; we had it all together by 11:37pm. I printed out the side banners at home on our Epson dot matrix printer. It took about six hours to print out the signs.


Picture day-I woke up with a cold but not so sick as to stay home. The senior class picture was taken in Jaci's back yard. I was starting to get panicky about newspaper stories and physics homework that needed to be done. I had trouble even coming up with ideas for the newspaper. Rebecca wired me a single red rose with a note that read, "If I could vote, I'd vote for you."


We were led to the office to cast our ballots for Homecoming king and queen. I voted for Peter and then, despite the laughable idea of me being an embodiment of school spirit and the popular notion that one shouldn't vote for oneself, I voted for myself, reasoning that I didn't vote for myself no one would.

I still was not feeling well and no one would tell me what time the bonfire to announce the winners was, except to say that it was after the girl's basketball game. So I drove myself to the game and was ignored. I followed the crowd to the bonfire and was ignored by all except a group of 7th grade girls, who came up to me to tell me that they had overhead the votes being counted in the office and knew that I was going to be queen. I sharply told them to stop spreading lies. When my name was called to come forward as a nominee I struggled to get up to the fire as a group of students from Valley (we cooperated with them for sports) were blocking my way and I had to explain that it was my name that was just called and I needed to get up there. The winners were announced. Jason was King, Stephanie was Queen. I got back to my car without anyone saying a word to me and drove home. Junior. Tom (the football team's Jr. King Nominee) would be my escort in the parade and for the coronation and football game procession. To this day I hate the picture of myself standing next to Jason and Stephanie at the bonfire that made it into the Yearbook. I had been assigned lay out of that section and had tried to crop myself out of it, but Mrs. Kappel insisted that I keep myself in it so the picture would fit right. It's ironic that mine is one of the largest faces on the page, since I had never felt more invisible in my life.


There was freakish weather before the parade and we wondered if it would have to be called off: First rain, then a flurry of snow and then, minutes before we lined up the floats and cars, hale. But just when things were getting started the sun came out. All in all getting nominated was much more fun than being on the court. Our float was carried by 6th graders. I was glad to not have to carry it. Four out of the six years I had to lug a corner of that frame. Tom and I road in a Trans Am-the only car with a top on it. In the evening I picked up Peggy and Junior. Kathy and I took them to the game. It was 40 degrees. Right before the half time procession Freshman Joanna asked the girls on the court if we were nervous and I replied that it didn't matter because standing in a prom dress in the middle of an open field we would all be shaking anyway. The St. Thomas girls changed back into weather appropriate clothes right away but the girls from Valley kept their dresses on for the rest of the game, huddling under blankets. When I got back out to the game Peggy found me and told me that she and Kathy had found a ride to the party: the party that I was not invited to and would never have had interest in going to if I was. I stuck around for the end of the game. We lost 20-26 with our opponents scoring a final TD with only 24 seconds left. It was the last football game I attended until last fall when I saw my nephew play.

The weekend:

Saturday Mom and I went to Grand Forks to shop, picking up my sr. picture proofs in Grafton on the way. On Sunday after church those of us who went to the LCMS Denver Youth gathering in July held a dinner for members of the congregation that helps pay for our trip. I got up and did a slide show. Sunday afternoon I ended up falling asleep in the middle of the living room floor reading the comics. That night I went to bed still trying to come up with an idea for a newspaper story.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Class of 1990 week 3

Monday I got to school by 7:30 am so we could all be in Grafton at 8:00 am for our homecoming pictures. Jr. Corey was really too sick to be there, but he made it. Friday morning of that week the juniors and seniors went to Drayton to spend the morning golfing. I was teamed up with Margo and Jr. Dawn.

I was starting to feel overwhelmed by homework, particularly in English, where I needed to do a journalism style book, and was assigned to do a column and a comic panel for the school newspaper. Mr. Green (vocational guidance counselor) handed out applications for the ACT. We also got to watch a recording of President Bush's talk to the nation's kids about drugs.

In Chorus I was missing the voices from the class of 89, and was dismayed that Mr. Hillius (4th-12 Band, 1st-12th Chorus, Jr. High girls Basketball coach) wanted Jr. Holly & I to sing the Star Spangled Banner at basketball games as a duet in unison with little or nothing in the way of vocal dynamics. This is a far cry from the harmony I enjoyed when singing it my freshman year.

At home I got back my lesson from the Institute of Children's Literature, whose young writer's course I was taking. I was excited to see all positive comments from my instructor. Mom moved my senior pictures to the following Tuesday. Saturday I lamented not getting anything done aside from "cutting grass and washing the stupid car." I also complained that the computers at school had a different touch than my Smith Corona typewriter and I was getting frustrated by it. Sunday after church I wrote Peter's and Peggy's names in calligraphy to go with their Homecoming photos for the senior class window display. Homecoming week festivities would start on Monday.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Class of 1990 Week 2

Monday was Labor Day, so there was no school. My folks hosted a get together of the circuit pastors, Fieges from Langdon, Kiefers from Cavalier, and Allens from Niagara.

On Tuesday Mrs. Hollis (7th -senior math, junior class advisor) had us writing letters for computer class to her daughter Heidi, who had graduated the year before and joined the navy. All the classes had class meetings. Terry was not in school that day. We started the meeting before Mr. Dick (superintendent, US History, HS boys Phy-ed, senior class advisor, track coach) showed up. We had made most of our decisions before he arrived in the library where we were meeting.

When He came in he asked, "so what have you done?" and Margo said, "well, we've decided a lot of things."

"Nonsense," he said, "You haven't decided anything until I've told you you've decided it."

Margo listed our votes and he approved all of them, even complimenting us on our class motto, saying, "that's not bad." I wrote the motto and originally had credited it to one of my numerous pseudonyms, but in the end we decided to just not mention where it came from at all.

What we decided that first meeting:
Class President: Peter
Vice President: Jason
Secretary: Margo
Class nominations for homecoming king & queen: Peter & Peggy
Float theme for the homecoming parade: Can da Cubs-the float would have a trash can filled with teddy bears. We were playing the Cando Cubs for homecoming that year.
Class colors: emerald green & silver-the same colors we had for prom the year before.
Class flower: white rose
Class motto: Life has many wonders in store for he who looks at every finish line as the start of the next race.
Speaker for graduation: We all agreed that we wanted Mrs. Hollis.

Mr. Dick left before the period was up and we were to sit in the library until the bell rang. But then, without permission, we all daringly decided to venture to the math room to ask her right away. We knocked on the door and Mrs. Hollis came out. We asked her if she would speak for our graduation and she seemed taken aback, "You guys will make me nervous for the next nine months."

Kevin put his arm around her shoulder, "It will be just like having a kid."

We all laughed and she scolded, "Don't joke about that with a woman of my age." In the end she told us she would think about it.

On Wednesday I wrote in my journal, "Marty said the football team was going to nominate me (Ya, right; I believe it when I see it)." In PDP we finished reading Lutefisk Ghetto and in Phy-Ed we golfed with waffle balls outside.

On Thursday I had one of the most surreal days of all my time in St. Thomas. The Football team did indeed nominate me for homecoming queen. Mrs. Barker told me the first hour of the day. In choir that day I had the underclassmen girls hanging on my every word regarding what I was going to wear and how I planned to do my hair. For a person who generally felt invisible this was like venturing into the Twilight Zone. Friday I predicted in my journal that the king and queen would be Jason and Junior Stephanie.

The fact that I was nominated for Homecoming Queen by the Football team is something I enjoy telling people after they get to know me a little bit. It just doesn't fit their perceptions of who I am. It's sort of like learning that my Mom was a track star in high school, even getting a city wide trophy for running in Winnipeg. But she got her award by talent, I got mine by default. Jaci had been queen the year before, and my class had already nominated Peggy. That just left Margo and me. Margo had been nominated the year before. Maybe they were just trying to be fair.

At home I attended a Sunday school teachers meeting. I had wanted to call eldest sister Rebecca in Hong Kong to tell her I was nominated but Mom wouldn't let me. She did let me call my sister Sarah at the University of North Dakota. I was also upset that the Grafton FM station switched to an all country format, so I changed my listening habits to CKY out of Winnipeg. Sunday I taught Sunday school. I had the first grade class made up of Troy and Kayla. That afternoon I went to Grand Forks for a Lutheran Youth Fellowship Zone planning meeting. There were representatives from St. Paul's St. Thomas, the church in Niagara and the two Grand Forks churches. We planned our zone rallies for the year & nominated officers, I was asked to come up with some written structure for the zone that we could vote on at the first rally. Once home I was made president of St. Paul's Lutheran Youth Fellowship group at our first meeting of the year.