Roger M. Goetz Chapter 01

Looking Back
by Roger M. Goetz




Colonial Village was an area of Ames built by building contractor Reinhard Friedrich in 1939 and 1940.  Reinhard Friedrich and family lived in Colonial Village at 822 Ash Avenue until they sold that house in 1948 to my father, Dr. Charles A. Goetz, who was moving from Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), to assume a position at Iowa State as a professor in the Department of Chemistry.


Front view of 822 Ash, 1951


Back view of 822 Ash, 1951

This house was located on the "block" bounded by Country Club Boulevard on the north, Ash Avenue on the west, Gaskill Drive on the east, and the farmhouse on the south.  At that time, Ash Avenue turned from a paved road to a gravel road just prior to the farmhouse.


North part of the back porch, 1957

When we moved to Ames, my mother (Sidonia H. Goetz) was invited to attend the meetings of the Colonial Dames, which consisted of the women living on the above-mentioned "block."  They would get together at each other’s homes once a month in the afternoon for coffee and dessert.  The name Colonial Dames came from the name Colonial Village.  If memory serves me correctly, Colonial Village did include more than the "block" we lived on, but the Colonial Dames were just those on our "block."

From the way my father sometimes spoke the name of the group–in a sort of simpering high-society tone with a stress on the word "Dames" and pronounced to rhyme with the word "bombs"– I got the impression that he thought the name a bit pretentious.  And the group had no connection with the Colonial Dames of America.


The Colonial Dames in the living room at 822 Ash, November of 1960.

Front row, left to right: Jane Preston; Harriet Hawkins (1910-1983); Ruth Jameson (1908-2000) who was married to Harold ("Pele") Jameson (1907-1984), owner and operator of the two Jameson's men clothing stores in Ames; Beth Earl.

Back row: Fern Norton; Mildred Edgar (1902-1976), who was married to Dr. Alvin Edgar (1903-1975), head of the music department at Iowa State University; Sidonia Goetz (1901-1996), my mother and wife of Dr. Charles A. Goetz, Sr. (1908-1985), head of the chemistry department at Iowa State University; Mrs. Lane; Elaine Meany.

Mother had mixed emotions about the organization, which she also referred to as "Neighborhood Club."  There were times when she didn’t want to go for one reason or another and vocalized that to me.  I asked her why she didn’t just quit, and she replied, "When I’m there, they won’t be able to gossip about me."


The photo above shows my mother, Sidonia Goetz, standing near her flower garden on the south side of the house at 822 Ash Ave.

She had two other flower gardens, one along the east side of the house and a very long flower bed not far from the east lot line.

When I was a student at Iowa State, about 1961, I was upstairs in my bedroom studying when I heard my mother call out in terrible anguish, "Roger!"  I jumped up and raced down the stairs, two at a time, fearing something horrible had happened to her.  It turned out that she had baked a white cake for the Colonial Dames who were coming over in about an hour and a half and had not let it cool long enough before trying to remove it from the cake pan.  As a result, the cake crumbled into pieces and she didn’t have time to bake another one before the women arrived.  I asked her what she had planned to do with the cake.  She told me she was going to put some fruit and whipped topping on each piece.  I advised her to put crumbled cake on each dessert plate and cover it completely with the topping and no one would no know the difference.  She smiled and thanked me profusely.  I had saved the day!


Looking NW, across the street


Looking across the street to the southwest, circa 1953

While I was still a child, my mother commissioned a woman (I don’t remember her name any longer, but she was a professor’s wife) to paint a large picture of our home at 822 Ash.  It hung in the living room for years.  When the house was sold in 1987, we gave the painting to Reiny Friedrich, for that house had been his childhood home.  The last time I saw the painting, it was hanging in the offices of R. Friedrich & Sons.


This is a picture of me at age 10 sitting on the driveway of 822 Ash with Pal, our blond cocker spaniel.  The camera is looking across the street toward the southwest.  When my father bought the house at 822 Ash from Reinhard Friedrich, Mr. Friedrich made enough money off the purchase to buy a summer home on Big Trout Lake on the Whitefish Lake Chain north of Brainerd, Minnesota.  He also let our family use the Minnesota house a couple of weeks each summer.  One time when returning from Minnesota, Mr. Friedrich brought us this dog as a puppy of a few weeks old and gave it to us.  He didn't ask permission, he just gave it to us.  My parents were not exactly happy about it, but my brother Chuck was ecstatic.  In a few weeks Pal had wormed his way into our hearts.  Blond cocker spaniels were new at the time.