by Roger M. Goetz
PRELUDE TO AMES, IOWA
We arrived home from Ames on Sunday, May 16, 1948. Thus began the wait for news from Iowa State regarding my father’s position and salary.
Dad went off to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to do some research connected with a lawsuit dealing with an infringement of the patent on his invention Instantwhip (whipping cream in a can).
On Thursday, May 20, Mom took the train to Chicago to have the doctor check the new glasses she’d gotten two weeks earlier at the cost of $30.20. The train fare was $1.63.
Chuck was supposed to mow a lawn that day, but he didn’t. Instead he went swimming in the East Branch of the Du Page River without permission.
At 7:30 a.m. Friday, May 21, Mom got a phone call from her nursing school chum, Helen Ocheltree, who lived in Springfield, Illinois. Helen was on the south side of Chicago and wanted Mom to meet her for lunch in the Loop, which is the downtown Chicago business district. Mom accepted, and they had a good visit. Her train fare was $1.34.
That day, Mom also sent the monthly $33.00 to her sister for the financial support of her parents. August R. Heck (1861-1957), her father, had lost his farm because he’d cosigned the farm loans for two of his sons. In addition, her mother was bedridden as a stroke victim. The two of them now lived with my mother’s sister Olinda Moy, nee Heck (1898-1978).
That evening, Chuck went to the junior high party.
On Saturday, May 22, Mother mailed a parcel post a package of food to Dad’s relatives in Germany. The shipping cost was $2.94. She had been sending these care packages almost every month since the end of World War II. Occasionally clothing or other items were included. She would send over 40 such packages before she stopped.
That day she also sent a gift to her sister Olinda, whose birthday had been the day before.
On May 23, we went to church and Sunday School as usual.
The next day, the wait for news from Iowa State was over according to the diary entry dated May 27, 1948 - Friday:
On Mon. the 24th Chas. got a telegram from Prof. Hixon at Ames, "Approval obtained. Letter confirming must pass through regular channels."
This meant that Iowa State had granted Dad’s request for an appointment as Associate Professor with an annual salary of $6000, beginning July 1, 1948. Mom’s account continued as follows:
So I guess we’ll be moving to Ames one of these days. Chas. has been in Madison all week doing some more research for the Patent infringement case. Called me last night and said he feels fine – sleeps well – and enjoyed working in the lab. Very much. I think he’ll enjoy the work at Ames too, and I’m glad the Brunswick nightmare is behind us. He worked and worried himself sick.
The rest of the entry deals with my brother and it reveals one aspect of his character very well, not only then but throughout his life. He was always for the underdog.
Chuck went to Ronnie Mitchell’s birthday dinner today. When I helped him get ready for bed, he says, "You know, I like quite a few people now. There’s Vance Cowan and Paul Greenwald – they’re sort of underprivileged – they can’t do sports very well.
"Then there’s a girl in the 8th grade. I think she’s an immigrant. She’s not good-looking and the boys all make fun of her to her face. It just makes me sick.
"And Elaine Stromquist who was out of school 4 mo. For leg treatments. She’s not bad looking – well she’s not Lana Turner – but she’s not bad, but her legs are thin and she’s awkward because of her legs and the boys make fun of her to her face.
"Next time they do I’m going to talk to them, ‘What’s the idea – you wouldn’t like someone to make fun of you.’ (and more I can’t remember) ‘You know, make them feel the complete fool."
Bless his heart – it’s full of kindness.
There was another uplifting experience Mom had the day before, but she didn’t choose to mention it in her diary. On May 26 she bought herself a brassiere for $1.48.