Roger M. Goetz Chapter 20

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz



When we moved from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, to Ames, Iowa, at the end of August, 1948.  My brother Chuck [Charles Albert Goetz Jr. (1936-1987)] had already completed seventh grade in Illinois.  He had learned to read at the age of three and so had skipped a grade.

Being a year younger than his classmates in Illinois, together with being fairly short for his age, had made it difficult for Chuck to participate in sports the way he wanted to.  As a result, when Chuck learned we were moving to Iowa, he pleaded with my parents for permission to repeat seventh grade so he could do better at sports.

My parents resisted the idea at first.  Considering that he would be in a new school, however, with students who didn’t know him, they finally agreed to it.

In response to the appeal from Dennis Wendell for information pertaining to the Fourth Ward of Ames, the following excerpts are taken from my mother’s diary to give glimpses of Welch Junior High as pertaining to my brother’s involvement there.


Excerpt from Sept. 16, 1948:

Since Sun. the 12th Chuck has been bothered with poison ivy rash.  It kept spreading in spite of KMNO4 so Chas. [My father, Charles Albert Goetz Sr. (1908-1985)] took him to see Dr. [name intentionally omitted by Roger from the excerpt] who tho’t it was Impetigo and prescribed the wrong medicine and it kept spreading.  Today (the 18th) Sat. Chas. took him to Dr. Rosebrook and now Chuck is in bed, front and back covered with Lead and Aluminum Acetate Dressings..

School started the 9th and both boys like it very much.

 Chuck had to miss all last week.  The worst was missing football practice.

Excerpt from October 8, 1948:

Chuck went back to school the 20th [Sept.] – cured in 1 ½ days after Dr. [name again omitted] messed around for 5 da.

. . . . .
Chuck came home all elated yesterday – "Well, I’m regular fullback on 8th-grade team."  The coach told Daddy that Chuck was a good football player.

Excerpt from Dec. 28, 1948:

The boys are having vacation from Dec. 24 to Jan. 3 – only 10 days.

 . . . .

Chuck is alternate on the 8 and 9th grade basket ball team, only for punishment at school, he couldn’t play ball for 2 wks (before Xmas) because he tapped a girl on the head with a book because she laughed at him.

Excerpt from Jan. 29, 1949:

Last Saturday Chuck played part of the Basketball game with the 8th-9th grade team.  Last week he was elected Pres. of his room and he was very pleased.  Today he played piano over the radio in a Home Talent Contest and didn’t win a prize.  I wish he’d apply himself at piano practice.  He has an excellent teacher – Prof. Hackett.

Excerpt from February 24, 1949:

Our 15th wedding Anniversary.

 . . . .

Chuck was home 3 half days this week with a boil in his neck.  Wonder if he’ll ever get over having infections of some kind or another.

Excerpt Feb. 26, 1949:

[Chuck] has a new girl friend – Lorraine Earls.

Excerpt March 18, 1949:

Tues. Eve. Chuck played piano for P. T. A. [Parent-Teacher Association]. Wish I could have heard him [Mom was recovering from the flu].  Tonite, he’s going to a "box social" – supper and dance after.

Excerpt from April 30, 1949:

Last Sat. the 23rd, Chas. and the boys went to Omaha and drove home a new Pontiac.  Four door, De Luxe, hydromatic Drive for $2600 with all the extras we ordered.  Sold the old one for $500 to [chemistry professor Dr. Fred] Duke.


Excerpt from Sept. 3, 1949:

Chuck is all thrilled.  Got some "super" football equipment dished out to him yesterday at school.

Excerpt from Oct. 8, 1949:

We have all been very busy the past month.  School started Sept. 6 with Chuck in 8th and Roger in 4th Grade.  They seem to like it very much.  Chuck has been quite a model boy.  Gets his homework done promptly, and has been getting quite a few A’s.  He’s been very good otherwise too – he fells "grown-up" and tries hard to act like a gentleman.  He’s out for football and is regular on 8th grade and sub on ninth grade teams.

Last Saturday Daddy took a load of boys to Des Moines for the game, and to-day to Newton.  They’re always getting beaten – they don’t seem to try very hard, but that’s fine with me – I think it means less broken bones.

Monday the 3rd we watched the 8th grade game and Sat. Sept. 30 the 9th grade team and that was the first time I had seen Chuck play.

Excerpt from Oct. 30, 1949:

We’ve been going to see Chuck play football various times.  He seems to be one of the better players.  He has been doing fine in his school work too.  Finally has enough sense to get his work done in school and has home work only occasionally.

Excerpt from November 21, 1949:

Chuck is on the A-squad for basket ball.

Excerpt from Feb. 8, 1950:

Chuck had a B. M. R. [Basal Metabolism Rate test] this a.m. and he has a -20, so he has to start with Thyroid gr. 1 a day.  I am a pretty good diagnostician.  He has been irritable, cold-blooded, low pulse, not much stamina, so I made an app’t for a B. M. R.

Last Sat. Was the only time he played a good B. B. Game this winter.  Made 8 out of 17 points.

Excerpt from Feb. 13, 1950:

Chuck played a good game Sat. a.m.

Excerpt from April 3, 1950:

March 15 Eve we had a bad scare.  Daddy had a pain in his chest – left side – which got worse after climbing stairs, so we immediately worried about a coronary thrombosis.  Dr. Rosebrook came at 9 p.m. Ordered vaso-motor dilating pills and told him to stay in bed.  Had an electrocardiogram which was negative, thank goodness.  This was done on the 22nd.  By now, he’s feeling pretty good.

Chuck had an infected thumb last week – also a bad cold.  Chuck is on thyroid gr. 3 daily and still has a slow pulse.

Excerpt from April 4, 1950:

Cancelled Chuck’s music lessons.  No lessons for the first time since he started in June 1942.  He needs to rest all he can and we hope to start again in fall.  Has been working on Bach Inventions and Beethoven Sonata no 3.

Excerpt from May 17, 1950:

Chuck is having a time with school.  Got one F and 2 incompletes on his last report card (Apr. 27).  He has been sick a lot (Int. Flu 5 x [intestinal flu five times]) and has neglected to make up – also he’s only half trying.  Daddy said "no spring sports until all back work is made up." and he still has a little history to do after 3 wks.

Incidentally, I have not been including the dates Chuck had with Lorraine Earls, nor the events when our two families got together.   I should perhaps mention that Lorraine eventually broke up with Chuck.  They continued as good friends, and he was an usher at her wedding years later.


Excerpt from Oct. 1, 1950:

Watched Chuck play football twice.  He is now playing quarterback.

Excerpt from Jan. 6, 1951:

Daddy took Chuck and a load of boys to Perry to play basketball.

Excerpt from March 12, 1951:

Chuck was home all last week with a mild colitis and is on a diet.  Is better now and went to school today.

Excerpt from April 22, 1951:

Chuck has been growing like a weed.  Is almost as tall as Daddy (about 5'8").  He raked some of the front lawn this p.m. then finished splitting old boards for kindling.  His first love is still athletics.  Takes 3 ½ grains Thyroid extract daily.  Has a mania for sweets and has a crop of pimples.  He’s very critical of Roger – the pot calling the kettle black.

Excerpt from May 27, 1951:

May 25 we went to Welch school in the a.m. to see the play Chuck’s grade put on with Class Will and Prophecy – Chuck will be a sophomore next year.  The play was sort of graduating exercises for the 9th graders.

Excerpt from June 15, 1951:

The eve[ning] of May 29th we watched the 9th grade dance for a while.  I helped decorate the gym in the p.m.  Some of those kids dance quite well – others were a caution just shuffling along.  Chuck acted quite grown up.

I remember the Class Will and Prophecy business when I was a student at Welch.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe I have a copy of that any longer.