Roger M. Goetz Chapter 24

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz

CHAPTER 24

 WELCH JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
CONCLUSION

When I think back to our Welch days, I can see snatches of things I saw during those years but not well enough to remember what they were about.  Here are a few of them:

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For example, I remember while playing basketball in P. E. [physical education], I suddenly didn’t know what to do and just stood there bewildered, feeling like an idiot.  I know part of it was related to having a low thyroid condition.

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One time, we boys were jogging somewhere outside–to the west I think–but why?  Were we going somewhere?  Did the school have an athletic field off to the west?  Yes, I guess it did.  I think that’s where we also watched football games.

And I know "Rip" Van Winkle had spoken to us before we jogged over there, but what did he say?

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Some of us boys and girls in ninth grade were raking leaves on a Saturday in the general area west and south of Welch–an area of Ames in which I had seldom been.  I was so entranced with seeing new things, I had a hard time focusing on the job at hand.

I remember the satisfaction we felt and shared at a job well done.  And I can still feel the joy of being outside on a beautiful Fall day with my friends.

But why were we doing it?  I think to raise money, but for what?

I have a memory of doing something similar to raise money for a dance or a prom when we were in high school.

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In the late spring of our ninth-grade year, I went with a fellow in my class to a room in Welch I didn’t know existed even though I’d been in that building for almost three years.  It was in the gym building, second floor, southwest corner.

I remember my great surprise at discovering the room existed and looking out the west window of the room.  I can almost see the inside of the room, but the picture won’t come.  I think the room was normally used only by the athletic faculty.  And from this visit, I have a vague idea that in the general vicinity, perhaps on the first floor, was a room somehow related to admissions and tickets.

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When we had our first box social as seventh-graders, I felt abject fear of bidding on a girl’s box and being rejected or outbid.  Near the end of the whole fiasco, I finally did screw up enough courage to make an offer.  Hallelujah!  It was accepted!  I wish I could remember which girl it was, but I know I thoroughly enjoyed eating and visiting with her.

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Near the end of our ninth-grade year, we had an assembly that included the reading of our class will and our class prophecy.  I’m afraid about the time we graduated from high school I threw my copies away along with issues of our school newspaper.  Now I regret that.

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In the Tuesday, May 10, 1955, issue of Ames Daily Tribune (Ames, Iowa), page 1, column 5, is an interesting article.  It begins this way:

Basic Skills Test Scores Pending Here

At the board of education meeting Monday, Supt. Harry McPhail read a correspondence from A. N. Hieronymus, director of the basic skills testing program, Iowa City.

The letter said that test scores of Ames pupils on the Iowa Basic Skills test, taken earlier this school year, will probably be mailed out next week.  Hieronymus ended the letter stating:

"Incidentally, I can understand why you are anxious to see how your pupils stand.  I had your eighth grade totals run a second time because I couldn’t believe the average for such a large school was so high."

I still have the results from our eighth and ninth grade testing.  My average went up from 85 per cent to 90 percent, and I finally felt ready for high school.

Incidentally, in this same article, one discovers that Carl Sodergren, our social studies teacher at Welch, was one of several teachers who had their resignations accepted by the school board.  He apparently accepted a position with another school, for there is a trace of him on the internet with a school in California in 1970.  And Mr. Sodergren was married 15 August 1955 to Virginia Rae Batstone.

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Speaking of Mr. Sodergren brings us to the class trip as reported in the Monday, May 2, 1955, issue of Ames Daily Tribune (Ames, Iowa), page 2, columns 3-5:

Welch 9th Grade Tours Capitol

Welch school ninth graders got the full visiting-fireman treatment when they visited the state capitol in Des Moines last week, and enjoyed every minute of it.

At 9 a.m. one morning the ninth grade left here in two Greyhound busses.  Little more than an hour later they were being introduced to the Iowa House of Representatives by Carl Ringgenberg, Story county representative.

The students got a guided tuor [sic!] of the executive offices and hear a short talk on safety by Gov. Leo A. Hoegh.

They had lunch in the state office building cafeteria.

Other stops were in the criminal investigation laboratory, the Senate where they were introduced by Sen. Guy Lucas of Madrid, the capitol dome and the museum of history.

The group was accompanied by civics teacher Carl Sodergren and chaperones Mrs. James Inglis, Mrs. Marvin Gould, Mrs. James Groth and Mrs. C. N. Johndreau.

The trip was sponsored by the Horizon club.

The most memorable part of the trip for me was all of us on our bus singing "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall" nearly the whole time we were riding.

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In an email sent to me on January 11, 2010, Mary Kay summed up our years at Welch:  "Good days, weren’t they."  Yes, indeed, they were!