Roger M. Goetz Chapter 30

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz



For Valentine’s Day (February 14), Dad gave Mom a box of candy.  Two days later, Mom went to Chemistry Circle at the home of Frank H. Spedding (1902-1984), Director of the Ames Laboratory of the Atomic Energy Commission, and his wife Ethel, but this was not the happiest of occasions.  Oh, it had nothing to do with the Circle itself.  It was just that as Mom was backing out of the garage, she knocked in the car’s front left fender!

February 24 was my parents’ fifteenth wedding anniversary.  Dad sad nothing in the morning before going to work, nor at noon when he came home for lunch.  And when he came home again for supper, he still made no mention of their anniversary.

Mom’s reaction?  She wrote, "I was so afraid he had forgotten the day because he didn’t mention it once all day."

Supper was basically over when the doorbell rang about 6:00 p.m.  Fifteen roses (one for each year of marriage) arrived.  Mother was surprised and thrilled beyond words.

The entry dated Feb. 26, 1949 – Sat. in Mom’s diary gives another aspect of their social life:

Last evening we went to call on the Chivers – 2 doors south.  Tonite June and Fred Duke are coming to play bridge.  I still can’t play according to [the] rules, and I’m too lazy to learn.

The next entry, dated March 8, 1949 – Tuesday, gives an interesting event in my father’s life connected with Memorial Lutheran Church:

Sun. Feb. 27 we heard Rev. Rehwinkel [Alfred M. Rehwinkel (1887-1979), Dean of the Graduate School at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis] preach at 10:45 services.  Went to a 3 p.m. forum (coffee) where he answered questions – mostly on union of the Luth. churches.  At 5 p.m. we went to vesper services and after that Rev. Rehwinkel lectured on "Communism and the Church."  Then we had supper at the church.

Rev. Mueller had to take Rev. R. to Des Moines to catch his train and Charles went with him to keep him company and on the way home about 5 mi. out of town Rev. M’s car went dead, so Chas. hitch-hiked a ride into Ames and got our car and went and got Rev. M. and his car.

In that day before cell phones, it was fortunate that Dad had gone along.

After mentioning a few other things she’d done, Mom concluded this entry with the following report:

Oh yes – Mon. eve the 28th Chas. and I went to see Iowa State play basketball against Missouri.  The first basketball game I’ve seen in 11 years – the last one being in Urbana [at the University of Illinois].  It was fun.

Thus began another aspect of my parents’ social activities: attending Iowa State football and basketball games.

A amusing postscript to bridge playing is found in Mom’s diary, entry dated April 6, 1949 – Wednesday:

Sat. Apr. 2nd Chas. and I were guests at the Prof. Wilkinson’s Bridge Club.  Had dinner at 6:00 at the [Memorial] Union and then played Bridge till 10:30 at his house.  The Hixons were guests too and they can’t play any better than we.

Chemistry Professor John A. Wilkinson (1880-1965) and his first wife Elizabeth lived at 440 Ash Avenue (not far from our home at 822 Ash Avenue).  Elizabeth was well known in Ames as a certified teacher of Culbertson Contract Bridge.

In light of my mother’s comment above about her own poor bridge playing, I wonder what Elizabeth Wilkinson thought.