by Roger M. Goetz
ACTIVITIES AT MEMORIAL LUTHERAN
Memorial Lutheran Church was organized on New Year’s Eve Day, 1940, and its original address was 117 Lincoln Way. Next door at 2228 Lincoln Way was Concordia Fraternity, a Lutheran Fraternity, with Louise Herman as housemother. Organized in 1945 as the Concordia Club, it became the Concordia Fraternity in 1948. In the fall of the next year it became the Epsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Psi, national Lutheran fraternity.
In addition to the Lutheran fraternity, there was an organization connected to the congregation for college students called Gamma Delta. The Iowa State Yearbook The Bomb 1962 gives the following explanation of this organization on page 185:
Unmarried students who belong to the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church may become members of Gamma Delta, International Association of Lutheran University Students. Students who don’t belong to the church, but who are interested in the organization are welcomed as associate members.
Besides helping the church in one way or another, my parents were also involved in assisting Gamma Delta from time to time.
Mother’s diary entry dated April 6, 1949 – Wednesday is a lengthy one and ends this way:
Pastor Mueller accepted a call to Cleveland. The council has had many and long meetings trying to straighten things out. A few members didn’t like Mueller and have caused a lot of trouble. Yesterday I went to Ladies Aid [at church]. Also I’m trying to get some house cleaning done.
This last refers to spring house cleaning.
Every year Mother attempted to do a thorough cleaning of our home each spring and fall. This included washing walls, wiping down woodwork, dusting the individual slats of the Venetian blinds, and washing windows.
A week later, her next diary entry dated April 13, 1949 - Wed. raises an unexpected subject:
Last night we watched a total eclipse of the moon. Sat in the back yard for 45 minutes. It started at 8:34. It was the most total one since 1844.
I remember this vividly and was astonished that during the total eclipse the moon didn’t quite disappear. Rather, it became a faint red. I asked Dad about it, and he explained that the sunlight entered the upper atmosphere which acted as a lens to bend the rays of sunlight. The red ones were bent far enough to hit the moon, hence its faint red color. This experience comes to mind whenever I read or hear the following Bible passage: Acts 2:20 (KJV) "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come." I saw the moon turn to blood!
Church activities are included in Mom’s next diary entry, dated April 30, 1949 - Saturday:
Wed. Eve, the 27th we had Pastor Mueller’s over for dinner. Worked all day at it, and sometimes I think getting a dinner ready is no fun. Thursday I took the bus into Des Moines and bo’t some dresses. Thurs. Eve, the Gulliver’s, Hach’s and we went to a movie and then to Hach’s for a snack. I was dead tired, and haven’t gotten over it yet. Sunday noon we’re invited to the Concordia [Fraternity] House for dinner right after church. The dinner is for Pastor M. [Mueller].
Lovely warm weather for the past 2 wks.
Chuck played in a recital (his teacher’s) the 21st. Daddy had to go to Churdan [Iowa] to address a Walther League group. That Eve, Roger was sick and I had to stay home with him, so we couldn’t go hear him [Chuck]. Prof. Hackett [Chuck’s piano teacher] told Chuck he played wonderfully.
By way of explanation: the International Walther League was the Missouri Synod Lutheran group for single young adults, while the Junior Walther League was for confirmed high school youth.
Sunday, May 18, was a busy day for my parents as Mom’s diary notes:
Today was a big day. Chuck was confirmed. He and Bill Baum were the only young ones. There were 6 or 7 adults. The boys wore white robes and looked like little angels.
We went to Communion at the 5 o’clock vesper services. The last Communion Pastor Mueller will give. We hate to see him leave. After vespers we went to Gamma Delta meeting and supper.
From this we catch a glimpse of why Gamma Delta was such a success. On Sunday evenings, there was a vesper service for the college students followed by a supper and a program. Since none of the dorms, fraternities, and sororities prepared a Sunday evening meal, students were glad to come. When I was a college student at Iowa State, I was active with Gamma Delta even though I lived at home and we usually had sixty to seventy Iowa State students involved.
The following Sunday was equally busy as we learn from Mom’s diary entry, dated May 18, 1949 – Wed.:
Sunday the 15th Pastor Mueller preached his farewell sermon. After church we had a basket dinner. I spent all day Sat. getting food ready and washed dishes Sunday for hours [at church after the dinner]. Stayed for Gamma Delta meeting and supper and vesper services first. Spent from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the church–that’s quite a day. I was dead tired from 5 o’clock on.
The next diary entry is dated May 31, 1949 – Tuesday:
Irma [Mom’s sister] came Sat. the 28th and is going back tomorrow. Sunday we went to the Gamma Delta Picnic at the Ledges.
May 22, in the Eve we went to the Rosebud Banquet which was given by Gamma Delta. It was formal. Chuck played [the piano] for them – the Russian Concerto by Rachmaninoff.
Mom and Dad were immersed in activities connected with the church but also in other things as well. This can be seen from Mom’s diary, entry dated June 9, 1949 – Thursday where we read:
Monday the 6th the Chem. Circle had a picnic with the husbands at Lynn Fuhrer Lodge (YMCA). I was on the food committee – Marian Hammond [wife of chemistry professor George S. Hammond (1921-2005)] and I made veg. salad for 50.
Thus ended our first academic year in Ames. It makes me tired just to read all that my parents did!