Roger M. Goetz Chapter 34

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz


 SUMMER 1950

My father, Associate Professor Charles A. Goetz, joined the faculty of Iowa State on July 1, 1948, with a two-year contract.  Two years later, as May 1950, drew to a close, there had been no mention in my mother’s diary about whether or not his contract might be renewed.  But things were in the works as she wrote in her diary on Sunday, June 18, 1950:

Things have been popping around here.  Several weeks ago Chas. found out from Spedding (Head of the Atomic Institute) that Chas. was one of the candidates for the Head of the Chemistry Department.

On June 14, Gaskill – dean of science – called Chas. in to ask him if he wanted the job – Chas. didn’t say no.

Pres. [Charles E.] Friley has OK’d it and of course Spedding who has been promoting Chas. for the job.  Now the Board of Directors has to ok it and then it’s official.  Salary is to be $8,000 per year.

Irma [Mom’s oldest sister] came from Madison the 10th and left the 15th.  I went in to Des Moines with her and did a little shopping.  Her bus left at 12:30 noon.

Thus, we see it was a "done deal" that Dad would assume this new position.

One important thing (from my point of view) that is not mentioned in Mom’s diary but is included in her expense journal happened on Saturday, June 17.  They bought me a bike for $69.05 and I was thrilled.

He did so on Saturday, July 1, 1950, the day that Mom next wrote in her diary:

Charles started work today as the Head of the Dept. Of Chemistry.  The main reason I’m glad is that he’s out from under [name in the diary here omitted intentionally] who is a Jekyl and Hyde personality, and working for him hasn’t been very pleasant.

Salary is $8,000 and is to be made 9,000 before too many years.

And I am Head of the Chemistry Circle – so dumb – I’m no person for such things.  Mrs. Hixon called me this a.m. and said she was turning it over to me.

Anyway, I’m proud of Charles getting the position in 2 years here.
June 24th we drove to Savanna [Illinois] and went to the Getz reunion on the 25th.  Stayed at J. Glenn’s [Dad’s baby brother].  It was horribly hot that day.

The 26th on Monday we drove to Glen Ellyn [Illinois, where we lived from 1940 to 1948].  Chuck is staying with Mac Lennan’s [a family two blocks east of where we had lived] until July 5th.  He was in 7th Heaven.

Roger stayed over night at Holmes’ with Bobby and on the 27th we picked him up and went on home.  We stayed at Walter’s [Dad’s brother who lived in Chicago] overnight.

I saw Dr. Morris at 2:30 p.m.  Went to [Marshall] Fields and bo’t a summer coat, and looked at china.  Met Charles at Cardox and we went to Walter’s.  Don’t know if I’ve mentioned that Chas. Has a consulting job with Cardox at $100 a month since last Oct.

I hope we won’t have another World War out of the Korean skirmishes.

For the Fourth of July, our dinner guests were the Reinhard Friedrich Family and Pastor Fields, whose wife Janet and children were visiting her parents in Milwaukee.  Janet, incidentally, played the piano well and told me once that she had been in high school with Liberace, the famous American pianist and entertainer.  She said the kids thought he was a little bit different.

On Monday, July 17, at 9:30 p.m., Mom’s two brothers, Elvir Heck and Martin Heck and their wives (who were sisters) came for a visit.  They stayed until Thursday, July 20, at 10:00 a.m.  Concerning their visit and after Mom wrote on Saturday, August 6:

Enjoyed their visit very much.  I didn’t get much done besides 3 meals a day.  Washed and ironed after they left and starting packing for our trip to Minnesota.

In the eve we had to go to a party the Chem. Dept. Was giving for Charles’s predecessor (Hixon).  Left early – at 10 p.m. – finished packing and got to bed at midnite.  Up at 5:45 the 21st and left at 7:30 for [Big] Trout Lake – 170 mi north of Minneapolis.  The generous Friedrichs loaned us their cottage [Friedrichshaven].

It is a beautiful spot and we enjoyed ourselves.  I liked especially the smell of wild woods, the lake scenery and the birch trees.  No cottages nearby which was perfect.

The 3 boys [that’s Dad, Chuck, and me!].  Didn’t get very many – the fish weren’t hungry.

Some of the expenses on that trip were $1.00 for a fishing license, $1.00 one day and $1.50 the next for minnows to be used as fishing bait; $0.50 for lumber to repair the boat, $9.00 for gas for the cabin, and $1.90 for motor boat gasoline.  After we got back to Ames, they bought a toaster for Friedrichshaven for $8.95.  I wonder if we broke the Friedrich’s toaster while we were there.

Returning to Mom’s diary:

July 31 we got up at 5:15.  Got to the U. of Minn around noon, saw Prof. Ryerson and then left for Mondovi [Wisconsin] – 240 miles from [Big] Trout Lake.  Approached Mondovi from the north and the scenery was beautiful, esp. north of Durand.

Got to Mondovi at 3:15 p.m.  Stayed at the hotel one night [at a cost of $5.50].  [The afternoon and evening] of July 31 we spent at Olinda’s [Mom’s sister] – all her families came after supper except Delores who lives in Augusta.  It was nice to see them all.

In the next sentence Mom reports on her father and mother.  At that time, her parents lived with Aunt Olinda and Uncle Bill Moy and my parents helped support their care by paying $33.00 a month to my aunt and uncle.

Dad is miserable with his legs, Mother doesn’t know anyone [being confined to bed following a stroke some nine years earlier].

Left Mondovi about 10:00 – stopped at Olinda’s ½ hour and then left for Ames.  Got here about 4 p.m.  Oh, it’s good to be home!

A few days later, on Sunday, August 6, 1950, there was a swim meet at the Country Club.  Chuck won five ribbons and I won none.  Regarding my swimming Mom wrote, "Roger made a good try, but didn’t win a ribbon. He swam much better than we thought he could."

The ribbons Chuck won were as follows:
    1st - 40 yd free style, 14 or under
    1st - Boys diving
    1st - 40 yd back stroke, senior boys
    1st - 40 yd free style, senior boys
    2nd - 40 yd back stroke, 14 or under

I wasn’t surprised at how well Chuck did, for he’d been an avid swimmer most of his childhood.