Roger M. Goetz Chapter 41

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz


 SUMMER 1951

On Thursday, July 12, we headed north to Friedrichshaven, the Reinhard Friedrich lake cottage, on Big Trout Lake near Manhattan Beach, Minnesota.  Mrs. Friedrich (Wella) rode with us, and Dad rode with Mr. Friedrich.  Our family stayed with them at Friedrichshaven for two weeks.  There were two bedrooms, one for each adult couple.  Chuck and I slept in beds on the enclosed porch.

Dad and Mr. Friedrich went fishing every day, so Mom and Mrs. Friedrich fixed fish for dinner every day.  One day they caught 43 fish, mostly perch.

I liked the taste of fish but hated eating perch because they were so full of tiny, fine bones that I had to masticate each piece over and over with my tongue to find these bones and pull them out of my mouth.  This took a long time because often when I thought I’d removed all the bones and could finally swallow, I’d find another one and have to continue the process even longer.  And I didn’t want to rush the process because my folks warned me that if I swallowed a bone by mistake I might choke and die.  So this was a really delightful experience for an eleven-year-old boy!

I was ecstatic, however, when I could sink my teeth into a different fish with far fewer bones.  For this reason my favorite was the largemouth bass.  Unfortunately we rarely caught one.

Chuck and I went along fishing several times.  Mom described us as "2 men, 2 boys, and 2 dogs in a boat." This tells me that we had brought Pal, our blond cocker spaniel along.  We did it to save money and, besides, we didn’t like the thought of having Pal locked in a kennel all that time.  There was a down side to this, however.  When we traveled a long distance, Pal would get car sick.  Thus, we couldn’t feed him the morning we left.  And the whole trip, he just lay on the floor of the back seat looking miserable.  He was always happy when we stopped and he could get out of the car.

At this time, Chuck was two months short of turning fifteen and had a learning permit and drove on this trip as Mom noted:

Chuck drove all the way up [from Ames to Friedrichshaven] and everywhere we went while up there.  Roads very curving and when I was the adult licensed driver responsible – I aged several years on each trip.

After two weeks at Friedrichshaven, we left on Thursday, July 26, for Mondovi, Wisconsin. There we stayed with Aunt Irma Heck, Mom’s oldest sister, who, on July l, had retired there from being a surgical nurse at the University of Wisconsin.  Chuck also drove this second leg of our trip.

Dad hadn’t been feeling very good for several days before we left Minnesota, and the day after we got to Mondovi (Friday) he had chills and a fever.  He went to see a doctor and was put on Aureomycin, the first of the tetracycline antibiotics.

The medicine helped, for he had no fever on Saturday, but he stayed in bed until supper time on Sunday.

Sunday evening we went to visit my cousin Betty Heike and family.  She was a married daughter of Mom’s sister Olinda.  Aunt Olinda and Uncle Bill Moy came over there with most of their other children so we could all visit.  Mom noted, "Olinda has a mighty nice family."

While we were at Betty and Jim Heike’s home, we suddenly heard what sounding like three or four gun shots in the basement.  After a pause, there were a couple more bangs.  It turned out they were making homemade root beer, and the pressure in the bottles had grown so great that it blew the corks out of the bottles.

While there we visited Mom’s parents who were being kept by Aunt Olinda at her home.  Grandpa Heck spent most of the time in bed (he was 90 years old) and Grandma Heck lay there "like a lump," as Mom described it and then added, "It’s so pathetic."

Chuck drove us to Ames on Monday, July 30, and arrived there at 5:00 that evening.  Mom wrote, "Oh, it’s wonderful to be home."

It took a couple of weeks after returning to Ames for Dad to feel almost normal again because it turned out he had a touch of pneumonia.

A few days later, Mom wrote an account of this trip and gave us her thoughts and feelings:

I’ve been busy trying to catch up since our "vacation."  I hope next year we won’t go away.  I didn’t want to this year but Chas. thought he needed to get away.  Well–he got away, but he didn’t get any rest.