by Roger M. Goetz
SUMMER TURNS TO FALL
The evening of August 19, Chemistry Professor Robert Ridgely Sealock (1907-1951) died of a heart attack while on vacation in Kansas City. To help his widow Floy W. Sealock (1911-1989), the women of the Chemistry Circle cooked meals and brought them in for two days. He left four small children. Floy stayed in Ames and continued to be a part of the Chemistry Circle even though her husband had passed away. And so, the four children graduated from Ames High School.
Against this background, Mom remembered how on August 24, 1934, Dad had been operated on for stomach ulcers six months after they’d been married . He was desperately ill and Mom was afraid he wouldn’t live. Dad had been a graduate student at the University of Illinois at the time.
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At the end of August wrote the following about Chuck and me:
One day I was combing my hair and had it fluffed out and Chuck said, "You don’t look a day over 40." After I had smoothed it down and put a net on since I was going out in the wind he said, "You look like a 2 bit waitress."
One day Benny [Jameson] asked Roger with whom he went to see [the Walt Disney Movie] "Alice in Wonderland" and Roger said, "Anne and Lois Fields" [daughters of our pastor] and Benny said, "Everybody likes you" and Roger replied, "Sure. I’m popular."
If one of my other playmates would have heard me say that, he would have said, "There’s no conceit in your family. You have it all."
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Dad was gone to an American Chemical Society meeting in New York City from Labor Day (September 3) through Saturday, September 8.
Mom started sewing a weskit the day he left, and it still wasn’t done three weeks later. I presume this meant that she was making Dad a vest, for he always wore one with a suit.
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On Monday, September 17, the street past our house was closed eleven days so that it could be paved. The day it opened for traffic, Friday, September 28, Dad put me to work digging out our driveway (with his help) to get it ready for paving. The next day, September 29, Chuck turned fifteen and he spent most of his birthday digging out the drive because I hadn’t accomplished a lot the day before.
Chuck paused long enough to take Mom and Dad to the annual Iowa State president’s reception and then returned to resume digging.
Mom wore the same formal she’d worn the previous three years and "poured" from 9:45 to 10:30 p.m. at the reception.
When it got dark at home, Chuck turned on the car lights so he could see to keep digging. He stopped at 10:30 and picked up our parents about 10:45 p.m.
A couple days later Dad put in the driveway with the help of neighbors and Cliff Hach. The cement mix cost $40.00 and expansion joints cost $2.45. My folks estimated that they saved $60 by not hiring someone to do it.
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On Saturday, October 13, my folks went to the luncheon at the Union that Iowa State gave for the legislators of the State of Iowa. The Department heads, including Dad, acted as hosts. This was done because the Legislature subsidized Iowa State with tax money.
After the luncheon, Mom noted, "we enjoyed the lovely warm day by attending the Iowa State homecoming game." Such weather, typical of the lazy days of Indian Summer, made Winter seem far away. But it wasn’t this year.
On Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, we had snow in Ames and was it cold one morning: the thermometer mounted outside the kitchen window read only ten above zero! Such weather had not been expected that early at 822 Ash Avenue. We still had our screens on the windows! I can imagine my folks were perturbed.
Friday morning Chuck and I had no school and Mom was invited out to lunch by Mrs. Thomas, who with Mrs. Reddy served twenty-four at the new Reddy’s new modern house. Regarding this, Mom wrote,
The boys quarreled all the while I was getting ready [to go to the luncheon] and I feel like selling them for two cents.
With no school that Friday, Chuck was drafted to change the windows which was no easy task since our house had been built before aluminum combination storm-and-screen windows were available.
One at a time, he hauled down the heavy, wooden storm windows as needed. Sometimes I helped by cleaning the glass on both sides with Windex.
Chuck manipulated the heavy, wooden extension ladder to a window and climbed it twice–once to remove the screen and twice to mount the storm. Mom or I helped on the inside by releasing the screen and fastening the storm as needed.
One time that Friday, Chuck was climbing the ladder with the storm in hand and fell off. The glass broke, but fortunately he wasn’t hurt at all. On Saturday while he was doing another storm window, the strong wind blew it right out of his hands.
Chuck didn’t stick to this task the way Mom wanted, but with her nagging, he finally hung the last window at noon on Sunday.
This job of changing the windows was a difficult one, so after we had air conditioning, Dad did something to eliminate this semiannual task. Each storm had a small section that could be opened inward to allow outside air in. Well, Dad fastened some screen over the area where the storm window could be opened. After that we left them up all year round!