Class of 1939 Fall 2010 Letter

Fall 2010

Dear Classmate:

Greetings on our 71st year of having graduated from Luther College.  We look forward to our 75th reunion and hope it can be as enjoyable as our 70th.  I continue to have a dearth of information on any classmate to pass on since I hear from none of you.  So to accomplish a letter I must substitute the experience of others.

My wife, Olive, and I did have an enjoyable three months at our cottage in Northern Wisconsin in the company of our son, Jon.  He loves the place even more than we do and has a hobby of old outboard motors that he repairs.  He has about 200 of them that require a couple buildings to store, along with seven boats, three of which he constructed.  Since many parts are not readily available, it takes two or three or more old motors to make one working model.  In being a helper at times, I enjoy learning something about motors as well.

There is always repair and remodeling work around our cottage that began life in 1923, so that keeps us busy.  We do take time out for a little fishing once in a while and that was pretty good this summer.  When her arthritis calms down enough, Olive has a spot to work on her wonderful woodcuts also.  They are a lot of work and consume a lot of time too.

They say a bus station is where a bus stops.  A train station is where a train stops.  On my desk I have a work station!  We were so grateful to have had mild fall weather well into November, some days reaching 67 and 68 degrees.  There are other reasons to be grateful if you are a senior: (1) your investment in health insurance is finally paying off; (2) your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either!  In a curious way, age is simpler than youth for it has so many fewer options.

Many are concerned and talking about taxation and taxes these days.  A man called the IRS and asked if birth control pill cost could be deducted.  The IRS replied, only if they didn’t work.  The president gets the credit or blame for most things that happen these days.  White House occupants come and go.  They are just like diapers and should be changed often and for the same reason!

This time of year the mailbox is full of requests for money to support various causes.  Many are very worthwhile and most deserve help, but there are those that benefit the operators more than the needy.  A good rule for going through life is to keep the heart a little softer than the head, but don’t leave the head out of it.  Some have a different view.  One recommends that instead of giving money to promote learning, they should pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anyone from giving anything to education.  If it works as well as Prohibition did, why, in five years we could have the smartest race of people on the earth!

Maybe, but until that happens, be sure to support the Luther College Annual Fund with whatever you can spare.  We want to keep up or increase our 40 percent rating to show our concern for the well-being of Luther and its students.

It seems that facial hair is very popular these days.  Many of the sports figures have beards of various types and some sport long flowing hair.  I can understand one reason as I find it tiresome to take the time to shave every day.  But if there were wisdom in beards, all goats would be prophets.  Beards or not, the ones who succeed are those who don’t jump off the bridge until they know the parachute works.

The other day we had a call from the company that takes care of our cottage yard, telling us that someone had been dumping leaves on our property.  When you have a plot of land, the best thing to cultivate is your neighbors.  So I called a neighbor and determined that it was probably a 60-mile-an-hour wind that did the dirty work.  A person should be like a watch – open faced, busy hands, well-regulated, and full of good works!  If you would be arrested for being kind, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

It won’t be long before Christmas.  Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age.  Especially if you can be with family at that time.  We enjoy decorating the tree and playing the CDs with Christmas music and even having a couple of wreaths outside.  It always brings back memories of younger times.  Our son and his wife alternate between his and her parents for the Holiday.

Retirement is when you finally have the time to do all the things you always wanted to do – and also the time to wonder why you wanted to do them!  “Returnment” is when you go back to work after retirement, which may be hard to do these days with the tight job market.  It recalls Mike who lost his job at the mill and went to apply for a new position.  “Why did you lose your last job?” asked a clerk.  “Incompatibility,” said Mike.  “What do you mean?” asked the clerk.  “Well,” said Mike, “In comes Pat and he has more ability.”  That recalls another definition in divorce for incompatibility – he has the income and she has the patability.

We see a lot of bikers around here with Harley Davidson being so popular.  Someone asked a biker if he knew what they called bikers who drive without wearing helmets.  The answer: “organ donors.”  Sad, but true.

As Claire Booth Luce once said, “If old age means a crown of thorns, the trick is to wear it jauntily.”  Good advice, but sometimes hard to follow.  As one husband came out of the shower and looked at himself in the full-length mirror, “Look at me!  I’m old, fat, and wrinkled.  Please tell me something nice.”  His wife replied, “Your eyesight is perfect.”

Our class numbers have dwindled, but as we carry on each must have something to tell.  Jot it down or give me a call to share it with your classmates.  People frequently ask me to what I attribute my old age.  I tell them, “A glass of red wine every evening.”  I don’t know if that’s a good answer or not, but that’s what I enjoy and there is evidence that it is helpful.  I had a grandmother who made it to 97 and that’s the only one I haven’t equaled yet, so there may be some genetic help? (Telephone 608-831-2356)

Greetings and blessings to you for another year.  Lord willing there will be a spring letter in 2011.  Keep in good health and share a gift to the Luther College Annual Fund!

Gene Nordby

E.J. Nordby, M.D.
1939 Class Agent
[email protected]

Don't forget your Annual Fund giving! 

Each year nearly 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $3 to $25,000. Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure significant funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us reach our goal of 30% alumni giving to the Annual Fund.  Here's how our class did in 2009:

Class of 1939           Total giving in 2009:  $5,215 from 39% of the class

Your gift can boost our class impact on current students!  Visit to show your support.  Thank you!

JANE (HAUGEN) HANSON of Seattle died of colon cancer Jan. 26, 2010, at age 93. She attended Lake Forest College for a year and transferred to Luther and graduated summa cum laude. Although busy with her family, she found time to serve as vice-president of the University of Washington Faculty Wives and teach Sunday school. She loved music, playing organ and singing in the choir of First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach. Jane had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed appearing in costume—she was Madame Butterfly, to her husband's Lieutenant Pinkerton, at a masked ball; appeared in full Hawaiian dress at her 92nd birthday costume party; and was the Queen of Halloween at her unforgettable 93rd birthday costume party. She had incredible strength of body, spirit, and faith.  Jane and her husband KERMIT HANSON ’38, were members of Heritage Club and Life Members of Presidents Council, and they received the Pioneer Memorial Award from Luther in 2003. She is survived by her four children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  Jane was preceded in death by her father, CLARENCE HAUGEN ’08, and her husband, KERMIT HANSON ’38.