Class of 1939 Spring Letter

Spring 2012

Dear Classmate,

Well, it was a short winter!  I have been notified that the spring class letter is due by March 1.  Only a month or two ago you received my fall letter.  I have no correspondence from anyone except the notice from the Alumni Office, so you are in for it again!  The Luther Magazine is a beautiful publication, but I saw no reference to the class of 1939, not even the obituaries which should have appeared.

I just heard my first Vegan joke: “How do you comfort a Vegan after a romantic breakup?”  Answer:  “Don’t worry; there’s more kelp in the sea!”  The Sixties are back on TV these days, but I think the best line on the era comes from John Cleese:  “I missed the Sixties, I was working.”

With all the Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, there are all sorts of pronouncements and arguments going on.  Herman Cain stopped at an Ohio town with 75 percent German inhabitants and tried to explain his “simplified” tax system.  He simply misunderstood when the audience started screaming “Nein! Nein! Nein!”  The politicians have a lot of people to cover―as of October 2011, there are still 7,000 peple exactly like you!  Everyone has a best friend, but they are not always influential in promoting good in your life.  A friend reported going to a wedding reception where the emcee yelled, “All you married men stand next to the one person who has made your life worth living.”  He claims the bartender was nearly crushed to death!

An Irish correspondent reported from Dublin that an Irishman went into the confessional box after years of being away from the church.  He is amazed to find a fully equipped bar, with Guinness on tap.  On the other wall is a dazzling array of the finest cigars and chocolates in the world.  When the priest came in, the Irishman excitedly began, “Father forgive me for it’s been a long time since I’ve been to confession, but I must first admit that the confessional box is much more inviting than it used to be.”  The priest replied, “Get out, you’re on my side.”

Times have changed.  Ten years ago Johnny Cash was alive, Bob Hope was alive, Steve Jobs was alive.  Now we’re out of Cash, out of Hope and out of Jobs.

I am told that Catholics are experiencing a new translation in the liturgy as mandated by Rome.  It is not popular.  A priest was telling how the congregation tends to offer automatic responses.  At one point he said he was to say “The Lord be with you.”  To which the congregation replies, “And also with you.”  One Sunday he went to say it but noted his microphone was shorted out.  He said, “There’s something wrong with this mike.”  The congregation duly responded, “And also with you!”  It reminds me of the congregation who had a minister who was not liked very well.  One Sunday he reported from the pulpit that he would be leaving because he had been called by the Lord to another church.  As one, the congregation arose and sang, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”

Sports is on your minds these days with the Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl, High School tournaments, publicized golf and tennis matches, and baseball trades.  The famous golfer Tiger Woods is doing a little better in his scores.  He is back playing and with his third new caddie.  Well, the fourth actually, if you count the Escalade.  Coach Barry Switzer isn’t fawning over privileged players.  He said, “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”  Sometimes the best wood in your golf bag is your pencil!

President Ronald Reagan was reported to have told a campaign joke about a rural Republican candidate running in an all-Democratic farming area.  He stopped at a Sunday gathering of farmers, introduced himself, and asked if he could say a few words.  They said “Sure,”so he asked if they had a chair he could stand on.  They said no, but he could stand on that pile of what “Bess” Truman spent 30 years teaching Harry to call “fertilizer.”  He did that and gave a pretty good speech.  After that the host shook his head and said, “Not bad.  That’s the first time I ever heard a Republican speak!”  The politician said, “Thank you.  That’s the first time I ever made a Republican speech from a Democratic platform!”

After a politician did a big zoning favor for a Mercedes dealer, the latter wanted to thank him by giving him a new Mercedes.  The politician said, “You can’t do that.  It’s unethical, illegal, and would get us both in trouble.”  The dealer said, “Okay, then let me sell you a Mercedes.”  “How much?” the politician asked.  “Ten bucks,” said the dealer.  The politician thought for a moment and said, “I’ll take two.”

Don’t forget that Luther College needs funds to operate, provide financial aid to students, and hire qualified teachers.  So please plan on making a contribution to the Annual Fund both for the good of Luther College and for the reputation of the Class of 1939 as providers!

And since we are in 2012, “In the New Year may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want,” as the Irish proverb has it.

All best wishes and start looking forward to our 75-year reunion in 2014.


E. J. Nordby
1939 Class Agent
[email protected]

PS.  It's not too late to purchase a copy of Transformed by the Journey: 150 Years of Luther College in Word and Image. Richly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, Transformed by the Journey was compiled and written by Wilfred Bunge '53, professor emeritus of religion and classics, with assistance from Mary Hull Mohr, professor emerita of English, and Dale Nimrod, professor emeritus of chemistry.  Contact the Luther Book Shop at, or call 1-888-521-5039 or email [email protected] to place your order.

Each year nearly 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $50,000. Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure additional funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us reach our goal of 30% alumni giving.  Here’s how your class—and surrounding classes—did in 2011: 

Class of 1938 total giving in 2011:  $1,100 from 25% of the class

Class of 1939 total giving in 2011:  $4,600 from 47% of the class

Class of 1940 total giving in 2011:  $281 from 20% of the class

Your gift can boost the impact your class has on current students!  Please use the enclosed envelope or visit to show your support.   Thank you!