Zeta Chi Memories from Vernon Jaberg `44

Zeta Chi Memories

I pledged Zeta Chi in the spring of 1941. When I came to the campus from Sheboygan (My father, Rev. E.C. Jaberg, was pastor of Ebenezer E and R Church on N. 16th Street), I planned to become a Sigma. However, most of my close friends pledged Zeta Chi, so I did as well. I had no second thoughts; we had a great time together as fraternity brothers.

I recall our pledge dinner at Hessels, a hotel and restaurant in Francis Creek. They served all the baked chicken we could eat, with all the fixings. They also served sweet rolls that were very popular. Following the dinner, we were blindfolded and taken out to some remote place near the campus. The actives bid us "good night" and we proceeded to try and find our way back to campus in the dark. I recall being afraid of the dogs that seemed to bark at us from every farm in the area. My fellow pledge was Richard Neuman from Lima, Ohio. Richard later became pastor of 1st Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We still send Christmas letters and keep in touch via email.

During the years, years that became the war years of WWII, the Mission House student body was at low ebb, under 100. It was a difficult time for our country and for us all, to say nothing about the courage of those in the American military.

We did have some social life, holding Halloween parties for the 20-30 residents of the women's dormitory. The annual party was at Sheib's Hall in Franklin. We danced square dances and the Virginia reel. We enjoyed sandwiches, apple cider and pumpkin pie. It was great fun and a great time was had by all in attendance.

While I recall meals that were enjoyed off campus, the meals in the dining hall were always wonderful, thanks to Mrs. Bessie Jenkins. Known to us as "Mrs. Jay," she was also the Dean of Women.

During the war years, meat, sugar, etc. were rationed and we had to turn in our ration books to the school. There was also a black market used to avoid the ration stamps, which we were to surrender and use as required. We had three Zetas from Adams County in Indiana--Quentin Moeschberger, Howard Beer and Delbert Kaufman. They were members of the Vera Cruz Reformed Church. One year, when they returned from Christmas break, they brought with them a suitcase full of steak. It was frozen when it left Hoosierland and it was well thawed when they arrived on campus via trains. The steaks were immediately put in cold storage. A week later, we held an annual steak fry at Ebenezer Church, thanks to the full cooperation of my mother and father. Mr. Terry Nelson, a chef, teacher and Zeta Chi founder, fried the steaks. The pledges set up the basement and helped to peel potatoes. It proved to be a great evening in Sheboygan. Later, my father became an honorary member of Zeta Chi; he was thrilled! He came from Decatur, Indiana and spent nine years on the MH/Lakeland campus.

Another year, one of our frat brothers, Don Mathewson, shot a deer during hunting season and gave it to Zeta Chi. Mr. Nelson prepared another dinner at Ebenezer. He really knew how to season and prepare the venison; it was delicious! One year, however, Terry Nelson was unable to prepare the steaks, so my mother did the job using large iron frying pans.

Aside from eating and drinking, the Zetas were involved on campus. We had a Zeta Chorus and we sang in several churches and on campus. Many of us stayed involved in Zeta Chi as students at Mission House Theological Seminary. In 1945-46, our fraternity brother, Edward Huenemann, went to Dr. Paul Grosshuesch, who was the president of Mission House at that time. Edward asked Dr. Grosshuesch if we could take a choir tour via train to sing in churches throughout Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota. Dr. Grosshuesch agreed, but told us that we were to include some others--a few Sigmas and some independents. We did, beginning our trip via the Milwaukee Road. We sang in churches in Kiel, Iowa and South Dakota. It was a great experience. I later became pastor of Immanuel UCC in Klemme, Iowa and St. Peter's UCC in Kiel.

I was Zeta president in 1943-44. We painted the frat room, which was located on the 4th floor of what is now the William A. Krueger administrative building. We played pool, read Esquire Magazine, and studied. Some smoked and fast friendships developed. Our social events with dates took place at the Old Heidelberg, at the top of the bank in Sheboygan, at the Altoona in New Holstein, and at other sites...

My brother, Gene Jaberg, and my son, Mark E. Jaberg, were also members of Zeta Chi. We are proud to be affiliated with Zeta Chi. Keep up the good work!



Rev. Vernon E. Jaberg `44



P.S. My wife, Virginia (Dirkse) Jaberg, was proud to wear a Zeta pin!


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