Carroll J. Olm '46

One Never Knows: A College Memory

Mathematics was never my forte. At Port Washington High School we endured an algebra teacher who was an excellent debate coach, but an abomination as a teacher of algebra. (The debate team won the national debate championship and my brother, Paul Olm-Stoelting '43, was on the team.) We learned nothing. Thankfully geometry was a better experience. The teacher was excellent and we all learned a good deal.

At MH/Lakeland, I took college algebra and trigonometry. We had an excellent professor in Dr. Carroll Rusch. At the end of the second semester, we were required to turn in our answers to some very, very difficult trigonometry problems. None of us had a clue as to how to do the problems. So we used the answers of the brightest student in the class, Ralph Pippert '44, and submitted our papers.

Three days later, Dr. Rusch accosted me on the steps of the library building. He said, "Carroll, what in the world has gotten into you?" Of course I thought he had discovered how we had answered that last assignment. My heart sank. "Why? What do you mean?" I asked. He replied, "But for the misplacement of one decimal point, you wrote a perfect examination." I guess one never knows, right? For me it was a major achievement to receive an A+ as the final grade.

Carroll Comes to Carroll's Support

I remember how gracious Dr. Carroll Rusch '35 and his wife Marian were to us students. I remember the night that the two Nomenson brothers, measuring 6'5" and 6'6" respectively, came from Northwestern College in Wisconsin to play basketball against us. They came to Founder's Gym and, in spite of their height, we always seemed to win. Once, I met with their coach, Len Umnus, to referee one of his Northwestern College football games. As soon as he saw me he said, “You used to give us fits." Well maybe, maybe not!

On one memorable basketball night, the two Nomenson brothers drove me into the stage on the west end of the gym. Two large mats were supposed to be covering the stage for our protection, but for some reason they were separated. All that Northwestern weight pushed me right into the stage at the spot where there was no mat protection. After attempting and missing two free throws, I was pulled out of the game and landed in the Plymouth hospital for observation. Dr. Carroll Rusch drove me over there and took care of all the arrangements. My blood count was so high that it indicated internal bleeding. The doctors said, "We'll wait until morning, take another test then, and if the count is still so high we'll have to do surgery." Fortunately, in the morning the count was down, which meant that the internal injuries were healing by themselves. After I was discharged, Carroll and Marian brought me to their home and took care of me for two days. They were super, going far beyond expectations.

The Flapper

The "Almost a Streaker" story reminded me of an incident which occurred in Founder's Gym during a preliminary basketball game. Lowell Ferguson '44, friendly and often comical, was playing guard and had the task of bringing the ball down the court after the opposing team scored a basket. Lowell's uniform included a worn out pair of shorts, the under section of which was literally hanging by a thread. The thread broke and Lowell--making the most of a humorous situation--continued to play, amid the crowd's laughter, with his shorts flapping up and down as he traversed the court.

Rev. Dr. Carroll Olm '46 '86


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