Joan (Leschensky) Grosshuesch '46

The Unglued Chair

In 1944-45, the coeds living on the second floor of the old President's home were Mary Rusch, Mary Whiffen, Leah Vande Zante, Lois Parks, Gladys Krautkramer and Helen Worthman. I transferred to Mission House/Lakeland College in January and lived in the maid's room on the third floor. The small breakfast room had twin beds in it and was used as kind of a guest room for visiting parents. The kitchen was unfurnished. Ev and Nels Hauptmann lived in the former living room and sunroom on first floor. I guess we coeds were supposed to keep the lounge, entryway, stairs and halls clean, but it was not very high on the to-do list and the dust bunnies usually chased around undisturbed.

When it was decided to house coeds in that building, I think the campus was scoured for cast off furniture to put in the so-called lounge, formerly the dining room. I remember an old upright piano, so out of tune that a serious musician wouldn't touch it. We played chopsticks on it. We didn't really use the lounge much, preferring to gather in one of the rooms upstairs, but when a guy was present we did hang out there. No men were allowed above first floor. In the lounge, there was a table of sorts and several chairs. Now one of these chairs was completely unglued, but it could be put together to look quite normal. For some reason known only to bored college students, we thought it was hilarious to lure some unsuspecting guy into sitting in that chair. It immediately collapsed and he wound up amidst a pile of chair parts. After a few guys fell victim to our prank, the word got out and the game was over. Coach Ruben Grosshuesch knew what was going on and made it known, in no uncertain terms, that none of his basketball players was ever to become a victim. College humor?

I also remember how we used to “horse and goggle" for extra desserts at the tables in the dining room. Those were war years and some foods were rationed. It must have been a real challenge for Mrs. Ley and her kitchen staff to feed us all. We even had pie for dessert on special occasions.

The Dog Incident

The old President's house served many purposes. It was built by a family for their daughter to live in. She was wife of President Darms and, for many years, the building was referred to as “Darms Hall." After they were succeeded by Paul and Oleta Grosshuesch, they too lived in it for a time. It was a large house and Mrs. Darms had live-in household help. There was a bedroom and bath on the third floor for a maid to live in. However, the Grosshueschs couldn't afford a maid and it was a big house to maintain. After a few years, the present President's home was built. The next occupants were Coach Kregel and his wife Ellen on the first floor and seminary students on the two upper floors.

Besides the maid's quarters, this grand old house had other amenities. One such amenity was a speaking tube connecting the kitchen with the bookshelf-lined study on the second floor. Nate Weirwille '40 and Ernest "Swampy" Klaudt '40 were among the seminarians living there. The Kregels had a little dog who didn't like Nate. One day, as Nate was dashing down the front stairway to get to class, the dog charged out of the Kregel's apartment and bit Nate on the leg. Nate retaliated by giving the dog a swift kick. The dog retreated, yelping at the top of its voice. Kregel came out and really bawled Nate out. Well, Nate was fuming! Not only did he get bitten, but he was sworn at too. He resolved to get even.

The next time they went to Sheboygan they bought a high-pitched dog whistle, the kind a dog can hear but a person can't. After midnight, they went to the second floor speaking tube and blew the whistle. The dog went crazy, but Kregel couldn't tell why it was making such a fuss. The guys waited awhile and blew the whistle again. They continued blowing the whistle throughout the night. Nate had his revenge and "Schnapsy" never did figure out why his dog barked all night.

Sacrificing the Dove

Louie Riesch '46 had many talents, lots of energy and a vivid imagination. He was a member of the Sigma Fraternity. One time the Sigmas were responsible for a chapel program. Louie got the idea of dramatizing a passage of Scripture and they chose to do "Jesus Cleansing the Temple." Since it was to be a drama, they asked to hold chapel in the gym so they could make use of the stage. The setting was arranged with a table in front which was made to look like an altar. To one side was another table which had a pile of coins on it. The man sitting behind it was a moneychanger. At the other side were some wire cages holding two doves.

The drama began with a bathrobe-clad priest unrolling a scroll and solemnly reading the Scripture passage. Then another priest opened a cage and brought a dove to the altar. The bird was blessed and then, quick as a wink, another priest (probably Louis) took a knife and slew the dove. All pandemonium broke loose. Coeds were screaming and trying to get out of their chairs. Outraged faculty members stood dazed and angry, while less-inhibited male students were splitting their sides laughing at the audacity of the whole thing. I don't remember if Jesus ever overturned the table of the moneychanger or not. I don't think the Sigmas got a very high mark for all of their efforts and I know for sure they had to clean the gym. There was blood and feathers all over the place! There was never a dull moment at Old Mission House, especially if Louie Riesch was around.

Melon Theft! Oh My!

In 1945, Ruben (class of 1943) and I had just gotten married and were living on the third floor of the old President's home, which today houses admissions offices. From our living room/study windows, we overlooked a field located between our building and Profville. Ruben told me it was one of the fields that was used to to grow potatoes for use in the school dining room. That year, it had been planted with musk melons. We saw someone harvesting there on several different nights...and it wasn't potatoes they were after!

The following is a response to the "melon theft" story, submitted by Carroll J. Olm '46:

Joan, you caught at least one quasi guilty person. Me! While I honestly do not know who roamed around in the dark to harvest the melons, I was one of those who readily accepted the invitation to relish them. Ernie Lauer was my roommate that year. We lived in 216. One Saturday night, about seven of us students gathered in 216 to make good use of a bushel basket full of ripe melons. And were they ever good! We did not have waste baskets for disposal of the rinds and seeds, so Ernie placed lots of newspaper on the floor in the middle of the room. After finishing a slice of melon, each participant threw the leavings onto the paper. Within a short time, there was quite an accumulation of waste--A BIG PILE IN THE CENTER OF THE ROOM!

We were having a wonderful time laughing and joking--and a part of that was being quite noisy. Little did we realize that 216 was located directly above the bedroom of Dean and Mrs. Ley. During a lull in the laughter, we heard a soft knock on the door. Upon opening it, we saw Dean Ley dressed in his pajamas and robe. Dean surveyed the situation, saying nothing about the melons. However, he did offer, in his mild gentle manner, "Boys, I have a worship service to conduct tomorrow morning and I am trying to ge some sleep. Can you calm it down?"

No reprimand! No anger! No questions about melons! Just a kindly request that we be quiet.

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