Paul Olm-Stoelting '43

Swooping Sparrow and One Tennis Court

More reminiscing about Founder's Gym. When was a freshman in 1939, we had chapel service in the gym. I volunteered, as did other students, to lead the weekly event. A sparrow had found its way into the gym and, as I was doing my thing, the bird swooped down and dropped a warm load on Elmer Becker's head. Elmer just happened to be the school's only ornithologist. We had no Audubon Society then.

More Memories

Another gym memory: The campus had but one tennis court and needed another. So over a period of months, perhaps 1940-1942, we had fundraisers and collected $2000, the then-cost of a new tennis court. However, President Grosshuesch at a student body gathering bemoaned the badly leaking gym roof with no school money for a new roof. Guess where our $2000 went? The new roof lasted the years until the building was razed. The single tennis court remained for at least 15 years.

Back in 1939, it was customary (mandatory) for all freshmen to wear little green beanies until the Homecoming football game. At the game, the one-size-fits-all caps were tossed into the air, never to be worn again. When did that silly custom end?

During the early 1940's, shortly before Homecoming, a large banner appeared above the Main Hall entrance. It read, “Kick the 'L' out of Milton." Milton College, a football team from Milton, WI, is no longer in existence. I don't remember if the Muskies did kick out the "L."

Don Eckhart, President of the Class of 1943, went out to purchase a tree that the class would plant on Homecoming weekend, as was the tradition at that time. Don was happy because he got a bargain--two tops on the tree! With a few laughs, the tree was planted between Professor Friedli's house and Founder's Gym.

Around 1944, I was earning money correcting both theme and test papers for the history professor. I often marked on a huge curve, selecting Gene Jaberg's (class of 1948) papers and another student's first. Gene always wrote the best papers and the other student--well, he wasn't the best by any means. I have forgotten the name of that student, but I don't recall any objections to any grades. The students assumed the prof did the grading.

Some years after graduation, I was on a flight where I ended up sitting next to Moose Woltzen, the then basketball coach at our alma mater. I recognized him, but he didn't recognize me. After introductions, we had a pleasant flight conversation. During our conversation, Moose mentioned that he was on a brief recruiting trip. He shared that some academic professors seemed envious of his recruitment flights. Moose said that his response was always the same, “If you spent as much time recruiting for your department as I do for mine, you wouldn't have reason to complain about the lack of students taking your courses." Good for Moose!

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