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30 March 1980 ~ Sunday
This sounds high and mighty, but actually involved note taking at meetings and distributing a printout. What mattered most was that at last I had met a scholar down-to-earth (he wrote 16 books) and more important, my friend. It was he who put me thru (by tutoring) statistics and money and banking and urging me to take other courses in economics to get an M.S. in economics. I almost made it but as I gained on one end the University disallowed on the other end, so I gave up that task as hopeless. An econ Tantalus I was.
Well, Father Dempsey had lung cancer and one day in 1960 he was found dead in his room. It was during exam week and I had a 10:30 appointment with him. He didn’t keep it, and since I was rushing to be ready for a seminar in Willaimstown Massachusetts, I didn’t even get to his funeral. He’s watching over me from Jesuit Hill in Calvary Cemetery as are some of my other Jebbie friends — Father Divine, old Hooks, Dachbauer and that old West Pointer Father Markoe with his ramrod stance and gentle straight talk.
Years flew by and I was made counselor to evening students with an office in the main office, and thru those years the old gang slowly faded. Willis Jackson left for the Lutheran ministry, Charlie Tobin died in Madison, Billy Bergston died, Al Sievers retired and has since died, Old Uncle John McDonald the English Professor died, as did Herman Karl, Walter Froelich and others. That left, after 33 years, only Herman Loeble and myself of the original guard. On my retirement a virtual transformation occurred in the department. All, or almost, are young Turks excellent mechanics and friends of a sort but not of the “Alte ---Kameraden” [?] kind. Herman is now alone and having stepped down from Associate Deanship resumes the roll of professor again — by his choice he has come full circle. For how long I don’t know, but he has told me he will take early retirement. When he does the old Marquette Business Administration will have vanished and the old camaraderie gone forever.
It is hard to believe, but I had few dates or girlfriends in my life. During the depression and in my early youth lack of money and the general conditions of my life and temperament added up to no girl time. Oh there were a few I went sweet on, but they never knew it because I never told them. Then too, I went to the Brothers at age 23 and stayed 10 years, so my youth passed without my learning to dance or play or enjoy the frivolous things outside reading and some sports. I could have been good in sports but I never took sports seriously. There seemed to be more important things, like reading and listening to symphonies.
My first great heart throb was Mary Ellen. I met her and her family thru her brother Dick, a student of mine. She was in a TB hospital. When I left the Brothers I began to write her and then, as my finances permitted, I visited and finally was deep in love. The romance was mostly epistolary. I wrote almost daily and lived for her letters. As she grew well and finally left the Sanatorium, she took up her old ways and finally the affair simply petered out for lack of contact. Good for me or I would never have met Marion. Now of course, I can understand what a mistake it would have been to go further. But, oh, that gal could play the piano. She was a concert pianist and her favorite piece was the Warsaw Concerto, as it was mine. Even today I feel pangs when I hear it. But it was not to be and wasn’t.
Once I got to teaching at Marquette University I began to date. How utterly stupid I was in the ways of romance — still am for that matter. But I went thru the motions with other girls, all of whom were great good gals. I can’t think of one who wouldn’t have been a good wife. But being what I am they didn’t think as I did until one came along — Marion. There in lies a story.
One of the gals I dated was a Rosemary, a real ok gal. Her friend was Marion. They had graduated 1-2 from Port High and were at Marquette University. Rosemary was a grad student and Marion had just graduated (1948) and was working in town.
Well, as fate would have it, I was dating Rosemary and Marion was dating Wally Diel. Wally was my friend and an excellent one. Anyhow, the Port High reunion was impending and Rosemary coaxed me into taking her and Marion did the same for Wally. His unlucky day as it turned out.
We all gathered at the Port Washington country club for dinner etc. and while at the table I saw Marion with Wally down the table a ways and fell. Later we met in a hallway between the dining room and the bar. It will never be said that I met your mother in a saloon but just barely. What else happened at that gathering I’ll never know.
So when we all got back to work (whenever that was Monday)? I began calling Marion at her job. I had asked Wally if he and she had some kind of understanding - a nice way of saying “is the field open” and he said yes. So Marion and I began to date and stay out till terrible hours. We used to get to five o’clock Mass at Gesu on Sundays and stay out late even on working days. Eventually we were so at one that I “ringed” her at the altar rail one day. It was a big diamond I’d had reset from my Mary Ellen days and the deed was done. (Later in our life we both agreed that the ring was a stupid thing and I sold it for grocery money. I got $75 and we ate it up.) In all our courtship (I call it that now but I wonder) lasted from June to January. We decided to marry in January.
To marry in those days was a real tradition. Things had to be done right. We had decided on a small wedding. One of those quiet inexpensive affairs attended by close family, relatives and friends. But it was not to be.
I had, of course, to let my family in on my plans. So I did and then Ma brought out The List of those who had attended George’s, Herb’s, and Bernice’s weddings. One by one she went thru the list and came up with a list.
Then over to the Fellenzes for Marion’s side. Grandma took over too and her list got to be a long one. Our simple wedding was out of our hands.
Now the plan was to do the thing in St. Mary’s in Port and have a breakfast at the farm. The reception was to be at Hubbard Lodge on the Milwaukee river that night.
Well the Fellenzes went all out. Grandma and her helpers got a tremendous breakfast together for supposedly the close relatives but a lot of people crashed the gate. So the day continued on a note set up during the week.
It was miserably cold and snowy. Snow storms had piled drifts to ten feet and the winds howled. The temperature was -20.
I had delivered Marion and Shirley to the farm on Friday. Dad [Grandpa Fellenz] had told us he’d meet us in Port so he could guide us to the farm along the Middle Road. Snow was falling and winds were drifting it so literally nothing but snow was visible as a kind of fog. He met us, of course, and said “Follow my tail lights”. That I did in the old Studebaker, and what a ride. His tail lights were a hazy pink as I bored through the snow behind him. He told me he guided by the telephone poles by the side of the road. Years later I wondered what would have happened to all of us had he been blocked by a snow drift with me on his tail so close. Ugh!
I went back to Milwaukee because the plan called for Herb, George, Leah and myself to return to the church Saturday morning.
Saturday morning early Herb arrived in his Mercury with the windows all frosted up on the inside and he driving with a tiny[?] slit in the windshield. Leah is crying because of a row they’d had and they were late. So we’re all late to the wedding. It is so cold motors won’t start and the only people in church are those too stupid to stay home.
We men, Herb, George and I are wearing the same suits we all wore at their weddings in June past. These suits were of Australian wool and a deep purple and they are tropical weave and this at 20° below in Port.