Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Family Bek

This family live in East Hillcrest House 05.

We need more information about this family.

Family Blomenberg

Gilbert Blomenberg, born in [year?].

Bertha Marie (Koch) Blomenberg, born in [year?].


Theodore Blomenberg, born in [year?].

John Blomenberg, born in [year?].

James Blomenberg, born in [year?], died in 2009 (obituary post)

James Blomenberg, seventh-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Paula Blomenberg, born in [year?].

Andrea Blomenberg, born in [year?].

Rhoda Blomenberg, born in [year?].

Rhoda Blomenberg, fifth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Sarah Ann Blomenberg, born in [year?].

Sarah Blomenberg, second-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Daniel Blomenberg, born in [year?].

Daniel Blomenberg, first-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Family Cannon

Mrs. Cannon lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 01 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Dankert

Mrs. Dankert lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 03 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Dorpat

David Dorpat, born in [year?]. Pastor at St John Church.

[Wife's name] Dorpat, born in [year?]


David Dorpat, born in [year?].

Debbie Dorpat.


They lived in East Hillcrest House 04 from 1967 to [year?].

Family Duensing

[Father's name?], born in [year?].

Alice, born in [year?].


Paul, born in [year?].

Phil, born in [year?].


The Duensing family lived in Columbia Avenue House 02 from 1963 to [year?].

Family Fischer

Lloyd Fischer, born in [year?].


The Fischer family lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 02 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Glaess

Herman Glaess, born in 1926, died in 2009.

Herman Glaess, born in 1926, died in 2009.

Herman Lewis Glaess was born on July 18, 1926, in Harbor Beach, Michigan to Arnold and Vincenta (Sandmann) Glaess. Herman passed away in Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 8, 2009, at the age of 83 years. He married Ruth Bruckner on August 5, 1950, at the Nazareth Lutheran Church in Detroit, Michigan. Herman graduated from Concordia Teachers College (River Forest, Illinois) in 1946, received a Masters Degree from Wayne State University in 1955 and added Doctor of Education from the University of Nebraska in 1966.

Herman’s professional career spanned over 50 years. He was a teacher and principal at St. Peter’s Lutheran School in East Detroit, MI, Professor and Chairman of the Education and Psychology Division at Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska, and guest instructor at the University of Nebraska. Both Concordia and the University of Nebraska presented Herman with their highest teaching awards.

Herman was also an author of the best selling Potentiality Enhancement Programs. As a clinical psychologist, Glaess served as an organizational consultant, trainer and motivational speaker to businesses, trade association, utilities and educational institutions across the United States. He also served as President of the Lutheran Education Association.

Herman is survived by his wife, Ruth and children and their spouses, Anita and Jack Batts of Encampment, WY, Mark and Debbie Glaess of Maple Grove, MN, Marian Brosig of Palisades, CO and Lori and Cameron Scarlett of Madison, WI ...

(The obituary webpage is here.)

Ruth (Bruckner) Glaess, born in [year?].

Anita (Glaess) Batts, born in [year?].

Mark Glaess, born in [year?].

Marian (Glaess) Brosig, born in [year?].

Lori (Glaess) Scarlett, born in [year?].

Family Hans

Parents' names?


Lynette, born in [year?].

Lynette Hans, seventh-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Larry Hans, born in [year?].

Larry Hans, fourth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Layne Hans, born in [year?].

Layne Hans, second-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska


The Hans family lived in East Hillcrest House 06.

Family Hinrichs

Vance Hinrichs, born in [year?]

Carol Hinrichs, born in [year?]


Susan Hinrichs, born in [year?]

Susan Hinrichs, fifth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Michael Hinrichs, born in [year?]

Michael Hinrichs, third-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

The Hinrichs family lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 04 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Kolterman

Don Kolterman, born in [year?].

Jean Kolterman, born in [year?].


Clark Kolterman, born in [year?].

Mark Kolterman, born in [year?].

Ellen Kolterman, born in [year?].

Paul Kolterman, born in [year?].

Paul Kolterman, third-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

From Who's Who In Nebraska.

KOLTERMAN, FREDRICK AUGUST: Merchant; b Millard, Neb Nov. 24, 1883; s of John Carl Fredrick Kolterman-Anna Gertrude Kennenbley; ed Blair & Milford; m Hulda Marie Prochnow Nov 10, 1918 Seward; s Donald Carl; d Eleanor Marie; 1903-05 with brother C F oprd Buckeye Roller Mill in Blair; 1905-08 rancher in Atkinson; 1908-09 with Nye-Schneider Elevator & Lbr Co, Fairfax S D; 1909-14 homesteaded Colome, S D; 1914-15 with brother C F in Blair; 1915- Burke Racket Store in Seward, changed name to Kolterman Variety Store & 1923 to Koltermans 5c to $1.00 store, 1936 changed name to Ben Franklin Store; mbr vol fire dept 23 years; past mbr town coun; Fedn of Neb Retailers; dir C of C; past mbr Rotary; Golf Club; St Johns Luth Ch; Rep; hobby, travel; off 600 Block; res 140 Lincoln, Seward.
From Nebraska Life:

Today’s version of the Seward Fourth of July celebration came from the “Whiz Bang Kids,” the Seward High School class of 1969. In 1967, Clark Kolterman, his twin brother Mark and other classmates decided that Seward needed a modern Fourth of July celebration for Seward’s centennial. They organized the students and began a tradition of youth involvement. Since then, there’s always been a youth chairman as well as an adult chairman of the committee, and the celebration has been organized in large part by young people. In keeping the youth involved, Seward hopes it is grooming future leaders.

“We had a lot of overachievers in our graduating class,” said Mark Kolterman, who married his high school sweetheart (Suzanne, also of the class of ’69) and now runs an insurance and investment business with her in Seward. “There was a competition to excel and we had good role models in Seward. We had parents who said, ‘You have to give back.’”

The Omaha World-Herald’s Tom Allen first coined the term Whiz Bang Kids. Local community supporter, historian and business owner Harold Davisson picked up on the term and made it stick. In 1973 Governor Exon designated Seward “Nebraska’s Official 4th of July City.” A State of Nebraska Historic marker stands on the courthouse lawn.

Family Lemke

Robert "Bob", born in [year?]. Principal of St John Elementary School.

Robert Lemke, Principal of St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska. The image was scanned from the faculty page of the 1965-1966 yearbook.

Elinore, born in [year?]. Secretary of St John Elementary School.


John, born in 1954.

Mark, born in 1956, died in [2007. (Post obituary)

Mark Lemke. The picture was scanned from the fourth-grade pages of the 1965-1966 annual of St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska.


The Lemke family lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 07 from 1962 to 1975.

Family Luebke

Fred Luebke, born in 1927.

Norma Luebke, born in 1930.

Christina Luebke, born in 1954.

Seikai (John) Luebke, born in 1956.

John Luebke, fourth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

David Luebke, born in 1960.

David Luebke, kindergarten pupil at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Thomas Luebke, born in 1962.

The Luebke family lived in Hillcrest Avenue House 07 from 1961 to 1962.

Then they lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 06 from 1962 to 1969.

Family Mertins

Parents' names?


Theresa Mertins, born in [year?].

Theresa Mertins pictured as a member of the fifth grade in the 1965-1966 yearbook of St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska


The Mertins family lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 07 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Miller

The Miller family lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 08 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Peter

Herbert "Herb" Peter, born in [year?]. St John fifth-grade teacher.

Herbert Peter, fifth-grade teacher at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Marilynn Peter, born in [year?].

Herb Peter wrote:

Here's my resume: Started out at Bethlehem, Richmond, Virginia. Had all congregational music, principal, teacher grades 4-7, youth program. Marilynn had the primary grade room, 1-3. Yes, we thought nothing about it. Thought that was the normal teaching job. We were there six years and added a kindergarten and a middle-grade classroom.

Then of course we were 20 years in Seward. We enjoyed our work there too. But we felt we needed a change in our place of work.

So, we went to Orange, California, St.John's. That too was a wonderful experience. It is the largest K-8 school in the LCMS. Close to 900 students. It is a big feeder for Orange County Lutheran High School. I had the congregational and school music and taught full time for the first 5 years in 6th+ grades. Couldn't handle both so the next 12 years I opted for teaching only. Taught there 17 years. Marilynn taught 1st grade for those years.

Then we retired and moved to Shawnee, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City (sometimes called Shawnee Mission). We moved here because our daughter Brenda and her family lived here. We've been here for about 13 years and are still very active in Hope Lutheran Church and School. It is fun being a plain old lay member.

Brad Peter, born in 1955, died in about 2007.

Herb Peter wrote:

Brad suffered a fatal massive heart attack about two years ago, age 51. Was completely a surprise. He was a hospital pharmacist as is his wife Nancy. They lived in Scottsdale. They have two sons that go (will be going) to Northern Arizona U, Flagstaff. We miss Brad very much and still grieve very much.

Brad Peter, fourth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Brenda (Peter) Bohaty, born in [year?].

Brenda Peter, kindergarten pupil at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Herb Peter wrote:

She was on the faculty of University of Missouri (Kansas City) dental school. She is now the administrator of the dental residency program of Children's Mercy Hospital, KC. She gets her PHD this summer. Her husband Keith Bohaty is a commercial loan officer for Premier Bank. They have two kids. The oldest son will be a sophomore at KU in civil engineering. Their daughter will be freshman at Nebraska, dentistry or pharmacy.

The Peter family lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 03 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Pfabe

Jerrald Pfabe, born in 1938. Professor of History and Spanish at Concordia University.

Esther Pfabe, born in 1940.

Rebecca Pfabe, born in 1963. Lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, nurse practitioner. Married to Maury Higgins. Two daughters, Hannah and Clara

Susan Pfabe, born in 1963. Lives in Denver, Colorado. Pediatric physical therapist. Married to Scott Wiggans. Four children: Elizabeth, Rachel, Andrew, and Abigail.

Kristin Pfabe, born in 1965. Lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Associate Professor of Mathematics at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

The Pfabe family lived in Columbia House 2 from 1967 to the present. The family bought the house from Concordia University in 1989.

Family Pfeiffer

Benjamin, born in 1910. Professor at Concordia College.

Irene, born in 1910. St John third-grade teacher.

Irene Pfeiffer, third-grade teacher at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska. The image was scanned from the 1965-1966 school yearbook.


The Pfeiffer family lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 01 from 1954 to [year?].

Family Rhode

Karl, born in [year?].


The Rhode family lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 06 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Safarik

Richard Safarik, born in [year?].

Grace Safarik, born in [year?].

Candy (Safarik) Connery, born in 1952.

Candy Safarik, eighth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Mark Safarik, born in 1956.

Mark Safarik, fourth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Andrew Safarik, born in 1958.

Andrew Safarik, second-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Family Schmieding

Herman Schmieding. Sixth-grade teacher at St John Elementary School.

Herman Shmieding, sixth-grade teacher at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska. The image was scanned from the faculty page in the the 1965-1966 yearbook.


The Schmieding family lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 05 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Stadsklev

Ron Stadsklev, born in [year?]. History teacher at Concordia High School.

[Mother's name?] Stadsklev, born in [year?].

Mark Stadsklev wrote:

The Stadsklev's are alive and well. We lived in Seward from 1963 to 1973, last address was on Kolterman Street if I recall correctly.

Mom and Dad went to Tuscaloosa Alabama where they subsequently divorced.

Ron is in San Diego now and has had many projects since leaving teaching when the school closed. The latest is he has been selected to join a first responder UFO investigation team.

Mom worked in hospital admissions for years before moving to the San Diego area a couple of years ago.

Mark Stadsklev, born in [year?].

Mark Stadsklev, fifth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Mark Stadsklev as an adult. The image was taken from his website,
Mark Stadsklev as an adult, standing in front of an airplane in Alaska. The image was taken from his website,

Mark Stadsklev wrote:

I couldn't graduate from CHS since they closed it the end of my junior year, 1972, so I graduated from Seward High School, while only attending a couple of classes there. Hence the feeling of a graduate without a school. When CHS closed, the friends we had made went back to their respective towns. It wasn't economical for the church I guess to handle it any other way. Add to that they used the students to go out and raise funds, and hence our hopes. Yup, still bitter after all these years, welcome to the real world, I guess.

I left Seward three days after graduation and have lived in about six western states, earned a BS in Theatre, owned about 12 motorcycles, held 30 or more jobs from Daycare to Chimney Sweep, Ranch hand, Actor and for the last 17 years Bush Pilot in Alaska, and for the last 4 years a budding professional scenic and wildlife photographer. I spend my summers flying folks in Alaska, and winters driving the southwest in search of inspiring images.

Matt Stadsklev, born in [year?].

Matt Stadsklev, third-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Mark Stadsklev wrote:

Since leaving the Navy Matt has been a computer genius and works mostly out of his home in Ocean Beach California. When he isn't surfing, diving, windsurfing or riding his motorcycle.<.p>

Kurt Stadsklev, born in [year?].

Mark Stadsklev wrote:

Kurt who was five years old when we left Seward is taking a break from computer software design and lives in Encinitas, California. He like long walks on the beach and shooting pool, playing poker and playing soccer.

Family Stork

Martin, born in [year?]. (The voice of Concordia college football games)


The Stork family lived in Fairlane Avenue (west side) House 05 from [year?] to [year?].

Family Streufert

Norbert Streufert, born in [year?].

(Mother's name?), born in [year?].


John Streufert, born in [year?].

John Streufert, fourth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Victor Streufert, born in [year?].

Victor Streufert, third-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Anne Streufert, born in [year?].

Ann Streufert, first-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

David Streufert, born in [year?].

David Streufert, kindergarten pupil at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Paul Streufert, born in [year?]

The Streufert family lived in Fairlane Avenue (east side) House 09 from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 07

This house was occupied by the Mertins family from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 06

This house was occupied by the family of Karl Rhode from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 05

This house was occupied by the family of Martin Stork from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 04

This house was occupied by the family of Vance Hinrichs from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 03

This house was occupied by Mrs. Dankert from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 02

This house was occupied by the family of Lloyd Fischer from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (W) House 01

This house was occupied by Mrs. Cannon from [year?] to [year?].

John Luebke remembers: "The unusually deep window wells were great for smoking cigarettes until she figured out what was going on.

Fairline Avenue (E) House 09

This house was occupied by the family of Norbert Streufert from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 08

This house was occupied by the Miller family from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 07

This house was occupied by the family of Robert Lemke (St John principal) from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 06

This house was occupied by the family of Fred Luebke from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 05

This house was occupied by the family of Herman Schmieding (St John sixth-grade teacher) from [year?] to [year?].

Then this house was occupied by the family of Rupert Giesselmann (St John seventh-grade teacher) from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 04

This house was a duplex, one half of which was occupied by Edna Grotelueschen (St John my first-grade teacher) from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 03

This house was occupied by the family of Herb Peter (St John fifth-grade teacher) from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 02

This house was occupied by the Maehr family from [year?] to [year?].

Fairlane Avenue (E) House 01

This house was occupied by the family of Bill & Irene Pfeiffer (St John third grade teacher) from 1954 to [year?].

Mark Lemke, RIP

The obituary in the Estes Park [Colorado] Trail Gazette:
Mark “Gonzo” Lemke, 51, died May 14, 2007, in Albuquerque, New Mexico five days after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage. His brother John and sister-in-law D’Anne, along with his Terlingua, Texas, friends Janet Sullivan and Elizabeth Thompson were at his bedside during his final days. Gonzo participated in the ultimate recycling, as donations were made of most of his physical self to people all over the United States.
He was born Jan. 5, 1956. He was raised in Nebraska. Gonzo left after high school for Estes Park where he got interested in rock climbing and river guiding. He was a river guide for many companies, on many rivers, all over the western United States and logged thousands of hours rowing through all classes of water. He competed in Project Raft in Costa Rica and Turkey, which focused on international goodwill. For many years, he boated for Far Flung in Terlingua, rafting the Rio Grande. He also worked in search and rescue in Antarctica for four summers seasons and two winter seasons. He worked as a River Ranger and a back country ranger for the National Forest Service during the last several years and spent a season or two as a forest wildfire fighter.
There will be a celebration for his life on Oct. 28, 2007. His ashes will be buried in the Ghostown cemetery.
An excerpt from the obituary in the Terlingua [Texas] City Limits:
... raised in Nebraska, Gonzo left after high school for Estes Park, Colorado, where he got interested in rock climbing and river guiding. He actually roughnecked some —- as he said, "A hippie was a strange sight in the Oil Patch!" He also refinished and sold antiques in California and Alaska.
He was a river guide for many companies, on many rivers, all over the western United States and logged thousands of hours rowing through all classes of water. As Janet found out a couple of years ago when she stopped at the Nantahala River in North Carolina, the eastern river guides all knew Gonzo too. ...
Having lived in Terlingua during most of his time since 1991, he built a yurt (complete with hot tub) on property that he bought out in the desert. During one of his times of work on "The Ice" it seemed that coming up with road names was imminent in Brewster County. Gonzo and Janet were talking on the phone and since they were the only ones living in the particular valley at the time, she explained the situation and asked what he would like to name the road. He quickly said "Patchouli Gulch." The nickname stuck and it is now the official 911 address!
Gonzo's real name was Mark Lemke. I asked Elizabeth where he got the name Gonzo, and she explained, " In his early 20's he freeclimbed 1000 feet with no ropes or climbing gear whatsoever, and when he returned down to his comrades, who were so impressed with his ability, that they said "Wow, you're really Gonzo." And he's been called that since.
Elizabeth Thompson said of her friend,"He was an enormously loyal friend, a character and a land of character. His wild crazy hair, smart as the dickens, well read, and was well traveled". Janet reflected that he stood for joy and peace and being mellow with everyone and everything —- "Life is Large" was one of his favorite sayings.
The following was written by Mark's brother, John Lemke:
... In May [2007], d'Anne was en route to Croatia for two weeks of bike riding with a friend and had made it as far as Minneapolis when she received an emergency phone call regarding my brother Mark. He was en route from Terlingua, TX, his winter home to Oregon (for a summer of river guiding) via his place near Steamboat Springs. He had an episode while driving which caused him to swerve off the road and into a field, where a sheriff found him wandering around his truck. Shortly thereafter an ambulance arrived, Mark went into cardiac arrest, and was rushed to Carlsbad and then air-lifted to El Paso in a coma.
While going through Mark's things d'Anne's cell phone number was discovered and she was contacted. She in turn contacted me and we both headed to El Paso, where we were joined by Mark's Terlinqua neighbors and good friends Janet and Elizabeth. Mark was in an induced coma while they attempted to pinpoint the problem. This lasted for two days and many tests, when it was discovered that he had suffered a ruptured vessel in the back of his head (sort of an almost-aneurysm). A specialist at the U of NM hospital in Albuquerque agreed to operate on Mark and he was airlifted there.
Following a successful stint surgery they were able to let the induced coma dissipate. Unfortunately, Mark remained in a coma and further tests indicated that he was more or less brain dead at the time of the original incident. Of course we couldn't be certain until they could let him out of the induced coma, so it was Saturday before we knew for sure (the incident was Wednesday morning). All that remained at that point was to manage his formal death to maximize organ donor potential, so official time of death was not until the following Tuesday.
The fact that Mark died in a fashion similar to that of our mom meant I had to get a CT angiogram to determine whether or not it might be hereditary and putting me at risk. Fortunately for me the test returned negative.
The following was written by Mark's childhood friend John [Seikai] Luebke:
As you probably remember, Mark and I were next door neighbors and close friends growing up. We shared a cabin in Estes Park during the winter of 1977, but I hadn't seen him since then, although I did get a couple letters from him.
I had inexplicably been thinking of Mark for a few weeks, and then found out that he had died. Even though it's been 30 years, Mark still has a place in my heart, given all the time we spent together as kids. I also remember a time when Koe's brother David -- who was affectionately known as Iddo -- showed up at our cabin in Esters Park along with another Seward guy named Steve Kraft. They were, at the time, pretty countrified and pretty funny.
Mark Lemke. The picture was scanned from the fourth-grade pages of the 1965-1966 annual of St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska.
An appreciation written by my brother Steve:
Some of you might recall that John Lemke was my childhood best friend, and that I lived at his home when I visited in Seward as a teenager. John had one sibling, his brother Mark. Mark was in Tricia's grade, along with Dave Heinicke and John Luebke and others, though I am not sure just what if anything Tricia remembers about those days.
I knew Mark in the "sort of" sense. He was quiet around me, and he lived a very different life than anyone I have ever known. To Koe's [Steve's wife Koe Heinicke's] and my thinking, Mark lived the life that his father R.J. Lemke wanted to live -- and actually might have lived if RJ had not met Mark's mother and had somehow gotten married. I believe in marriage, but some people really should not get married; their destiny almost forbids it. Well, RJ married, but Mark never did.
If Mark had lived in the early 1800s, he most certainly would have been a mountain man / fur trapper and trader /friend of the Indians / solo explorer / expedition guide / wagon train leader / cowboy on Texas to Montana cattle drives / Texas Ranger / saloon gambler. He would have done all of that on a "feel like it", "sometimes" basis -- and he would have never married, no way! He would have been well-liked, and would have treated strangers kindly. And his helpful manner would have earned the trust and admiration of most people.
The characters in Lonesome Dove come to mind: decent men who loved life more than they could ever love just one woman, and whose lives were Big and Adventuresome in every remarkable sense of those words.
When others were playing team sports while growing up in Seward, Mark was setting traps for beavers and raccoons down at Plum Creek. Mostly, he worked his traps alone, but was never lonely doing it. Occasionally, Koe's brother Dave went along, and maybe others did too at times. After Mark graduated from high school, he split for the Great Big World and the life he was destined to live. I cannot imagine that he ever spent even one day in college, or that he even thought to do such a thing; his life was "out there."
The world is a better place because people like Mark Lemke can still find a place to live in it. Woe to us when that is no longer the case. And, as sad as it is, it is probably a better thing that people like Mark Lemke leave us while they are still able to "get up and go." R.I.P.

Monday, April 27, 2009

John Luebke Remembers

[John Luebke now is named Seikai Luebke and has the title of Reverend in the Buddhist religion.]

John Luebke, fourth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Memory is by turns both fragile and resilient; having a good memory is a mixed blessing —- one remembers a lot of things -- and whether you recall them as good, bad or indifferent is another question. So it is with me, whom anyone reading this blog would remember as John Luebke. As to why a significant portion of my brain’s memory capacity is devoted to my eight years of living in Seward, Nebraska, I can’t say. But as Mike Sylwester has pointed out, those were very formative years for a whole bunch of people: we were baby boomer children growing up in an ethnic-religious enclave —- the German-Lutheran side of a small Nebraska town —- during a poignant era for social change, the late 1950s and 1960s. The homogeneity of that religious enclave, the shared experiences and beliefs, made for indelible memories of a time and place.

My overriding impression of that time and place is of living on an island of uniformity in what is commonly thought of as the Middle of Nowhere (Nebraskans bristle a bit at that perception). We were a chosen people, such as the Israelites in the Christian Bible; and surely this self-identity has much to do with the importance given to religion and Bible-study in the sub-culture. It was a great place for kids to grow up. In talking to a wide variety of people in my life, I have learned that it was, in a word, idyllic. The freedom to roam the streets of a safe, small town, innumerable places to explore, and the relatively high culture of an academic environment, Concordia Teachers College combined to make this a special environment to have spent one’s most open, formative years.

Regardless of whether one leaves the subculture and moves on into a different one, as I did, or the general culture, you retain the impressions, memories, and mental programming of where you grew up. I have chosen to view it all positively, for memory is also malleable and subjective. St. Johns Lutheran School was a good place to get a grade school education, and Concordia was a rung on the career ladder of my father, as it was for many of the families mentioned in the blog. That world delivered us to the next one, that of state-run academia: the University of Nebraska and the city of Lincoln.

The moves my family made -- first from Southern California where my father was a Lutheran grade school teacher and principal, to Concordia, and then to the University of Nebraska -- were typical of many families in that neighborhood, including the Sylwesters, the Schwichs etc. This brings to mind another divide I recall as a kid in school: the one between town folk who were firmly rooted in Seward and its surrounding farmland, and those of us for whom Seward was a stopover. There were what were called “faculty brats” —- generally pretty smart kids from academic families who could also be, at times, well ... bratty. I was certainly one of them.

In my 50s I have a very different perspective, having left the Lutheran Church and Christianity altogether, than some of my peers growing up who have stayed in that religious paradigm. I grew up with it but, by choice, it ended 35 years ago when I embraced a completely different religious path. So what might seem normal to one of my school friends today, might well seem like a distant and strange set of circumstances to me. And although I very definitely went through a period of time in my life in which I was happy to forget all about my childhood environment, as a mature adult I have chosen to embrace it —- and that is why I am writing now.

One incident which is both funny and emblematic of what I am writing about occurred in 1979. I had made my first visit home to my family over a year after having been ordained a Buddhist monk, and was about to get on a plane back to California. So I was with my family in the Lincoln airport —- not an unlikely place to encounter someone from Seward —- and as it turned out, lo and behold, we met the Blomenbergs. I was dressed in a black clerical shirt with the white tab, and slacks at the time and looked for all the world like a Catholic priest. Mrs. Blomenberg cast a critical eye on me and inquired whether I had become a priest or a monk, to which I answered affirmatively. Not wanting to provide any information that was not immediately sought after, I added nothing else, but she kept at it and asked if I were, as it appeared, a Catholic priest? Nope, I said, I’m a Buddhist monk. At that point her jaw literally dropped, and she gasped while Mr. Blomenberg smiled weakly. My parents were embarrassed; I thought it was supremely funny, but fought back the temptation to laugh. These things happen in small world.

I have visited Seward one or twice per decade since leaving in 1969. I am always surprised by how little it changes, at least by comparison to California, but also at the rapid evolution of my old neighborhood from a windy, edge-of-town place with lots of new houses and construction, to an established neighborhood with the softening effects of trees, landscaping, and time. And of course things seem smaller than they did growing up; as a kid everything is enormous to your small, plastic body that you hurl at the world.

History, Geography & Specific Memories:

In 1961 my family moved from the greater L.A. area to Seward —- a huge change of environment. We settled into a house on the northeast corner of Columbia Avenue and Hillcrest Drive, which I understood was the old Schlueter farm house. The college had bought it and we lived there one year. The barns and horse corrals were gone, but I have vivid memories of the railroad tracks that abutted the back of the property; this was a Chicago & Northwestern line, if memory serves me, which was later abandoned in the mid-60s, but played a role in the adventures of boyhood.

The Hans family lived next door (Lanny, Lane and Lynette were the first kids I met in Seward) on Hillcrest. To the west, where there are now houses, was an empty field where some years later our vacation Bible school class, taught by Rupert Gieselman, would attempt to cut sod with a funky old rented sod cutter in an effort to build a sod house. Catty-corner was an empty St. John’s school yard where I can remember high jumping during track season before the new church was ultimately built in about 1968.

Meanwhile, like many families then, we had a house built in the same neighborhood, no more than a quarter mile away on Fairlane Ave. As one travels east on Hillcrest, the streets one passes are: Kolterman, Fairlane, Plainview, Sunrise, and Eastridge. To this day I love the prosaic street names Fairlane and Plainview —- how perfect for Nebraska!

So we moved to 1150 Fairlane, which was then a gravel road. Helping my father paint the house was my introduction to hard work, which has been the incurable addiction of my life. I remember watching with utter fascination a street paving crew of largely Black men, obviously from an Omaha or Lincoln-based construction company, coming in to pave Fairlane. One Black man had a mouth full of gold teeth and, being six or so, I was amazed to learn that Black people had gold teeth! Wow. And there was always a house under construction somewhere, with the attendant dirt piles. Dirt piles were an endless source of adventure back then, and dirt clods the perfect projectile and offensive weapon. A house under construction was a great place to play: think of it —- a huge jungle gym! The distinctive smell of newly milled construction lumber. Those metal electrical box knock-outs that were just about exactly the size of a quarter. Mud puddles. For a seven-year-old, this was heaven. Street projects, with the assemblage of huge concrete storm drain sections, it was the same deal.

The Lemkes moved in right about the same time that we did; Mark quickly became my closest friend. I have a vivid memory of Bob Lemke, who owned two “bugs” at the time —- small, black, sort of beetle-shaped cars -— driving out into the field behind our row of houses, tying the barbed fire fence to the bumper of one bug, and proceeding to rip the fence from its posts by driving headlong out into the field. That field, now a street with houses on each side, was our baseball and football field throughout the decade of the 60s, and kids from all over our part of town would come over to participate in pick-up games—baseball in the spring and early summer, football in late summer and fall.

Just on Fairlane, there were five kids my age: Brad Peter, Debbie Fischer, Mark Lemke, John Streufert and me. Obviously, if you go there now, none of those people are still there and houses have long ago been built to fill out the street, but at the time, Fairlane was a virtual dormitory for St. John’s Lutheran School and Concordia Teachers College.

For Mark Lemke and me, Plum Creek was perhaps the ultimate destination, particularly in the winter when it was possible to walk directly on the ice above the water. Times when the ice was thin and one could punch holes in it had the attraction of added risk. One time I stepped in an animal trap someone had set; neither Mark nor I could undo the thing, so it required an embarrassing trip home to ask Bob Lemke to come and liberate me. I remember sledding down that delightfully long East Hill towards Plum Creek, and also trips to 5th Street, which was a drag strip for kids using those narrow-runner sleds.

Paper routes, meanwhile, were a year-round occupation for kids my age (I had two paper routes); we were told that this was a way to learn to run a business and be responsible. I cannot argue with that even now, and learning to get up early day after day was something that has served me well in life.

Growing up in small-town Nebraska, sports could almost be described as the meaning of life, and football as a religion. I rarely missed a Concordia College or High School home football game. Whatever the season, there was a sport: football, basketball, track and baseball —- autumn, winter, spring and summer. In winter you could go swimming at Concordia and in summer at the famous round Seward municipal pool. In summer there was Little League baseball, and in winter Little League basketball. One autumn I won two levels of Ford Punt, Pass & Kick competition, which was a big deal back then.

On two occasions when my mother was in the hospital, women from the community would bring over cooked food to our house in the evening for dinner —- that was impressive. I have gratitude for Seward and to the neighborhood and the people who lived there at the time. No environment is “perfect”, but anywhere that people are basically loving and caring of each other, human beings will grow up in a healthy way that affords them opportunities to be successful in their adult lives.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Marxhausen Balloon Float at Seward Parade on July 4

My brother Steve sent these two pictures, which were taken on July 4, 1975. The original images' caption (not shown here) says, "Marxhausen Seward Fourth of July Parade float. Old St. John Lutheran Church in the background."

Balloon float of Reinhold Marxhausen at a parade on the Fourth of July in Seward, Nebraska. The source of the image is unknown.
Balloon float of Reinhold Marxhausen at a parade on the Fourth of July in Seward, Nebraska. The source of the image is unknown.

Steve says that the bottom picture shows the front of the float being held by Karl Marxhausen (in the foreground) and Reinhold Marxhausen (in the background). The back of the float was held by Paul and Dorris Marxhausen (son and mother) and some friends, but they are not seen in these pictures.

Karl Marxhausen, in his own blog, added this information:

Dad used hula hoops for the four corners. With a walker in each hoop. He created a fish line grid, to which inflated ballons were secured. The rectangular float could be elevated by the front and back walkers moving to the middle, creating a 20 high arch.

Lee Meyer and Tricia Sylwester Indicate Thanks

Lee Meyer sent this photograph:

Lee Meyer and Tricia Sylwester in first grade at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska. The image was scanned from a photograph belonging to Lee Meyer.

Lee explained:

Up until today I believe I was the only one in the possession of this image taken by my Uncle Robert Garmatz (no doubt for some Concordia College Public Relations release) of Tricia Sylwester and I pointing at the things we were Thankful for in and around November 1961 while President Kennedy, a crew-cut, blond-headed classmate, and Miss Grotelushem, our 1st grade teacher, looked on with admiration.

It might be important to note that this classroom was at the North end of the Elementary school, and the wall by which Patricia and I were standing was on a East/West line that aligned with the center line of Faculty Lane.

Probably most of us reading this blog would have realized immediately, without Lee's pointing it out, that the wall where he and Tricia were standng was on a East/West line that aligned with the center line of Faculty Lane, but I do appreciate Lee's reminder, since this aspect of the location indeed might be important to note.

Here is a blowup of thankful Lee:

Lee Meyer in first grade at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska. The image was scanned from a photograph belonging to Lee Meyer.

And here is a blowup of my thankful and also adorable and perfectly complexioned little sister Tricia:

Tricia Sylwester in first grade at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska. The image was scanned from a photograph belonging to Lee Meyer.

The entire photograph in larger sizes is available at this Flickr webpage. On that webpage, click on the ALL SIZES click-point above the photograph in order to see larger and smaller sizes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Education Guinea Pigs

We who grew up in Seward enjoyed a great deal of personal freedom to explore and to teach ourselves. We initiated and organized many of our own activities for ourselves -- sports games, plays in garages, Monopoly tournaments, toy-truck get-togethers, and so forth.

We also participated in school, community and church activities that are common throughout the USA -- sports, drama, music, festivals, fairs, and so forth. These activities were initiated and organized mostly by experienced adults -- by teachers, coaches, community leaders and so forth.

Since we grew up in a community that included a teachers college, we also participated in a variety of activities that were conducted by young adults who were learning how to become teachers, church leaders and community leaders. In this regard we grew up in a situation where we kids often served as guinea pigs for college students.

For example, during the three years that I lived on Faculty Lane, I probably took an IQ test every year. I think the same was true during that period for the other kids in my family. The reason for this frequency was simply that there was some Concordia College class where measuring a child's IQ was an academic assignment. We kids on Faculty Lane were nearby, and it was relatively easy for a college student to ask the parents living there for permission to do IQ tests on their children.

We students who attended St John Elementary School frequently were taught by student teachers from the College. Every year, every class had at least three student teachers. Each student teacher taught for a few weeks. Of course, we kids tested these student teachers' disciplinary skills. We behaved ourselves as long as our regular teacher stayed in the room, but as soon as the regular teacher left the room and left the student teacher in charge, then the hijinks began.

My father, Robert Sylwester, managed the student-teacher program at St John Elementary School, so he visited the school classrooms frequently to observe. This was a high-risk situation for me. If the student teacher was trying to conduct a class and I happened to stand on my chair and dance a jig in order to make fun of the student teacher, then there was a real possibility that my own father might open the door and walk in unexpectedly at that very embarrassing moment.

There also was a real possibility that a student teacher might snitch on me to my father. There were a couple of occasions where I persisted in asking a student teacher a series of questions in an annoying manner. For example, when a student teacher was teaching our class about erosion -- specifically about how the Mississippi River gathered a lot of soil during its flow and then dropped that soil at the river's mouth to form the Louisiana Delta -- I asked the student teacher about a dozen questions about my idea that if we built concrete walls along the entire Mississippi River, then we could prevent all that erosion and loss of soil for agriculture. A couple of days later I visited my father's office in the basement of Weller Hall, and he scolded me for "beating a dead horse against a wall" (which was the first time I ever heard that expression).

One positive result of experiencing so many student teachers is that many of us decided to become teachers ourselves. Watching our student teachers grapple with the difficulties of trying to teach gave us some extra food for thought -- that teaching is a challenging profession in which you gradually earn respect and obedience.

In addition, we kids were offered a variety of learning programs that helped give practical experience to the college students. In the summer, there were a variety of programs (I think they often were called workshops) for athletics, arts and drama. At the time, we kids perceived that these programs were offered entirely for our benefit, but in retrospect I recognize that they were organized also for the benefit of the college student who helped conduct them.

For example, I remember participating in such summer athletic programs that were conducted by Lou Schwich. For example, we learned basketball skills. There probably were about 30 kids, aged from about 8 to 13. Lou Schwich sat us all in the bleachers and demonstrated some skill, such as how to dribble, pass or shoot, and then we all practiced the skill. As we practiced, some college students helped organize, guide and correct our drills. Now, I realize that Lou Schwich was teaching us little kids and he also was teaching the college student how to teach little kids.

As another example, I remember participating in science programs that were conducted by Herb Meyer. We kids were seated in classroom seats, and he stood at his laboratory counter and demonstrate various chemical effects. He'd pour one liquid into another liquid, and the color would change. He's show smoke coming out of dry ice. He showed how to grow crystals. Then we kids divided into small groups and started growing sugar crystals. We heated water in a beaker, disolved some sugar into the hot water, put in a string, and then watched sugar crystalize onto the string as the water cooled. Likewise, about 30 kids of various ages participated at a time, and some college students helped us kids do these science experiments.

As another example, I remember participating in art-and-music programs conducted by Reinhold Marxhausen and a music professor. We built little musical instruments, such as drums and harps. Then we colored film strips with magic markers. Then we played the film through a movie projector as we played recordings of the music we had performed with our hand-made instruments. Likewise, college students helped us kids in these activities.

I remember some theater programs also. Same idea. We made costumes. We learned some lines. We performed a little play. Likewise, a college professor taught us little kids how to perform a play as he simultaneously taught some college students how to teach little kids how to perform a play.

I have fond memories of those activities, and I think that they influenced us kids positively. We improved our skills, we acquired new knowledge, we completed a project, we achieved some progress.

Furthermore, I think that such experiences -- where we interacted casually with college-age students who were learning to become teachers -- inspired many of us to become teachers, coaches or church or community leaders ourselves. To some extent, it was a self-perpetuating educational system.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Celebration of St. John School's 125th Anniversary

St John school opened in the year 1884, so the year 2009 is the 125th anniversary. A special anniversary worship service is scheduled for Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 9 a.m. in the Health, Human Performance and Athletic Center on the Concordia campus.

This will be the Fourth of July weekend, so it will be a good time to visit Seward.

Some re-union activities for former students will be organized for the weekend. If I learn anything about those activities, I will pass the information along in this blog.

I just found out about this today, and unfortunately I already have planned two other trips during this year. I think I probably will not be able to come. Maybe I will, though. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Highlights of the school's history are provided at this link (pdf). Some excerpts follow here:

In 1870 the town of Seward was legally incorporated. A small group of German-American Lutherans held its first worship service in the home of C.F. Krooeger. Pastor Karl Theodore Gruber of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Middle Creeek conducted the services. (I lived for a year next to that church in Middle Creek.)

On July 4, 1876, a group of Seward Lutherans met to discuss formally organizing a congregation. In 1877 nine charter members signed the congregation's constitution. In 1878 the congregation was incorporated under Nebraska law. Services were conducted in the County Courthouse and later in a Presbyterian Church.

In 1879 the new church building, located at the corner of Third and Seward Streets, was dedicated. The building measured 24 by 40 feet and 14 feet high.

In 1884 Pastor Friedrich Koenig became the congregation's first pastor. In that same year, the congregation paid $264.15 to build the school building, which was attached to the church. Pastor Koenig taught all 18 students

In 1885, the congregation canceled the insurance on the school building and instead committed the property to God's protection.

In 1886 the congregation voted to conduct one of the services during its annual autumn mission festival in the English language for the "Americans" who would be present. In that same year the congregation joined the Missouri Synod.

In 1892 Herman Martin accepted a call to serve as the first full-time teacher. Enrollment had risen to 51 students. Mr. Martin taught them all in the German language in the mornings and in the English language in the afternoons. The school began charging tuition -- 75 cents a month for one child and $1.25 a month for two children. (Poor families were not charged tuition.)

In 1893 the congregation, which now numbered 145 members, offered the Missouri Synod 20 acres of land and $8,000 if the Synod agreed to build a teachers college in Seward. The Synod agreed.

In 1894 the new college -- called The Evangelical Lutheran School Teachers Seminary -- was dedicated. Classes began under the instruction of Professor George Weller.

In 1901, the elementary school added a second teacher. Enrollment now numbered 90 students.

In 1905 the seminary became a college when the Synod added two years of "Normal school."

In 1906 the elementary school became the "training school" for the teachers college. The elementary school was relocated to the campus, where Schuelke and Streiter Halls stand today.

In 1918 the congregation began conducting some of its church services in the English language.

In 1929 a new elementary school building was constructed at the current location on Columbia Avenue. The cost of the property and building totaled $30,000.

In 1944 the congregation voted to allow its male and female members to sit together and to receive Holy Communion together, instead of separately.

In 1945, most of the services were conducted in English. Every Sunday there were two English services and only one German service.

In 1955 the frequency of German services was reduced to only once on the third Sunday of each month.

In 1956 an addition to the school building was constructed. The addition contained four classrooms, a gymnasium and a lunchroom.

In 1964 six more classrooms were added to the building. Enrollment was about 430.

In 1968 a church was added to the school building.

In 1973 the school added a ninth grade, as Concordia High School was closed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cinnamon-Oil Seductions and Suppressions -- Part 1

When I was in fifth grade -- in about 1962 -- a lot of us boys became addicted to a solitary, secret vice involving cinnamon oil. I don't know whether boys in later years experimented likewise with cinnamon oil. The vice was suppressed ruthlessly by St. John's faculty over the course of about two school years, and so all of us boys evenutally stopped, as far as I know. I don't know whether the following classes became involved in this vice, but I must assume that they learned from our class's bad example. The lesson: don't even touch the seductive stuff!

I assume also that this vice started at the Seward public school and then spread to our Lutheran school. However, I do remember that the person who seduced me was my St. John classmate John Garmatz. Each of us seduced fellow students, and then when we all were addicted, we all kept each other entangled. So, each one of us had to recognize his own personal responsibility, as well as his own innocent victimhood, in this situation.

Here is how the vice would start and then spread:

John Garmatz started walking around with a toothpick in his mouth. It looked cool and grown-up -- like The Marlboro Man smoking a cigarette.

The Marlboro Man in an old advertisement. Image taken from

John would not say why he had started to chew a toothpick, and I did not ask. I pretended not to even notice. Eventually, though, a situation occurred where he and I were alone together, and he pulled a toothpick out of his shirt pocket and tossed it into his mouth, catching it expertly in his teeth."

He asked, "Would you ike a toothpick?"

I nodded, "sure."

He reached into his shirt pocket, drew out a toothpick grandly and handed it to me. I tossed it into my mouth and caught it in my teeth. I bit in and sucked.

And then I spit the toothpick right back out into my hand.

What is that on the toothpick?!" I exclaimed. "It's really, really hot."

"It's cinnamon oil."

I licked my toothpick tentatively and then tossed it back into my mouth. That's what that familiar, spicy flavor was! Cinnamon!! But I never had tasted it in such a powerful, scorching-hot concentration.

John then taught me the secret methods, and by the next day I too was walking around with a toothpick in my mouth and a couple more in my shirt pocket. I am ashamed to admit that in the following days I too introduced a couple of my own classmates to this enticing, exciting pleasure.

For a while, John continued to feed me cinnamon-oil toothpicks conveniently. But there never were enough of them. I needed them for myself, and I needed them also for a couple of my classmates who now were pestering me constantly for more cinnamon-oil toothpicks for themselves. Eventually John cut me off, and so I myself had to learn how to make my own cinnamon-oil toothpicks.

As instructed by John, I went to the Rexalt drug store downtown, on the town square. This was the same Rexalt drug store that had a display stand, with a lot of comic books, by the front door. I had been in that drug store many, many times, sitting on the floor and reading comic books for free for about an hour before chosing one to buy -- as if the hour of reading comic books for free had been a careful selection process to chose the very best comic book to buy. But on those previous visits, I had dealt only with the scornful glare of the cashier, not with the pharmacist himself.

I strolled into the drug store, this time only glancing at the comic-book display at the front door. I strolled in further, pretending to look at the more grown-up products on the store's further shelves. I tried to look as if I were selecting some vitamins or some ... or some ...

What was all this stuff? I had no idea what most of this stuff in the drug store was! All I recognized was comic books and Flintstones vitamins!!

As I walked slowly up and down the small drug store's corridors, pretending to examine the products for sale on the shelves, I really was watching to see whether anyone else was standing around near the pharmacist's counter. The pharmacist was a middle-aged man. Sometimes a customer left, but then as I began to approach the counter, another customer came in the front door, and so I turned back immediately to re-examine the shelves.

After about an hour, an opportunity finally arose (or else I figured out that I was drawing more and more attention to myself), and so I walked briskly up to the pharmacist standing at his counter. My cheeks blushing bright red, I told the pharmacist that I wanted to buy a bottle of cinnamon oil. I looked around nervously. Thank God, nobody was walking into the store!

The pharmacist cleared his throat and walked into a back room, where he remained for an uncomfortably long time. During that entire time, I watched the front door. Time passed with torturous slowness. Five seconds. Ten seconds!! Fifteen seconds!!!

Eventually, about twenty seconds later, the pharmacist returned to the counter, carrying a small bottle of cinmamon oil. The bottle was just the right size to hold about a half-dozen toothpicks.

A bottle of cinnamon oil. Image taken from

"Do you want this in a bag?" he asked.

"Yes, of course!" I responded urgently.

He reached under the counter and slowly pulled out a small bag. I glanced at the front door.

"Hurry!" I thought to myself. "Hurry!! Hurry!!!"

I paid for the bottle. I don't remember what the bottle cost back in those days, but now one costs about seven dollars. I was buying this tiny bottle with my paper-route money.

I hurried out of the drug store, hopped onto my bicycle, and sped away.

To be continued ....

Bicycle Mania on Campus

Paul Kolterman wrote:

I thought of something else that really sticks out in the ole memory banks -- riding bikes around campus at CTC. I always loved the sidewalks there. You would ride along and boom the sidewalk would jut at an angle a different direction. Or go in a circle or some other way. It was shady and different than riding in the street or on a regular sidewalk. Just a neat place to go ride bikes as a kid. The sidewalks were wide too, so you had plenty of room to ride.

Paul Kolterman, third-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Out in front of Founders Hall was a mezzanine area with benches kind of a rendezvous point when riding bikes, and there were like bulletin boards there with stuff posted on them about happenings at campus. Just a neat campus.

The Endicott kids and Lukert kids and the Kolterman kids would ride bikes there because it was close for us. We would go down our alley to the north and come out on Pearl Street, shoot up Pearl street past Brandhorst’s house and then cut over to the campus. My Dad didn’t like us riding over at the College because he thought we were bothering the kids on campus.

I remember it like it was yesterday. How fortunate we were to be raised in Seward -- Nebraska’s best town.

Another thing I remember were the old bridges on 2nd and third street. The railroad used to run through there (by the baseball field at St Johns school now). We used to play around and under those bridges. Then they cleaned that all up, tore out the bridges, planted grass and made it a football field/baseball field.

My favorite memories were at the swimming pool in Moffit Park. What a hoot.

In an earlier post, my brother Steve remembered:

Bicycle hide-and-seek on the CTC campus, with the front steps of Weller being home.

I remember this activity too, and I had intended to write about it eventually. Since Paul has raised the subject so compellingly, however, I will not delay with writing my own memories too.

This was a activity that we did when the college students were away -- on summer vacation, Thanksgiving break, etc. -- and so there was little foot traffic on campus. If we had played this game during a school term, many CTC students would have been run over and killed by us small but speedy bicyclists -- thus prematurely terminating many teaching careers for the Lutheran school system and leaving some future Lutheran school children with reduced educational guidance.

And so, although the Concordia campus was created for the divine purpose of enabling us neighborhood boys to play this game -- which I call Bicycle Mania -- there was also a divine limitation that we play it only during college vacations. So, concerned parents such as Mr. Kolterman were mistaken when they worried and discouraged.

I don't think this game had a standardized name. Although Steve calls it "bicycle hide-and-seek" and Paul calls it "riding bikes around campus," I think that you might agree that the most descriptive game might be something more like:

Bicycle Mania

or even:

Bicycle War

Essentially the game consisted of about a dozen boys racing their bikes all through and around the campus like maniacs and ambushing and "shooting" at each other. Occasionally, there might be a few incidents of "playing chicken" too.

(Many of us kids were inspired by the TV show, The Rat Patrol,

Opening Credit for the TV show Rat Patrol, which ABC showed during 1966-1968. The image was taken from

which starred a team of three heroic US soldiers (and one helpful British soldier) who raced around the North African desert in a jeep, equipped with a machine gun, during World War Two and killed enemy Nazi soldiers and blew up their Panzer tanks. This TV show had practically the very same plot every week, but we boys never got tired of watching it.)

Were there teams? Was there a start or end of the game? Not that I remember. Kids came and left, and while they were there they perhaps formed temporary ambush-and-kill squads of convenience. The "game" continued for a couple of hours, and then it just ended when the last couple of guys had to go home. And even then, I think that sometimes I was the last one, and I raced around for another ten minutes just by myself.

Maybe some of you remember some rules that I have forgotten.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tim Heinicke, RIP

Tim Heinicke died in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 7, 2008. Here is his obituary:

Timothy Brian Heinicke was born on November 29, 1950, in Tokyo, Japan to Gerhard and Eleanor (Kolterman) Heinicke. Tim lived in Las Vegas, Nevada were he was a elementary teacher in special education.

He graduated from Concordia Teachers College and received his Masters from Wichita State University.

Tim passed away in Las Vegas on May 7, 2008, at the age of 57 years. He is survived by his mother, Eleanor Heinicke of Seward, Nebraska; brothers and their wives, Gary and Nancy Heinicke of Lincoln, Nebraska and Ronald and his wife Patricia Heinicke of Olathe, Kansas. Tim was preceded in death by his father, Gerhard Heinicke.

Tim Heinicke. Photo taken from

Below are some excerpts from his resume, which apparently was written some time after 1998:

My training in the field of education began in 1964, attending high school at Concordia High School in Seward, Nebraska. It is a private preparatory school for potential teachers. I also attended Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska, which was exclusively established to train professionals in the field of education. In 1979, I earned a Master in Education degree with emphasis in Educational Psychology, at Wichita State University. Post-graduate studies at Northern Arizonia University in Educational Administration were acquired in pursuit of a position in Educational Administration.

After receiving a B.S. degree in education from Concordia Teachers College, I began teaching seventh and eighth grade students in a private school in Wichita, Kansas. Two years later, I gained employment as a sixth, seventh, and eighth grade teacher in a rural Kansas public school. I served in this position for three years and then became employed in the Wichita Public Schools. I taught a combination - fifth and six grade for nine years in this school system. While there, I was nominated as the outstanding educator by the P.T.A., and received special recognition by being selected by the Wichita Eagle/Beacon with monthly articles concerning my class-room techniques and procedures.

In 1984 I moved to Tempe, Arizonia and began teaching a fourth grade class. I was assigned a sixth grade class and did extensive planning for the "Outdoor Education Program" while at Starlight Park Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizonia. I was selected as Assistant Principal in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix and served in this capacity for four years.

I am currently residing in Santa Teresa, New Mexico and am Assistant Principal of Santa Teresa Middle School. This is my third year in this position. Our student population is mainly Hispanic with a strong Hispanic heritage. The opportunity to work with this unique population has enriched my understanding in working with people of another culture. I feel quite proud of the fact that this year I was awarded the "Assistant Principal of the Year" award in the state of New Mexico.

During the 1997-98 school year, I was awarded the "Assistant Principal of the Year" for New Mexico. This honor is awarded by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the McDonald's Corporation.

Tim was a year or two (probably two) ahead of me in school, but I remember him from two activities, in both of which he constantly displayed his hilarious sense of humor.

I remember him from the high-school football and wrestling teams. He was the heavy-weight member of our wrestling team. Maybe he was even our team captain. I was the light-weight member of our team, so we never wrestled against each other.

And I remember him as a fellow worker in the campus cafeteria. There, where he did not have to worry about any coaches' control, his prankster humor was displayed constantly. My brother Steve remembers that I often came home from that job and told funny stories about Tim Heinicke's antics.

Sylwester Clothing Finance

"They tell me you work for a dollar a day:
How is it you clothe six boys on such pay?"

"I know you will think it conceited and queer,
But I do it because I'm a good financier.

"There's Mike, Steve, Tim, Larry, Peter, Andy
A half-dozen boys to be clothed up, you see.

"And I buy for them all the good food that they like,
But the clothes -- I buy them only for Mike.

"When Mike's clothes are too small, his arm's out the sleve,
My wife makes 'em over and gives them to Steve.

"When for Steve, who's ten, they have grown out of date,
She just makes 'em over for Tim, who is eight.

"When for Tim they become too ragged to fix,
She re-does 'em for Larry, who now is just six.

"And when little Larry can't wear them no more,
She just patches 'em more for Pete, who is four.

"And when for young Pete they no longer will do,
She fixes 'em handy for Andy, who's two.

"So, you see, buying clothes for just Mike alone,
It suffices for all, no need to bemoan."

"But when Andy throws 'em off the very last time?
You can't sell them then, they're not worth a dime!"

"We recycle the fabric and buttons and zippers alike,
And use them to mend the new clothing on Mike."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cary Stelmachowicz Remembers

Those Seward days were always the coolest memories of my [Cary's] youth. They certainly beat the scarier memories of junior high in the streets of Detroit.

Cary Stelmachowicz. The picture was scanned from the fourth-grade pages of the 1965-1966 annual of St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska.

By the way the Stelmachowicz clan numbers five kids (my youngest sister Corrie was born when we moved to Detroit). Four of us would remember many of the stories told in this Seward Faculty Kids Nostalgia Ride. Sisters Candy and Cheryl probably more than I.

I loved the Sylwester family cause they had almost all boys and supplied me with the brothers I never had. The nonstop baseball games (I remember the bat with the nail in it Steve!) in the backyard were what I lived for -- then there was the golf, football, army games, baseball card collecting, riding our bikes around the CTC campus, trips to Hand grocery store, Plum Creek, walking on some railroad track. School is hardly in my memory banks, but all the days in the back yards are -- especially after the BIG MOVE.

I do have some memories of Faculty Lane -- running through the DDT, my sisters putting on endless plays in the garage. The Hackmans and Becks I sort of remember, and the Schwicks -- Robbie was my age, I believe. We use to run against each other in track meets -- the big St. John's meet.

I've always credited Werner Klammer for getting me started loving the game of golf -- he was always out back hitting golf balls.

Nobody has talked abouot catching grasshoppers and mutilating them every which way -- maybe that was just Larry and me. Hey, we were younger and didn't understand we might be contributing to global warming.

Is Tricia still with us???? She was in my class I think.

(Mike Sylwester:) Tricia always has had a major crush on you, Cary. She has her computer programed to Google for your name and images once a week.

I'm getting sisters Candy and Cheryl in on these -- they will add the female perspective and then some.

Jim Hardt teaches and lives nearby -- I play golf with him once or twice a year.

Seward was indeed an Idyllic place to grow up. I tried to create the same atmosphere for my kids here. That is why we live in a small town, Fredonia WI on aboout a 2 acre lot.

Candy says a reuninon should be in the works -- interesting idea.

I could go on and on -- but will stop for now. Keep the stories rolling, and for your reading pleasure check out a poem called "Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas. I think he wrote it thinking about our days in Seward.

Parades on the Fourth of July in Seward

My brother Steve found three interesting videos on YouTube. The video below shows scenes from Fourth of July parades in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Here is the caption that accompanies the above video:

This is actually two different parades I have small clips from several parades from July 4th in late 60's and early 70's I will be posting in next few months so if you like Seward Nebraska history check back not sure how long it will take me I am transferring super 8mm to video my self and is by trial and error how it turns out thanks for looking these video are from John Odell collection so if they bring back memories keep him in mind as he was a life-long resident of Seward and captured these on film. And I dedicate theses clips to his dedication to Seward and Seward Genealogy work he had done.

The video below, apparently posted by the same unknown person, shows a parade in about 1971.

Here is the caption for the above video:

This is a clip from I believe around 1971.1972 forth of July Seward Nebraska it has BEE fire dept, Utica ,and Seward fire dept. along with uncle big guy on a 4-H float with his brother driving a dune buggy with then senator in the parade

Probably a lot of families have old films that should be digitized. Let the above two videos be an inspiration to all of you to go find your old family films and digitize them, so that they can be watched again now and in the future.

And the video at this link is a walking tour of the Concordia campus, filmed in about September 2008. I don't know who posted the video. It lasts about six minutes.

James Blomenberg, RIP

My brother Steve sent me this message:

James Blomenberg died on Monday, April 13, 2009, of a heart attack. It was the day after Easter,and James was not feeling well, so he drove himself to the local hospital near his home in Indiana. He died at the hospital. Evidently, he was somewhat overweight (hard to believe).

His dad still lives in the Blomenberg family home in Seward, and is in his 90s.

Here are excerpts from the obituary in The Republic newspaper of Columbus, Indiana, where he lived.

... James was born in Columbus, Ind., March 13, 1953, to Gilbert P. and Bertha Marie Koch Blomenberg. He was baptized April 5 of the same year at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Columbus. On May 7, 1967, he was confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church in Seward, Neb. He attended church at St. John's Lutheran Church at White Creek in Columbus.

James graduated from Concordia High School in Seward, Neb., in 1971 and from Concordia Teacher's College in Seward in 1975. In 1977 he earned a master's degree in instructional systems technology from Indiana University and in 1987 earned an associate's degree in statistical process quality control technology at Ivy Tech.

James joined Cummins Engine Company in 1981 and retired from Cummins Jan. 1, 2009. ... James gained APIC's certification in two areas of MRP. He was also ASQC certified and an ASQC member, treasurer and board member and served as national quality month co-chair.

In 2001, James earned the position of Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Prior to employment at Cummins, James taught mathematics at ABC-Stewart for two years.

His hobbies included restoration of antique furniture and clocks and he was a member of National Association of Clock and Watch Collectors. He collected religious books and music and was interested in genealogy, Bartholomew County history and Lutheran Church history. He also followed Hoosier Salon art and special-interest automobiles.

In retirement, he was authoring a book about the life and art of his grandfather, T.J. Koch.

Family was of great importance to James. He viewed his role as a husband, father, grandfather, son, nephew, godfather, brother, uncle and great-uncle to be one of God's greatest gifts. Whatever the role, James brought humor, words of wisdom and comfort to all.

James was a devout Lutheran who valued Lutheran doctrine, Lutheran education and Lutheran history. The Lutheran Church's musical heritage was also of great importance to him. ...

Online condolences may be sent to the Blomenberg family at [Click on the Obituaries button on the home page. On the next webpage, click on the "Blomenberg, James M." link. On the next webpage, click the "View/Send Condolences" link under his photograph.]

James married Janeen L. Miller Aug. 14, 1976.

Survivors include his father, of Seward, Neb.; his wife; children, Emila (Logan) Fowler of Columbus and Paul (Amy) Blomenberg of Denver, Colo.; brothers, Dr. Theodore (Saundra) Blomenberg of Decatur, Ind., John F. (Susan Ann) Blomenberg of Seward, Neb., and Dr. Daniel (Deanna) Blomenberg of Norfolk, Neb.; sisters, Dr. Paula Blomenberg (Charles Rager) of Tampa, Fla., Rhoda (Dr. Dominick) Toulouse of Seattle, Wash., and Andrea (Drew) Woodburn of York, Neb.; a granddaughter, Katerina Fowler, and a grandchild to arrive next month; 11 nephews; 18 nieces; six great-nephews; and two great-nieces.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Bertha Marie Blomenberg, and a sister, Sarah Ann Blomenberg.

James Blomenberg, seventh-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

James Blomenberg. Photo taken from

I had been thinking about Jim Blomenberg recently because of my blog. I think he would have liked reading the blog and might have participated by writing some articles. He was a funny and sociable person who livened up every gathering of people, telling jokes and stories. His whole family was that way. Both parents were jolly types.

I remember visiting his home and remember him visiting our home. Both our families had lots of kids, and both homes were loud and full of activity.

His parents made all the kids study music seriously. When I dropped by he often was practicing his piano, playing very difficult pieces. I was envied him for playing so well, and he envied me for not ever really having to practice my trombone!

None of the Blomenbergs were in my class, so I knew Jim through my brother Steve, who was a good friend.

I also remember his older brother John, who was about two years ahead of me. John too was unusually funny. I remember also that John surprised everyone when he belatedly joined the Concordia High School football team and turned out to be a star player.