Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
|Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:16 pm Post subject: Personal Recollections of St. Paul’s College
|After all these years, I still retain a lot of memories and visual images of St. Paul’s College. Like sitting on the concrete steps outside Biltz Hall, watching a baseball game on the ballfield inside the cinder track of the old athletic field, looking over at Lampe’s Shady Rest and at the cemetery and Uncle Bill Klingenberg’s Standard Oil station across old Highway 40.
Some of us who grew up in Concordia went through the high school grades there because the excellent faculty and curriculum provided a great college preparatory background. While my brother and sister became Lutheran parochial school teachers, only one member of our Pape family became a pastor, namely Uncle Arthur Pape. Uncle Arthur was somewhat of a jokester, like my father and his other brothers. Since Grandpa’s farm was just north of the school, Uncle Arthur would walk to school every morning. One morning he arrived late and his professor asked him why. He said, “ I had to lead the bull to a cow this morning.” The professor then said, “Couldn’t your father have done that?” to which Uncle Arthur quickly replied, “No. It’s better that the bull did that.” While I’m sure he was reprimanded, he wasn’t expelled for that remark. (Please excuse this somewhat risqué anecdote, but I was told that it actually happened.)
We local students were referred to as the “town boys” and were in some respects treated as second class citizens by the faculty and some of the other students because we were not continuing on through the junior college and into the ministry. However, I must admit that we were provided some special advantages while I was there. For example, Coach Wahlers taught trigonometry and advanced algebra to those of us who chose not to take Greek in Tertia. They even provided us with some correspondence courses.
There are several incidents that I remember well. One somewhat humorous event occurred during our Music Appreciation class in Quarta. Prof. Gienapp was looking over his Chorus roster for the coming year and said “We’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel this year.” After a short pause, he then said “Roger, would you like to try out for Chorus?”
During the fall of my senior year, Coach Wahlers came to me privately and asked me not to try out for the basketball team. He said that he would rather provide more playing time for those who were continuing on to junior college. It’s not that I was a great player. I was primarily a defensive player because of my height and long arms. Not a big loss to the team, but I was hurt that I was not given the opportunity to try out. But I grudgingly complied and my basketball career ended at that point.
My family always had a very good relationship with the staff at St. Paul’s. We still have old family movies of Prof. Weis on fishing trips with my Dad and of the Weis family visiting us over the Christmas holidays. Prof. Lueker and his family lived less than a block from us in the old Borgstedt house on the corner of 5th and Bismark. Prof. Gienapp was a frequent visitor at the lumber yard.
While Dad was still on the Board of Control at St. Paul’s, he would occasionally invite the group over to our house for dinner after the meeting. At one of those meals, I was helping my mother serve dinner when one of the members said, “Roger, with a reach like yours, Coach Wahlers must be glad to have you on the basketball team.” This led to an awkward moment for Coach Wahlers, who was also on the board at that time and seated at the table.
Finally, at graduation time the faculty decided to combine addresses at the commencement ceremony for the junior college and high school classes. They certainly didn't want a non-ministerial student delivering the valedictorian speech.