RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
I would have liked to go to the campus canteen and buy ice cream and candy with the other students, but that was out of the question on my non-existent budget. Somehow, I was blessed richly without the advantages given by pocket spending money, and I can look back on having had a lot of fun, fellowship, and good times that don't leave a bad taste in your mouth. I recall the almost unendurably long winters, the acute loneliness suffered at times when the choir was touring, which left the school and its remaining students like myself in a kind of morgue, the meanness of a few school bullies who were so bored with themselves they ganged up upon other students and thought that was good fun, but the price never equalled what good I received. Bullying was not going to spoil my whole experience for me! I knew I could have fought back with some mean tricks of my own, but I knew they would just get worse if I put up a fight, so I went to the Boys' dorm director, who called them on the carpet and made them see they were under scrutiny and might get kicked out if they kept at it. That worked. They eased off, thinking how their folks would be on their cases if they got kickedc out of AA.
A cook who knew my mother at A.A. when she attended volunteered to do all my wash (I could not afford to do it myself). I always had plenty of clean clothes because of this helping angel. My dear friend and buddy Paul, a son of missionaries in Columbia, South America who today is a most remarkable sculptor, gave me a whole closet of shirts. Friends invited me to their homes at vacation times, which meant a lot because I couldn't afford to go home between terms, it was too far to Washington State. I was allowed to participate on teams of representatives of AA at "extensions," journeying with a chaparoned group from the school to give programs to churches and youth groups all over the state and even neighboring states. Whatever our talent was--speaking, singing, playing the piano--we then used it in a program to other young people as well as adults.
My teen-ager's world expanded enormously by attending A.A., for students came from all over the country and from Alaska (please see the connection with Dave Anderson, Class of 1961, and two Alaskan Eskimo students, as referenced below in a special link) and from even Africa (a classmate, daughter of a missionary in South Africa was chosen Queen for the "prom"). We shared life and experiences together, and they enriched my understanding. The instructors, too, encouraged me to write, and held out to me the examples of C.S. Lewis, and Ole Rolvaag (who attended this school), and other Christian writers of world-class renown. I was encouraged in every way to cultivate my God-given potential and then to launch forth. What I gave to Augustana Academy was no doubt small, yet she gave her tremendous, golden legacy, in return, to me. It truly was worth many time over the cost and inconvenience of attending so far away a school from my home in Washington!
Much later in life, I did this pencil drawing.
AA Graduate Now 98 Years of Age!