Helen - The Long-Term Commitment - 1946-50 etc.


THE WAY I REMEMBER IT

DISCLAIMER: Any statements made here may be altered, changed, expunged or embellished by Helen at any time at her discretion.

Following my European travel during the big war in 1944, 1945, & 1946, I returned and enrolled at the University of Texas in September of 1946. After finding a place to live at 4200 Alice Avenue (now Medical Parkway), I looked around for a church. A few blocks away was Trinity Lutheran, a Missouri Synod Church, and the place where my elementary school teacher, Mr. Koepsell, now served as principal. It was a comfortable contact with my past.

I soon learned that there were more students attending St. Paul, a church much nearer to the University. Perhaps it was natural that I gravitated there. The church had an active Walther League, the youth group I had grown up with, and a lot of friendly folks that I enjoyed. There was also an outgoing, forceful and friendly preacher. Rev. Albert F. Jesse. It made for a nice "church home." A number of the students attending church here were also members of the University group of Lutheran students called Gamma Delta.

Participating in both of these groups was Helen. Over a period of time, our friendship seemed to grow. Then came a sort of a clincher. Our friend Earl Wukasch asked me to join him in attending the National Convention of Gamma Delta to be held in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was driving the family Buick, and had only one other taker for the trip, Evie Bubendorf, who was a friend of mine, and a close friend of Helen. By some strange happenstance, the four of us made the trip together.

It was a rather pleasant trip until - probably somewhere in Oklahoma - Helen's stomach decided to turn upside down. Even though stops became frequent, we reached Lincoln near midnight and checked into the Cornhusker Hotel. Helen felt that Percy Medicine would do the trick, so Earl and I began the hunt - but to no avail. We finally returned with a substitute. She recovered.

The friendship blossomed on the way home. It later flourished when I acquired a 1931 Model A Ford Tudor Sedan. It was quaint enough to catch everyone's attention, and provided most of the transportation for our courtship. We went to Walther League, Gamma Delta, Softball games, Basketball games, Zilker Park and other remote places.

In September of 1949 we announced our engagement. On January 28, 1950, the day of my last final at UT, we were married in St. Paul Lutheran Church, 16th and Red River, in Austin by Rev. Jesse. Helen's folks, Oscar and Ella Thoresen, provided a wonderful reception at Green Pastures. Fifty years later our children provided a similar reception there for us. The "Long-Term Commitment" continues.

Vic Mathias - August 20, 2003

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