Yeah! Rah! Rah! - College Here We Come!
It was the fall of 1951 and Carol was going off on her own, well almost on her own. She had the Pullman Company scholarship via her tying for the Mayor's Scholarship plus a trust from Grandma Lee (the financial lady who wheeled and dealed in real estate in Chicago in the 1880's) and had some freedom in selecting where to study. Carol's interest in fashion design, partly stemming from her studies at the Art Institute, led her to consider Miami of Ohio or even Northwestern as possible places to continue her studies. However, Martha was not too interested in those wild and wooly schools and thought Carol would do much better in a nice Lutheran school in Iowa that just happened to be close to her brother's farm and numerous other relatives. So, look out Luther College in Decorah, Iowa here comes Carol Lee.
Uncle Harold and Family Greeting Carol Fall 1951 Near Postville, IA
(Far right is Ruth, the youngest, who was closest to Carol because she had studied nursing in Chicago)
Carol, like many students, cherished her independence as well as the opportunity to pursue knowledge. She was involved in many activities of the College as well as many of the social activities that are present around a college town. Luther being a "good" Christian school did not condone such things as dances but instead had "folk gaming". As most college students of the era they found ways for entertainment even if it meant going north to Harmony or Preston Minnesota or east to Praire du Chien Wisconsin to find the night clubs and bars.
Carol (left) & friends dresses for Freshman Banquet Carol (center right) on Homecoming Float in 1951
Carol's attachment to stuffed animals, especially bears started early and is evident in the pictures of her in her room in Brandt Hall.
Carol and "friends" Studying in her room
Her insatiable thirst for knowledge and love of all areas led her to a an interesting set of studies. She majored in Business Administration and English that was coupled with a double minor in Philosophy and French. About the ONLY subject that did not grasp her attention was mathematics. Interestingly her roommate for the last three years of college and closest friend was JoAnne Hellekson a Math and Business Major. JoAnne and her would collaborate in the business classes because Carol could get the concepts and JoAnne would do the mechanics of solving it. The two were inseparable through out their college lives and JoAnne spent some vacations in Chicago rather than going back to California.
JoAnn, Lois, & Carol Carol & JoAnne in Chicago JoAnne, Carol, Magdaline (family friend) and Martha
Carol was the elegant lady around campus and was involved in the Yearbook for three years, New Impressions ( a literary outlet club) as well as studying.
New Impressions - Carol on right Pioneer Staff '54 - Carol in middle
Carol was fond of many things and one word was attached to her - "fabulous". She used enough so that she became know as the "Fabulous Miss Lee". She, of course played the image to the hilt as shown below.
Throughout her days at Luther she worked at many part-time jobs including as the secretary for one of the faculty, Pastor Gerhard Belgum, who taught Bible, Philosophy, and Religious Education. Carol who had a minor in Philosophy wanted to take Greek which was taught by Belgum in her senior year. Now the Greek course was directed towards those studying for the ministry (all boys) and Belgum told her that he had never had a girl in his Greek course and he was not about to start with her. They compromised and she took his Philosophy of Religion course and aced it. She always remembered that encounter as one among many that she encountered in the "man's world". As usual she went forward, either through or around any obstacle in her path. Belgum acknowledged her abilities as indicated in her senior yearbook and she was recognized in Who's Who.
Pastor Belgum Who's Who in Luther's 1954 Senior Class - Carol back right
Carol and the Other Lees - Robert would tell all that Carol and Leona were his sisters!
Carol's years at Luther opened a whole range of doors for her. She and JoAnne lived life to the hilt! Quoting from JoAnne's two page remarks in the yearbook, "...Our senior year took the cake, tho. We vowed we'd have loads of fun & "prarie" (Praire du Chien, WI) we surely did . And Chicago - we cant forget Chicago. .... But then dont forget the boys at L.C. (I know you wont). Remember the way we trudged to the Polly (a local establishment) every nite but always managed to get rides home ususally with Wally & Danny. .... I'll never forget when you got a date to go to the Cozy Corner's ( my goodness but we couldn't imagine what that was but we found out didn't we)...."
In this fateful last year, Carol the "big city" girl who had not learned to drive a car bought an old clunker that as she would say used more oil than gas and learned to drive on the way to Omaha to visit her stepbrother and family. This old car kept her and JoAnne mobile through out many episodes. Nearing graduation she was considering should she go onto graduate school - had some offers such as North Carolina for her interest in design. However, she decided it was time to earn some money and take a rest from studies. So, she accepted a job as a buyer for children's wear for Donaldson's Department Store in Minneapolis. So off she went to the city and with the new riches of a job bought her first new car, a 1955 Buick convertible as shown below.
The business lady!