Beginning Formal Education
Carol's formal education was a string of achievements. In looking over her early grades ones sees mostly "S's" which one first thinks as being "satisfactory" until one reads the grading scale and finds it really refers to "Superior". Carol had a thirst for knowledge and her father who was an avid reader introduced her early to the fun of books and the library. Books became a part of her escape from the adult life around her and the fact that there were only a couple of children her age anywhere close. She graduated with distinction from Reinberg Junior High in 1947 and she is shown with her graduation gown, flowers, and diploma below.
A year later her father died of a heart attack and another change took place in her life. With Walter dead Martha had to go back to work. She worked as a seamstress in a sports apparel company, Redhead Company as I recall. The summer after Walter's death Carol took an extended trip with a close friend of her parents, Molly. Molly was older than Martha and had been a missionary in many countries but was now retired. Molly and Carol spent that summer traveling west through the US and Canada and Carol had many fond memories of that trip. She later believed they decided to get her away from home to give her some distance from the place her father died and to help her grieve. She saw a lot of Canada and had many adventures including horseback riding.
Carol became a "latchkey" kid that year. With Martha working Carol picked up more of the chores at home and had more time to herself. During the school year she was busy with school and started taking art lessons at the Art Institute in Chicago. Her art work focused mostly on oil and charcoal painting. She took lessons over the next few years when they were available. Unfortunately her painting from that era were lost in some of her mothers moves.
In high school Carol blossomed academically and was competitive throughout her classes. She was a recognized leader as indicated below. Carol is the one with glasses in the center of the second row of pictures.
Carol was an achiever. She graduated 5th in her class of 120 in June 1951. Sounds like a small school but this is half of the senior class as they had graduation in January and June. She was recognized by her teachers in many ways and one was their nomination of her to a Tribune interview.
She was awarded a couple of key scholarships as indicated below.
The Half Scholarship is an interesting way to state that she and another person in Chicago tied for the Mayor's Scholarship. The City fathers found a source to fund an equivalent scholarship and Carol "won" the toss. She delighted to tell the story of her traveling to the headquarters of the Pullman Company on the south side of Chicago. This was the first time she had ever been south of the loop in Chicago so it was an adventure for her. She did well and was the recipient of the Pullman scholarship for college that was coupled with her Luther College scholarship plus money in a trust from her grandmother that paid for her college education. Carol's grandmother Larson was a shrewd business person in the 1800's and owned a number of buildings she rented to companies for manufacturing. One of the buildings was still around into the 1940's and the sale of it paid a good share of her college education. It would appear that Luther was her first choice and it was all settled but that would only be a half of the story. Carol really wanted to go into clothing design and marketing and Miami University in Ohio had a great program that she wanted with next choice being Northwestern. However, Martha wanted her little girl to be safe and she felt that a nice Lutheran school in a small town, Decorah, in Iowa near to Uncle Harold and his family was the best place for her. So off she would go.
Carol's yearbook is full of well wishes from her friends at Forman high. One particular boy wrote an interesting comment relative to their debates about history as shown below. Those of us knew her later were always amazed at her grasp of history and here we see that her quest for knowledge in history started early! No wonder we never won those debates!
The citation of her activities illustrate that she was involved in many activities and had leadership role in many. Now Carol was not a "nerd" in high school. She, as mentioned before, studied art at the Art Institute and went to Cubs home games. But she also worked part time in a drug store and one of her main tasks was being a "soda jerk". She loved to tell her daughters about life as a "soda jerk". Her HS years came to an end in June of 1951 with graduation. Martha was extremely proud of her..