I want family peace, Mary (sister) to enjoy her time at home and for me, lack of stress. The situation in our home with Mary moving back with husband in Asia and her 4 months pregnant is untenable. My parents focus on her, the upcoming baby and all the ramifications surrounding pregnancy are immense. There are matters from cribs to clothes involved daily. My parents are reliving their 20s again. It’s as if Mary’s baby is their baby. I’ve always taken a backseat to the drama surrounding our house. I was considered a rebel. If I was involved in a Marquette University dorm panty raid, my parents had a sixth sense that I planned the fracas. I hear Mom and Dad talk when they don’t know I have ears. It’s Mary this or Mary that. The time we eat, dress, attend church or travel to a social function is 100% dependent on Mary. Never mind I’ve been up all night with difficult deliveries, dysfunctional families and blood underneath my fingernails. I’m an obstetric nurse. Mary (active RN degree) isn’t even working. Many of our pregnant workers at the hospital work – including now paid overtime. I’ll never be on a pedestal as my sister. I fully understand why she returned to Monroe, Wisconsin, our home. She’s my parents pride and joy, a homecoming and prom queen bottled as one person, and a perfect bride and expectant Mom consistent with my parents elusive standards. All I’ve received in a guy is Bernie Sattler, who no longer exists after the Korean massacre. I’ve received many letters from fellow nurses in the Chicago/Milwaukee corridor regarding jobs. I’ve received all the experience at our rural hospital that would easily make me a candidate for any bloody nursing position. I returned home at 1130 PM on a weekday and Mary was entertaining a de facto adult slumber party. I’m dripping wet from rain, blood and amniotic fluid. Everyone stares at me, the one who works. It’s far too much. I need to move out!
I’ve got many friends now that I’ve returned to my homeland. I’ve never dealt with leases and rental buildings since I was in a Marquette University Nursing dorm for four short years. This was obviously the very best time of my life. Nothing can take me back to those glorious college days; however, our close knit group of coeds has planned events all year long. It appears none within our nursing clique group from college can live without one another. We’ve only been apart three months after a tearful graduation. Most of these gals have an inner desire to find a steady guy. Many phone calls and letters are being generated between the recent Marquette nursing graduates. Perhaps, I can compete with Mary by inviting many of my Lake Michigan corridor post college friends to Monroe, Wisconsin for a weekend of Turner Hall, Swiss food and our cottage on Decatur Lake. My parents may pooh pooh the idea, but it would be fun. Mary (beginning to show her pregnancy considerably) would then be in second place for a couple days. This is fighting fire with fire. Mom may say the intrusion of my friends will upset Mary and the baby. That seems odd when many evenings I arrive home very late and Mary’s friends are forever loud. It’s high school all over again for sister Mary. I’m the only one on board within our family when it comes to work and sweat. Oh, I’m not in second place, it’s third place with brother James always harboring second by being a Jesuit. If I married a Kennedy or a Rockefeller, I still wouldn’t rattle my parents’ brains. I can’t win. Thus, I must move out. I need to stand on our front door steps and proclaim victory by moving out.
The rental down the street that is advertised is above a nice family’s home and they attend our church. I’ll inquire regarding the amount of rent tomorrow. I’m making decent money and now can afford the rental property. I’m certain my parents will unfold when I inform them of my departure. Mom will make superb meals and cuddle me in an effort to dissuade my moving out (I think). Mary will in her very own manner warm up to me as if we’ve been buddies for life. James may call and ask why I’m moving down the street. James is gone for good with the Jesuits; and should be paraded for life with his vows of poverty and endless devotion to Jesus Christ. Our family is very proud of his monster decision. I wasn’t even considered for the nunnery. Mom and Dad’s wishes were answered when I graduated from nursing school. They wanted me back home so they could keep a watchful eye on every Jean Suzanne Zuercher movement. It is just different moving back home; and now that sister Mary is here with a baby on the way, I’m such an afterthought. Mary will always be considered royalty within our family. I will maintain a commoner’s status.
Suddenly, I receive a phone call to return to the hospital. There has been a severe agricultural accident. We are planning neurosurgery; as well as chest, abdominal and orthopedic surgical treatments. I rush upstairs and notice that none of my three nursing uniforms are in the washer. They are soiled, as are my caps. I quickly throw on soiled clothes/nursing cap and have Dad drive me to the hospital. Dad remarks that Rollie will be in Asia until the baby is born. Rollie is still working daily with Chiang Kai-Shek. Therefore, Mary will probably deliver in Monroe’s St. Claire Hospital, and I’ll probably be her delivery nurse. I may deliver the baby if the obstetrician isn’t present. We have many babies delivered in the hallways by registered nurses. There is such a baby boom everywhere. It’s not befitting for someone like my sister Mary to deliver in the hallway. However, when you’re pushing nothing matters except a safe delivery and healthy baby. This can occur at home, in the car, ER or anywhere on the obstetric floor. There is no royalty status when it comes to birthing; all to be moms just want a normal delivery.
The agricultural trauma from the tractor accident was the usual ugly incident. Grandpa had the grandson on the side of the tractor and the grandson fell with an injury (brachial plexus avulsion/near arm severing). Grandpa also tumbled and injured everything. He’s in surgery for a few hours draining a blood clot off his brain, placing a chest tube to alleviate pressure near his heart after a lung puncture and undergoing a splenectomy. The pelvis fracture repairs will occur tomorrow if he lives. The grandson is being taken by ambulance to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. He’ll be treated by the orthopedists and neurosurgeons in an attempt to save his arm. Since I was a child the farming accidents have grown in number and severity. In a rural community you hear everything. No news escapes a small town in Wisconsin. The farm machinery is not safe with children. These innocent male youths are being informed and instructed that they are taking over the family farm after high school graduation. Nothing less than this inherited and honorable profession of a dairy and crop farm will suffice. Within Green County, Wisconsin there are hundreds of family farms passed through generations. I worked on many close-by farms as a child. Additionally I worked long hours in our Brodhead, Wisconsin farm and cheese factory. Mary worked some, but not like I had to work. She was always the favored child. Mary was the ultimate craftsman in finding methods to avoid real work.
I’m called to the OR (Operating Room) and instructed to scrub in for this grandpa patient who may not live. I scrubbed plenty in nursing school. The OR is a very dangerous place for women. We’re subject to ridicule, demeaning comments and gruff surgical physicians. The surgeons can say or do anything they wish. The hospital administration repeatedly looks the other way when a surgeon acts negative or bullies an employee. They don’t want to lose the surgeon or allow a battle to brew. There are plenty of political battles within St. Claire Hospital already. We don’t need more fights, grudges and verbal slayings. Unfortunately, this trauma patient was struggling when I arrived. I was in the OR for 6 more hours. The bleeding never stopped. The hospital’s blood bank was emptied and there were calls to Madison, Rockford, Freeport, Davenport, Janesville and Beloit for more blood. The patient lost all her blood volume and most of what we transfused. We were providing O negative blood from families in the waiting rooms without cross matching. Blood typing (ABO system) and cross matching is relatively modern; and it immensely assists to avoid transfusion reactions (can cause death). The Monroe citizens were fabulous about donating. Most had no knowledge of their blood type.The pathologists were unbelievable in their care, comfort and respect for the blood donors. This case was big city hospital trauma in a rural setting.
The patient ultimately died that evening. Sadly, the grandson (from Decatur township near our cottage on Decatur Lake) will lose his arm most likely. This is information I’ve learned from the ER nurses who stabilized the grandson. In a rural area everyone is known and prominent in their own way. This county is grieving like I’ve never witnessed prior. I’m saddened immensely. I’m certain there is guilt upon the parents and entire family. Time heals virtually all matters in life. It’s moments and circumstances such as the above trauma case that questions everyone’s faith. The Baltimore Catechism instructs us that though there is no plausible explanation for adverse events such as the injury and death within this family, there is an explanation coming. Worldly people that knew the deceased Grandpa are all suffering; yet Grandpa is probably at peace with himself. The grandson will live and may have a weak arm. The experience with his Grandpa was not the best; however many in our world never see their grandparents for a multiplicity of reasons. I feel highly privileged that I have some contact with my grandparents on Dad’s side of the family (Zuercher). My mother’s maiden name is Davis. She rarely talks about her upbringing; but I know deep inside she has considerable more to divulge.
I will never know how to approach Mom about the orphan trains from the East Coast that came to Oklahoma. She was received as a foster child by parents. I know little more; but want to know everything. I’m at the point and need in my life to question Mom and Dad regarding the facts. Maybe the real facts are ugly. What if Mom was physically and emotionally beaten? Many foster children were abused. Mom reveals no signs of abuse; however, she is a good faker of feelings. Mary (our coronation princess sister) easily knows and won’t tell. If I ask Mom, she may become angry. She may inquire as to why do I need to know about her past. Mom may also state that it isn’t necessary for me to know. I’ll never find out the true facts; but there will be an occasion that Mom will be vulnerable. That is when I’ll strike hard. I will discover Mom’s past.
It appears that Mom is highly dependent and always defending Dad. If Dad incurred a lost bank customer, had a tiff at St. Victor’s board meeting or lost at golf, Mom was always defending him. Mom is the perfect wife. There are never unclean sheets, meals less than a 10, nor a house that is not immaculate in appearance. I could only wish to keep up with my Mom. She has incredible energy; and places all the energy within her mind and body into our family. Despite all the love I possess for Mom, Dad, Mary, and James, I need to move out. I have zero private life. If a guy calls me, Mom has already examined him front to back with Dad or the neighbors. There is nothing more for me to do than obtain a report card from Mom. I know she never sleeps if a guy comes to the house. It’s more difficult than being a dormie. I know I’ll never be as rigid as my parents. I didn’t inherit Mary’s looks, appeal nor composure. Mary will never leave first place, and I’ll always be in third behind brother James.
After returning home with a soiled and bloodied nurse’s uniform and cap, Mary greets me and asks if we can talk. She freely admits that my place in the household has declined. She wants to become closer, have me stay in the house until she leaves for Aurora, Illinois and be there for the birth of the baby. She has decided that the name is James also. She is counting on a boy; and if it is a girl the name is either Jean or Michelle. I’m moved and heavily influenced by life at the hospital and with Bernie Sattler’s recent death. I fully realize that girls hold grudges for life. Life itself is a moment in time that is a drop of sand on a large beach. I fully inform Mary that I need to move to another abode. I cannot handle Mom and Dad in the present context with Mary here. I would love to accept an offer in another hospital occasionally. I’m quite happy with my nursing position at Monroe, Wisconsin at St. Claire Hospital. Perhaps, after talking to Mary I’m much more sensitive than I realized. My sister is always a couple steps ahead of me and doesn’t want to incur blame for me moving outside the house. I’ll just get lost in work and allow God and Mother Nature to guide my life for now.
The next day my boss called me into her office and stated that I was receiving a raise for hard work,organization and overall great nursing. That was highly appreciated. We had a few minutes to discuss matters and I discovered that her husband was lost at sea during the war (WWII). He was never found near the South China sea after an apparent Japanese torpedo crushed his boat. All the sailors on board that ship were lost at sea to the elements of sharks, drowning and explosions. She confided in me that the people in Monroe, Wisconsin had been very heartwarming and accommodating to her. Her information was so interesting to me. I relayed the Bernie Sattler information and she agreed that Monroe, Wisconsin was a very special place. My boss, Shirley, knew virtually everyone in the community, was well respected and at peace with herself. She had a couple flings since her husband’s death, but nothing serious for the chair of nursing at St. Claire Hospital. When her husband died, she was three months pregnant. That baby was now 3 years old and beginning to ask questions. Shirley was such a beautiful woman. It is a pure wonder why she has not remarried. She is so at peace with herself as a widow. Barring hiding her inner feelings, Shirley has always appeared upbeat and positive in her relationships within the hospital. She was thankfully promoted to the head nursing position shortly after her husband died. This helped immensely with all the expenses of a single Mom. The bottom line is that the head of nursing, Shirley, fully appreciated my hard work.
I walked out of the head nurse’s office and vowed to be as good a person as Shirley. I can no longer feel sorry for myself if my sister intrudes. I’d still like to move out, because at some point in my life I cannot live with my parents forever. James and Mary essentially have moved to another abode, so why not me? It’s the little sister thing within our family that keeps me at bay. Everyone thinks I’m still in 9th grade. However, I cannot allow those thoughts to dominate my mind. After talking to Shirley, my boss, there are others who have a much more difficult plight in life than me. I deal daily with women that lose their fertility during childbirth, occasionally die and worse yet have children that die or suffer from prematurity for months and years. I have my job to do; and I’ll get it done with dignity and hard work. Patients will never suffer because of my attitude or lack of diligence. I want to win at life. I feel I can accomplish my goals in life at home in Monroe, Wisconsin at St. Claire Hospital. I cannot cry over minute internal family matters. I need to be stronger and get through this stage in life. Rollie will return and Mary will ultimately descend to her real home now in Aurora, Illinois. I want a small part of notoriety within my family. I’ll peek around for a roommate. If a good rental and roommate appear, I may move out. Presently, I’m stuck most likely at home without creating a vicious ruckus within the Zuercher enclave.
I return to work the next day and discover that the Grandpa that died was a multi-millionaire. The family reported already that he was to donate at death to a worthy cause. His cause was building a new wing onto the hospital. I’m in shock at the benefactor status of my patient who succumbed. Apparently, the hospital wants to make a spectacle out of the donation by bringing in the surgical crew who attempted to save his life. The family is warm, respected and very loving. Their gift couldn’t have come at a better time because St. Claire Hospital in Monroe, Wisconsin is spilling over with patients and needs. Some of the new wing will be obstetrics. A new surgical center is also planned. The new developments in surgery and obstetrics will enhance our ability to care for patients. A son of the Grandpa that died also wants to meet me I’m told. This was nursing gossip; but I’m glad it wasn’t hidden. I have no idea why a relative of the deceased Grandpa would want to meet me. It may be just an explanation or inquiry into his Grandpa’s death; or he may be after my heart. Most guys have sneaky ways of entering a girl’s mind. This may be a backside entrance. Now I’m nervous thinking of what this guy has in mind. I also heard he wants to meet me after work. The problem is that we never know when work ends. I could be here until tomorrow. Additionally, I’m generally full of blood, baby and Mom’s fluids, and may even smell dastardly. I then receive a phone call with the guy on the phone stating that he wants to extend his warm thankfulness to the surgical team that helped his Grandpa (though he didn’t live). This is eery; but I suspect he’s flirting.
I meet Dick Rothstein from Decatur township at 7 PM as he desired. He greets me with flowers and an invitation to his Grandpa’s funeral in Brodhead, Wisconsin. He is cute, Catholic, single, farming and will pick me up Saturday morning. The funeral is at St. Rose of Lima church in Brodhead, Wisconsin. There is a reception following at the Decatur Lake Country Club. This is across from our cottage on Decatur Lake. I’m not certain what to think; but I certainly didn’t say no. My nursing colleagues all wanted information immediately. I really had nothing to say other than I think this guy is after my heart. In fact, I know he’s after my heart. I cannot lie and say he just wants to be friends. This is real stuff. Nobody brings you flowers and asks you to a family function without serious intentions. I’m totally dazzled. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to tell my parents who are hovering over every move I perform.
I arrive back home with the flowers, a messy nursing uniform and a smile on my face. Mary and my parents have already heard a guy from Decatur township was chasing me. News travels faster than light in a small community. They want to know everything so I say I’ll get the news to them piece by piece. Mary follows me upstairs as she obtains a vase for the flowers (marigolds in honeysuckle). Mary wants to know exact details so I just say I’ll bathe and be downstairs in a few minutes. Mary wants to know details now. I cannot inform Mary of many facts because there just is not much that occurred. It is just a simple date to a guy’s Grandpa’s funeral. I’ll be down in a few minutes. I turn on the bathtub and no warm water is attainable. The water heater is no longer functioning and needs replacement. Life isn’t fair; nor are baths. My cold bath somehow felt good after I acclimated. I thought to myself that though it was weird how this meeting of Dick Rothstein occurred; it was somehow meaningful. I just need to get through Mom and Dad with this apparent date.
I place a white bathrobe on and head for dinner. It’s 8:30 PM, but the family has waited and we all sit for dinner. We say the Lord’s prayer and the Catholic theme for worship of food. Mom chimes in with a question regarding Dick Rothstein. She says it sounds as if he’s Jewish. I calmly inform him that he’s Catholic. Dad wants to know what he looks like. I said he’s three years older than me, single and wears a pompadour haircut. Dad retorts that most guys other than downtown Chicago wear a crewcut. I said he looks good with the groomed hair combed to the sides. Dad says this is an aggressive haircut. Mary thinks there is something wrong if this guy is so cute and not married. I said I knew little about him; but will meet his family this weekend at the funeral. Mom has already informed my aunts who sing at the Brodhead Catholic Church to maintain a watchful eye. Dad says he may golf at the same time as the reception so he can casually bump into this guy. I’m holding my reserve only so long. I lash out at all of them and state that Mary never went through any of this with Rollie. Mary obtains a free pass in life. I’m the only one working in this house beside Dad. I have no freedom. Most of these tidbits regarding Dick Rothstein are matters yet to be discovered. I’m not marrying and moving to Brazil. I begin to cry until my face is flooded. I get up from the table (wrong) and run upstairs with my head buried in my pillow.
Mom and Mary chase after me while Dad sits in shock as he eats. I slam the door and lock the room forever. Mom and Mary are pounding at the door and I don’t answer. I threw the door key somewhere. I only regret that I have not moved out. This is far too much for a college graduate to handle. Mom and Mary won’t stop their pleading at the door to open and allow all of us to talk. I then arise and find the key in the wastebasket. I open the door and we all hug. I will eat later and want some time for myself. I don’t want family interference. I want my time alone. Mom and Mary won’t desist and feel we all need to talk. How can I talk when I’m a river of tears? What is the issue with me dating someone who had a Grandpa die in surgery? This guy is cute, probably has a good job and money within the family. I don’t see issues. I think my parents want me to marry a young doctor. I’m really not into that Doctor/Nurse relationship because many of these docs are total bums. They treat women and nurses poorly, brag about their place in society and many have alcohol issues. I say no thanks to dealing with this kind of a guy. I need to get out and meet some people and guys. I’m bottled in this house (jail) forever. Mary may never leave if Rollie is deployed for years in Asia. Apparently, he’s a big shot with Chiang Kai-shek. Mary needs support also; but it’s all at my expense. I want a simple life, children, nice family home with no turmoil. Maybe this guy should meet my parents first?
Dad comes up to my room and says Jean please come down and we’ll all talk. Dad finished his supper and Mom put the food away for tomorrow. Mary is now beginning to cry and says the baby is moving considerably. It’s very exciting at our house; but I don’t want this type of excitement. Perhaps I just need to move out in a week or when a rental appears that is acceptable for human habitation. I realize I may struggle because I also need a car. Maybe I can purchase our family car inexpensively and Dad can purchase a new model. I had independence in college and now I’ve reverted to living with my family as if I’m in high school again. I want space, time and ability to make my own decisions. I’m thinking and talking while I walk downstairs. Mom and Mary are crying. They feel I am too sensitive when the opposite is closer to reality.They want to know more about Dick Rothstein. Our family doesn’t want me making bad decisions about men. I’m exhausted and want a calming through our house. I simply state what happened and that I was just asked out by the family member of the Grandpa that died in surgery. It is nothing more than that. I don’t know this gentleman and he actually lives near Decatur Lake (near our cottage). I don’t know any more details except our first date is a funeral and reception later. Dad doesn’t need to spy when I’m at the reception. Spying on your daughter is very caddy.
Mom is still crying endlessly and Mary has dried somewhat. Mom (barely understandable) states that she wants to know who I’m dating because she fears pregnancy, venereal disease and a life of trouble if she doesn’t meet the guy first. I stated that I met and dated lots of guys in Milwaukee while in college. I didn’t obtain Mom’s approval at that time. Nothing bad ever happened and I’m still a viable woman. Dad says he agrees with Mom; and that it is necessary to have families meet before love develops. If a family agrees to the relationship, it is always much better for both parties. I get that aspect, but I hardly know this guy. We talked a few minutes and he gave me beautiful flowers. In the least, he has class and respect. He may be the very best thing that has ever happened to myself. Again, he could be a big creep and faked his way into my heart. I will find out shortly and inform everyone. I have the weekend off. We could potentially come to the cottage after the reception if things between us work well. Mom, Dad and Mary would love that. Dad is in the middle of constructing a large boathouse for canoes and motor boats. Maybe this Dick Rothstein could assist Dad since James and Rollie are not around presently. Dick Rothstein is certainly not lazy.
Matters slowly settle into the evening and we turn on the radio to WGN from Chicago. Our signal is a little weak. The Jack Benny show is on. He’s down to earth and very funny. I’d love to see him in person someday. People keep talking about television overtaking radio. I can’t imagine that ever happening as popular as radio shows are these days. I haven’t had anything to eat and now have a craving for anything. I sneak into the refrigerator and find supper all well packaged. I open up the meal and it is the finest steak, baked potatoes and green beans from our garden. I warm the entire meal, and listen to Jack Benny’s jokes. He is incredibly funny and doesn’t mind ruffling someone’s feathers. Politics doesn’t seem to matter to Jack Benny; as he insults and has fun with virtually every ethnicity, race, gender or national issue. People laugh along with him and nobody takes his humor seriously. It is his manner of humor rather than the content. Many other personalities couldn’t get away with Jack Benny says on the airwaves. Jack Benny has retorted funny sarcastic remarks at my nursing profession. I’m not offended because I know he is just creating humor. Many people obviously can become offended; however the context of finding humor in everyday life is a superb gift. Jack Benny is on top of his game and one of the very best WGN shows on the air.
My next day was filled with many of my nursing colleagues informing me of information regarding Dick Rothstein. I was fully prepared before our first date; and expected a land invasion of sorts. Apparently, Dick went to the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture, was in the agriculture fraternity and played many college sports. He is heir to large amounts of property in Green County, Wisconsin. He has worked on the family farms since he was born. Dick performed a European tour of duty, was involved as a very young guy in the D-Day invasion and Battle of the Bulge. Obviously, he’s a hero and has seen enough strife to know the good things in life. He apparently had a serious high school girlfriend who dumped him while he was in Europe with the military. She has since married a friend of Dick Rothstein. Thus, I’m really a 2nd place or fall back gal. That is alright since I’ve been the second and third choice all my life. I couldn’t find anything negative about him; but that doesn’t mean there is no skeletons in Dick Rothstein’s closet. We all have negative or stupid things that occur in our lives. It is part of living or being human. I cannot fault anyone for making human error; as I have made endless blunders. Most likely there is a dark side to everyone (including Dick Rothstein).
The day is finally here and Dick drives to our house on 17th Avenue in Monroe, Wisconsin. Dick freely admits he knows little regarding Monroe, Wisconsin (living in Decatur Township within Green County, Wisconsin)). He politely introduces himself to Mary and my parents. We greet and leave because the funeral begins in an hour. He’s saddened by the events surrounding his Granpa’s death and little brother’s injuries. He was wearing a black sport coat, cuffed trousers, white belt and a wool vest. The color coordination was impressive. His shoes were Black and his socks were white wool. His car was a 1940 Packard 140. This was an elegant brown colored flashy model that could have entertained any princess. I felt love, caring and elegant manners. Where has this guy been? His great looks with his Pampadour haircut, stylish clothes and fancy car were beyond any Marquette guy. He lives near our cottage on a farm. His agricultural degree is not brandish. He’s humble and quiet. What is the catch? Where has this guy been? Why is he hiding in Decatur near Brodhead, Wisconsin? He’s an eligible Catholic and should be married with three children by now. What is going on?
My parents were quite dazzled by this guy. Mary was spellbound and felt maybe for once I outdid her. I finally beat her at something (a guy). The guy competition is close; as her beau, Rollie, is impressive. Why am I thinking like this? I need to settle down and make some clear choices. The funeral went well as it was a celebration of his Grandpa’s life. Nobody mentioned his Grandfather’s tragic death nor complained about the injury to his grandson. There were many people at the funeral at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Brodhead, Wisconsin. My aunts, Bertha and Lydia, sang funeral songs while they played both the piano and pipe organ in the old church. The reception and the food was magnificent. I met the entire township of Decatur and most of the citizens of Brodhead, Wisconsin. There were exciting people there including the mayors of Brodhead and Albany, Wisconsin, the US representative to Congress and many elegant business and agricultural people. It was a “coming out” party for me into a potential prominent family. Why me?
Life throws us curveballs that we cannot anticipate. I didn’t ask verbally, but in my mind I asked why hasn’t this hunk of a guy (very eligible) been taken? Why haven’t the Albany, Brodhead and Decatur girls stepped out and grabbed this guy? He is a super war hero with many stories just out of high school defeating Nazi Germany. Many soldiers never returned or incurred lifelong injuries. Fortunately Dick Rothstein had no injuries and was still quite “military” fit. He played football, basketball and baseball for the Badgers. Few guys had talent in all the sports; however Dick Rothstein clearly was multi talented. His grades as a Badger athlete were decent; not great. He was president of the Agricultural fraternity; and made friends easier than anyone I knew. I was popular as a Marquette Warrior; but not nearly as Dick Rothstein at the UW. At the funeral there were college, high school and war friends he met along the way. He was beyond my parents dreams of a guy for their daughter. I figured they figured I would fail at finding a guy with prominence, money and girth. After all the festivities ended we drove back to Monroe, Wisconsin. We stopped for a beer at Turner Hall and talked. He was gentle, sweet, a great dancer and polite. His manners were impeccable. Maybe girls feared this guy because he was so lofty?
Dick Rothstein didn’t talk about himself unless asked. He had 5 brothers and 4 sisters. He was in the middle of the pack. All of his family met me; and acted like I was a long lost sister in law. They all were well informed that I was in surgery with their grandpa but didn’t ask anything (seems strange but polite also). I don’t know what to do since this is surreal. We’re listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra sing solos and I feel as if I’m maybe falling in love. It is hard not to fall in love. It is early but it is nice. He surrounds what my parents feel is worthy of their daughter including someone who works hard, has manners, is Catholic (no mixed marriage stuff) and has a nice family. Though Dick Rothstein is from the other side of the county, he fits nicely with everything on my parents plate. There are plenty of post war articles on brides falling in love against their parents wishes, coming home pregnant after one or two dates (would have married anyway), and endless needs to shake off the last generation’s norms of social courtship. Parental approval, time needs (months or years of dating), and the same faith are now being questioned from the top down by the media and our culture. There is no longer the scorn of marrying someone different than the classical perfect fit. It is understandably hard to find the perfect fit opposite sex and actually like this person.
Dick Rothstein shook my hand at 1130 PM. I walked into the house and my parents and Mary were still in the living room talking with WGN music in the background (Andrews Sisters). The medley was: Boogie Woogie Boy From Company B, Steppin Out Tonite, and Six Jerks in a Jeep. I distinctly remember all those tunes. Mary had a string of 33.3 records containing all the Andrew Sisters hits. Mary loved music like no other gal. Both her and I endlessly played piano and loved the instrument. I was probably a touch better pianist than her; however Mary played so beautifully once she knew the tunes. How can I both hate and love my sister? That is me!
My parents wanted to ask Dick Rothstein to return for some ice cream. Since Wisconsin is a dairy state and Green County is the chief dairy county in the state of Wisconsin, Dick should be treated to ice cream. Mom had created some homemade strawberry that was unbelievably great tasting. I ran down the steps and stopped the elegant Packard 140. Dick was delighted to return to our house. He enjoyed the ice cream more than anyone. Guys love great food; and that is what our family does best. My mother can outshine anyone in a kitchen setting. She has such truly great talents in the domestic aspect of marriage and family. I felt Dick Rothstein assuredly lit up like a Christmas tree when he began eating the homemade strawberry ice cream. Mary and Dick had a lively conversation. It was as if Mary was stealing this guy from me. Mary and I are endlessly competing at everything (from music to guys to our parents’ affection). It’s good with me as I didn’t want silence or anyone to be embarrassed. Dad talked sports to Dick. Rothstein was a big Packer and Badger fan, loved the Milwaukee Braves and coached little league teams in Brodhead, Wisconsin. What gives with this guy? My parents and Mary are sucking out answers about this guy more than I can. I need this information to make good decisions regarding future dates and plans. I cannot find anything negative about Dick Rothstein.
The talk went well into the evening and he still had 15 miles to drive back to the family farm in Decatur township. The roads are very good pavement but there are no lights. Drivers need to be aware at late hours of drunk driving in Wisconsin. Beer is the national pastime within this state. The economy is highly dependent upon beer drinkers. It is good but must be imbibed in moderation. Dad always has nothing but Green County beers in the fridge (Huber). The Hubers live across the street from my parents. They play bridge together competitively every Sunday evening. My parents wouldn’t be caught with another beer brand in the garbage, or seen by across the street binoculars. The Hubers had that keg of beer in the front lawn reminding everyone in Green County, Wisconsin that they must purchase Huber beer. It is the only beer in our area. The state of Wisconsin and Green County are highly dependent on the drinking of this beer for local jobs. There is no problem as the beer is excellent; and must be used in moderation. The Huber sons inherit the brewery once the older generation ends. Hubers have the oldest brewery west of the Mississippi River. It is highly dependent upon local sales for growth, jobs and community stature.
Dick Rothstein finished up the ice cream, gave me a big hug and kiss and left without asking for a second date. Now I’m embarrassed. There must be something tragically wrong with me. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll find out. Maybe it is Dick Rothstein himself? Perhaps, I’m in a competitive situation with another girl? There’s little I can do regarding this situation, but it leaves me troubled. I want the best for everyone and myself included. I’m probably not worthy of a great guy. That is just how matters are. I’ll just sip my Coca Cola tomorrow and wonder about many things in life. Did my sister mary chase this guy away? Is our family not good enough? Am I just a commoner Bachelor of Science RN who is a worker bee and not a caring wife. Time Magazine says you need to be both (total package) these days post WWII. Did Mom and/or Dad chase this guy away because he’s from the wrong side of the county? God forbid! Maybe he’ll call or write. The next date is within his grasp. Maybe there is something he didn’t want to tell me; and informing me would wreck my life? Maybe he’s fathered children in Europe, Decatur, Madison, etc.. Nobody would be running up to me and informing me of this fact. I’m intuitive. That idea is it most likely. By logical deduction (a required course at Marquette University) I have deducted something dark in Dick Rothstein’s past. He doesn’t want to wreck my life. That is it. These are mry inner thoughts. I sincerely hope no one ever finds and reads this part of my diary. I’ve decided to write a great diary I must tell the truth; and I will forever tell the truth.