"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I was getting ready for Winter, cleaning out the old gene pool and came upon something interesting in the bottom of the pool. My grandfather and namesake, Neil C. Berg came from Denmark at the age of 16. He went to back to school, learned English (no accent), and volunteered when WW I broke out. He returned a shell-shocked Gunnery Sargeant.

Then it gets a little fuzzy. I know he went to school, probably the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, before marrying Grandma in 1920. He also worked in California somewhere along the line, but I'm not certain of the timing of things. I do have records that indicate he was also ordained as a Baptist minister in 1920, the same year as he got married and took his first church out in Nebraska.

The report card below and a diploma indicate that he graduated later from Des Moines University in Spring of 1928. He had nice neat consistent cards, even picked up the bonus points for Chapel Attendance!
These dates only came important when I Googled the history of the demise of Des Moines University. I recall him talking about student unrest, but apparently he left as the shit was hitting the fan.

"...things came to a head when board chairman Thomas T. Shields fired the entire faculty on May 11, 1929. A few hours later a riot broke out among the students. Angry students marched on the administration building in the afternoon, and that night 150 students attacked the building where the board of trustees was meeting. They threw eggs and rocks and attempted to break down the door to the room where the board members were hiding. Eventually police drove the students from the building, but not before they had wrecked the front office of the school administration building. The school closed in September 1929."

...and the students look so docile.


Old Toad said...

Great "gene pool" story, Gunnar. Wonder if you have any of your old report cards to match up against N.C.'s card you posted?

Too bad about his old school. Wish we had more "undocile" students on campuses today. Probably would take a new draft to get anyone protesting about the Obama "surge." Not that that will ever happen ....

Gunnar Berg said...

Ahhhh, report cards. As you may recall, in the throes of the blackness of my depression, academics and it's measure were not exactly my forte. Or, then again, maybe I'm just dumb.

Doohickie said...

Interesting story.

I'm always fascinated when I find a reference to an ancestor or some organization they were involved in. It seems only one was really history-worthy, and not all of it good.