Yesterday, March 5, was the 116th anniversary of the birth of my paternal grandmother, Dorothy Clausen Hendrickson.
A few weeks ago, my mother found Grandma’s 1925 college diploma amidst some of my late father’s documents. Mom has been going through boxes of personal items since my father passed away in September of 2018, and the diploma turned up unexpectedly not long ago. I had not ever seen it and did not even know it was in our possession.
In fact, although I knew my grandmother had been an English teacher and had graduated from college in Iowa, I knew few of the details. One of my real regrets is not talking to my grandmother more about her college years … and her teaching years. Although my grandmother, who was a quiet and reserved woman, did not talk much about those years, she did once tell my sister and me that when she was in college the girls spent their spare time playing bridge. A lot had changed about college in the intervening years, but that’s my strongest memory of her college memories. I never did learn to play bridge, but maybe my mother can still teach me.
I have so many questions for my grandmother now that are better than the ones I had when I was younger. It makes sense that as an English teacher she passed on a love of reading to my father, who passed it on to me, and for that I am sincerely grateful.
I am happy that we now have the diploma. Although it seems to have gotten folded at some point since she graduated in 1925 and has several deep creases, it is otherwise in good shape. Grandma graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in education from Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls, in 1925, then taught high school English in Iowa for a few years. She married my grandfather, Carl Hendrickson, in November 1927, gave birth to my father in 1930, and passed away in California in 1991.
I wrote a more complete profile of Grandma Hendrickson last year on the 115th anniversary of her birth.