Our Promised Land



Arthur G. Thayer

Thayer Coat Of Arms

Copyright © 1983 with all rights reserved by Arthur George Thayer



      College tuition in 1936 was $45.00 per quarter. I was able to get a meal job through the church minister at Spruce and Harrisville, who knew a fraternity cook. Wandering around East Lansing to find a room, a Jewish fellow stopped me and asked if I would share a room with him. We walked to the home and the woman asked if I would room with him. We did since it was a nice two bedroom flat at a reasonable price.

      The woman had a daughter in college. Her name was Margaret (Meg). Eventually Meg invited me to meet Eva, who lived in a home next to the fraternity. I had noticed Eva while working at the fraternity and had been trying to meet her. Eva and I started going together in 1937 and were married on July 28, 1940 just after I graduated.

Wedding on July 28, 1940

Wedding on July 28, 1940 picture includes Leslie and Taccy Smith, Eva and Art Thayer, Martha and Charles Thayer

      Meg and her husband, Jim, Eva and I have been good friends ever since. On our trip to the Rose Bowl in 1966, we stayed with Jim and Meg in Oakland for a couple of days. They have a beautiful home along the Claremont Golf Course where Tony Lema was pro. The home overlooks the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. I gave them an ivory carving at the end of our stay and Meg sent us a Japanese relief picture which hangs on my den wall. Eva and I also stayed five days with them in June 1981 when we toured San Francisco with Beccy, Ryan and Melissa.)

      I think my being away at college was quite hard on Mom and Dad. My sister Mary ran the milk route and Mom had to do some of the haying. Each week I'd send my dirty clothes back to Mom. Most of my traveling back and forth to college was done by hitch hiking. Sometimes I would be quite cold in winter waiting for a ride.

      I obtained a job with the College, painting rooms and hallways on Friday nights. The summer of '37, I worked for a Lansing company, painting a church and a college building for 35 cents an hour.

      My math courses went poorly although previously I had excelled in math. Physics and my other classes went well and in my second year I worked in the Physics Department as a lab assistant and graded tests.

      In the spring of '38, the Physics Department wanted someone as shop superintendent who was able to run the lathe, drill press, shaper and do brazing and soldering. Also, I needed about one and a half years to complete my courses as very few of my credits for teaching were applicable towards an engineering degree. I was in debt so I took the job for $120.00 a month. I still managed to take up to six credit hours a quarter and I became a member of the faculty.

      What the physics professors needed I made, including several brass x-ray tubes, oil diffusion pumps and a frame for a small telescope. Two of the students were grinding and polishing the 12 or 14 inch reflector type lens. I made many interesting lab apparatus machines and took an extra class in physics to be an honorary member of the physics fraternity, Sigma Pi Sigma.

      College electricians were replacing electrical wires throughout the physics rooms so the old wires and various bolts, nuts and screws were sent to Dad, who used the wires to run electric lines from the house to the barn.

      Several of the professors liked to play golf and we would go out on the golf course in the evenings and on Saturdays. I got an eagle on a par 5 hole where the green was up on the hill with a sand trap guarding it. (The professors thought I was "okay" and some came to our wedding. In fact, one was an usher.)

      For two years I worked at the fraternity for meals. With the job at the physics shop I ate out, often at Eva's home which was across the street from a college dormitory. Golly, when I graduated I had two or three hundred dollars.

      At M.S.U. I had to take ROTC for two years. Well, I had enough credits in one year to drop ROTC. I received my numerals and sweater as a Frosh rifle team member.

      As a senior, each engineer was required to write a paper on an engineering project and compete for best paper. I won it, went to Chicago to present my paper, and came in second for the colleges of our area.

      In my senior year, my sister Mary came to M.S.U. as a freshman. She did not wait around teaching as I had done. Mary worked at a home in East Lansing taking care of their kids, washing the dishes, etc. At lunch time, she came to the Physics Department where I had persuaded the dean to allow me the use of the refrigerator for our loaf of bread, mayonnaise, lettuce, and baloney.

      At proms, Eva and I danced to the big bands -- Guy Lombardo, Wayne King, Sammy Kaye, and others. I still have problems dancing with some women, but Eva and I could dance very well together. A professor of mine who taught metallurgy was at one of our proms. He broke in on us and I danced with his wife. She and I danced so well she painted a picture of Beaumont Tower and they gave it to me. It hangs on my den wall today.

      In the first week of college I had met a girl who lived in East Lansing. We danced at some mixer dances and we went to a semiformal dance. I went to her home to take her to the dance. She was wearing a beautiful formal. Her mother, I am sure, was aghast that I did not have a car, taxi or a friend with a car. Well, we walked, we danced, we walked, and I never had another date with her! In May of '80, Eva and I went to my M.S.U. 40th reunion and ate with her at the luncheon. She got a kick out of my lack of an automobile in 1936. One of her sons was a runnerup Rhodes scholarship student.

      Mom and Dad came to my graduation, pleased as punch, while I was wondering, "What's next?"

      Wedding on July 28, l940. Leslie and Tacy Smith, Eva and Art, Martha and Charles Thayer.


                      Other Chapters

                        1.     Atlantic
                        2.     Silica
                        3.     Oil City
                        4.     Boat Trip
                        5.     Chris's Home
                        6.     Hubbard Lake
                        7.     Hunting and Fishing
                        8.     Our Farm
                        9.     Schools
                      10.     The Depression and the 30's
                      11.     Michigan State University
    Next - - - 12.     Jobs
                      13.     Our Home
                      14.     Boating
                      15.     Trips
                      16.     The Tropics
                      17.     With The Kids
                      18.     It Is Written


                      Thayer Letter


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Copyright © 2001 with all rights reserved by William V. Thayer

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