Greetings from Rottinghaus University! As many of you know, this school of hard knocks was established in 1975. Acceptance into this University is a process and once a member, always a member.
As students in the educational program called life, Rick and Mona have been working together on degrees for over thirty-seven years. 2012, has been no exception. It’s been another year for the discovery for all the students at this fine institution of higher learning.Rick, one of the founding members, learned that healthy food was not good for him. That’s right. The diet his lovely bride forced upon him enabled his body to super-size his kidney stones. After an ‘uncomfortable’ semester, the dietician explained those ‘delicious’ vegetables were high in the very thing that grew kidney stones. Rick walked out of the office resembling a cheerleader. Flips, cartwheels and jumps were executed with finesse (in his mind). Rick is also enrolled in the course, Retire from the Family Farm. The syllabus is interesting and challenging as he lays the groundwork to one day pass the tractor steering wheel to the next generations. As professor, he would love to oversee younger farmers take over the operation that received his time and passion for the last thirty-nine years. FYI – he will continue to farm for as long as he is able. The hardest class this term has been, How to Spot a Crook. It was quite an expensive course to take, and had a very large learning curve. We failed the homework portion, but since we paid such high tuition, we passed the course anyway. A lonely tower stands in the farm yard as a constant reminder of failure to do the proper homework. At this time they are waiting patiently for the different wind turbine to arrive in 2013. The defective turbine, sold to them by the crooks, will be sold for parts. Mona, also a founding member, enrolled in “Bye, Bye Bunions.” She received high marks on the first section and immediately took section two. Coursework included being a couch potato from January through June. She tried to be the teacher’s pet by following all instructions. As a result, she loves being ‘just another pretty foot.’ During recovery from her bunion class, Mona took two online writing courses. One story, Bell Bottom Trousers, was accepted for publication! The love story of her parents, Rita and Gerry Kies, is in the anthology, “My Love to you Always.” She continues to work on her own book of stories. She is still enrolled in Guitar 101, practicing at church. She hopes everyone enjoys this class as much as she loves to play Taylor, her twelve string guitar. After Rick fired her as Dr. Mom, she applied her information from Nutrition for Dummies to her diet and not his. Mona continues her involvement with NAMI, both teaching classes on mental illness and leading support groups.
The dormitory at the farm was rarely vacant. Mona’s brother, Larry and his family enrolled from May – October. Larry, adjunct professor, managed the farm workers, as Jane oversaw the kitchen staff. Carly took the course, How to be an Iowa Teenager, and Michael was head gardener, growing wonderful vegetables in the garden. The welcoming door revolved continually as family and friends took turns bunking in various dorm rooms.
Field trips to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, local hospitals and doctor’s offices provided travel for Rick and Mona. We hope to add more field trips in 2013, ones that provide a tad more entertainment. Currently a road trip to a Florida/North Carolina with farm shows on the front and back sides of the journey is planned for this winter. We hope to learn about Alaska in the summer.Dr. Eric, member since 1976, spent a good chunk of his time opening a new clinic. A second chiropractor joined him as they opened Summit Chiropractic Center in a new Waterloo location. He still operates the clinic in Jesup. He also enrolled in Father Knows Best as he coached Kile’s soccer team. Trela, our most faithful student by choice, celebrated 11 years of membership on August 11. Trela passed her course, How to Kick Cancer, when she received her five year survivor checkup this fall. Together, Eric and Trela, completed Basement Remodel 101, as they finished off the basement in their new home.
Dean, member since 1978, received an “A+” in the course, How to Get a Promotion. He works for Casey’s General Store. This year he went from help desk phone technician, to a system administrator in the company. He proved he knew his stuff from experience, and not from a
Kathy, member since 1980, continues to live in Maryville, MO, teaching the youth about the Lord. She is very active in the campus life, socializing with the sorority and fraternitymembers who share her faith and values. She has been blessed with many new friends in Maryville and Kansas City.
Adam, member since 1982, learned what can happen in the romantic city of Paris when you have someone special by your side. He surprised Alia by asking for her hand in marriage in a garden in Versailles. Of course, she said yes. The two of them are in Wedding Planning 301 for the occasion in July. It will be held in the pasture, with the reception in our barn. Alia now has the distinction of being a Rottinghaus University pledge, so we refer to her as GonnaBe 2013.
Kile, a next generation member since 2003, loves any class he can take, math is his favorite. He is active in the athletic department with 5K runs, soccer and basketball. The platypus captured his imagination this year and he studied this curious creature any time he had a chance. His ninth birthday in June was celebrated with a stuffed platypus and platypus print pajamas, courtesy of his paternal grandmother and her business, Mona’s Originals. He even has a platypus costume.
Cavanaugh, member since 2006, and Lauren, member since 2007 are quite involved in the Drama Department. We enjoy their skills when they are singing, or dancing, as opposed to dramatic acting. Cavanaugh, daughter of Eric and Trela, and Lauren, daughter of Dean and Meg, are taking the class, Beginning Sewing, taught by Mona. A miniature, but working sewing machine, is used when they come to visit. Grammie thoroughly enjoys teaching skills to these two willing students. Both girls took dance classes and it was fun to watch their recitals.
In conclusion, Rottinghaus University is thriving. Life continues to throw challenges and lessons to be learned. We pray 2013 will bring a year of great adventures in coursework for you and your loved ones. If you are near our campus, please stop in. The coffee is always free, or we will treat you to a latte. If you are lucky, we may have some cafeteria food that can pass as a meal.
Love, and prayers,