Chance Encounter Two

A few days after my 18th birthday, I registered at Bethel Junior College. I was probably the greenest, least-prepared freshman in history. I was on my own; no financial support. I has just enough for the first quarter’s tuition, used textbooks, and a month’s rent in a private home, where I would share a bed with a stranger.

Three days after registering, I rode a University Avenue streetcar to the state capitol and headed back on foot, hitting every business that might hire a student part time. Two miles later, Lexington Tire and Battery hired me for weekday afternoons and evenings at 35 cents an hour. Simple math told me I couldn’t possibly save enough for next quarter’s tuition, but I took the job.

Three months later, a new Mobile station walking distance from school opened. Same pay, but I’d save almost a buck a week on streetcar fare, and the hours were better. I switched jobs.

In early January, a note on the Bethel bulletin board gave the phone number of a blind man looking for a live-in companion to cook breakfast and supper. Compensation: board, room, and unspecified cash. I signed on, though I knew little about cooking. Turned out, the cash barely covered car fare to school, but I would have more study time, free rent, and all the food I could eat.

In February, classmate Ken invited me to visit the  Ober Club for Boys where he worked. The club was a neighborhood outreach of the St. Paul Union Gospel Mission. Ken introduced me to club director Glenn Dewey. Upon hearing my name,  he said, I knew a Duluth policeman named Mattson. Officer Mattson was a friend of my father, Duluth’s mission superintendent. Small world: Officer Mattson was my dad.

Three weeks later, Mr. Dewey offered me a job.I would live in the Mission Hotel, eat at its commercial restaurant, work weekdays in the boys club and Sundays at the Mission.That spun off into a three-year life-changing adventure.How I wish I had known then what I know now!

Bethel Seminary gave me a Bachelor of Theology degree. The Union Gospel Mission gave me an education. All because of a chance encounter. So it appeared.

Old Grandpa Lloyd