By the time this photo was taken, Axel had started giving Carl rides on the handlebars of his own bicycle. The most important of these was to the West Branch Library. Carl shared his father's avid interest in reading from an early age, and the two went to the library together at least once a week.
Above: Bradford students at Simmons Library. Below: Detail of above, showing Carl as a high school student.
Carl's most important athletic activities were swimming, baseball, and basketball. He felt most confident in his abilities in the latter, and went on to become the captain of his seminary's basketball team. Baseball, however, became his favorite spectator sport in later life. As much as he loved to read and engage in sports, this was the Depression, and he had to supplement the family's income. His first job was at Oscar Ogren's Dinner, where he earned the princely sum of 35 cents a week plus free meals. During his last two summers in high school, and between semesters at college, he worked at American Brass.
After graduating from Mary D. Bradford high school, Carl went on to study at Bethel Theological Seminary in Minnesota. This was an exciting time for a future minister to go to school: advances in linguistics and other Bible studies as well as the experiences and examples of the Great Depression lead to a dedicated faculty and student body and a wide diversity of theological interpretations and opinions. Carl remembered his discussions with his professors and fellow students for the rest of his life.
The world of the 1930s was quite different from ours. Postage, for instance, was so cheap that students mailed their laundry home to their mothers to be washed and pressed and sent back to them. At the same time, many people had no significant cash to donate to their churches. Farmers in the vicinity of Bethel made up for this by supplying the future ministers with produce from their fields. Carl paid for his room and board by working in the school's kitchen. Some of his tuition came from working at American Brass.
In addition to work, study, and sports, Carl wrote a column for the seminary's newspaper, acted in several plays, and sang with a traveling school choir.
Carl's graduation photo from Bethel Seminary.
Following the practice of the American Baptist Federation, Carl earned his course credits and degree at Bethel, but was ordained a minister at his home church, The Baptist Tabernacle, in Kenosha.
His ministry began with circuit preaching among miners and loggers in Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan. After this apprenticeship, he took the position of minister of a church in Iron Mountain, Michigan.
Carl at his first church, Iron Mountain, Michigan.