Remembering my big brother – 1940   8 comments

Working on “My Father’s House” feels like writing another Ph.D. dissertation with all the research that goes into it daily. When I started, I thought it would be easy. After all, I’m a member of the family, so I should have the facts at hand.

The truth is, I came along eleven years after my brother Harvey and eight years after my sister Thelma, so I guess I can excuse myself for being unaware of lots to things.

By 1940, the year my brother graduated from Upsala, you’d think I’d have established some firm memories. The truth is, I’m living proof that memory is a fragile process of constant creation and revision. So, like a good Ph.D. candidate, I search out the facts wherever I can find them. What I’m posting here is an exciting discovery that came in yesterday from Lisa Huntsha (see citation below)

I guess there’s no good reason why any of my blog readers should find this interesting, but it does give a taste of the 1940s, just before life for people like my brother was shaken by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

And I would love to imagine that somewhere my big brother is watching and pleased with what I’m doing.

So here’s what they said about him in the yearbook, followed by an article in the school paper.





187 Stafford Avenue, Forestville, Conn.


Major: English                                                     Minor: German

Theta Epsilon



Student Council 2, 3, 4, Treasurer 3, Vice-President 4; Class President 1, 3; Gazelle l; Upsalite l, 2, Christian Brotherhood 1.2; Footlight Club 1, 2, 3, 4, President 4; Symposium 3, 4, President 4; English Literary Society 3, 4, Secretary 4; Alpha Psi Omega3. 4; Blue Key 2, 3, 4; Glee Club I. 2; Gold U 3; President of Theta Epsilon 3, Zeus 4; Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.

Many of us will remember Harvey as the collegian who always twirled his keys on a chain – somehow we were fascinated by his never once slipping or letting the keys fall. When we consider all the offices he held. although we can’t help admiring his capability and energy, we wonder how much dignity that hair cut lent to his offices. His record leads us to believe that he’ll make good in the world, and what we know of his personality confirms such an opinion. Goodluck. Harvey, in everything!


Harvey “Gus” Gustafson is one of the most active men on the campus. He needs no introductory description; everyone knows him and he knows everyone else. For three years he was president of his class and the seat he now holds on the council has been his since his freshman year. He is Zeus of the Theta Epsilon fraternity, president of the Footlight Club, a member of Alpha Psi Omega, English Lit., Symposium, and many other student organizations. His activities speak for themselves; he is really a Big Gun.

With thanks to Lisa Huntsha, Archivist/Librarian

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center 

639 38th Street | Augustana College | Rock Island, IL

8 responses to “Remembering my big brother – 1940

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  1. I loved reading that! !
    He is Zeus of the Theta Epsilon fraternity!
    WOW – and a big gun
    and I love that there is an Upsala University in US too

    • Sadly USA Upsala has closed its doors. In the 1960s, I think. I’ll have to be more precise when I write the “Afterword” of “My Father’s House.” But yes, it was very exciting getting those materials yesterday. Thank you for enjoying.

  2. Oh my, Mona…what a super achiever brother you had. When do you expect to finish “My Father’s House”? I’d be interested in reading it.


    On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 11:06 AM, monagustafsonaffinito wrote:

    > Mona Gustafson Affinito posted: ” Working on “My Father’s House” feels > like writing another Ph.D. dissertation with all the research that goes > into it daily. When I started, I thought it would be easy. After all, I’m a > member of the family, so I should have the facts at hand. The t” >

    • Oh, Marilyn. I wish it would be done sooner rather than later. Actually, I’m looking for folks who would be willing to read the manuscript as it is so far, incomplete and needing lots of editing.

      And I still want us to get together at 318

  3. Genius at work.

  4. It’s fun to read what the yearbook and school paper said about your brother – and to think about that little window of time when he was an adult prior to Pearl Harbor. Now I’m very curious about how his life was affected by WWII.

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