CHAPTER 11: Aftermath
I shall always have a feeling of deep affection for President J. N. Kildahl, because he was very kind to Mother. Naturally, with Father's death came a big change for our family. The four of us were allowed to continue living in Ytterboe Hall for a couple of years, but we were moved into two small rooms. Although, as I have stated, Mother had voluntarily taken over much of the responsibility for the management of the boarding group, the supervision of the girls in the kitchen and the planning of meals, she was now given this work as a real position and with it went a small salary.
We were all given our board and rooms and continued to sit at the faculty table in the dining room. Of course, I was so young I couldn't quite realize the complete change in our lives and position. I do remember that Mother never smiled or laughed in those days. I have a clear picture of her on one day. I was watching her. She was a small, delicate, aristocratic lady, dressed in black. I can see her now as she started up the long steps from the dining room. It seems to me that she had scarcely enough strength to reach the top as she slowly took a step at a time.
Father's death made necessary a complete change in the financial administration of the college. As I remember it, some mistakes were made. The worst mistake was building the central heating plant. Father had long wanted to have a central heating plant, but the funds for building it properly were not available. Now under the new management a central heating plant was built. It was located on the most prominent part of the campus and was the first building that met the eye of one coming up the hill. It was situated at the bottom of the hill where Holland Hall now stands. It was an ugly building made of cement blocks painted a deep red. Gradually, as time went on, an immense cinder pile rose up in front of it, and it really became an eyesore. In addition the heating pipes leading to the various buildings were laid so near the surface of the ground that during the cold, snowy winters of Minnesota there were long stretches where the snow had melted over the heated pipes, and clouds of steam and vapor could be seen all along the way.
Another matter which gave concern was that the lights and the heat would go off at the oddest moments. It was not until Professor P. O. Holland, with a genuine sense for management, took over that the pipes were run through deep tunnels. And it was many, many years before funds for building a proper heating plant were made available, even with P. O. Holland's great ability. At that time, too, the trim on the Main was changed. The original trim was a deep gray, which matched the slate roof. It was said that the reason for changing the trim to red was that red paint was the cheapest color available. I remember well that the Main used to be painted white almost every year. Evidently, one year a painter who didn't know his business was chosen to paint the Main. He painted away diligently, and the Main looked like the frosting of a white cake. Then he started to do the trim in red. Unluckily he had an accident. The bucket filled with red paint fell, coloring much of the front of the Main with cheap red paint. We looked at it with amazement. It had to be painted all over again.