I knew I was baptized as an infant, but didn’t know much about it until my confirmation days.
I was baptized on July 2 at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Withee, Wisconsin. I was 10 weeks old. It was the 182nd day of the year, Sunday, July 2 (26,563 days ago today!). That day is the exact mid-point of the year.
It was a hot, sticky Wisconsin Sunday. Daddy had to plan his work carefully so that he could get to church on time with Mom and me. He had worked late the night before to get the haying finished. The cows were milked and turned out to pasture with fresh water in the trough, the barn was clean and prepared for the evening milking, and the five-gallon milk cans were cooling in the milk-house water tank.
We drove the 2 ½ miles to church in our black 4-door Chevrolet sedan which was but a few years old. When we arrived at the church, many people greeted Mom and Daddy in Danish, as most of the church members were first and second-generation immigrants from Denmark. On this day, the service was in English. Mrs. Marking, a friend of the family, was there as my Godmother.
After the worship and baptism service, Mom and Daddy carried me back outside. Many friends stopped to see the little baby girl! Before walking to the car, they walked over to the north edge of the cemetery that surrounded the church. There they stopped for a few moments at the large gravestone where Daddy’s parents were buried, before driving back home to the farm.
On the day I was baptized there were a number of events occurring in the world. There was a double-header at Fenway Park, where both Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio of the Yankees played the Red Sox. Also on July 2 the 1st World Science Fiction Convention opened in New York City. Another event that same day was the Palio di Siena horse race in Siena, Italy, run on that dare since Medieval times. Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt that day, urging “watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action” on the part of the United States in atomic research. Later he deplored the use of atomic bombs. Dwight Watson, Erick Larson and Andy Hennig climbed Mount Rainier on skis. Theodore Roosevelt’s head was dedicated at Mount Rushmore on the 50th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood on that date.
During my confirmation studies I read about how Martin Luther instructed people to make the sign of the cross every morning to remember their baptism as a child of God. Ever since, I have celebrated my baptism every morning by making the sign of the cross on my forehead.
photos from my personal collection