Page Seven: Quiet, Shy Joe

Christa was worried.  She always worried about Joe.  Being the oldest, he had a special place in her heart.  Some people might have even called him “a momma’s boy.” 
It was true—she probably did baby Joe more than the rest of her five children.  She took special care to protect him from what happened that day.  She knew an accident like that could have an emotional impact on a child.  She just wanted Joe to know that he was loved and that it was an accident, something he had no control over. She thanked God every day that she only lost one child that day, not two.

As a young boy, Joe was shy.  He went to St. Mark’s Lutheran School in Elsmore, a small town about a mile from their farm.  The family was members of and attended St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, which was affiliated with the Missouri Synod, a synod that holds one of the most conservative theological teachings among Lutherans.  

Attending a small parochial school in a small town brought its challenges for Joe.  Joe only had five classmates in his grade—one other boy and four girls.  Joe and Ted never really got along.  Ted was outgoing and liked to always tease the girls.  Joe just stood and watched so he wouldn’t get into trouble.  The girls didn’t pay much attention to Joe either.  And, even though he worked hard at everything he did, Joe was just an average student.

Built big and strong, Joe was a hard worker on the farm.  He came home every day after school and went straight out to the barn or out to the field to help his dad.  After his chores were done, he came in the house and ate at least four helpings of food every night.  But at a height of 6’ 5”, and weighing 160 pounds, Joe stayed slim and trim all through high school.

Joe went to the public high school in 9th grade, and it seemed he had trouble making friends.  Christa blamed it on the fact that the public school kids didn’t like the kids that came from St. Mark’s.  Even though he was big, Joe’s quiet demeanor made him a target for relentless teasing from the other kids.  Christa remembered the night that the other boys beat up on Joe after the football game.  He never fought back.  He just came home with bruises and cuts.  Jealous, Christa thought, they were just jealous!   

Facts:  Joe went to a Lutheran school through grade 8, then attended public high school.  He was quiet and shy and picked on by the kids in public school, thought to be because of the animosity between the public and parochial school kids.  He was beat up after a football game.
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