Monday, August 16, 2010


It is commonly perceived that Friday the 13th is a very unlucky day, but that is not the case in my family. Let me tell you a true story.

From my earliest days on this earth my father, Frederick C. Kalthoff, always considered Friday the 13th to be a lucky day. As a matter of fact, he also considered the number 13 to be his lucky number. I can remember that when he had a big decision to make, he would rub the 13 on the side of his class ring from Culver Military Academy from which he proudly graduated in the Class of 1913.

That year is one that is important to and remembered by all Culver graduates for it is the year that a group of Culver cadets were sent to rescue hundreds of victims of the tragic Wabash River floods that struck Logansport, Indiana.

As recorded in the Cass County, Indiana Historical Society and Museum website, “The worst of the floods came at the end of March in 1913. On the 26th of that month the Wabash crested at a depth of 25.33 feet. Some sections of Logansport on the west side were under twelve feet of water. Culver Military Academy helped in the rescue effort with several boats, saving many lives.” The boat that my dad was assigned to was boat #13.

1913 is also the year that the Culver Corp of Cadets was invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Inaugural Parade for the first time by Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, the nation’s 28th Vice-President under President Woodrow Wilson.

Until the day he died, dad was most proud to have participated in the rescue efforts along with his entire Culver experience. I believe 1913 was a significant year of events that contributed to his maturing into adulthood.

So what is considered to be bad luck or misfortune to some is not always the case, at least it was not with my dad, who I continue to miss each day since his death in 1976. I guess he rubbed off on me, because I have no fear of the number 13, in fact my wife and I were married on the 13th more than 31 years ago!


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