With Finals Week and my move out date quickly approaching, I find myself feeling quite sentimental about this past year. So much has changed over the past nine months: I pulled my first all-nighter studying for a biology exam, I had to hold my hand up against searing water to prevent our bathroom from flooding, I survived on nothing but ramen noodles for an entire Saturday when I forgot the caf wasn’t open for dinner, I learned to appreciate the ease of laundry day back home, and I’ve made more new friends than I can count! Through everything that’s happened, I can’t help but wonder, who IS Gertrude S. Bergstrom? I’ve been living in a hall named after you all year, but I feel as if your backstory is hardly known by anyone here. If you’ve got the time, I’d like you to tell me more about yourself so that I better appreciate the wonderful work you must have done to have the college dedicate a residence hall in your name.
Sentimental Member of the Nerd Herd
Dear Sentimental Member of the Nerd Herd,
Unfortunately, I must start off this response by informing you that the person behind the words you are currently reading is NOT Gertrude S. Bergstrom. Today, you’re listening to the one and only Joshua Bregger! Since she is currently travelling the world in search of the infamous purple-bellied panda, I shall channel my inner Gerty and respond to you on her behalf.
As Gerty’s primary contact with the people of St. Norbert College, I feel that I ought to start by thanking you for sharing your stories and for all the kind words regarding her namesake! Gerty has talked numerous times about how delighted she is that SNC decided to build a residential hall in her name, allowing her to have a positive impact on the campus without being directly involved… That being said, she would never forgive me if I passed up an opportunity to divulge a plethora of interesting facts about her unique life experience!
Gerty’s story starts exactly where you would expect it to: Paris! That’s right, our very own Gertrude S. Bergstrom grew up in an exotic city filled will all sorts of interesting people, tasty cuisine, and fascinating culture. Although, once she realized that living in Paris, TX was NOT the same as living in Paris, France, Gerty quickly decided that she would spend the rest of her life travelling far and wide in search of life’s greatest mysteries.
Surprisingly enough, this has led to Gerty’s very own life becoming somewhat of a mystery in and of itself! If you attempted to look her up on the SNC website or did a general Google search about her, you likely wouldn’t come up with much more than her name and a few relatives’ names. Her time on this planet has been one of many adventures without many periods of relative calm which would allow her to write it all down in one place. Gerty admitted to me once before that she attempted to capture the most important moments of her life within the confines of a 12 book biographical volume titled, “Gertrude: A Guide to the Genuine,” but every time she started writing she couldn’t quite find the time to finish such a grandiose project. The best quote I ever got from her on this topic was, “I never quite liked sitting in one place for a long period of time, so writing all my ideas down on multiple sheets of paper just wasn’t an option. Mind you we didn’t have laptops back in my day, so Google Docs was a no-go for Gerty!” I thought of offering to lend her my laptop if she was still interested, but she seems pleased to use this Ask Gerty column as her means of communicating her stories to the world.
There is still so much to be said about Gerty, but I have decided to leave it unsaid so that all of you continue returning to and reading this column! That being said, I have a request for each and every one of you that has read up to this point: Gerty wants YOU to ask her questions! Despite traveling the world as often as she does and having so many people to talk to, her strongest passion is communicating with the community of SNC and answering ANY questions they may have about her life, campus life, or life in general! In her own words, “if you ask it, Gerty will answer.” So, if you have an inquiry that requires answering, you can send it to directly to Gerty with this email address: gerty.knows.all
@gmail.com. She’s clearly a busy woman, so the sooner you inquire, the sooner she will provide the answer which you desire!
Wishing you a spectacular summer,