Family 1940s

Michael Ludwig was born May 29, 1940, and came home to their new apartment in Dubuque. Michael was soon baptized with a jubilant celebration; he was the first grandchild. Mom and Dad Fischer came to the Baptism from Kewanee, along with Nick and Ann Fischer; Cathie Kohnen, Michael's godmother, came by train from Chicago. 

Carl, reading an appropriate book from the New Jersey bookstore, People in Quandaries, 1941.

In September, Carl began teaching math and history at Loras Academy, a Catholic boys' high school. Carl finished the year at Loras in June 1941, but decided against a teaching career. 

Leaving Dubuque, they visited Little Silver, New Jersey, with Terry's sister Margaret. Carl found a summer job at a bookstore and reported to the draft, only to be classified 4F, unfit for military service. This left him in a quandary.


By this time, Terry was already pregnant with a second child. They decided to move to Baltimore, since it was such a Catholic town. But Carl could find no employment with Catholic agencies or businesses. So, Carl joined Montgomery Ward as an executive trainee in management. Though they were able to furnish their new apartment with M. Ward credit, they would not stay long, just long enough for a new child to join the family, Catharine Mary, born October 27, 1941.

Mary Ellen Evans, a friend from Dubuque and librarian at Loras College, who was working in Washington D. C. at the time, came to Katie's baptism and was her godmother. Carl resigned from M. Ward the day of Katie's birth.


Carl then went looking for Catholic employment during the time that the United Service Organizations was being formed with the Department of War. Carl was employed by the National Catholic Council to help develop the USO, but did not receive an immediate job assignment.  After a months' long wait, the USO finally sent him to his first stint in Biloxi, Mississippi, in early December, then to Corpus Christi as Director.

Carl transferred to the USO in San Antonio where he met Bernardine Rice, a frequent volunteer there. "Aunt" Bernardine (Tia) was to become a loyal, lifelong friend, an angel to the Carl Fischers.

Disenchanted with the USO, Carl resigned and returned to Illinois via a visit to Kewanee, with the idea of enrolling in the University of Chicago's graduate school, possibly in German studies and language.

Once on the U Chicago campus, Carl was recruited by the Manhattan Project as administrative assistant to work on the atomic bomb in 1943.

Alamo entrance, San Antonio, Katie on the run.

Ann Fischer, Elizabeth, and Nick, Kewanee

Katie photo bomb.

Carl left the Manhattan Project, since he had applied for and was accepted as an Entrance Counselor at the University of Chicago.This was a real advance in his career at UC. Carl worked at the Entrance Counseling office for a full academic year ('44-'45).

He was then offered the prestigious position of Assistant to the Chancellor, but turned it down, citing his wife's poor health. Carl claimed Terry needed to live in a warmer climate (not true). It wasn't until much later that Terry discovered the real reason, why Carl could not risk the exposure that this new job would require. The family returned to Kewanee, then Pontiac, before GCMA.

Carl taught for one year at GCMA, then returned to UC and the Manhattan Project. Terry was pregnant with a third child and took the children to Pontiac, Illinois, to stay with her parents, Ludwig and Catherine. John Cyril was born September 13, 1946.

After many months apart in Pontiac, Kewanee, and Corpus Christi, the Fischer family was reunited in Weslaco, Texas, 1947. John was starting to crawl; Katie was ready for first grade, and Michael was going to begin third grade in his third school.

Since they were within a day's drive from San Antonio, Bernardine Rice came to visit, to provide support and take photos.

As most teachers, Carl had to find a summer job in order to feed the family. In between school years at the Merchant Marine Academy, he joined a field crew of the US Dept. of Agriculture, hunting down an invasive and destructive species: the Black-Fringed Japanese Beetle. It was hot, dirty work in the Mississippi summertime, crawling through muddy, reedy wetlands. And the darn’ things were so beautiful, he was almost sorry he had found them for the eradicators to come in and do their work.

Carl would then engage in zany physical exercises to “keep himself limber,” as he put it. Zany? We thought it was downright creepy when he would lock one leg behind his neck, lying on the floor—and then attempt to get both legs back there!

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