In late May or early June, after two years of study, Herb was confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church. Those two years of study involved his mother driving him and several others eleven miles to St. Paul Lutheran Church and leaving him there while the others went to the Public Library. For part of the time, cousin Dixie and her friend Jo Ann Rawlings rode along so they could take violin lessens. On the way home, the group usually stopped and purchased ¼ pound of roasted peanuts. The peanuts were shared on the way home. On one occasion as Herb held the bag for Jo Ann to take a few more peanuts, he asked her if she would like another calorie. She did not eat any more peanuts that day. Later she never seemed as friendly as she had before.
For the classes, they used Luther’s Small Catechism. It contained numerous proof texts and the group had to memorize about half of them. In preparation for confirmation, the class met in front of the congregation for an examination. Pastor Diers would ask a question and then call on one of the students who was supposed to answer the question by quoting a Bible verse. Herb noticed that he and his cousins, Ed Nordmeyer and Ginger Brown, received most of the tough questions. One of the boys only had to respond to two questions. Even though it seemed that the questioning was biased, all of the class passed.
Since Dr. Salk had invented the polio vaccine and it became available in 1955, people were no longer terrified of polio, so the confirmation went off with only one hitch. Each knew that this was graduation, and each was planning on putting Luther’s Small Catechism aside, at least for a little while. Pastor Diers told the group that they were not graduating, but merely taking a step in learning about the Bible.
While this was not the intent of the confirmation classes, the strongest lesson Herb learned, and which he remembers this day, was to never use the word calorie when you are trying to impress a young lady.
For graduation, no, for confirmation, Herb received a King James Version Concordia Bible with notes from his Uncle Reinhard, who was a pastor. The notes added an opportunity to dig deeper into the meaning of different verses of the Bible and led to a lifelong interest in understanding the meaning of the Bible. Many of his contemporaries referred to his Bible as a “Pastor’s Bible.” Many years later he purchased a used computer from a pastor. It had a Bible study program on it with 15 different translations and numerous commentaries. He knew what to do with all of this information.