tion that nearly proved disastrous when one winter evening he and some friends opted to drive his old car across the ice on the lake. The car did not make it; the occupants did.
Les matriculated high school in 1927 and managed to scrape together enough money to enroll at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He had to work his way through college because there was no help coming from home and no athletic scholarships, even for a former state champion basketball player. The tuition was $87.50 a semester and anyone with the money was accepted. Finding the money to continue in school was not easy as the country entered the depression years. Summer employment in a Detroit automotive plant provided funds for one year.
At Macalester Les met two of the most important people in his life. One was Norma Peterson, who became his wife in 1931. The Peterson family traditionally sent their children to Macalester. The other was Harland Goff Wood, who became his colleague and lifelong friend. Les and Harland both went out for football, with Les playing guard and Harland a running back. Together they probably weighed less than a present-day freshman lineman. They were both employed in the college kitchen, and Les often said he lettered in football and potato peeling. During college Les began to hunt deer with the Wood boys of Mankato,an annual event that continued into the 1980s. Harland's brother, Earl, later met and married Norma's sister, Ada Peterson.
Les graduated from Macalester in the spring of 1931 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, having majored in biology and chemistry and minored in German. He accepted a position as a science teacher in the Taunton, Minnesota, school system. However, this proved to be a short-lived career because the citizens of the area voted to bus the students to the next town to save money and Les ended up unemployed. Having just married Norma, he needed gainful employment,