Just wanted to congratulate Chris Lydgate ’90 on his deep digging to create the most factual article to date discussing the prank of the century. He has come the closest to true reporting that I’ve read about the history of the MG and the night it was laid to rest in its permanent home. A box in my garage holds my prize, the stick shift knob, handed to me by one of my coconspirators, and I was told that the steering wheel was given to the school archivist Dorothy Johansen ’33, as well. [Not true, sadly—Ed.] I’m not sure why people are keeping it to themselves; when the old crowd from that night gets together, we are pretty loud and proud about the whole thing. It was QUITE a night.
I missed the building of the Hauser Library by a hair (I saw the construction in progress during a 1988 prospective visit; by the time I arrived as a first-year in 1989 the addition was completed). However, during my years at Reed I made friends with Marilyn Kierstead [library 1978–2001], then Special Collections Librarian and wife of my thesis adviser, Ray Kierstead [history 1978–2000]. I vividly remember on graduation day in May, 1993, that I was walking with Marilyn past the library when she recounted the story of the MG, and pointed to the area where the burial took place. She added a funny detail (maybe apocryphal, but maybe not?) missing from the article. According to Marilyn, the pranksters reversed normal vandalism: whereas it’s not uncommon for cars to have their hubcaps stolen, these guys took the car but left the hubcaps behind, carefully positioned exactly where they belonged in the MG’s parking space! Sounds crazy, but wouldn’t you trust a highly respectable librarian like Marilyn Kierstead? Added evidence, to my mind, that the MG really IS under the library.
With regard to the MG Midget buried under the library—that is exactly where it belongs. One of the worst experiences of my adult life is buying the Midget instead of the MGB because the B was $1000 more. Believe me, you get what you pay for. If I could have buried that car, I would have. The article calls it vintage or legendary or awesome or something, but that is very far from the truth. Try depending on one sometime. I still remember the sickening feeling of the brake pedal going suddenly all the way to the floor because the master cylinder went out. Eventually some idiot stole it, and when I got it back, it didn’t have a second gear and you could start it with a screwdriver instead of a key. I wish I’d bought the MGB instead. They’re far more beautiful than the Midget anyway. I mean, if you’re going to suffer, you might as well get something out of it.
Editor's Note: It’s a shame the pranksters didn’t bury your car instead of the car belonging to Mark Verna ’87.
Barbara was an exceptional person and the widow of Jack Dudman ’42 [mathematics 1953–85], the highly respected dean of students at Reed for many years. From the very beginning at Reed, she was a disciplined student. One of her freshman roommates recalled that she would stack several books on the floor next to her chair and then read nonstop until she had finished the weekly humanities assignment. She would arrive at the freshman chemistry lab on Saturday mornings so well prepared that she was always one of the first to leave.
Barbara seemed always composed and dignified, and her distinctive bearing was noticeable even at a distance. But there was a delightful schoolgirl side to her as well, and she was quick to add her warm voice and gentle laughter to a conversation. She was in many ways a reserved and private person, yet she was sentimental and romantic as well and would share fond childhood memories. Her many virtues appealed to all who knew her, students and teachers alike. Fifty years after graduating, in all of these respects, she seemed to me unchanged.
Later in life, Barbara scarcely mentioned her several years as a math instructor, leaving the impression that she had happily devoted her life primarily to her son and husband. Jack was twice as old as Barbara when they married, but marriages between male professors and female students were not uncommon at Reed in that era. In any event, Jack and Barbara seemed made for one another from beginning to end.
Nearly a year after Jack’s death [in 2008], Barbara wrote, reassuringly, “As for me, I am doing okay. Of course, I miss Jack very much all the time. He died in July and our 50th anniversary was in December, so that’s to be expected . . . Our son Joe lives with me, so I have company and some brawn available when I need it.”
Now, two years later, Barbara herself is gone, yet she seems as young and as vivid as ever in my memory. It was comforting to find, in the same issue of Reed that told of her death [June 2011], a beautiful example of Lloyd Reynolds’s work.
and all our world is dew
Many thanks to Ray Kierstead [history 1978– 2000], Peter Steinberger [political science 1977–], and Reed for returning focus on Herodotus and the histories he created. For, as Professor Kierstead reminds us, his account of the conﬂict between the Greeks and Persians is not a mere chronicling of facts, but the primal recognition that “time is the working out of such archetypical patterns” as reversals of fortune, pride, and punishment, and crime and retribution. As Henry Immerwahr so brilliantly illustrated, form and thought are originally uniﬁed by the father of history, the idea of which is perhaps as much akin to Platonic philosophy as to Sophoclean drama. The great Croesus story is indeed the seminal episode in the Histories and interlocks concentrically with the ultimate account of the Persian Wars. So, it generates the awful realization that any linear interpretation of history is, at the very least, simplistic. And it sustains my belief that Herodotus and his intellectual descendants currently less regarded—Hegel, Freud, Camus—are the better guardians of history.
In an editor’s note in response to a letter from John W. Thompson ’55, in the September 2011 edition, you write, “After all, bike jousting makes better copy than biophysics.”
I wonder . . .
Editor's Note: Anyone care to write an article that combines these two worthy fields of endeavor?
My wife’s great grandfather was Henry Wood Winch, the only sibling of Martin Winch, the subject of the recent article in your magazine [“Fighting for Amanda’s Dream,” Reed, March 2011]. The two Winch brothers came to Portland from Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1870 with their mother, Frances Wood Winch (Amanda’s sister), after the untimely death of their father, Martin Winch, and lived with the Reeds.
For years Frances was Amanda’s closest companion. But, by the time Amanda died, both Frances and her son Henry had died. Henry’s widow, Myrtle Walker Winch, was left only $500 in Amanda’s will and according to newspaper accounts was not one of the litigants challenging the will. Frances’ only child, Francis “Frank” Walker Winch, had become something of a “black sheep” in the eyes of his uncle Martin (although he went on to success as the press agent for the Buffalo Bill Wild West show and as an authority on fly-fishing, camping, and the outdoors). Frank received little or nothing in the will. In any event, please allow me to clarify that the litigants were members of the Woods family, not the Winch family.
There are many things I could say about my Reed experience and how it affected my life, but I want to share the impact that Lloyd Reynolds [English and art 1929–69] had on me while he was my adviser during my master’s in teaching program.
I had completed two summer sessions at Reed when I decided to move to Bend, Oregon. Dr. Reynolds said we could communicate by mail to begin my thesis. That fall, I wrote to him to announce my topic. I planned to do my thesis on “Creativity.” In a few days, I received an eight–page response, written in his perfectly lettered italic, explaining that I absolutely could not do this. He said it was far too complex. Then, he said, “After reading this, I recommend you pick up your chair, walk around it several times, and if necessary, throw it through the window.” Then, he emphasized again that I could not do it. “It is too mature for you.”
This infuriated me as I was close to 40 and the mother of three children. However, since I was already an art teacher, I felt it was important to understand that creativity is an integral aspect of being an instructor. I wrote and told him that I must follow this path for my thesis. During the following winter, I received many more letters from him on details about researching this topic. He sent a lengthy reading list involving many other cultures as well as our own.
We exchanged letters nearly every week during the school year, as I wrote my paper. As I recall, he added cutting but helpful comments for recommended changes. (Unfortunately, these valuable letters were later destroyed in my house fire.) My thesis was completed and submitted to the educational committee in August 1965. Soon, I was notified to appear for my oral examination. When I arrived for the exam, I was invited into a small room where four or five professors from a variety of disciplines awaited me. They had many questions to determine my degree of competence. Then, an amazing thing happened. It became very still, and I said, “Gentlemen, if you had carefully read my paper, you would understand this topic cannot be adequately verbalized.” A stunned silence followed. They looked at each other, laughed, and then surrounded me, picked me up, and threw me in the air. That concluded my examination.
I received my MAT degree in the spring of 1966. I continued teaching art for the next 20-plus years. But, I never forgot the compassion and direction I received from Dr. Reynolds, and how he shaped my life.
I was disappointed to see the picture of a graduate toting what looked like a once-vibrant buck’s head and forelegs [Eliot Circular, September 2011]. Reedies make a study of being inclusive where human beings are concerned, but nonhuman individuals remain conspicuously absent from the moral charts of most Reedies. In this photo the buck is mocked even in death, revealing ignorance and indifference concerning other living beings. In some ways Reed is shamefully mainstream.