I transferred to Reed as a sophomore from another small college, where I had not felt challenged academically in a way that suited my needs. In my first semester I enrolled in the Chinese humanities class, with my section being led by Doug Fix [Asian studies 1990–], and Introduction to British Poetry with Ellen Stauder [English 1983–2013]. As the semester progressed, it was clear I was struggling in both classes and so met individually with each professor. I found it both comforting and daunting to have each of them tell me they were so glad I was in the other’s class, as that respective professor would teach me how to improve my writing skills. While Ellen still called me out on using a U2 song (“Angel of Harlem”) as the subject of my paper on odes, they were right. Both Doug and Ellen created a strong foundation for my writing skills that I have been grateful for since then, including with my thesis and when I returned to graduate school for social work. Both have held a special place for me in my Reed memories as they ushered me in gently while setting me on the path forward with all that Reed had to offer. I wish Ellen the best in her retirement and know that her calm way of sharing her knowledge of English literature will be missed by many students past, present, and future.
I was saddened to read today of the demise of my friend Michael Parrish ’70. He was my senior year roommate, and our year together represented all that was good about a mature academic experience at Reed. He was older, had been somewhere, seen some stuff. I had inherited tenancy in the upper floor of a Woodstock house a few blocks east of Lutz’s, near enough to the Plaid Pantry for easy access to quart bottles of stainless steel–aged Tavola, and convinced Michael to join me in trying to recreate the apparently successful lifestyle of the previous year’s tenants, Rowan Snyder ’69 and Ian Merwin ’69. Michael was a regular at Lutz’s, felt it was an important element in a writer’s life. He convinced me that his plan to open a bar on the beach in Mexico was a good aspiration. We were both seniors now, he had had the style for a while, and I was a recent grad of social posturing; first and foremost was finishing the thesis. We were both still willing to participate in the important Reed occasions like the Kinks concert and having friends by like Richard (’69) Crandall’s occasional visits for 10-second chess. And that’s the key. We really were interested in the work. And a few classes. We enjoyed talking to each other about that stuff, a different conversation from the years of coffee-shop styling, and different again from conferences. We kept in touch through all these years, and I always hoped I would see him in that palapa on the beach. I see him there now.