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Reedie fondly remembers house of the dead
From Karen Drews Kahan White '64
The last two issues of our magazine have shared memories of A.J. Rose and Sons Mortuary, sometime home of Reed students. I first became aware of the place in 1962 when Michael Rainy '65 took up residence there. He pointed out that Joel (Jody) Kahan '64 and I could marry if Jody took on the other open job at the mortuary. (There seemed to be an epidemic of marriages about that time, one classmate even graduating baby in arms.) We were definitely interested. I approved of the sort-of-furnished five-room free apartment with free utilities and phone, free laundry (I don't believe we took them up on this!), free newspaper, and $12 per week to spend on food at Corno's, which was just a short walk away.
Although time was short, a wedding and reception were planned for the faculty lounge the day before Christmas break. Our much-loved Dr. Daniel Deegan, philosophy (and ordained Presbyterian minister), officiated. A.J. Rose's daughter insisted on being present since the previous apartment's tenants were being booted for lying about their marital status. (She left as soon as our vows were said.) After the reception, all the out-of-town wedding guests removed to A.J. Rose and Son for a buffet supper. It was the first of many pleasant gatherings there. Guests particularly enjoyed the embalming rooms featuring Hardasarock Cavity Filler and the casket showroom reached by a suitably large elevator. One of A.J.'s sons had passed on, but the other lived in the basement when he was not out selling newspapers. The sounds of his nocturnal wanderings gave not unpleasant thrills as did the sound of the organ from the chapel.
I was only an onlooker, however. Jody actually worked there and many of the things he was involved with were not pleasant. After only six months we moved on to an old flat overlooking the Brooklyn Yard (loved those trains!). We were replaced by suitably suited students from a local Bible college. But that mortuary for me remains a wonderful memory--red plush carpets and curtains, a bust of Lincoln and a painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, American flags and all.
It all rings true
From Geoff Baldwin '67
I just re-read "A Long Conversation with Tony Knowlton," about Dr. Wheeler, in the February '96 issue. It truly is a superb piece. It all rings true. I had Dr. Wheeler 30 years ago, and his lectures in classical mechanics remain the high point of my rather syncretic academic career.
If I had known then. . . .
From Stefan Gruenwedel '87
Hey, I just wanted to commend you for having such a great-looking Web site. I remember hooking up to it when it was in an earlier incarnation, and I must say it's much improved. I like the collection of earlier Web pages you have on display. I also enjoyed reading the article on housing prices. I knew I should've bought a house when I graduated!