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that’s “fah-bu-lous” to you
From Miriam Moore ’98

As you may know, Reed’s new president, Colin Diver, used to work at Boston University and helped found the public and nonprofit program in the school of management, which I am very involved with. So I’ve been trying to dig up dirt, er, I mean, info on this guy — but no can do! Everyone LOVES him. When I tell these people that Colin Diver has been named president of Reed the response is a universal: “You are SO lucky! That is wonderful news.” So I say, oh, that’s great to hear, what can you tell me about him? “He’s fabulous. A wonderful man, very involved, a great manager, a great leader, very proactive, great with people, active in the community. He also has a wonderful family: his wife is fabulous; his children are fabulous. He is just fabulous.” Obviously I’m very glad to hear all these wonderful things, but still I think, hum, this is just too good to be true, so I query further: “So, is there anything bad about him? Come on, there has to be something. . . . “ And the response is universal: “No, he is one of the most fantastic people you will ever meet. He is just fabulous. Reed is so lucky” Or, to sum this paragraph up in a sentence: I’ve heard the guy is fabulous.[Ed. note: Read an article about our fabulous new president here.]

 

that explains everything
From Elizabeth Gedney Christensen ’38

Glancing again through the November issue of Reed, I spotted alumni association president John Sheehy’s comments about the Reed effect: “Yes,” they mutter cautiously, “that explains everything.” Mr. Sheehy graduated in 1982 and I in 1938, and I can tell him that the Reed effect apparently doesn’t wear off with age.

I’m quite active in local affairs, and recently while having breakfast out one morning, a man in a nearby booth turned and said to me, “You’re Bess Christensen. I’ve wondered where you got your liberal point of view.” I said I guessed I was born with it; he continued chatting, and mentioned that he was going up to Portland to see his brother. I said I went to school in Portland; he said where and I said I graduated from Reed. He said, in a tone indicating that all his questions were answered, “That explains it.”

 

sports at reed calendar
From H. H. Skinner, Jr. ’42
Did you know that the football team of 1937 (it could have been 1936) was one of the few — or possibly only — undefeated, untied teams in the country? It makes no difference that they played such teams as the Goldendale CCC Camp and others of like ilk: they did have a record!

If you review the archives, you’ll find a copy of the Reed paper in which members of the team are tearful and chagrined that Reed (an intellectual college) would stoop so low as to have that kind of team. There were also a number of other individual champions of that era. Jack DeMent ’42 was reputed to have the world record for prone pressing twice his body weight. There was another fellow, Wayne Campbell ’42, an Adonis, who was reported to hold the world record for the one-finger dead lift, some 500+ lbs. He was a handsome brute and was a professional model for Jantzen swimwear at the same time he was attending Reed.

Another champion was Ted Hachiya, who probably weighed in the 250+ lb. class. He had the Pacific Coast judo championship and was on the Reed wrestling team. (So was I, but the less said about that the better!)

From Archie Buie ’56

fencing studentsI write because your calendar gave me a great deal of pleasure. On the December page you feature people watching two fencers, one who has just scored. I’m to the far left of the print; Dudley Collard ’55, who went on to be the principal designer of the Concorde engine air intakes, is to my right.

The fencer on the left, scoring, is Jack Nottingham, our fencing instructor for that period. Jack went on to invent a plastic sword call the “boffer.” It made him mildly well off.

I hate to throw a monkey wrench into your premise that Reedies did not make a habit of winning physical contests. Tate Minckler ’55, Dudley, and I won a number of local collegiate fencing contests and qualified for the West Coast inter-collegiate team foil championship.

We entered and won in San Francisco. We beat all the big West Coast colleges. We brought to the Reed coffee shop and bookstore the three-and-a-half-foot-tall trophy, which had many better known colleges engraved on it.

We three were very involved in winning, believe me. I personally was taking it out on better fencers since I was only a year or so out of flying jet combat in Korea. I had to take it out on somebody. The term we used then was “wired.”

I leafed through the pictures on the calendar. What a shock to see that we were still fencing at Reed in the mid ’80s. . . sigh.

 

more fowl tales
From Kathleen Bucklin Davies ’67

owl and kathleetnI don’t know where and how the apocryphal stories about the Doyle Owl arise (Lance Montauk, August 2000). I was the driver of the getaway car after the Owl was shown on the tower of the library. I was waiting on Steele Street with my ancient Chrysler semiautomatic, known as the Vomit Comet or the Purple Passion, when the Owl, wrapped in a blanket and tied with rope, was (fairly) gently dropped in the field. A co-conspirator and I dragged it to my car, heaved it into the trunk, and I drove off. No one followed me, so if there was a car chase, the destruction of a red convertible, and an injury to a Reedie, it happened somewhere else.

I even stopped to get gas, having neglected to make sure I had enough to get away, in case I was followed. Possession of the Owl remained with us, the Mountaineering Group, including John Davies, Jon Bates, Miles Becker, and others, until 1967, when we all graduated. Part of the group is pictured on the back cover, and in the lower left of the front cover of the 2001 Reed calendar, “A Fowl Odyssey,” and I am pictured as “Miss February.”

 

remembering mary barnard ’32
From Abigail Brown Root ’47

Although she will probably always be best known for her translation of Sappho’s poetry, Mary Barnard’s own poetry was my first introduction to her. It came about, appropriately enough, at Reed, in a small conference room in Eliot Hall on a damp, gray day early in 1944. It was our first semester of first-year humanities, and we were discussing mythology in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The room was filled with the cigarette smoke of the very young trying to appear adult. Our teacher, wishing to show us the continued relevance of Greek mythology to our own lives, read Mary Barnard’s poem “Prometheus loved us,” in which the poet, out walking on a rainy evening, sees flame from a match bring life to a dark street and is comforted by the thought of Prometheus and his gift of fire. Mary Barnard had gone to Reed, we learned, and had become a published poet.

When I moved to Manhattan in the 1950s, Professor Chittick, who had been my thesis adviser, suggested I get in touch with Mary.“If you can get her to talk,” he wrote, “she’ll be a wonder.” He went on to explain about the Gawd Awful club, a group of Reed students during Mary Barnard’s time who gathered to read their own creative works, the readings often being followed by “Gawd Awful” silences.

Being then shy and diffident, I approached Mary in her book-crowded studio apartment with some trepidation and was treated to a series of golden afternoons. She talked and talked. And her words were golden. When, some years later, I asked her about her earlier reputation for being silent, she said, “I don’t like to speak unless I have something to say.” She was working then on what was to become The Mythmakers and spoke of it with excitement. She had recently sent her translation of Sappho to the University of California Press and was waiting to hear if it had been accepted. Would I like to hear some Sappho in the original Greek? She then began to read, first the Greek, then her translation. I was transfixed. My first semester of humanities at Reed had led to this delight. How had Mary Barnard come to learn Greek? She had heard it for the first time at Reed in a humanities class. In 1989, wandering through the bookstore of the University of Arizona, I saw in the women’s studies section an entire shelf filled with copies of Mary Barnard’s Sappho, apparently an assigned text. Her obituary in this magazine (Reed, November, 2001) notes that Mary Barnard had no immediate survivors. Her words, however, are flourishing. The words she chose for fragment #100 of Sappho seem to speak, as well, of herself: “dead I won’t be forgotten.”

 

searchng for
spiritual dialogue

From Barbara Pijan Lama ’81

I find it curious that anyone would see Reed as a spirit-less place (Letters, February 2002). On the contrary, Reed is a remarkably spiritual environment. In the 20 years since leaving Reed, I have reflected on how the physical geography of Reed’s campus, and the psychic geography of the Reed community, combine to create a genuine sacred space.

True, there is very little extraneous dogma informing that space. Except for the principle of rational discourse, there are no rules—and no gurus. In my view, the precious freedom to seek love and truth that we received as Reed students—and continue to receive as ever-connected members of the Reed community—is the most nourishing food the spirit can receive. And where the spirit is well fed, it continues to dwell.

The life force that some may call God or Goddess, and others may abhor to call any name at all, is very attracted to a place like Reed. It is attracted by high levels of honesty, integrity, and passion in the lives of the people who live, teach, and study there. I think most of us are, overtly or covertly, “interested in spirituality, as either a science or an art.” We cannot help but be interested, since we are permanently suffused with it!



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