Letters Headline

Reed welcomes letters from readers concerning the contents of the magazine or the college. Letters must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space. Our email address is reed.magazine@reed.edu.


Make that crystal springs
From Barry Hansen ’63

I much enjoyed the campus pictorial . . . but a couple of those captions got me going. When did Johnson Creek (captions 3, 14) change course to run through the campus? (Last time I visited, it was a mile south, down past Crystal Springs Blvd.) Must have been quite a flood, to move the Gray Campus Center all the way to the west side of Kaul Auditorium (caption 2). Or did the stream re-routing in the canyon just get a little out of hand?
[Ed. Note: Dr. Demento (Barry Hansen) was one of several readers who pointed out our clumsy captioning.]

A scholarship in memory of josé brown
From Aron Faegre ’71

The article on José Brown was good to see in the pages of Reed (May ’01). Our culture celebrates mostly heroes who achieve movie-star status. José provides the example of another kind of hero who selflessly devotes his or her life to an art form in a more anonymous and counter-cultural way. Those of us who knew José well knew that he could have achieved movie-star status but for his politics. He chose to focus on the poor and underprivileged of our culture, choosing street performances over MTV. Thank you, Reed, for honoring his good work, which was so tragically cut short by AIDS. Are there others in the extended Reed community who would like to create a perpetual “arte povera” scholarship at Reed in José’s name, to encourage future students that have the same spirit and drive? I would love to give to such a fund.
(Ed. note: The minimum amount to name an endowed scholarship at Reed is $75,000. Aron has set up an email address for those interested at JoseBrown@faegre.org. You may also call 503/777-7573.)

It took more than green hair...
From Isabel Beckwith Goode ’41

I noticed in an article about Reed in a recent issue of the Oregonian that the student body president, Andy Bruno, has green hair. Apparently it takes a lot more now to raise an eyebrow than it did when I was a student there 60 years ago. In the spring of 1941 when it became time to elect a new student body president, some of our graduating seniors decided to start a movement to elect the first woman president—imagine! The spring of 1941 was a heady time for us. War was raging in Europe. In Washington, FDR had begun an unheard-of third term. The men in our class were facing a probable military draft soon after graduation. Thesis deadlines and senior orals were fast approaching. Maybe it was a good time to lighten up the campus. And so began our tongue-in-cheek campaign.

First on our agenda was to find a candidate. The perfect one stepped forward: Ethelwynne Lewis, class of 1942. She was a wonderful young woman of imposing stature, impeccable character, terrific personality, and very popular. Not only that, she was a direct descendant of Liliuokalani, the last reigning queen of Hawaii, and could perform an impressive hula.

With her acceptance of the nomination, our little group mushroomed in size and enthusiasm. We paraded with many colorful signs: “Win with Ethelwynne!” “Pick the Pixie from the Pineapple Paradise!” “Choose Ethyl—More Gals to the Mile!” At the final rally before the election, a stirring address was given by senior Jimmy Walls, renowned for his wit if not his stature. Ethelwynne towered next to him. The crowd loved Jimmy’s speech, especially the closing challenge, “In the words of Rose Hardwick Thorpe (who was she, I wonder): ‘Go, your lover lives! The curfew shall not ring tonight.”

Well, things began to get out of hand. Horror of horrors, it began to look as though Ethelwynne would win the election, hands down. With that realization, she became nervous and withdrew from the race! “You told me there was no way a woman would be elected!”

I have no idea when the Reed student body elected their first woman president. It was no doubt a long time ago, and I am sure there have been many others since then. In any case, I’d like to tell Andy Bruno with the green hair that I think he will make a splendid student body president, and I wish him well.

For that matter, Ethelwynne too would have made a great student body president. But as events unfolded, she would not have been able to serve her complete term. Pearl Harbor was bombed in December 1941, and as soon after that as transportation became available Ethelwynne returned to her home and family in Honolulu. During the war years, the Lewis family welcomed into their home many a Reed serviceman passing through Honolulu en route either to or from the Pacific Theatre. Ethelwynne did not return to Reed to graduate. After the war, she lived in New York City for a while and obtained her B.A. degree there. She eventually returned to Honolulu, where the curfew did finally ring for her quite a few years ago.

An unforgettable instructor
From William H. Riggle ’50

Whenever I think of Reed, I think of Frau Peters. It was during a summer session in 1948 that I fell under her spell.

The course was an intensive introduction to German. We met daily for several hours, with each class hour to be matched with two hours of study.

The catalog description merely said the instructor would be Peters. Naturally I assumed that would be Herr Peters, the gruff and stern chairman of the foreign language department. To my great surprise and delight, Peters turned out to be the old man’s very young and beautiful wife. She could not have been more than three or four years older than we WWII veterans who were the majority of her small, seminar-like class.

By the second week we were reading Erich Maria Remarque’s Drei Kameraden. She knew we were veterans, and her selection could not have been more appropriate. I was so moved by the book that on my own I read the rest of Remarque’s WWI trilogy — Im Westen Nichts Neues and Der Weg Zurück. To this day no other writer has captured for me the essence of the foot soldier’s life in combat and beyond—depicting so truthfully the absurdity, the insanity, the seething savagery that boils just beneath the surface of civilization’s paper-thin veneer.

One of the more endearing characters in Drei Kameraden was Karl, das Chausseegespenst (“the road spook”), an old beat-up car that the three comrades had rebuilt on the inside, leaving the disreputable outside as a disguise for unsuspecting road rivals. When newer and shinier cars would try to pass Karl, the comrades would kick in the supercharger and leave the astonished Packard and Cadillac occupants in the dust.

Al and Karl Picture
Al and Karl

I was so impressed by Karl that, together with my roommate Al — a summer student from England — I bought an old beat-up 1934 Buick and rebuilt the motor myself on the dorm parking lot with only hand tools and the advice and assistance of a machine shop mechanic within walking distance up the hill from the campus.

Al and I drove around town and made many out-of-town trips with our own “Karl” that summer.

Yes, whenever I think of Reed, I think of Frau Peters. She was the most unforgettable, and without question the most beautiful and keen-spirited, instructor I had the good fortune to encounter on my academic journey to the B.A., the M.A., and the Ed.D. By comparison, all of my other instructors were from Dullsville.

Remembering Charles Arthur ’93
From Scott Benowitz ’93

How sad I was to learn of the death of Charles Arthur ’93 in November 1996. His death caught me quite by surprise.

Charlie was my roommate during our freshman year at Reed in 1990-91. During that year, Charlie mentioned periodically about taking a leave of absence from Reed. At the time, I thought very little of this because most college students consider this from time to time. Charlie said that he had been thinking of spending the subsequent year or two in California with family and friends.

Charlie had been an active member of the Reed scuba diving club in 1990–91 and had traveled to some of the state parks and beaches on Oregon’s coast. He had also spent some of his spare time bicycling in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties (sometimes with me), along the Clackamas, Columbia, and Willamette Rivers in the Willamette Valley, and to Mount Hood. He had described the time he spent in these places as fulfilling.

I kept in touch with Charlie throughout 1992–93, and he said to me a number of times that he was looking forward to returning to Oregon and to Reed. Although I have not spoken with him since 1993, I always assumed I would see him again at some future date. Now that more than four and a half years have passed since his untimely death, I feel it is important to state that Charlie is not forgotten but rather remembered and missed.

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