Reedfayre Honors Cricket and Comrades of the Quest

By Alexander Blum ’13
Cricket Parmalee

Master storyteller Cricket Parmalee ’67 nabs the Babson Award. Photo by Leah Nash

Reedfayre ’12 traveled backward and forward through time to celebrate outstanding alumni, staff, and faculty.

Cricket Parmalee ’67 was honored with the Babson Society Award for her contributions to the Oral History Project and the Reed Stories Project—the stories collected by both projects were central to the making of Comrades of the Quest. Presenting the award, alumni board president Jay Hubert ’66 described Cricket as a “storytelling master” who has delighted audiences with stories painstakingly collected from generations of alumni.

Cricket recounted a favorite story, that of George Joseph ’51, who visited Reed as a prospie. He met professor Dorothy Johansen ’33 [history 1938–69], who showed him the library and said, “the rest is up to you.” Leaving this meeting, George came out the north exit of Eliot—the same steps where Cricket stood as she unwound the tale—and saw a couple in the woods “doing something that I had never seen done outdoors before.” Impressed by these two experiences, George decided that “Reed was the place for him.”

John Sheehy ’82 was honored for his role as editor of Comrades of the Quest, a volume of “almost biblical” dimensions that was, John said, the closest thing Reed has to scripture. Despite its heft, he noted that the “director’s cut” would be longer: “Reedies appear incapable of expressing themselves in a single sentence when a dissertation will do just as well.”

Finally, honorary alumni status was granted to retirees: Professors Steve Arch [biology 1972–2012], Steven Black [biology 1989–2012], Librarian Vickie Hanawalt [1987–2012], and President Colin Diver [2002–12]. Arch, who taught at Reed for 40 years, recalled a student evaluation shown to him by an administrator at the end of his first semester that read simply, “Fire Arch.” Looking back on his long career, Arch concluded, “I’m really glad he didn’t fire me.”