Letters to the Editor

The Bulletin welcomes letters of three hundred or fewer words. Letters to the editor may be used for publication unless the author states the letter is not to be published. Letters may be edited for style, length, clarity, grammar, and relevance to Kenyon issues. Please address submissions to: Editor, Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, Office of Public Affairs, Gambier, Ohio 43022. Letters may also be submitted to alumni@kenyon.edu or through our online feedback form.

Kenyon is seeking comments from the public in preparation for its reaccreditation visit by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC).


Your last Alumni Bulletin was one of the more entertaining and colorfully enhanced issues ever. However, I would like to correct a few errors of omission, and possible inaccuracies, in your "Compendium of Astounding Records."

On page 33 you mention a record of the largest object to be thrown from a dorm window. There are numerous errors in this record. First, it wasn't a dorm window. The piano went though the window of the Beta Theta Pi lounge in South Leonard. Second, it was not a group of students; it was me and a co-conspirator who will remain nameless, unless he wants to come forward. Third, it was not a grand piano, but rather an upright. Fourth, the whole damn piano went out the window, not a third as you state, along with all the sheet music. Fifth, Dean Edwards didn't exactly defuse the situation at the time. I got the whole piano out the window, but Dean Edwards did have my ass removed from Kenyon at the end of my junior year (1961), so in fact, I guess he did defuse future occurrences...

I returned for my senior year on double secret probation, and managed to graduate with my class of '62...

If I could go back to the piano record versus any of my other nefarious records, I would like to say this. The piano-tossing most likely accelerated Dean Edwards's decision to give me the heave. My father's ice-cold stares will stay with me for my lifetime. If it was not for these events, I would have never been in the Class of 1962. To my father, and Dean Edwards, I say thank you. To my classmates of 1962, I say it was one hell of a ride.

-Nathan N. Withington '62

Editor's note: The above letter has been abbreviated for reasons of space, but the writer, and any alumni with narratives to tell from their years on campus, are encouraged to preserve them at full length as part of the Kenyon Stories Initiative. See the Alumni News section of this issue (page 62).

More on the piano

I read with interest the article on astounding records in the latest issue of the Bulletin. The largest object thrown from a dorm window isn't quite accurate. I was there. I'm not sure if it was a dance weekend or not, but it was a Sunday. The boys from Delta Tau Delta were watching TV in the Middle Leonard lounge when boredom set in. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of throwing the upright piano (not a grand) out the window. There is no way it was a grand. Take a look at those windows. They aren't wide enough to handle a grand; the upright barely fit. When the piano was just a bit over halfway out, it dropped quickly and wedged itself in the window opening. It couldn't be pushed out nor could it be pulled back in. It just hung there halfway out. They had to break it up as it sat wedged in the opening. Of course Dean Edwards wasn't a happy guy and we were put on double secret probation. And that's the rest of the story.

-Larry R. Brown '65

Frigid memories

The article in Kenyon's Winter 2010 Alumni Bulletin ("White Out") brought back frigid memories!

As seniors living in the Bexley Apartments, we felt more isolated than most the week of the blizzard, given the distance to both dining halls and the lack of space and company that the larger dormitories afforded. I too was impressed with the College's and student staff's ability to keep us fed during those days when we were cut off from the rest of the world. I clearly remember the gates on Middle Path being blocked off with snow.

One incident stands out clearly in my mind: As the owner and operator of a Ford F100 pickup with a cab over the bed, I was often called upon to help move things, transport belongings back to homes at the end of the school year, and, perhaps more importantly at the time, I was never left out of a multiple beer keg run.

In typical college fashion, by the weekend of the blizzard several of us were bored beyond belief, so we piled into my truck and decided to drive around and get a look at the storm's aftermath. Taking back roads would prove to be a challenge, since one never knew which roads had been cleared and which had not. A dead end meant no turning around due to high drifts on both sides of the road. One would have to back up whatever distance one had traveled.

While negotiating a curve on an isolated road, my truck spun into a ditch and left us stranded in a small dell in the middle of nowhere. In an era before cell phones, this meant a freezing walk of several miles in search of help. While standing alongside the truck pondering our next move, we heard a peculiar mechanical sound, which we agreed was unfamiliar to us. As we listened with expectation at the approaching din, our mouths stood agape in shock and surprise as a battle tank crested the hill in front of us and clattered to a stop opposite our vehicle. A friendly Ohio National Guardsman asked if he could help pull us out, to which we readily agreed.

I'm not sure how many college kids can claim to have once been towed by a tank.

-Douglas Andrews '78

Let it snow

Very much enjoy the Bulletin-always lively and thoughtful, capturing the essence of the College.

I was working in Admissions in 1978. I grew up in Toledo and then attended prep school in western Massachusetts, and Kenyon from 1966 to 1970, so I was accustomed to hard winter weather. The morning of the blizzard, I awoke, showered, tossed on my suit and tie, and left my Norton Hall apartment to walk to Ransom Hall. While I did notice the rather stiff breeze, horizontal snowfall, and the abandoned village snow plow, I really didn't think much of the conditions, arriving at the office at about 8:45 as usual. No one else was there, and after wandering about for a few minutes, I heard Phil Jordan calling "Who's there?" from the top of the stairs. He came downstairs in corduroys and a flannel shirt (very un-Phil weekday attire) and asked me what the hell I was doing there. I just wanted to know where everyone was. He laughed and sent me home. Sadly, I think my dedication to the job only convinced him that I was a bit simple-minded, possibly even a lunatic, rather than a loyal employee.

I was, however, rewarded for my misguided loyalty because as I returned to Norton, I detoured into the Village Market, where I claimed the last case of beer-some cheap, local brew-and a jug or two of plonk that sustained a pretty great party over the next couple of days, memories of which are, shall we say, somewhat impressionistic. As dangerous as the blizzard turned out to be, it felt like a gigantic snow day, an unexpected holiday, and I think we were all a bit sad when things got back to normal. We had all survived under harsh conditions, and as the parties ebbed and flowed and the liquor ran out, everyone seemed to have had a grand time-unlike the Donners. As it had in 1970, following the Kent State shootings, the College rose to the moment and summoned up its best.

Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.

-Dwight Hatcher '70
Admissions 1976-8

Two more Kenyon records

Had I known of your "Astounding Records" article, I would have pointed out two held by my old roomie, Jeff Slade '62: the longest and shortest National Basketball Association career for a Kenyon graduate. In 1962 he played in three games for the Chicago Zephyrs, scoring four points (a far cry from the 1,742 he scored in his Kenyon career). He was an eleventh-round draft choice in 1962, ahead of Ohio State's Mel Nowell (twelfth).

-Gene Lynd '62 (Eugene C. Lynd)

More glory for Davis

David Davis has more claims to fame than entering Kenyon at age thirteen. Davis was a good friend of Abraham Lincoln; they "rode the circuit" together, trying cases, with Lincoln as an attorney and Davis as judge. Davis organized Lincoln's successsful quest for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860 and was rewarded with a seat on the Supreme Court, where he served from 1862 to 1877.

-Allan Kohrman '67

Dylan anecdote

I enjoyed the Fall 2009 Alumni Bulletin-the cover was great!

Regarding Bob Dylan's concert at Kenyon: Rosse Hall looked more like a gym in those days and when Dylan entered Rosse, he took one look at the "venue" and said, sarcastically, "Nice arena!" Of course we were dressed with coat and ties, and Dylan told us we could take off our sport coats and ties. Many people did, but a group of us decided to keep on our coats and ties to show him that he was not the person to make those decisions-ah, youth!

Thanks again for putting out a wonderful magazine! Hika!

-David W. Foote '66

Memorable flight over Kenyon

Thank you so much for the article about the Kenyon College Flying Club. I had no idea there was an aviation aspect to the history of life on the Hill. The piece brought back fond memories of the fall of my freshman year. My father, a private pilot for more years than I can remember, would often fly out Ohio-way from Rhode Island on business, and, depending on his routing, would sometimes visit me on campus. That same year, I also had the wonderful experience of flying home with him for break. Departing Mount Vernon airport, flying over the campus, watching the sunset behind us and the perfect intonation of the sky as day blended into night, is something I will never forget.

Aviation is certainly a part of my family history and I'm glad to see it's the same for my alma mater. Both my parents are still active pilots with an aerial photography business, and my husband flew for the U.S. Navy. I look forward to sharing this issue with them and my two boys. My only regret about the article? The fact that the dramatic introductory graphic wasn't the center spread of the magazine-either of my sons would have happily removed it to hang on the bedroom wall. With both of them already very interested in all aspects of flight (and eager to fly my parents' plane any time they can), I'm confident there will someday be more aviators added to the family tree. And who knows, maybe I'll even get into the act. After all, I did take ground school years ago. Too bad it was not offered at Kenyon when I was a student!

-Charlotte Pillsbury Wood '83

Getting the job done

I have enjoyed the letters in the last three issues of the Bulletin that related to dishwashing, and not merely because it was Bill Brown (along with Doug Morse) who hosted me during Pre-Freshman Weekend, 1964 (the weekend of the Charlie Emel riot). In fact, it is my memory that those of us who waited tables and took the dirty dishes back to be washed coveted those jobs (which were harder to get than would have been enlistment in the Vatican Guard).

We plebeians were impressed by the warrior mentality exhibited by the dish-washers, who seemed to laugh a lot, and who got the job done, despite the wet and the mess. Martin McKerrow was gone by the time I got to Kenyon, so I can't comment on his sponsorship of the efficiency those men demonstrated, but I can assure him, if he is reading this, that his influence was felt after he was gone.

-Thomas A. Hensely '68

One of the girls

As a Denison sophomore in 1949, I witnessed the three planes and the caravan of twenty cars, one of which was a convertible driven by my future husband, Reed Andrews. I did not meet him until Fall Dance Weekend 1950, but I well remember the planes dropping hundreds of white leaflets with black print. They urged D.U. women not to date D.U. men but to go to Kenyon "where men are really men" and, as I remember, had the ugliest drawings of women. I witnessed the Sigma Chi men turning hoses on the cars, of course soaking those in convertibles. Reed reports that Paul Newman was flying one of the planes.

I had spent time in Gambier as a younger girl, going there with my godfather Laurence Norton, who was a Kenyon trustee. Not until 1950 did I go to any Kenyon events, and then with blind dates. I met Reed, an Alpha Delt, at a Beta party. He offered to drive me to Cleveland for Thanksgiving, which he did, and for Christmas, too. That New Year's Eve I accepted his proposal of marriage, which took place August 11, 1951. I dropped out of D.U. and worked at Kenyon's and Bexley's libraries while Reed attended classes and worked at Purdy's dairy until graduation in June. My salary of $150 a month, I learned years later, was paid by my godfather. We rented a little house for $30 a month. There were eight students with wives at the time and we all had a great time. I acted in one of the plays directed by a student for a senior project. That was more than fifty-eight years ago and all remains in our memories as a wonderful year.

-Barbara C. Andrews

(Mrs. F. Reed Andrews Jr. '52)

A busy three days

I remember the Blizzard of 1978 well. The morning of the storm my roommate Kevyn Hawke woke me up to help him get breakfast on the table, as the SAGA employees hadn't been able to get to work. He did recruit others, though breakfast on a snowy morning meant maybe fifty diners in all. Mark Tripathy, also a SAGA student manager, showed us how to scramble eggs on the grill.

Before lunch of the first day, we learned that we'd be doing dinner too, so we planned and discussed how to do it, a real team effort. By then we had drafted the Phi Kap pledges who were in "hell week" in our lounge. Onto the payroll, they became the permanent pot crew-a luxury for us, as we dirtied more pans in an hour than the regular crew would in a day. We realized that we were destroying the budget, but it was an emergency.

We did not serve spaghetti more than once. We did have the keys for the Shoppes, the bar in the basement, and the beer and wine storage. Our spaghetti sauce had plenty of red wine in it. By dinner time we had even managed to make a vegetarian dish in addition to the main entree.

Later we learned of a rumor that food was scarce. We tried to dispel that rumor, as we knew what was in the freezers and coolers-plenty. The SAGA manager had stocked up, thinking that something like this could happen. It was just a matter of preparing it.

By the second day, we were getting the hang of it. The beef stew that night was good, I thought, as we had given it plenty of red wine. We knew that barons of beef would be dinner for the third night. They were frozen. We started roasting them before lunch, and as they thawed, we'd carve off chunks so they could cook like a normal ten-pound roast. It worked! And the gravy was good too.

Peirce Hall had many more customers than Gund. We suspected that our food was much better than theirs. They had an adult SAGA manager who may have been trying to manage his supplies and budget.

Through this all I was also the stage manager for You Never Can Tell, Jim
Michael's last directorial effort as a professor. He came to Peirce on Friday, during lunch, to ask me, "Should the show go on?" I said, "Yes, why not, we've got power for the lights and our audience can walk to the theater." So each evening at 6:00, I'd leave Peirce and go over to the Hill Theater to call the show. It was a busy three days.

After it was all over, Rich Hebert and I got SAGA jobs as cooks. We learned then how to do with four or five people what we'd done with fifteen or twenty.

Winters at Kenyon can be a long slog. The previous year all the water pipes froze. No one except the New Apartments had running water. Now that was a grim week.

-Edmund Hartt '79

Inspiring alumni

Thank you for the Bulletin and especially for the article in the current issue on alumni in politics. It was inspiring to hear about how Kenyon alums are shaping the future and how they bring Kenyon values to that. It was a wonderful example of good writing and editing. Thank you.

-Win Sheffield '77 (Edwin S. Sheffield)

Corrections to the Winter 2010 issue:

In "The Kenyon Compendium of Astounding Records," page 34, it should have been specified that Allison Janney '82 has won the most Emmy awards for acting (four). Kenyon proudly notes that Brendan Keefe '90 has won ten Emmys for news work, and Jim Fenhagen '76 has garnered an astonishing sixteen for set decoration. On page 34, Rutherford B. Hayes's graduation year should have read 1842.

The photo on pages 10-11 ("Kenyon in Season") was taken near Schnormeier Gardens, about a mile south of campus. The caption incorrectly identified the scene as the Brown Family Environmental Center, which is located on the same road.

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