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 Letters to the editor may be used for publication unless the author states the letter is not to be published.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.

The truth about milk punch parties

The "Kenyonspeak" article in the Spring/Summer Bulletin refreshed my memories of the Kenyon lexicon as it existed in the early 1960s and provided enjoyable updates. However, much to my dismay, the original traditions of the ancient milk punch parties were distorted beyond recognition.

First of all, milk punch parties did not occur willy-nilly on just any dance weekend, but only in the predawn hours on Sunday of a Spring Dance Weekend. They were not held either at Benson Bowl or the football field. The original sanctioned venue was the middle of the railroad trestle across the Kokosing River near the foot of the Hill.

The milk punch was prepared by pouring a quantity of milk together with whatever libations could be scrounged from the fraternity lounges into a galvanized wash tub. A hapless small dog was then lovingly placed in the tub to mix the concoction. Interruption of the event by the 4:40 a.m. freight train customarily dispersed the celebrants.

In the 1960s, the milk punch party was moved to the "wagon bridge" near the intersection of routes 229 and 308, ostensibly in the interest of public safety. Thus began the agonizing demise of this fabled tradition.

Hank Wessel '65 P'96

The infamous "hairy buffalo"

Here's another Kenyon definition. Hairy buffalo: the punch served by the Betas to celebrate the end of the football season. It was a tradition by 1966, when I matriculated and suffered through a 0-9 season. (During halftime of the final game of the season, against Denison, Coach Johnson's half-time pep talk consisted of, "Don't get hurt, boys." Heartfelt and damn good advice in the midst of a 63-0 drubbing.)

Hairy buffalo was low tech, subtle, but serious punch: lots of ice and equal parts rum, gin, vodka, with enough lemonade to make a tart, refreshing beverage (think Mike's Hard Lemonade, the nuclear version), mixed in a garbage can (a new one, of course; we weren't savages). Generally, mixed with a bare foot.

The effect was stunning. It tasted like slightly sharp lemonade, and there are tales from hairy buffalo parties that rival descriptions of Roman orgies. My own tale ends with me in a dive bar in Mount Vernon standing on a revolving bar stool wearing a leopardskin bathrobe (belonged to Ralph Geiger '69), declaiming Shakespeare to the locals.

Hairy buffalo was a transformative beverage. There are probably dignified, accomplished women of a certain age who still blush at the name.

Dwight Hatcher '70

Babies, shops, and libes

I enjoyed reading "Kenyonspeak" and can certainly attest to the use of "Baby Drama" at least as far back as 1971, when I was a freshman in Jim Michael's "Baby Drama" class. I'm pretty sure that most intro courses were dubbed "baby" at the time, as in "Baby Psych," "Baby Soc," and so on (maybe an outgrowth of the baby book?).

I can also remember referring to the Peirce Coffee Shop as "the shops" and the library as "the libes," though whether that nomenclature was campuswide, a drama major affectation, or a Rob Galbraith construction I can't say.

Janice Paran '75

The light side

I often say, "Kenyon is not the college I knew." But "Kenyonspeak" does make me realize that the light side of College continues to exist today. Thank God it is not all Fulbrights!

George Lytle '41

Editor's Note: George Lytle sent us some colorful additions to the "Kenyonspeak" lexicon, including a number of amusing faculty nicknames. You can find his submissions, and those of other alumni, on the Web at http://Bulletin.Kenyon.edu/Kenyonspeak.

"Bill and His Buddies"

I read my Spring/Summer Bulletin cover to cover, as usual, and read with particular interest the article on slang peculiar to Kenyon (or peculiar slang of Kenyon!). I can attest that when I took the beginning drama class as a freshman in 1975-76, it was already known as "Baby Drama." I also took a couple of other classes with amusing nicknames: Professor Gerrit Roelofs' "Shakespeare and His Contemporaries" was affectionately known as "Bill and His Buddies." Likewise, Professor Edward Harvey's wonderful "Baudelaire and His Contemporaries" was known as "Charlie and His Chums." Thanks, as always, for reminding me of great memories of Kenyon.

Robin Inboden '79

Beating Kent State, or losing?

As usual, you have produced another outstanding Alumni Bulletin (Spring/Summer 2010) and, as always, I read it from cover to cover. "Hardwood Heroes," in particular, caught my interest, because it mentioned my brother, Richard Roberts.

My brother entered Kenyon in May of 1943 and, because of limited available personnel, he participated on most of the teams that were then active. These included baseball, football, and basketball. He played on the basketball teams of 1943-44 and 1944-45.

At that time I was still a high school student in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, only seven miles from Kent. During one of those two seasons, we found that Kenyon would be playing Kent State at Kent. Since this would be one of the few times my parents and I would be able to see Richard play, we went to the game. It has always been my recollection that Kenyon lost. If the game I attended was in 1945, then my memory of that game is at odds with the one described by Larry Howe in his fine article.

Hopefully, Athletic Department records will indicate if Kenyon played Kent State at Kent in both of those seasons or just the l944-45 season. Unfortunately, my brother passed away two years ago and our parents have been gone for many years.

As an additional note, Richard was in residence at Kenyon for only two and a half years, finishing his required coursework for graduation under the accelerated program then in effect. I enrolled at Kenyon in July 1945 and that fall became a member of an equally untalented basketball team. We played four or five games prior to Christmas break, losing all of them by impressive margins. When I returned home for the holiday break, my draft notice was awaiting me and I did not return to Kenyon until February 1947.

Henry W. Roberts '50

Editor's Note: According to College records, Kent State did not field a team during the 1943-44 basketball season. The 1944-45 game featured in the Bulletin is the only meeting of the teams on record during that year. In the 1945-46 season, Kent came to Kenyon and beat the Lords 88-48.

The post office mural

I noticed a small photograph and mention of the newly restored mural, Bishop Chase Selects the Location for Old Kenyon, in the Gambier Post Office. I would appreciate seeing a larger photograph of this fine painting. It deserves to be seen! An article on the painter Norris Rahming would also be appreciated. The history of the College is interesting. May we remember the founder Bishop Chase.

Leland Alper '88

Editor's Note: The photo is available on the Web, at http://Bulletin.Kenyon.edu/mural. Norris Walton Rahming was an accomplished artist who trained with Emil Carlsen, William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and George Keller. He came to Kenyon in the 1930s and is considered one of the founders of the art department. College Historian Tom Stamp '73 is working on a brief biography of Rahming. We will let readers know when it is available.

Sixty years in broadcasting

My recent receipt of the Spring/Summer Alumni Bulletin prompts me to update briefly my Kenyon College years and graduation, which was June 1949, when I graduated with honors before attending Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Following one year at Harvard, I entered the family broadcasting business at radio station WGBS, frequency 710 on the dial in Miami, Florida. At WGBS I worked for five years and then transferred to another Storer station affiliate in New York City from 1956-58 and then on to Philadelphia, where I worked for three years at radio station WIBG in sales management.

From WIBG, I transferred to management at WJW (another Storer radio station) in Cleveland before advancing to management of the Storer Radio Division in New York City from 1962-69. Then I headed up to Storer Radio Division with headquarters in Cleveland and associated radio stations in Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Wheeling, Atlanta, Birmingham, Miami, and Los Angeles. My last year with Storer Broadcasting consisted of radio division management of Cleveland with the home office in Miami through 1979.

I enjoyed the Alumni Bulletin and was glad to know some of my classmates were listed.

James P. Storer '49 H'85

Tribute to Herr Hecht

Editor's Note: Professor Emeritus of German Edmund Hecht, who taught at Kenyon for nearly four decades, died on April 15, 2010, at the age of eighty. A full obituary appears on page 66.

Liebster Herr Hecht, ich danke dir—I remember you reading us a poem with those words of thanks, but I probably would still use the more formal form of "you." News of your illness and passing has hit me harder than most other sad news.

All the times you were glorious and kind would make too long a list. I remember your open office door and hour-long talks in my first year, months before I took a class to hear more of what you had to share ... and even a few in years after you had a good reason to become more critical ... and one last long, long talk when I returned to campus a year after graduating.

There was the first talk we ever had, one of the best of my life up to then, as you drove a bunch of us home late one October night from hearing Wolf Bierman sing at Ohio State and I hogged the front seat just because I could have listened to you for hours, and you made me laugh and feel understood and smart. There was the tape you gave me of a lion voice, Gisela May, who still gives strength, though hearing her voice right now makes me sad because, lately, I hear only yours again.

I had never known her work, or Bierman's, or Fassbinder's, or Brecht's. What life has brought since would, I hope, have made me far, far better understand, reply, and give thanks to all you shared and inspired me to keep.

Susan B. Walker '87

Quality, creativity, information

I recently had dinner with a former colleague who is editor of the Eastern Michigan University magazine. I was telling her how much I enjoy the Kenyon Alumni Bulletin and, not surprisingly, she said that in her world the College's magazine is known to be one of the very best in the country. She encouraged me to write in because, as she put it, "We usually hear about the 1948 grad complaining that there aren't any stories about his classmates. It's nice to get positive feedback."

I should have written in years ago, but please know how much I look forward to getting the Bulletin and how much I appreciate its quality, creativity, and information. Keep up the great work, and thanks!

Jarin Jaffee '01

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