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 Letters to the editor may be used for publication unless the author states the letter is not to be published.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

Dances and romances
The article about Dance Weekends has a significant interest to me (“Elegance and Excess,” Spring/Summer 2012). I was an eighteen-year-old freshman at Miami University when Craig Bowman ’45 invited me to a Kenyon Dance Weekend. Among others, he introduced me to William H. Harsha Jr. ’43, a fellow Sigma Pi. The Second World War had just begun and changed our lives.

Bill and I met again when he was attending Western Reserve Law School in Cleveland, and the rest is history. We married on September 28, 1946, had four sons, and moved from Portsmouth, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., where he was elected to Congress in 1960. He served for twenty years (1961-81). We returned to Portsmouth in January 1987. Bill died on October 12, 2010, at age eighty-nine. I appreciated your memorial article at that time. I will be eighty-nine in September and still have fond memories of the Kenyon Dance Weekends.
Rosemary Harsha

It was with great nostalgia that I read the Bulletin feature about the legendary Kenyon Dance Weekends. It evoked a particular remembrance of my first experience during the spring of 1954, my sophomore year. My date was a sweet young girl from the school which Kenyon men affectionately referred to as “the Lake College for Erie Women.”

The very first event of the weekend confirmed that title and ensured the weekend would be strictly a platonic one. Prior to meeting Bob Ritzi, Bob Rowe, and their dates at the Village Inn for dinner on Friday evening, my date insisted that we stop by the chapel to say the rosary. To this day, I’m still not sure about her motivation to do that. Despite the unusual start, we managed to enjoy the revelry at the parties in the Delt parlor and the dances in the Great Hall.

To some degree, I regret that my son, Chris ’86, did not, and my grandson, Chris Jr. ’15,
will not experience this “festival of elegance
and excess.”
 —Chuck Schwarz ’56

I loved “Elegance and Excess,” since my grandparents met during a Kenyon Dance Weekend. My grandmother, Mary B. Tootle, came to Kenyon to see her date, George Hitler of Circleville, Ohio. Mary was friends with George’s sisters and it is not clear if she arrived with a busload of girls or a carload of George’s sisters. Certainly, she would not have traveled to Gambier by herself. Mary was either at Ohio State University, after having graduated from Ward Belmont Junior College (now a part of Vanderbilt University), or living back at her family’s farm in Lyndon, Ohio.

The Dance Weekend must have been between 1923 and 1925, when my grandfather was at Kenyon. John L. Ingraham was a tall, athletic, blond, fun-loving guy from Cleveland. He was George Hitler’s roommate at Kenyon. George must have forgiven my grandfather, John, for stealing his sweetheart because he later served as best man at their wedding in the summer of 1929 on the family farm in Lyndon.

While I was at Kenyon, my grandparents made a couple of trips to see me, once with my grandfather towing his fishing boat behind his Buick on their way to Florida. Grandpa loved Kenyon and would always visit the Betas, his fraternity. He would take a fifth of vodka or gin with him as he walked down Middle Path and hence was always warmly welcomed by the Betas.   
Anne Brenner Holmes ’83

Lassitude with the language
I quivered with revulsion when I encountered—in the heralded Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, no less—the misuse of the intransitive verb “lie,” without so much as an inserted editorial “[sic].” (The error is in the Spring/Summer 2012 “Hot Sheet,” where an item called “Waking Up” quotes from the Collegian’s blog.)

Does this mean, I wondered, that the editor ceases to care or, worse, can’t be bothered with the distinction between the transitive verb “lay” and the intransitive verb “lie”? I fear the latter. It may not seem like much, but such lassitude reveals a lot.

We applaud writers associated with Kenyon College for their clear, concise, consistent, and, above all, correct English usage. Kenyon deserves international acclaim for the high standards of its English Department and its fine literary quarterly, the Kenyon Review.  

The Bulletin should share in that acclaim, and not embarrass us with the sloppy and clumsy misuse of our breathtakingly nimble and precise language.
Pell Osborn ’70

Burrito research
As one who possesses a B.S. in hotel administration, I suppose I could have been offended by the item on page 4, but I wasn’t. [“Margin of Error,” in the Spring/Summer issue, noted that 83 percent of Kenyon students believe the College is more likely to pave Middle Path than offer a degree in hotel and restaurant management.]

While Middle Path may be safe for now, Kenyon may well watch its back in the future. I submit that the talent displayed by a student in his quest for the World Burrito Eating Contest title (“Hot Sheet”) would have been typical of a hotel management student, at least of my era. All in the interest of research, of course.
 —Robert J. Arnold P’08

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