Lives Changed for the Better
Your article on the Christian Association [“The Christian Association at 125,” Sept|Oct] brought back many of my best Penn memories. I look back fondly on the whole-wheat pizza, the muffins from the Mostly Muffins man, and the vegetarian shepherd’s pie which was called, for some reason, Bodacious Montana. More importantly, I remember the CA as Penn’s safe space where students could talk about being gay, perhaps for the first time in our lives. I volunteered for the Gay & Lesbian Peer Counseling Center there and experienced firsthand many lives changed for the better—both clients and counselors.
Stephen Hochheiser C’76 Northfield, MN
Since my sister became editor of Johnstown magazine I have come to realize how important feedback is to the staff. Hence I am reporting that when the latest Gazette came, I scanned first, but hit on the essay “Summer in the Kingdom” [“Notes from the Undergrad,” Sept|Oct]. What a story. That would never happen today. The parents would be arrested. But these two had a great experience and learned coping skills as well as how to make decisions and how to compromise.
Good story, and so descriptive.
I also read the letters to the editor, and sometimes go back to read what I missed. Perhaps my report will make someone want to do that.
Thank you for keeping the articles long enough to cover the story but short enough to be attractive.
Ruth Fetterman Filer GEd’68 Chalfont, PA
More to Brexit
Regarding “Voting is Easy, Leaving is Hard” [“Expert Opinion,” Sept|Oct]: as Alex Chase-Levenson must know, the European Union of 2016 is not the Coal and Steel Community of the ’50s. Further, his references to Britain’s wrestling with the Sanitary System do not paint a complete portrait of relations between the UK and the continent. Henry II ruled more than half of modern France and every school child in the UK knows that. It is in the broader sweep of history where the secrets of Brexit are to be found.
November 11 will find virtually all good British subjects wearing a poppy. That the number of residents who disdain this symbol of remembrance grows each year is noticed by citizens. Even the mod thug on the tube wears a poppy, so not wearing one stands out.
Such lack of respect for the embodiment of the nation, of people and battles long past, is noticed. It is not necessary to reach back to the Romans, Cnut, or William to know that England herself is but a mash up of invading cultures, then to understand that what is happening with the European Union may not be in the United Kingdom’s best interest.
Perhaps modern pedagogy believes it has numbed the population’s understanding of history. Perhaps, in this instance, they thought self-interest would win out, higher incomes trumping national sovereignty. When it did not and the vote was tallied, oh the shock! The UK is not by “accident of history or geography” a world power. It is through blood, sweat, tears and a painful evolution that the UK is a world power. England, then the UK, has always been deeply integrated with the world; the empire would have been impossible otherwise. It will continue to be integrated. This issue is simply that the European Union has evolved beyond what the UK signed on for.
Ask the wives of Henry the VIII about the difficulty of leaving. Leaving the EU is a piece of cake compared to that!
Bill Reed C’73 WG’76 Mystic, CT
Grit is Good
I enjoyed reading “Fifty Shades of Grit,” the interview with Angela Duckworth about her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Persistence [“Gazetteer,” Sept|Oct].
I found it refreshing that someone is actually championing strength and resilience, and am curious as to Duckworth’s views with respect to trigger alerts, safe spaces, safe zones, and the like, which, in my opinion, develop traits diametrically opposite of grit.
William R. Greene WG’68 Janesville, WI
The View from Hayden Country
Thanks for the story on F.V. Hayden [“The Man Who Put Yellowstone On the Map,” Sept|Oct]. Needless to say we are pretty steeped in Hayden lore in our small corner of the world, what with a whole town named after him (Hayden, Colorado) no less a lecture hall at dear old Penn. He was obviously onto something in his travels around northwest Colorado because the famous Ute “curse” of the Yampa Valley says that anyone who leaves will return here.
Notwithstanding the rebukes of his rival, the geologist John Wesley Powell, and Harvard President Charles Eliot, Hayden is probably up there smiling about the backcountry magazines’ enthusiasm for Steamboat Springs and other Colorado mountain towns’ outdoor lifestyle.
Perry D. Ninger W’80 Steamboat Springs, CO
Hold the “Hurrahs,” More on Honorands
I share the disappointment of Michael Brown C’69 [“Letters,” Sept|Oct] at not being provided background information on honorary-degree recipients in the story on Commencement [“Gazetteer,” July|Aug]. Surely a renowned university such as Penn can find space within this historic award-winning magazine to list the academic degrees and educational accomplishments of those persons being especially “honored” at Commencement.
School abbreviations and earned degrees are listed in every issue [see page 93 in this one, for example. —Ed.] and tell a compelling story themselves. Ironically, there’s plenty of full-page space highlighting effusive “Hurrahs” for the Red and the Blue, but limited space for honorary-degree bios. Why award them anyway? Were he alive, the original Gazette publisher, Benjamin Franklin, would be aghast!
E. F. Michael Morgan C’64 Springfield, NJ