Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2001

Retired professor still likes to teach his former students

January 7, 2001


Well, I'm off on another of those efforts to tell a few things to you former students, some of whom actually graduated from Kansas University. I don't really know much about that university any more. Yes. I read the Journal-World. The Endowment Association publications, in all their splendor, regularly arrive. Most of the names in The Oread mystify me. If there's a "Monday Memo" in the School of Journalism I no longer see it.

Once a week, or less, I go to KANU to put my radio show onto a tape (or maybe a computer). Once again I'm interviewing for the retirees' organization, now known, ostentatiously, as the Endacott Society. I read weekly (at late weakly) for Audio Reader.

We were in the Union recently to price things for Christmas. Wow. Across the street from the Adams Center is a new parking garage. It's so fancy that Louis XIV would have felt comfortable there. And you should try following the buses up Indiana or across the campus.

I'm sure that Chancellor Hemenway is still in charge; I see his picture frequently. And have you had enough griping? This year I went to a couple of functions of the School of Journalism. I know few of the people there these days, and I swear that I've had no real conversations with any who have arrived in recent years. It was gratifying to see a few old friends (former students) at the big bash the Daily Kansan had.

Who's there that you knew? Well, Susanne Shaw, but I haven't talked with her in months. Dana Leibengood helps out on Foundation stuff. I have talked with Tom Eblen. Diane Lazzarino? No. I go up to see my old pal Cheryl Klug, who types interviews for me. Parking behind the J-school is nearly impossible.

Some of you heard from me at Christmas time, but a column like this takes the place of those eight-page, single-spaced epics I used to send out. A number of you do write, and I see some of you, including folks at the J-W.

I had knee surgery in March, arthroscopic, and I was doing well into the night after the surgery until I stepped, barefoot, onto a sliver of glass that eventually penetrated my heel an inch.

A week after the knee surgery I had to have heel surgery, and I was using a cane into the summer months.

You don't know about my recent adventure. On Dec. 9 I fell down the stairs from our kitchen to the basement. I broke only one tiny self-healing bone, but, as the doctor puts it, I really beat up the tissues. You should see my bruises. No, I'm too modest. I walked with a walker and then with a cane but right now I'm walking quite well without such contrivances. But many bruises and swellings remain.

Fortunately, with Christmas coming, I had the cards addressed, outdoor lights up, and many packages wrapped. My wife thinks I survived the fall because I drink a lot of milk. I think it may be because I'm so saintly.

We see our children, though the grandchildren now tower above us. On Dec. 30 Mark had a fine dinner for Carolyn's 50th birthday, and a lot of folks were on hand. Kathy flew down from Chicago, and she and Greg had been here in October. Carolyn turned 50, but her parents will turn 80 in this year of 2001.

We had two splendid trips in 2000. We went west, across Colorado to the Four Corners, through Monument Valley, visiting the Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, the Escalante Grand Staircase Monument so many in Utah opposed, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, and to St. George, to visit Nola's brother and his wife and two dear friends from college days. Then up through Utah and to the Pickett family reunion at Lava Hot Springs in Idaho. In St. George bad news arrived; my beloved brother Alan had died in Phoenix. I really miss that guy.

In September we flew to Oslo, Norway, went to Bergen by way of train and a ship through a fjord, boarded a ship that took us up to Kirkenes, on the border with Russia, and back, through many fjords, visiting a glacier area, and one night seeing the Northern Lights. A magnificent journey, one I commend to you.

Like you we suffered through the election and the five-week aftermath. I do not apologize to any of you for saying that having George W. Bush in the White House is no cause for rejoicing. Warren G. Harding was my first president. Lordy, Dubya may be my last. What that guy could do would make Bill's liaison with Monica seem like a truly trivial matter.

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