What a joy to see the Oberlin magazine so well designed. Congratulations—and thanks.
R.O. Blechman ’52
R.O. Blechman is a noted illustrator, cartoonist, animator, and children’s book author whose famously squiggly lined work regularly appears in—and on the cover of—the New Yorker. Among his many honors are an Emmy Award (and another nomination), a film exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, a masters series exhibit at the School of Visual Arts, and the National Cartoonists Society Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. The OAM last wrote about him in the Winter 2009-10 issue.
I applaud the Obies featured (“Lifelong Learners, Lifelong Athletes,” Summer 2013) because they set an inspirational example for us all, especially septuagenarians, octogenarians, and—why not?—nonagenarians. I am invigorated by a regimen of cycling, hiking, tennis, squash, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and weight lifting and urge all Obies to take to heart the sage advice in that article. At the age of 64 (still a kid to the Obies in your article), I became certified as a squash coach, in part to pass on the exhilarating benefits of exercise to future generations. So, as soon as you finish reading this edition of OAM, get some exercise, and keep it up on a regular basis! No matter what your age, you’ll feel better for it.
Stewart Edelstein ’73
The spring issue of Oberlin’s magazine (The Food Issue) reminded me, with its emphasis on vegetables, of a favorite lunch served to co-ed diners at May Cottage pre-World War II. Mrs. Vera Lock sat at the head table. As we came in from Finney on an overcast Oberlin day, we had lots to talk about. Chapel was just over; it wasn’t chapel as much as an assembly to hear speakers ranging from Jan Masaryck of Czechoslovakia to Grove Patterson of the Toledo Blade and many of our own professors and musicians. Altogether my favorite subject! Plates of hot “man in a bathtub” were a welcome sight. We relished the acorn squash, baked in halves, skin and seeds intact, a small link of sausage the only addition. Rather than paring the squash, cutting it up, boiling or steaming those pieces a good 20 minutes, then draining, mashing, adding butter and cream, and finally serving with a slice of roast pork to which it would be mere accompaniment along with the applesauce, the cook at May Cottage let the squash become the star.
Alice Rice Laitner x’43
Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.
Belatedly I concur with the several writers pushing for divestment from fossil fuel giants (Letters, Spring 2013). We really are staring at a now unavoidable environmental disaster, and truth be known, money is all it’s about. I believe the college cannot really pride itself on its “green” local environment if it remains invested in oil, gas, and coal to any significant degree in the larger world.
Peter Thompson x’62
I was moved to respond to the letter from Raymond Oliver ’57 (Letters, Spring 2013). As the daughter (of Jo Anne Steinheimer ’55), sister (of Elizabeth Wright ’80 and Kennedy Wright ’86), sister-in-law (of Julie Kaufman ’80 and Nicki Belfiore ’86), wife (of Tom Linder ’78), and aunt (to Micah Kaufman Wright ’13) of Oberlinians, I have nothing but the deepest respect for the breed. However, as a 1982 graduate of Swarthmore, I must point out that, contrary to Mr. Oliver’s assertion, we have in fact been known to call ourselves “Swatties,” although the vast majority do prefer the more dignified “Swarthmorons.”
Jennifer L. Wright
I couldn’t agree more with Raymond Oliver in deploring the word “Obie.” I was in the class before Oliver, and I have no memory of its being in use at that time. Is it possible to find out when this obnoxious term was first written (I doubt it was spoken) and how it came into constant use? I recently received a thank you note from the Alumni Association for my annual contribution on behalf of all “Obies.” I ripped it in two. There is a Broadway Award called the “Obie,” and that alone ought to make us avoid the silly term. Ich bin ein Oberliner! President Krislov’s “Oberlinian” is also acceptable—although one more syllable than the lingo of college boosterism may be able to manage.
William Vance ’56
In the story on elderly athletes in our last issue, we placed senior athlete Ann B. Stevens ’55 in the not-so-senior Class of ’69 (the class year of a different Ann Stevens), and we apologize to Ann Stevenses everywhere (although we believe Ann B. Stevens ’55 could beat much of the class of ’69 in arm wrestling and all of it in swimming). We also changed the name of Kevin Jackson ’04, one of our young entrepreneurs from the Oberlin Business Scholars article, to “Keith.” Kevin wrote in to explain charitably that we had spelled his name wrong rather than getting it wrong altogether.