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Alternative rock bands?
Political comix replete with four-letter words? Ahh, Obie, your tradition is still alive! Sounds like our recent alums and my late ’60s contemporaries have a lot in common.
Richard Zitrin ’68
San Francisco, Calif.

Finally! An Oberlin Alumni Magazine issue that I feel in part represents me! Thanks for including David Rees and the Oberlin rocks article. It was very important to me that
anti-national political opinion was expressed in a few places. Most Obies were probably against the war for some time. Yes?
Patricia Neighbor ’99
Portland, Ore.

The piece on David Rees in the spring issue was wonderful. It reminds me a little of the old Mummers shows back in ’42. It was hilarious, irreverent, mordantly scatological, and just what the country needs right now. It is wonderful to know that Oberlin is still Oberlin (under God, of course) and makes me proud to say, “That’s where I went to
college, and that’s why I went there.”
James K. Sunshine ’49
Tiverton, R.I.

It’s great that New York City’s foaming rock scene is packed with Obies, but the article omitted some of the key Obies in the 1990s who led the way. Vivian Trimble ’85 was the keyboard player in Luscious Jackson, a great New York band in the mid ’90s. I recall bumping into Vivian when she was doing a record signing at a hard-core music store in Atlanta around 1995. And Dan Zanes, who I knew in my first year at Oberlin in 1980-81, led the Del Fuegos and other bands in the 1980s and ’90s. Both are listed in the Ultimate Band List at www.ubl.com.
Josh Gonze ’84
Santa Fe, N.M.


...and Rants

I mean, even The New Yorker prints the f-word. As interesting as I found your story on David Rees, I think that journalistic integrity would demand that you not run the story unless you can give full respect to the sensibility that your subject brings to his art, including the vernacular that he chooses to represent that sensibility.
Richard Blumberg ’58
Cincinnati, Ohio

The picture on the last cover emphasizes everything second-rate about rock and roll—the messiness, noise, and ugliness. This is not the Oberlin I knew when I returned for five years from 1985 through 1990. The Conservatory was better than ever, with more exceptional students studying the great composers and play-ing their works with respect and expertise. The editor grants a few inches to Robert Spano ’83 conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra and six pages to the rock bands originating in Oberlin and making a hit in New York City. Which is more interesting to more alums? Please, do not let Oberlin be degraded in this way.
Dorothy Reavy Shibley ’35
Englewood, Colo.

I have always been proud that I earned my degree from the Conservatory in the department of music education. Even though New York City thinks that Oberlin rocks, the spring cover was a poor image of such a prestigious music school as Oberlin. I was pleased, however, that the excellent review of the book Invasion was included, so all was not lost.
Shirley Mooney Sherwood ’43
Englewood, Colo.


Required Reading

I was pleased to see the detailed and fair-minded review of Invasion by Michelle Malkin ’92 in the spring issue. This book is indeed essential reading, as the reviewer states. Malkin must be the most noteworthy journalist Oberlin has produced in decades, and it is good that this review of her book will bring it to the attention of alumni.
Roland Hirsch ’61
Germantown, Md.


Continuing The Legacy

Thanks for the story “Family Tree, Oberlin Roots” in the spring issue. At your invitation, I’d like to note my family’s Oberlin ties, which date to 1918. In that year, my uncle Samuel Esseks arrived in Oberlin with three friends by train from Brooklyn, New York. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he was steered to Oberlin by a high-school teacher. While pursuing his studies, he played basketball, worked in a tailor shop, helped to found the Menorah Society, and met his future wife, Wilma Dixon Esseks. Three of their four children—Janice ’47, William ’56, and John ’60— graduated from Oberlin, as did their nephew, Allan Shepp ’48, and granddaughter, Hope Keller ’79. While I grew up surrounded by Oberlin cousins and cousins-by-marriage, my closest Oberlin inspiration was my brother, Robert Tittler ’64. Ten years my senior, he introduced me to such Obie traditions as Gilbert and Sullivan (via Highfield, where my future sister-in-law, Anne Tittler Kelso ’64, performed), mock conventions, co-ops, and a stream of fascinating students who visited our New York home during vacations. While still in grade school, I received a strong awareness of social issues through his Oberlin activities, which included teaching an elderly gentleman to read. I attended Oberlin 10 years later, in a very different era. Civil-rights marches and mock conventions gave way to antiwar demonstrations and growing ecological awareness. As I had hoped, I found the Oberlin concern for social justice strong and active, and the academic climate challenging and nurturing. Although I do not know what events will shape her Oberlin experience, I am proud that my daughter, Emily Feingold ’07, will deepen our Oberlin roots. She first set foot on campus at my 25th reunion in 1999 and found the blend of alumni memories and future musical and liberal arts possibilities intoxicating. As she made her way through high school with her Oberlin enthusiasm blazing, I insisted that she discover Oberlin for herself, rather than solely as a reflection of family tradition. When my husband and I accom- panied her last September to interview and stay overnight with a host student, she turned to me in front of the art museum and declared, “Mom, I feel as if I already go here!” Proof enough! Continuing the tradition, we will see you in the fall.
Nancy Tittler ’74
Binghamton, N.Y.