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Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 145 W. Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH 44074-1023
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"Even a Horse Masseuse!"

The August issue finally hit the correct stride to appeal to most of us who are beyond academic or athletic competition. You took notice of why an alumnus died. Also, sincemost of us are non-achievers, unpublished, and unheralded, it heartens us immensely to feel our college now admits taxi drivers, dorm janitors, and farmers helpers among its graduates. Even a horse masseuse! The diversity is fascinating. Oberlin has come of age to actually boast of these student/alumni pursuits, rather than to brag about how many books, awards, medals, and fellowships its instructors, students, and grads have garnered.

My point: democracy needs humanities-educated, capable, curious, health-oriented workers to survive, literally survive. We need an American society where taxi drivers don't rape and/or rob nubile, college-age female passengers or the elderly. Dorms and institutions need clean, safe buildings, cared for by ethical, thorough caretakers. Organic and natural farming, which uses biological pesticides and fertilizers as much as possible, needs all the help Oberlin Co-op students can offer. The healthy survival of our country's children depends on a non-synthetic, chemical-free, sustainable agriculture.

It is encouraging to know that Co-oppers help a 70-plus year-old farmer with his harvest, just as it was nice to read that my Oberlin successors played at the St. Petersburg Palace for the ghost of Nicholas III and also a live Russian audience. Most of all I envied the London program students hiking in Dartmoor. Hooray for diversity!

Connie Goldsworthy Schwarzkopf '56
Stow, Massachusetts

Gilbert & Sullivan Redux

I know that corrections are to be regretted, and corrections to corrections even more so. But speaking as a colleague (I'm the entertainment editor at The New York Times Syndicate), I think that one is justified in this case.

On page 53 of your August issue, a correction summarizing the history of the Gilbert & Sullivan Players ends: "The group continued to flourish until 1975, after which student theater was no longer allowed to use the Hall Auditorium main stage."

A reasonable reader might conclude from this that the group no longer flourished thereafter. As you probably know from occasional coverage in your magazine, however, this is not the case.

The Players did indeed dissolve in the 1970s, but was reestablished in 1981 (I had the honor of being one of the new edition's founders). Since then it has performed continuously for 18 years, performing primarily in Wilder Hall (and also in July 1996 under my own direction at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Philadelphia), and is well on its way to matching the original group's 26-year run.

I have had the pleasure of seeing several of the group's productions in recent years, most recently "The Gondoliers" in Spring 1999 (revived for Commencement as well), and can report that it seems to be flourishing as much as ever. "The Yeomen of the Guard" was staged this fall, and I daresay it was outstanding.

It would be a pity if your readers, especially those with Gilbert & Sullivan Players affiliations of their own, were led to believe that this long-standing Oberlin tradition had ended in 1975.

Gayden Wren '83
Garden City, NY
Co-op Quiche

I very much enjoyed Adam Kowit's article on the Oberlin co-ops and local food in the August issue. I was at Pyle Inn from 1951-1953, serving as assistant buyer and manager the second year. I was also a member of the short-lived Oberlin co-op mini supermarket. It's great to see how the co-ops have flourished at Oberlin. By the way, I'd love to have the recipe for that roasted veggy quiche.

Carl Scovel '53
Boston, MA
Editor's note: So would we. I'll work on it.
"Controversy Continues"

Let me see if I understand this...Oberlin College has a long history and tradition of helping the Chinese people. Many persons have gone to China as missionaries or volunteers--religious and otherwise.

In 1900, The Boxer rebellion, led by some of the Chinese people, resulted in attacks on Christians and "Europeans" (non-Asiatics). Some of the Oberlin workers in China were killed by the Boxers.

At Oberlin, people who mourned the loss of their friends in China raised funds and erected a memorial in the memory of their deaths. A hundred years later, present students and administration are attempting to denigrate the memorial, which they cannot understand.


Philip F. DeShong '40
Beaumont, Texas
Editor's note: Oberlin administrators support free political expression of all students, without judgement, and did not intervene in this case.
On Behalf of the Wordsmiths

Referring to Sandra Ward's letter in the August issue, the word Professor Bongiorno used on her term paper must have been "supererogatory," meaning "observed or performed to an extent not enjoined or required," according to my Webster's Collegiate. I could not find her version, "superogatory," quoted in her letter, in any of several dictionaries I consulted.

Jane Lose Eddy '47
Oberlin, Ohio