Letters

Proud Parent
I am writing to say how much I enjoyed the summer issue of Bates Magazine, which included the President’s Report. The writing, particularly the section updating progress on the Bates Campaign, is wonderfully clear and informative. The school’s mission and plans for the future are well articulated and make me proud that my daughter selected Bates two years ago.

Martha D. Kleinman P’98
Acton, Massachusetts

Piqued by Posture Pictures
I’m writing mostly to congratulate you on the recent upgrading of the more scholarly materials in the publication. I enjoyed the photo essay and the article about Gladys Hasty Carroll ’25′s writing in the summer issue, as well as the more parochial articles, such as the role of women on the Bates campus or “Remembering Ed.” These articles open a window to me on what’s going on in the Bates world and what, perhaps, I missed as I grew up on campus.

However, I must take exception to your interpretation of the role of “posture pictures” [“Naked Bates,” summer 1996]. Lee Walmsley [longtime professor of physical education for women] was one of those people who knew me before I was, practically. I can’t believe that she was engaged in any sinister research by taking “posture pictures” of Bates women. In fact, I think she was very much aware of the health and safety of the women under her tutelage. I remember fuming into the house on the day scheduled for my first “posture picture.” I wanted no part of any such feminine undertaking. My crippled grandmother who lived with us took the brunt of my fury. “Caroline,” she said, “if this picture had been taken of me at your age, I would not be so lame and incapacitated now. The problem of one side of me being longer than the other would have been seen and corrected.” So I went, and – mirabile dictu! — one of my shoulders proved to be higher than the other! Corrective measures were prescribed. Today I am the age my grandmother was then, and, so far, I haven’t a hint of the arthritis that laid her low in her middle and declining years. I am eternally grateful to Lee Walmsley for caring so much about us all.

My new husband never ceases to marvel that I am a college-educated person and not an ardent feminist. I guess I’m more German: kinder, kirche, küche. I also believe that, as I learned from a lifetime of Bates and Maine models, that a qualified woman will rise to the top without being strident about it. I believe that I “have it,” and I can successfully complete any task — domestic, civic, or ecclesiastical — that I choose to undertake. I don’t think I need to scream and yell and protest about “equality” in order to go quietly about my competent affairs. There’s Margaret Chase Smith in my past and Susan Longley and Susan Collins, among others, in my present, who say, “Go for it — and male chauvinism be ignored!”

Caroline Buschmann Barnes ’51
Thorndike, Maine

The writer is the daughter of the late Professor of German Emeritus August Buschmann. — Editor

Much thanks (I think!) for the column in the summer Bates Magazineregarding “posture photos.” As a 1961 Bates alumna, I have for many years tried to discern as to why these photos were taken, if there wasa legitimate reason, and why none of the students (including myself) ever questioned this method of “physical” documentation.

However, no one mentioned the “lucrative” business that developed as a “side line.” Several male students were able to get hold of a number of the “hot” female silhouettes and sell them to the highest bidders on campus. Needless to say, having the name printed on the bottom of each photo added to their pricing and promotion!

My own daughters, having graduated some twenty-five years later from the same college, often wondered what was going on in the ’50s and ’60s. Can you imagine my attempted explanation for these “posture photos,” not to mention “sign-out/sign-in” books whenever we left the dorms after 7 p.m., and the famous “Blue Book” of rules for “proper young ladies”!

Joan Scott Candelmo ’61
Scarborough, Maine

The article “Naked Bates” in the summer Bates Magazine bothered me. I entered Bates in 1952 and had posture pictures taken. Yes, this event seemed embarrassing but certainly not exploitative. The 1950s were different than the 1990s and beyond.

Bates culture, in my view, did not control women in the ’50s any more than was expected and anticipated — both by students and parents — at that time.

Of course, our daughter attending college between 1986 and 1990 lived differently. Life had changed in a generation. I find it improper to judge yesterday by today’s lifestyle.

Nancy Mills Mallett ’56
Wilton, Connecticut

[Photos: the Firepond, then and now]

At top is George French’s mid-century photo of a Blue Hill blacksmith shop; the photo above shows the building’s current incarnation as the Firepond Restaurant.

French Cuisine
I was excited to see the George French ’08 photo of the Blue Hill blacksmith shop, now home of Firepond Restaurant, in the summer 1996 Bates Magazine. Meg Wilson ’98, a Bates student who lives in Blue Hill and who works at the restaurant in the summer, showed me the photo essay. The original blacksmith shop was moved to Water Street, its present location, nineteen years ago. At that time the Firepond was opened for business at the below-street level of the building. Three years ago the building came up for auction and was purchased by Amen Farm Associates and the Firepond was reopened by Craig Rodenhiser. When the restaurant reopened, it was expanded to include dining at street level as well as on the patio in the front, shown in the enclosed picture.

Tina M. Mino
General Manager, Firepond Restaurant
Blue Hill, Maine

Hochstadt’s Class
This summer I read Jay Burns’s piece about Steve Hochstadt’s course on the Holocaust. I was very pleased to learn that Steve was still teaching at Bates, challenging students to examine events that shape our world. At Bates, I had the pleasure of taking his course on the Russian Revolution. Steve’s enthusiasm, use of discussion groups, and questioning inspired me. In fact, as a professor of communication studies at the University of San Diego, I have borrowed his method of using discussion groups to explore course concepts. I am confident that Steve continues to inspire students, and am pleased Bates benefits from his presence on the faculty.

James J. Tarbox ’86
La Jolla, California
via e-mail

As a former student of Steve Hochstadt’s, I was particularly struck by the wonderful article on his Holocaust course. I am now pursuing my doctorate in modern German history at Duke, and my advisor is Claudia Koonz, one of the most popular and effective undergraduate teachers at Duke. Like Hochstadt in his course, she often tries to get students engaged by asking them to personalize their work. Although it sometimes takes a while, by the end of the semester they usually respond enthusiastically and with much more interest than is shown in the usual large lecture course. The teaching enterprise can sometimes gets a little lost in the hustle and bustle of a large research university, and my time down below the Mason-Dixon line has given me a renewed appreciation for the type of small-school atmosphere and focus on students that Bates provided in my time. I am glad to know that Bates still has professors like Steve Hochstadt and so many others who remain committed first and foremost to teaching and to their students.

Craig Pepin ’88
Durham, North Carolina
via e-mail

A friend who is an alumnus of Bates, Eric Lindell ’40, sent me the article in the summer Bates Magazine describing the Holocaust course offered at Bates. The article was very meaningful. Both the College and Professor Steven Hochstadt deserve credit for offering this important, but difficult course and teaching it in such a creative manner.

Barry D. Hartman
New Bedford, Massachusetts

The writer is rabbi of Ahavath Achim Synagogue in New Bedford. — Editor

I have thoroughly enjoyed the summer issue of the magazine, particularly for highlighting two amazing people, Professor Hochstadt and the late Edmund Muskie ’36. It reminds me of what I loved most about people at Bates: a commitment to service and idealism.

I thought that after I graduated, Bates would slip from memory as I went to divinity school, then to graduate school, then to “life.” In fact, Bates has become more and more important to me as probably the most important and formative time in my life. Please keep Bates Magazine invested in people who not only are good, but do good.

Richard P. Taylor ’91
San Francisco, California
via e-mail

Muskie Still a Hero
After reading Edmund Muskie ’36′s words in the Editor’s Note [summer 1996 Bates Magazine], I felt the urge to add my thoughts on living a democratic life — “seeking the just and right answers to problems confronting our society.” As I see it, my time at Bates and being exposed to those ideals and values demonstrated by men like Muskie have enriched my own perceptions of what an individual owes the society where he or she lives.

The strength of these values has increasingly revealed itself over the last twenty years through the challenge of being in a foreign culture while trying to live up to what I believe to be my political obligations. The belief in what a citizen owes his country varies strongly from culture to culture based on historical and cultural perceptions. Germany is very young democracy haunted by a traumatic past. I am a foreigner who cannot vote. I can and do involve myself, but have no political clout. Now why do I take the trouble? I do it because my family is here and because I think I have a voice as long as no one disproves this.

I interpret Muskie’s living a full life to mean that we must engage ourselves outside the confines of our own private lives. We were given the tools. I don’t know if everyone else does, but I still need my heroes. Macko d’Elsa (fifteen years old) was made to listen to Dean Carignan’s essay on Muskie, specifically the parts about what made him great. He may have thought, “Here she goes again, harping on this kind of stuff.” He listened though. Maybe he already realizes how few there are of these types, on this side of the Atlantic or the other.

Elizabeth Taylor d’Elsa ’70
Gauting, Germany
via e-mail

Unseen Behind the Scenes
I am writing to comment on a blurb and photo which appear on page 37 of the summer Bates Magazine.

There were four senior theater majors and two interdisciplinary majors who complete their senior thesis work on stage. The magazine only mentions the three who did acting theses, leaving out the rest of us. There were also senior theses in lighting design, costume design, and writing/directing. I am particularly hurt because Steve [Young] and Greg [Arata], whose photo is pictured, are wearing costumes I designed as part of my senior thesis. A similar situation occurred in March when the Bates Student pictured them and gave credit to their acting but failed to mention my designs. Directing and design students work just as hard as acting students and deserve equal recognition.

I hope that in the future you will pay more attention to the accuracy of your comments. I also hope that you will give more consideration to the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a space for actors to perform.

Jennifer Moore ’96
Rindge, New Hampshire

Last spring, eight seniors graduated with either theater majors or interdisciplinary majors incorporating theater: Gregory Arata, Scott Boston, Caren Frost, Margaret Hopper, Sarah Koehler, Alexander Komlosi, Jennifer Moore, and Steven Young. — Editor

Bates Science Up to Snuff
I had a chance recently to read a Bates admissions publication,Science and Mathematics at Bates, and was impressed with the scientific curriculum information. For example, I noticed that chemistry students have a GC-MS instrument for their studies. When I left Exxon, where I ran a manufacturing quality-control lab and had at least one hundred gas chromatograph analyzers of varying capability, we were just then hoping for such an instrument in the next budget cycle (1990).

Herbert T. Knight ’46
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
via e-mail

Editor’s Note
As a Bates Magazine Advisory Board member said at our first meeting last year, “Don’t do theme issues. No matter what theme you do, some people aren’t going to be interested.”Notwithstanding that advice, here is an issue with seven feature stories, all dealing with AIDS issues. The articles arose from a request for such stories in last fall’s magazine and from a series of campus events last winter called “Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities,” held to coincide with World AIDS Day, observed each December 1.

The Advisory Board member who made the remark has a point: Theme issues present a special challenge to the editors, who must present narrowly defined material in a way that makes it relevent to many readers.

While all the feature articles in this magazine address specific issues of AIDS and related issues of gender and sexuality, another theme lurks beneath the surface, one that reflects the basic culture of Bates College. In all seven stories, we see what’s good about Bates people: an understanding of the complexity of problems facing society and the spirit to cooperate with others to seek solutions together.

In Massachusetts, Bob Carr ’82 works for the state administering HIV client services, counseling, and testing. He writes about his disappointment at the politics of AIDS, that in order to secure public funding to fight the disease, the public is being frightened into believing that AIDS is a door-to-door plague.

In two other articles, Whitney Wright ’90 and Erik Mercer ’91 write about their efforts in New York City to dispel the myth among young men and women that socio-economic status can stave off the transmission of HIV.

Dancer Michael Foley ’89 writes about the personal anguish of an artist who sees physical and emotional vitality all around him turning to death, over and over, while Daniel Walsh ’74′s essay expresses the “sense of spirituality” that’s helped him deal with death and dying.

In the two concluding articles, staff writer Phyllis Graber Jensen profiles two alumnae, microbiologist Susan Adams Fiscus ’68, who has thoughts on the role of drug therapy in combatting AIDS, and psychologist Sylvia Woodaman Pollock ’63, who knows that behind every AIDS patient who seeks her help, there’s an insurance company ready to cancel coverage.

As always, readers who wish to react to magazine stories are encouraged to write a letter to the editor: Bates Magazine, 141 Nichols Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240, or e-mailmagazine@bates.edu.

H. Jay Burns
Managing Editor