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Open Forum

Five Years Later

Thank you to Rachel Carr Goodrich ’90 for her selfless act of sharing her Sept. 11 tragedy with our community [“Five Years Later,” Fall 2006]. She is one of the bravest women I have ever encountered, and I thank her for reliving that day in order for all of us to learn more about our own lives.
Laura Ordway ’93
Bridgton, Maine

I recently retired from United Airlines, so your touching piece “Five Years Later,” particularly the accounts of Rachel Carr Goodrich ’90 and J.J. Cummings ’89, grabbed my attention. You are to be congratulated for recognizing the events of Sept. 11, certainly the most impactful day of our lives, much like Pearl Harbor Day was for our parents. As a United employee, the day that saw us lose two airplanes within an hour and experience all of the ramifications and fallout, including a three-year bankruptcy and untold personal and professional suffering by many, remains very vivid. I would like to give Rachel a hug — I feel her horrific loss — and Cmdr. Cummings, a high five.
Alan B. Wayne ’60
Los Angeles

It is disgusting that J.J. Cummings ’89 wrote the names of people killed on Sept. 11 onto the first bombs he dropped on Afghanistan [“A Fighter Pilot’s Bottom Line,” Fall 2006]. He claims he wrote the names not in the spirit of revenge but rather to let their families know someone was thinking about them “over there.” Yet I imagine the families also found that act to be a completely inappropriate way to commemorate their sons. Regardless of the Taliban’s crimes, it is no justification for bombing innocent civilians in the U.S.’s illegal invasion of Afghanistan. Surely there are other members of our class who have done noteworthy and important things that can be featured in the magazine and who better represent the spirit and educational standards of Bates.
Andrea Nightingale ’89
Edinburgh, Scotland

Just One Word: Plastics

I was disappointed to see your article on Poland Spring [“Water Power,” Fall 2006] not acknowledge the environmental disaster that the bottled water fad has created. It’s not the amount of water extracted. It’s the millions of plastic bottles and additional pollution from transportation created. A few minutes drinking from a plastic bottle means a thousand years in a landfill — for something totally unnecessary.
Matt Pearson P’10
Irvington, N.Y.

Coincidentally, the Fall issue also included a profile of Marge Davis ’76, a bottle-bill advocate in Tennessee. “It’s true that many conservationists regard bottled water as an environmental con job,” she tells me. “The national PET plastic recycling rate is less than 20 percent, and it’s that high only because four bottle-bill states, including Maine, cover noncarbonated water. It would be fabulous if Poland Spring would buck the trend [of big beverage companies opposing bottle bills] and support bottle bills. But their distributors would crucify them. That’s how this whole opposition network to bottle bills holds together — retailers, bottlers, and distributors all speak with one voice.” — Editor

Convo Bravo

Brava to President Hansen — a super Convocation address that couldn’t have been better [“How Do You Do?” Fall 2006 and online at www.bates.edu/x149996.xml]. And congratulations on the excellent job you are doing; with five daughters I love to see a woman succeed and knock ’em dead. Best wishes from a member of the Class of ’52.
Anthony W. Orlandella ’52
Dana Point, Calif.

Thoughts on Tag

How saddened I was to read of the death of John Tagliabue [Fall 2006]. Dr. Tag, as we all called him, was unique — and he’d be the first to remind you that that adjective can take no modifiers! Memories flood my mind: the hours spent at his and Grace’s home during the United Nations of Poetry meetings; going to his 8 a.m. class (and who wouldn’t have gotten up that early to have a Dr. Tag class?) after a long night of either studying or BSing, and feeling that we’d have to scrape him off the ceiling, his having flown there on the wings of his passion for the written and spoken word. I always left the class more awake and inspired than when I crept in. However, most of all I remember being a part of the presentation of his opus called, if I remember correctly, Pescatore Pucillo, an allegorical series of puppet plays about an Italian fisherman and his adventures. I was a puppeteer and was enthralled, delighted, and proud to have participated in such an experience.

He marched to a different drummer than many of his contemporaries, and I, for one, loved the clarion call of his trumpet celebrating life, love, and triumph in a world not all that friendly to those who march to a different beat.  

Henry Seigel ’68
Philadelphia, Pa.

The Crossroads

Bates Magazine never fails to move me as I read it cover to cover: the subject matter, the words, the pictures (Phyllis Graber Jensen!), the layout. It makes me feel fortunate and connected to the people within the pages and, therefore, the school that is our crossroads. You have deepened my appreciation for the world and the people in it who make it better by the way they live, and, by the way, got their undergrad degrees at the same place I did!
Greg Shea ’64
Topsham, Maine

Party Foolhardy

While attending a wonderful evening of Mary Oliver’s poetry at Bates last fall, I was saddened to read The Bates Student news story about students being hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning at an ’80s party. As a college DJ for the British Invasion, I appreciate the nostalgia for a decade that brought us everything from Psychedelic Furs to Prince. But I was dismayed that 20 years later, the College has permitted a legacy of partying, poor judgment, and social irresponsibility. My reaction is not “holier than thou,” as I took advantage of the leniency on campus when it came to laws about alcohol and grass. The shame is that Bates has apparently not improved educating students about alcohol consumption. More importantly, Bates should ascertain why so many students need or want to get smashed. Maybe this is projection, but I for one would have been grateful to have a mature member of the Bates community intervene and ask me to at least consider what was driving my enthusiasm for alcohol overconsumption. The underlying concern that mature members of the campus community should have is to go to every measure necessary to prevent activities from deteriorating to the point where ambulances are needed.
Lisa V. Blake ’88
Bowdoin, Maine

From Tedd Goundie, dean of students: Bates strives to educate students about alcohol, and we put significantly more resources and energy into this endeavor today than 20 years ago. Sadly, as Bates and every other U.S. college knows, the problem of alcohol abuse is complex and cannot be solved by any one approach. Bates oversees a range of programs and policies around issues of alcohol, and we do not shield students from the law or from the consequences of their own behavior. We also focus on the big picture. As Bates moves forward with new facilities projects, including new student housing, we have grounded the programming and design, in part, in the desire to improve the way students learn and socialize outside of the classroom.

Shoe on the Wrong Foot

I love your magazine and read it cover to cover. However, I found some errors in the Fall issue. The shoe toss did not end in 1970 [Scene Again, “Eshoeing a Tradition”]. I am Class of 1975, and in fall 1971 we had shoe dates. Also, in Class Notes for 1972, there was mention that Carol Stark is on a three-year mission to Australia. Unfortunately, in the previous issue you ran her obituary. I went to high school with Carol, and thought she was a wonderful person. Wish she were only in Australia. Oh well, better editing next time.
Faith Minard Blatt ’75
Bedford, N.H.

Bates Makes Waste?

Regarding the recently concluded Campaign for Bates, I earmarked my donation to the Bates Green Energy Program and found the glossy 90-page paper report listing the names of our fellow donors somewhat wasteful. I am proud of what the campaign netted and believe the College should promote its accomplishments. But there are other ways to report College updates — the BatesNews e-newsletter is a perfect way to combine creative thinking with a sense of modesty. Also, despite trumpeting the Bates egalitarian philosophy throughout, the Wider Horizon report contains little concrete information about the College’s efforts to promote diversity and address issues of access and affordability. In the future, when Bates reports or reflects on concluded campaigns, I hope to hear details about what ideas and programs did and did not help the college make progress in fulfilling its egalitarian principles.
Michael M. McCarthy ’01
Baltimore, Md.

Safe Decision

Praise to Bates Magazine for the direct and non-sensational reporting on the athletic and personal triumphs of Keelin Godsey ’06 [“If He Had a Hammer,” Summer 2006]. It made me especially proud of Bates when Godsey stated in his interview that “Bates seemed like a comfortable environment” in which to begin the accepted protocol for becoming transgendered. As the nation continues an often-divisive and negative debate about the rights of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered citizens, it is inspiring to read that the Bates College community was a place where Keelin Godsey felt safe to begin this major step in the lifelong process of his true self-actualization. Thanks to editor Jay Burns and sports information director Andy Walter for the excellent coverage, and most especially to Keelin Godsey for sharing his powerful and affirming story. Such stories reveal the best of the Bates of today to the College’s alumni.
Rol Risska ’73
San Francisco, Calif.


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