Letters to the Editor

Summer 2017

Along with various things I would do differently were I to return to my days at Grinnell (1965–69), I can now add participation in women’s sports. I never thought of myself as an athlete and had no awareness of the opportunities available to women at that time. It was a major achievement for me to flounder across the pool for the swim test!

In my sixties, I began to dance and play tennis and have belatedly realized that I CAN be an athlete. I try not to dwell on how much better I would be now if I had begun earlier in my life. I just enjoy the experience now.

- Janet Hamilton Triplett ’69

I was delighted to read the article “Fit for Life” [Page 18, Spring 2017] about women’s sports at Grinnell before Title IX. I remember women coming in from field hockey with dirt on their uniforms and smiles on their faces. I remember women proudly wearing their Honor G sweaters. And I remember one particular moment not mentioned.

In early 1963, Grinnell’s women’s club basketball team played in the then-usual six-woman format, three forwards and three guards. Two veterans of Iowa girls’ basketball lit up the court for Grinnell. In one half, Janet Lind [Hewitt] ’63 from Argyle scored 19 points primarily turning around from free throw range. In the other half, Barb Benda [Jenkins] ’64 of Hartwick scored 19 points, mostly from what is now 3-point range.  

All of us in the crowd wished we could shoot like that! They would have fit just fine in Coach [David] Arseneault’s System if the rules had permitted them to play the whole court. 

- Steve Aldrich ’63

Received another copy of The Grinnell Magazine. I was struck by one title that I thought might actually be informative, but it proved to be just a compendium of pretty pictures.
“A Year at the Conard Environmental Research Area” [Page 22, Spring 2017] failed, miserably, in showing anything but wildflowers, skyscapes, a windmill, some geese, and … no substance as to what CERA actually IS.
How about a series of in-depth articles about one or more of the wild species of vertebrates and non-plant life that dwell therein? 
Are no Grinnell students capable of “in the real world of nature” research before the sun comes up? Is Grinnell Magazine just another “rag” for elitist socialists who can afford Grinnell’s overpriced schooling?

- Jim Greaves ’71

Students who work in the dining hall are now paid $9.25 per hour [Page 4, Winter 2016]. Sixty-six years ago when I entered Grinnell as a Younker scholar in 1951, I was required to work in the Student Union 8–10 hours weekly. The hourly wage: 40 cents. In my sophomore year I became the only statistician for the athletic teams with a 25 percent raise to 50 cents and became a lifelong friend of newly arrived Coach John Pfitsch. When I was a junior, Professor George Apostle hired fellow student Charlie Cook [’56, deceased] and me, at 60 cents, to independently solve all the problems in his new college algebra text as a check of his solutions — we found a few errors! In my senior year Professor Grant Gale hired me to grade first-year physics tests and lab reports at the phenomenal salary of 65 cents per hour. That was a 62.5 percent wage increase in three years. Not bad! 

- George Simon ’55

Students who work in the dining hall are now paid $9.25 per hour [Page 4, Winter 2016]. Sixty-six years ago when I entered Grinnell as a Younker scholar in 1951, I was required to work in the Student Union 8–10 hours weekly. The hourly wage: 40 cents. In my sophomore year I became the only statistician for the athletic teams with a 25 percent raise to 50 cents and became a lifelong friend of newly arrived Coach John Pfitsch. When I was a junior, Professor George Apostle hired fellow student Charlie Cook [’56, deceased] and me, at 60 cents, to independently solve all the problems in his new college algebra text as a check of his solutions — we found a few errors! In my senior year Professor Grant Gale hired me to grade first-year physics tests and lab reports at the phenomenal salary of 65 cents per hour. That was a 62.5 percent wage increase in three years. Not bad! 

- George Simon ’55

Spring 2017

That was a fun article about the Writing Lab in the Fall 2016 issue of The Grinnell Magazine. I remember going to the Writing Lab as a regular part of my paper-writing process at Grinnell. Mathilda Liberman was the person I most regularly inflicted myself upon, but I also had sessions with Kevin Crim and, I think, Judy Hunter. Their guidance helped me, I hope, to become a structurally-better writer, even if it took many sessions for some of their advice and comments to sink in.

- Richard Catrambone ’82

Congratulations to Katie Krainc! [Building a Baroque Violin, Page 16, Winter 2016] I have made a few fiddles and found that NO tool is the right one! It took me six hours of uninterrupted work to get one in the wrong place, after buying three or four tools advertised as being the right one.

- Eric Rinehart, father of Adam Rinehart ’98

Thank you for the article on Katie Krainc’s project, and congratulations to her on her work.

I recall that Robert Ruhl ’76, a student in the music department, built a harpsichord under the direction of Professor James Wyly in the early 1970s.

There was another student in that era who had a Watson [Fellowship] to play and record his violin in baroque churches in Italy. I forget his name and I remember that someone stole his recording equipment.

I was associate librarian at Grinnell and James Wyly was professor of music. We were on the faculty 1968–1976.

- Mary Porter Wyly ’62

Thanks to Mervat Youssef for her insight and perspective on the 2016 presidential election. I know many Trump supporters voted for “part” of what they thought they were hearing, and I know many are hoping that America is “greater” than the egotistical corporate dishonesty and pettiness to which we’ve been treated since. 

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” My forefathers fought for, and I believe in, the America to which Mervat has pledged her allegiance and is hanging on to. To the extent this new government advances social justice, responsible freedom, and economic prosperity (for all) — fundamental American values, I welcome their work. Should they continue trafficking in deceit, doubt, misdirection, and contradiction (“gaslighting”), every one of us should be prepared to correct their apprehension that “the American people don’t care,” or worse, that we’re too simple to know the difference. 

- Michael Eaton ’71

Winter 2016

I imagine that others have already pointed out a misidentified freshman class picture on Page 16 of the [Fall 2016] issue of The Grinnell Magazine. Although labeled as the class of 1957, it is actually the newly arrived (in 1957) class of 1961.

- Marc Rhoades ’61