Letters to the Editor

Summer 2016

Congratulations on the latest issue of The Grinnell Magazine. It has the look, feel, and editorial judgment of a magazine that I want to read from cover to cover with good surprises on almost every page.

The double page spread is a beautiful example of eco-friendly printing. One small suggestion: Use the adjectival form of “pertaining to all things Grinnell” — which is Grinnellish. Save Grinnellian for references to “Grinnell people.” Now that is so Grinnellish.

Old English majors never die. We just parse away.

- Mark Schorr ’66

I was disappointed that The Grinnell Magazine showcased the series of prints entitled “All Hands on Deck” in its Spring 2016 publication. The hands-up mantra was shown through eyewitness accounts as well as the grand-jury testimony to be a total fabrication, to such an extent that even Obama’s sympathetic Justice Department didn’t deem it worth pursuing.

From the grand-jury testimony: “… Brown then reached into the SUV through the open driver’s window and punched and grabbed Wilson.” “Brown used his right hand to grab and attempt to control Wilson’s gun.” “… Brown’s hand was within inches of the muzzle of Wilson’s gun when it was fired.” “… Brown was moving toward Wilson when Wilson shot him.” “… [W]itnesses describe Brown then dropping his hands and ‘charging’ at Wilson.”

Tragically, a decent and honest police officer will never be able to work in his profession any longer due to this fabrication.

- Rich Bohm ’86

Spring 2016

I was the SGA [Student Government Association] social coordinator my senior year starting in the fall of 1976. Pat Irwin ’77
 and the late Dan Hexter ’77 were concert chairmen, and we managed a robust budget of $37,500 for the year to book bands for South Lounge parties, cultural weekends, and in Roberts Theatre. Georgia Dentel was an absolute genius at stretching that budget and getting acts at incredible prices. If Dan and Pat wanted a band, Georgia would not only book that concert for Grinnell, she would create a mini-tour for the band at two other colleges, get a reduced price for us, and of course mandate that our show would be on Saturday night. Her strategy for booking groups when they were on the cusp of stardom was legendary, and her network of former Grinnell students in the business, agents, and people she charmed provided her edge. 

But that is not even half of the story. I spent hours and hours on the phone with Georgia discussing politics, classes, music, and my family. She remembered every detail, and at graduation time I really wanted her to meet my dad. Georgia rarely met with us in person but finally agreed on her terms, sitting behind the wheel in her vintage 1964 Ford Falcon for a fast getaway.

I remember the open forum in September of 1976 well, as I spoke on her behalf representing the SGA. I said, “Georgia Dentel plays an integral role in shaping the ‘Grinnell Experience.’ Her dedication to the College and its students’ education cannot be distilled to a line item in a budget.”

- Robert Render ’77

Could someone compile a chronology of everyone Georgia Dentel brought to Grinnell and publish it in the magazine? I loved the story about her, although my faith in humanity took another hit when I learned she was almost fired once and was reduced to part-time once.

- Liz Rosen Kroin ’80

I enjoyed the Bob Greenberg ’80 memory in the “Prompted” section of your Winter 2015 Grinnell Magazine edition about The Police playing in the old Darby as the “hottest band in New Wave” at that time. Little remembered is that The Police that 
night were a mere warm-up band for another New Wave band, Ultravox, a band still in place today. Great times!

- Mark McAllister ’81

As a political junkie, I was excited to read the article in the [Winter 2015] magazine about the development of the Iowa caucuses as a force to be reckoned with and the participation by Grinnellians in them over the years. I remember being encouraged to attend the 1984 caucus by my political science professor and delighted in seeing democracy in action, as well as several of my instructors all gravitating toward the candidates I had hunches they would.

The magazine article seemed to focus preponderantly on Republican candidates and activists, which seemed a mite strange to me, as I recall the campus, even during the Reagan landslide reelection year, as being overwhelmingly Democratic. I realize that such was not always the case, and it warmed my heart to see President Jimmy Carter adorning the cover of the magazine, and to my recollection much of the recent political history of the scarlet and black has been solidly blue. Were there no alumni actively involved in Democratic politics? I shudder to think of the Grinnell Left as abandoning its verve.

 

- John Wetterholt ’86

I cannot believe your photo of a very disliked person [Jimmy Carter] on the front cover. How disgusting!

- Diana Bentley Brown ’58

Fall 2015

I really enjoyed the article on liberal arts in prison (Summer 2015). Could you, though, publish an article in your next edition on how Grinnell’s students and faculty show their social activism by offering courses to the victims of those incarcerated at the Newton Correctional Facility?

- Rich Bohm ’86

Your story about the Read residents who kept their friendship alive via a round-robin letter (Spring 2015) inspired me to recall another gang of devoted Grinnell buddies who lived in Haines Hall when it was still exclusively a women’s residence. They called themselves the Haines Hall Hellers, and though they were graduated in 1949, they still manage to keep in touch, albeit by less formal means. The modern-day Hellers exchange Christmas cards and meet occasionally when the opportunity permits, and I think most will recall the tune they used to sing, with or without provocation, on weekend evenings in the Haines Hall lounge.

Sung to the tune of “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet,” the lyrics went as follows:

Oh, we’re the Haines Hall Hellers,

The pride of all the fellers,

We’re a hunk of heaven in your arms.

Oh, you can’t deny it, boys,

You’ve got to try it,

Try a Haines Hall Heller’s charms!

The most recent get-together of a majority of this charming group — I married one of them — was at Jeannette Mallison James ’49’s condo on Sanibel Island, Fla., a few years ago.

- Dave Leonard ’49

Although the cover for the summer Grinnell Magazine is spectacular, the photo which truly caught and held my attention was the alligator and Julie Appel Glavin ’74 on Page 37. That is now my all-time favorite photo. Brave or death-defying?  

- Carol Jensen Phelps ’57