October 8, 2003: Letters
Letter Box Online
PAW welcomes letters. We may edit them for length,
accuracy, clarity, and civility.
Returning to campus for my 15th reunion five years ago, I remember crossing Lake Carnegie as the sun set. It was Friday, and I ended up parking in the same lot where I had parked my AMC Matador senior year. I walked up the hill past my freshman dorm in New New Quad, instinctively looking to see which friends lights were on. I checked in at headquarters, bought my orange beer band, and stayed up til 2 a.m. with a bunch of hockey players I had never known in school.
I crashed in my assigned Witherspoon single and woke to the sound of dumpsters being emptied. I took a shower with leftover soap and got scalded when somebody flushed. I attended an art history lecture, an alumni-faculty forum, and visited my carrel on C floor in Firestone. I listened to close harmony in the arches and wandered through Prospect Garden. I walked silently through the Chapel, where I had asked for help when it looked as if finishing my senior thesis was impossible. I tried to visit my sophomore room with the great window seat in Little, but the strange metal door was locked. Old friends arrived, but I ended up staying up past midnight with new ones telling glory day stories, some even true.
Saturday I hiked with Outdoor Action, watched my old roommate play ultimate Frisbee, did the fun run in tennis shoes, ate at the class luncheon, marveled at old crushes, and marched in the P-rade. That night I played beer pong at Colonial and danced until dawn at Tiger. I waded in the Woo School fountain just like after finals, and one more time yelled 1901 blows from Henrys first entry. I walked on the golf course behind Princeton Inn and remembered stealing kisses in the moonlight. At six oclock in the morning I found myself at the WaWa buying coffee instead of cookies and ice cream. I held the door for a pretty alumna back for her 10th and vowed to meet her there again in five years. After breakfast on Nassau Street, friends loaded me with more coffee and sent me home having pulled yet another Princeton all-nighter.
You see, I hadnt been sure Id make it to my 15th. Eight months after my 10th, I was diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer. After surgery and chemotherapy, I was in remission then, and now they say Im cured.
For a long time I thought about my promise to meet the alumna at the WaWa. My 20th found me, however, asleep at six on Sunday in a hotel room on Route 1 with my wife and three kids.
Life, like Reunions, is mostly about just showing up. But sometimes life, like Reunions, is about growing up as well.
Bill Plonk 83
President Tilghmans Commencement address had a glaring omission in her description of public service. She stated: Public service comes in many forms it can involve positions in local, state, or federal government or international agencies, volunteer service in your communities and schools, participation in charitable or other nonprofit organizations, or speaking out for the interests of others or of the community at large. Evidently, devoting oneself to the protection of our country by joining the military is no longer considered a form of public service. Having recently joined the ranks of our nations volunteer fighting forces, I find her remarks discouraging.
Jonathan Ophardt 03
Your June 4 From the Archives photo, of a 19th-century tennis player, reminded me of the interesting relationship of tennis coach Mercer Beasley and Frank Parker. Beasley coached the Tiger netters to undefeated seasons in 1933, 1934, and 1938 and to Eastern intercollegiate championships in 1933, 1938, and 1941. He was inducted posthumously into the College Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001. Beasley had tutored Frank since he was 12 years old, and Beasleys second wife, Katherine Brown, had served, according to the Milwaukee Journal, practically [as] a foster mother to her husbands protégé.
But Katherine was closer in age to Parker than to Beasley, and in 1938 she divorced Beasley to wed the 22-year-old Parker, who would go on to win national singles titles in 1944 and 1945.
Beasley said after the wedding that he had learned of the relationship a year earlier. Both came to me and told me in my own house that they were in love, said Beasley. They said the romance had been going on for three years. Frank would celebrate the silver anniversary of his wedding to his foster mother, and the marriage would continue until Katherines death years later. Frank died in 1999.
Brad Bradford 44
I am sure Richard Golden 60 is disappointed that his daughter recently was denied admission to Princeton (Letters, June 4), but his proposed solution the automatic admission of all legacies who can do the work is utterly indefensible.
Why should Princeton give preference to legacies at all? Admission to Princeton is a precious commodity and should be reserved for those students deemed most deserving by a variety of criteria. A university committed to serving the nation and even the world must jettison the parochialism of legacy admits.
Davison M. Douglas 78
I was appalled at Richard Golden 60s assertion that if it can be ascertained that the student can do the work, there should be an automatic acceptance of legacies to Princeton. The obvious fallacy in Mr. Goldens logic lies in simple math procreation tends to be exponential rather than linear but the more insidious threat lies in the extrapolation of his vision. Automatically admitting legacies over others would, in a few short generations, rob Princeton of the very resource that makes it such a fascinating, heady, and prestigious place to study the best and brightest student minds from around the world. It would also help ensure still fewer places for those students from racially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
I understand the argument that it is important to the Universitys financial strength to consider children of alums in a separate category; however, it is crucial to the Universitys intellectual strength and long-term reputation to continue to enroll the brightest and most diverse student body possible. By virtue of graduating from the University, Princeton students have access to power, wealth, and leadership positions far beyond the reach of others. To that end, the University has a responsibility to society and to its alums to continue to educate the best students from every walk of life.
Amanda F. Ableidinger *02
In response to the suggestion of Mr. Golden 60 to have automatic admission for those children of alumni who can do the work, I thought the divine right of kings (and queens) ended some time ago.
Henry J. Oechler Jr. 68