history


3
Apr 24

Mediated transference

There is a time in preparing every good presentation when you have the thing well in hand. You’ve practiced it and studied the timing. You’ve considered every angle worth considering, and discard a few that were, honestly, not worth the neurological effort. And so you put it aside.

That’s where I was earlier today, and then some other ideas came to mind.

And those other ideas? When they come in, they are the worst, especially if they’re the best. This is surely why some people throw slide decks together. Better to mumble and stumble through these things, reading text as you go, than be burdened by ideas late in the cycle.

But the presentation I am presenting tomorrow must be presented with some clarity and efficiency and interest. So there is practice and re-practice and new ideas. Always the new ideas. And somewhere in the third or fourth round of practice you get the best version of the presentation.

No one but the cat and my office walls heard that version.

If there was a hall of fame for rhetorical flourish and pithy points uttered to an empty room, I would be a shoo-in candidate.

But enough about my day.

We quickly turn again to We Learn Wednesdays, and this, the 31st installment and the 52nd marker in the effort. You remember this one. I ride my bike around the county seeking out historical markers. I shot this last December in a stockpiling effort to keep the feature active during the indoor season — and I think I’m now out of that stockpile.

This is … well, you can read the signs.

Near the end of the 18th century three men, Col. Robert G. Johnson and Dr. James Van Meter and Dr. Robert Hunter Van Meter, brothers, decided the area needed a Presbyterian church. Johnson was raised Episcopal in a nearby town, but found the style of the church to be too ritualistic and ornate for his tastes. In that same town were the Van Meters, men held in high regard.

In the early years, the Episcopals had no clergy, so they invited Presbyterian ministers to preach for them. That was the arrangement between 1809 until 1820, but they were predestined to go separate ways. The 17th Article of the Church of England, the one about predestination, was at the root of it. The Presbies wanted their own church building. So, on a Tuesday morning, March 6th, 1821, the morning after James Monroe was inaugurated for his second administration down in Washington, they laid the cornerstone to their first building.

Johnson donated the land and he and the brothers Van Meter covered much of the cost of the building. The congregation expanded in 1835, and then started work on this building in July of 1854, just a few days after George Eastman, the inventor of the Kodak camera, was born in New York.

After about three years of work, including moving the bell from the old church to the new, the building was opened.

(Eventually, the bell went to the fire department.)

The church has a Hook and Hasting two manual, fifteen rank pipe organ. It was built in 1878 and installed in 1879 by the Boston firm. Air for the organ was supplied by hand pumping until 1902, when a water-driven motor was installed. They upgraded the organ again, to electricity, in 1912.

As for the men, we’ve met Robert Johnson before. He was the slave owner, historian, horticulturalist, judge and soldier, the guy with the apocryphal story about tomatoes. He died four years before this building went up. Neither of the Van Meters saw it, either.

Scottish immigrant John McArthur Jr. was the architect, a prominent figure from Philadelphia. He would later design the landmark Philadelphia City Hall, then the tallest occupied building in the world. While many of his works have been demolished, at least a dozen or so still exist.

McArthur learned his craft from a man named Thomas Ustick Walter, the fourth architect of the U.S. Capitol, who redesigned the dome and created the office wings. He would have been there the day Monroe was inaugurated, when the first cornerstone of this congregation’s first church was laid. And while his student was overseeing the construction design of this church, he was also working on his own church in Philadelphia.

Architects must keep busy. Shame so many of them don’t see the fruits of their labors. McArthur could have seen this church, but he did not live to see his masterpiece, the Philadelphia City Hall completed. He died, at 66, in 1890. The city hall was finally finished in 1910.

Now the only thing I have to do to tie this up is to find a photo from Eastman of any of these buildings. Or a letter from the Van Meter family to the Kodak people.

Wouldn’t that be a neat solution?

Failing that, how about this. Robert Van Meter and Robert Johnson, two of the founders of this church are each buried not far away, but I only just discovered that. I’ve seen the church where James Van Meter is buried. I showed it to you last September.

You can learn so much on a bike ride.

We’ll see another great marker next week. If you’ve missed any markers so far, you can find them all right here.

Today’s dose of relaxation is right here. Enjoy the zen of the California coastline. This place is so remarkable, and so ubiquitious, that there weren’t even signs offering a name. There are road signs on the Pacific Coast Highway that offer you a spot to pull over and soak in the beauty. The signs say Vista Views. And so that’s the name of this place. But, man, it needs a real name. This was majestic.

 

Elsewhere, a little slow motion of the water coming right up to your toes. If you feel the water in your socks it is likely because I felt the water in my socks and that’s called mediated transference, which, is not a thing, not in this way, not until just now, because I made it up.

Makes sense, I am a media professional steeped in the study of media effects. But look at all of that water sliding on in!

 

How long do you figure those rocks have sat there, waiting out time and wind and the water for their fate?

I have, I think, two more slow motion videos from this trip. But there are plenty of other Relax Enjoy Repeat videos still to come, not to worry.

We’re getting pretty good at dragging things out around here, aren’t we?


29
Mar 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part four

More photos, via the new desktop camera, with which I am, so far, pleased. Eventually I’ll grow more proficient with it, but, already, like a better way to transcode the ancient photos.

So here are a few more selected shots from the 1946 Glomerata. Today we’ll wrap up this volume, having shared 40 photos and just a few of the interesting stories we find therein. The first 30 shots are on the blog, as a regular Friday feature. You can find all 40 shots in the Glomerata section, of course.

Let’s see a bit more of what was worth memorializing 78 years ago, shall we?

These are the officers of the Women’s Athletic Association in a not-at-all posed photograph. The WAA was aptly named. They offered a yearly cup to the winningest teams, sororities, it seems. They also ran the campus blood drive.

Anne Grant is second from the left. She graduated and went home, became a preacher’s wife. She studied home economics, and stayed active in the Methodist church for six decades. When she died in 2012 she was survived by three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The one on the right is Constance Graves. Her father, Eugene Hamiter Graves, attended API in the 19th century, and was on the first football team in 1892. He served during the Spanish American War and World War I. He became a colonel and, later, the mayor of Eufaula, Alabama. She went back home after school, and lived there all her life. She died in 2004, survived by three children and six grandchildren.

The other women have very common names, making the quick web search too challenging and pure guesswork.

These are the Auburn Collegiates, directed by Byron N. Lauderdale Jr., himself a student, a senior studying veterinary medicine. He served in the Army during World War II and in the Air Force during the Korean War. He would run a veterinary practice, a family business, in Illinois for 40 years. Byron died, at 77, in 2000. He was survived by his wife, his brother Harry (a WW2 sailor and Auburn man who passed away at 85 in 2011), two sons, four daughter and 10 grandchildren. On the face of it, that sounds like some kind of life.

I cropped her out of the photo because she wasn’t in focus, and I have this lovely headshot anyway, but her’s was the voice that people heard when the band played. This is LaHolme McClendon, a senior from Attalla, Alabama, studying science and literature.

I photograph these because they are interesting or, perhaps, because I think the person will lead us on to glimpses of a full career and life — such as we can get from a few obvious Internet resources. And I thought, for certain, we’d get just that here. A singer, an attractive young woman and, most importantly from our great distance, a distinctive name. But the Internet doesn’t tell us much about her. She appeared in her local paper when her father retired from the postal service — a front page, above-the-fold story, mind you — and I know she died at 53, in 1979, but that’s it.

These don’t always pan out.

But sometimes there’s gold. And while I didn’t want to do a lot of headshots and posed photographs, this is the ag club and the FFA, which is important for me. But it’s important for you, too. Look how the farmers were dressing in the 1940s.

One of these young men is Buris Boshell, president of the ag club, and a future medical superstar from tiny Bear Creek, Alabama, population 240. I believe that’s him on the front row, fourth from the left, standing next to the older gentleman. Boshell studied veterinary medicine at Auburn, went to med school at Alabama, but finished his studies at Harvard. He would become an endocrinologist and eventually came back home, where he built an absolutely world class diabetes research and treatment program at UAB. The Diabetes Hospital would become a reality with an outpatient clinic, a specialized inpatient unit for diabetics, and several floors devoted to diabetes related research projects. He has a building named after him at UAB, and a program in vet medicine at his alma mater takes his name as well. There are also scholarships, endowed research chairs and something called Boshell Diabetes Research Day. He died, aged 69, in 1995.

There’s a Bob Scofield in that photo, too. He was a north Alabama farmer and business man. He owned a radio station for a time. Everyone in town knew him as the owner of the Ford dealership. He made it to 90, and died in 2016.

Ralph Hartzog started out as a teacher, went back to school and studied agriculture and became a county extension agent. He worked in a handful of counties until he retired in 1978. He and his wife had two daughters. He died in 2006, just shy of 87, and his name is now on a memorial plaque at the state’s 4H Center. When they remember you as fondly as they did that man, who’d retired 28 years earlier, you must have been living right.

There’s another guy in that group photo who I met, a lifetime later. Dr. Claude Moore graduated from the College of Agriculture, did his graduate work at Kansas State and Purdue, where he became the assistant director of regional poultry breeding, until he returned to Auburn in 1956 (almost everyone goes home again). He became head of the poultry department in 1959, and stayed in that seat until he moved over to the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station in 1986. He retired from there a few years later. And after another decade or so, I would intern there. He was president of the national Poultry Science Association, a fellow in the National Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the New York Academy of Science. He was a deacon at a church we attended, and a Sunday School teacher. When he passed away, in 2008, he was survived by his wife, five children and 13 grandchildren. He was a good man.

His headstone, naturally, has a rooster on it. It also says “A steady man.” He was an Auburn man.

Which brings us, quite logically, to the debate council’s not-at-all posed photo. Didn’t we all sit around discussing the finer points of rebuilding Europe or trade relations with South America or whatever they were discussing here? Or was that just me and my friends?

Anyway, the guy on the right is Bill Ivey, a local boy, and a sophomore, who was the council president. He was listed as studying business administration. His is a good story.

Bill met his wife, Julia, while she was working as a librarian at Auburn. He was a grade student at UNC. They were married in 1954 at her family home; she was the fourth generation of her family to wed there in the front parlor. (And don’t you hope that tradition has persisted?) They moved to Chapel Hill, and then to Arizona in 1969, before heading to South Carolina in 1975. Bill became the president of a hospital there. He died, and was buried in, South Carolina in 1998, age 70. His wife passed away in 2013. They had three children and nine grandchildren.

This is a simple little highlight placeholder in the Greek section of the yearbook. The cutline simply says “Alpha Gam affair.”

Alpha Gam, where the women were charming and the candles seemed unnecessarily long.

No one wanted you to linger at their parties long enough to watch those giant stacks of wax disappear … but the blurb about their sorority tells us they held an event called the Sunrise Dance … so, maybe?

There’s nothing with this photo, but it’s obviously a fraternity house mother fulfilling the other duties as assigned part of her job. I don’t know anything about either of these two people, but it’s a charming shot.

Cosplay has gone on for longer than you thought. These are the women of Delta Zeta guarding … something.

Just a few pages later, mixed among the ads, there’s another shot of these same women showing off their combat boots. Or their knees. Who can say what the photographer’s risque intention was there.

Most of the ads are all text, just a few with clip art. The interesting ones are the few ads for businesses that existed until my time on campus, or a few famous local names.

WJHO was, back then, a station in neighboring Opelika. It is the ancestor of the modern WANI, which is one of the five stations five stations I was on in my time. This advertisement likely misses the legendary Smilin’ Jack Smollon by just a year or two. He’d come along and work there and run it for the next 40 years, definitely a character.

At some point the call letters went to a station just to the north. In 2022 it became a classic rock station, but it looks to be off the air these days. Shame, too. WJHO took it’s calls from the station founder, a radio and magnetic tape pioneer, John Herbert Orr. He taught college students Morse code while he was in high school. He helped maintain the original campus station, and then dismantled it, which I’ve written about here before. He attended school for one term in the 1920s, and then went out into the working world. The man was a real genius of his age. But his was a different age.

And that’s where we will end this look at the 1946 Glomerata. Forty photos in four installments (parts one, two and three) was a pretty good start, and I thank you for skimming along with me.

The idea, now, is to look back on the obvious anniversary years. So 100 years ago, the 1924 Glomerata, is where we’ll turn, starting next Friday. Should be a lot of fun, and there will so much to enjoy before then, starting with the weekend!


27
Mar 24

Midway through another one

It will take some doing, but the next week and a half will be busy and productive. There’s a lot of grading and class prep and things of that sort to get to. It started yesterday, with the grading of midterm exams. That was a full afternoon. But it does not end there, no.

This is the week where I found two mistakes in my planning of the semester. Every class has something due this week, meaning I have to grade … everything. It’s a real first world problem, yes, I know. It is also the second time I’ve had this problem this term.

The issue becomes one of pacing. The goal is to get all of this week’s assignments completed this week. The challenge is to give myself time to do all of that, but also to let each little piece breathe. Read and critique and evaluate a handful of stories, take a break to clear the mind, and then come at it a new.

If I pace it right, I’ll get through everything Friday night. Maybe Saturday.

And next time I plan out a semester calendar, this will definitely be top of mind.

Let’s go back to California! Here’s a nice meditative video from the Pacific Coast. Enjoy a minute on me.

 
Relax. Enjoy. Repeat.

Here’s another slow motion video from Spooner’s Cove, as well.

 

Maybe I’m the only one amused by the slow motion waves, but there’s only nine more of them to go.

Time for this week’s installment of We Learn Wednesdays. This is our 30th installment and the 51st marker in the effort. The effort is riding my bike around the county to find the historical markers. I shot this last December in a stockpiling effort in the hopes of being able to stretch them out until I could ride outside again in the spring — which will surely happen just any day now …

(It’s been 48-52 and damp and gray for days and that meteorological condition is no longer novel.)

Over in Salem, they mark the old Star Hall Corner.

Site of Star Hall, demolished in 1898 for the building of City National Bank. Legend has it—if you step on the star, you will always come back to Salem. Rededicated Aug. 24, 1996

Founded in 1888, City National Bank was swallowed up in a merger in 1984. It’s just one bank, but I wonder how that paralleled the fortunes of the town. Today that bank looks empty, and there’s no sign giving hints of what may have been recently happening inside. You can still see an ATM in a side foyer, though.

It’s an important intersection in the town. In earlier, lively days, this was a choice corner, Jones Corner. There was a clothing store there and around it there were stores, warehouses, tailor shops, shoe shops and more. A man named Ashton ran the clothes shop, he had a big star as part of his outdoor signage. The star became iconic, and, overtime, Jones Corner became Star Corner. You can see it here.

A floor or two above the street was the social club, Star Hall. Dances and parties abounded. See and be seen. But social connections gave way to bigger financial opportunities, of course. Apparently, the City Council and the bank developer agreed to take the star from that sign and marked the spot.

The commemoration has been there longer than the club existed, I suppose. The rededicated marker, too. Anyway, here’s the star.

Just before I saw Star Corner a panhandler wandered over to ask for five bucks. I told her I did not have the money. Didn’t even have my wallet, as I was dressed in cycling clothes that day. She went on about her way and I thought, Five bucks? Street-level inflation!

It’s a struggling area. Across the street are a pair of century-old buildings that were rehabbed a decade ago as apartments. The hope was that they would help re-energize the historic district. It’s close. You can tell. Part of being close is that it’s also close to falling back on harder times again.

I wonder if anyone has considered adding a social club.

Next week’s marker will take us to a beautiful church building. If you’ve missed any markers so far, you can find them all right here.


13
Mar 24

Monterey, the aquarium, more of the coastline

The wake up crew. The morning zoo. The neighborhood watch. The welcoming committee. The hungry ungulates.

Whatever you call them, they’ve been out there waiting for us, three days in a row now.

The apartment we’re in, the people who rented us the place through tomorrow, they go out and feed the deer (there are five in this bunch) every morning. And the turkeys. They’re wild animals, free to come and go and go and go, but they know to take advantage of a sure and dependable thing like breakfast.

Today we went to Monterey, which is to the north, which means a bit more time in the car, which means we stopped at a vista point every now and again.

Click to embiggen.

It sure is beautiful. And the towns are just far enough apart that you can feel a delightful isolation in between them. A rugged independence takes hold. We got out of a rental Toyota at that vista, but when we turned around the SUV had turned into a Conestoga.

You wonder about this feeling. Can you have similar concepts closer to home? The separation and the solitude that comes with that? Is it a function of being somewhere else? Not knowing the roads? Being on a little vacation? Is it the hills? Is it just the west?

It works, whatever it is.

Though, to me, I think, and I probably always will think, that it has something to do with how the hills tumble into the ocean. How every curve of coastline can feel a little bit different because of the specific geology. It’s the new rugged country because it is new, and rugged, geographically speaking. It’s still being worn down by waves and wind. And we are here for a very small part of that.

Whereas, when I see the ocean today, or the Gu’f back home, it’s never a surprise. Once upon a time those oceans came well in, and we have a great flatness, the gradual coast to the coast. Here, as we drove two hours north today, it was mountains to my right, and ocean to my left.

Or it should have been, but for rock slides. This required a detour. A substantial, scenic detour. The scenic detour was worth seeing, too.

We had lunch on Cannery Row, a place made important because of their mid-20th century sardine trade, a place made famous by John Steinbeck’s novel (and some other artisans, too, but let’s stick with Steinbeck). In a generation or two, the fishermen had exhausted the location fish populations. Now it exists as … a tourist destination.

You wish Steinbeck were still around to give that a run. But that’s only because you haven’t read “Sweet Thursday.” This is how he opened it.

When the war came to Monterey and to Cannery Row everybody fought it more or less, in one way or another. When hostilities ceased everyone had his wounds.

The canneries themselves fought the war by getting the limit taken off fish and catching them all. It was done for patriotic reasons, but that didn’t bring the fish back. As with the oysters in Alice, “They’d eaten every one.” It was the same noble impulse that stripped the forests of the West and right now is pumping water out of California’s earth faster than it can rain back in. When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten. The pearl-gray canneries of corrugated iron were silent and a pacing watchman was their only life. The street that once roared with trucks was quiet and empty.

For Monterey, it was self defense, turning what was into a place that looked back on what was. And down here, on Cannery Row, they’ve made it welcoming, and quite, and familiar, just like every other tourist zone you’ve experienced.

At one end is the well-regarded Monterey Aquarium.

Have you ever seen a person that looks like someone you know? Only, you have the feeling they look familiar, but you can’t put the suggestion in your mind with the person in your eyes? We all have that feeling from time-to-time.

Have you ever had that experience with an animal?

It’s a lovely aquarium. I have the feeling that the newer ones probably took in places like this and said, “These are the ones we need to improve on,” and were successful in doing so. And, for the older ones then, it’s hard to upgrade, because where do you move the sharks for three years while you’re rebuilding to keep up with Atlanta?

Monterey’s aquarium boasts 600 different species of animals and plants, and they bring in the water fresh from Monterey Bay, which is just outside. They take their ecological message seriously and they do a nice job keeping children engaged.

And, oh look, here’s a ray swimming by.

Children, the ones wowed by this, the ones who have this day stick with them forever, they have to be the intended audience of this entire production. A handful of children who have been in this aquarium in the last 40 years have been inspired and become conservationists, botanists, ecologists or marine biologists. Some kid will have the best shot of fixing the things their ancestors messed up, and it could all have started in a place like this. Whether the kid, the scientist she becomes, remembers that, that has to be the primary goal.

Now, if only they’d figure out some failproof, tamperproof, idiotproof, leakproof, fishproof way to let guests feed the fish.

Have you ever seen a white sturgeon? These are ancient fish. Time forgot them, but here they are, hoping we overlook what’s left of them, too.

They are characterized by these bony plates, can typically grow 5- or 6-feet long and it isn’t uncommon for them to live into their 30s. The oldest was estimated to be 104. The heaviest have weighed in at 1,390 pounds, with some estimated much larger. A late 20th century study brought the average sample weight down, fishermen have noticed, too.

Overfished to near extinction by the early 1900s, today their biggest challenges seem to be poaching (for caviar), pollution, low rivers and dams, which can impact their migratory patterns. (Fish ladders are usually designed for smaller fish like salmon.) They seem to be doing OK in other parts of the world, but endangered at least in this region.

And now for something much more colorful.

Even in an aquarium, anemone are fascinating.

The Monterey Aquarium went big on jellyfish. It was a decision that does not disappoint.

Somewhere around there, or the spotted comb jellyfish, I devised the next several weeks of plans for videos. It should be wonderful.

This is the spotted comb jellyfish. There are others. You’ll see videos.

This is from the Monterey Aquarium’s deck. There are seals out there, lounging on buoys, and otters at play in the bay. And, according to Smith’s newly formed rule of Ecology, any place that makes their tools of discovery freely available is in it for the right reasons.

After the aquarium we sought out more of these dramatic Pacific coast views. We were not disappointed.

Click to embiggen.

The sea cares not for your notions of time. It is doing it’s job here, and it will do so no matter the temperature it reaches, or the crap we put into it. Right here, that job is wearing these stones down rocks, and pulverizing the rocks into pebbles, and rubbing the pebbles into a coarse sand.

Thing is, the sea has many jobs. Not just the ones that make the pretty views or the dramatic waves. And do you see that rock that just juts into the left margin of the shot here?

A dude took his three young children over the minimal security line and out onto the rock, right over the ocean. I must be getting older. That seemed an unwise choice not worth the risk, or the sea spray.

Same cove, but from the opposite side.

Click to embiggen.

In between those two points there’s a small place built for observation. It’s a nice spot. Not the nicest one the local authorities could have chosen. A dude with a tripod and a serious look on his face found that spot right away and stayed there for an hour. No, it was not me.

So, instead, I took photos of the photo taker. I was going for a silhouette here, but, staring into the sun as I was, it was just a guess. Didn’t work the way I planned, but it worked perfectly.

Another view of the same cove, and perhaps this is the second-most intriguing part of the Pacific coast always is to me. You don’t have to go far, even in the same place, to get a radically different view. Again, the Gu’f and the First Coast of my youth and the shore I can visit today are lovely, sandy, and not so young and spry as all of this.

Which is probably something I thought about writing while we considering locations for future publicity shots.

I will never not like this fascinating. Here is the land and the hills which make it and the stuffwhichgrowsonitandTHEREISTHEOCEAN.

This is the Bixby Bridge, built in 1932, and the furthest part north of our trip. Just a few miles up the road the Pacific Coast Highway is closed because of snow or mud or locusts or the ghost of Nixon or persistent hippies or whatever is afflicting California this time of year.

Before then, Wikipedia tells me, Big Sur residents were particularly isolated in the winter. The Old Coast Road a dozen miles away was often closed. This bridge, the longest concrete arch span in the state and, at- the time, the highest single-span in the world, came in under budget, at $199,861. The inflation calculator says that’s $4,527,158 in modern money. Seismic upgrades in the 1990s cost much more, and it’s apparently still not up to modern spec there.

Click to embiggen.

A person once in charge of the land trust around this area called it “the most spectacular meeting of ocean and land in the entire United States.” That person might have been biased, but that person might have also been right?

It’s a fine view, and some of you might receive a Christmas card with this image on it later this year.

As ever, the tortured photography student in me — I took two classes in college, one under a prominent Civil Rights Era photojournalist and another under a Harvard architectural photographer — is always thinking about lines and motion. Particularly in new and exciting places.

This is seldom a problem, of course, until it finds me standing in the road on blind curves in the middle of nowhere.

This is the Bixby Bridge from the reverse side. It’s gorgeous. It’s glorious. How did they do it in the 1930s? Aliens. But how did those 1930s aliens do it?

Construction began on August 24, 1931, and was completed October 15, 1932, beating the two-lane highway, itself an 18-year project, by a half decade. In between, over 300,000 board feet of Douglas fir timber was used to support the arch during construction. It took two months to construct the falsework alone.

The  aliens  work crews excavated 4,700 cubic yards of earth and rock and more than 300 tons of reinforcing steel were shipped in by train and narrow one-lane roads. They chose cement for a few reasons. It looked better. It was more durable in the elements to steel and the cost savings could be paid out to the workers. (And this is how you know it was done in the Great Depression.) That decision required 45,000 sacks of cement, which started going in place in late November. They zipped it across the river canyon on cable and slings.

Today, the arch ribs are five feet thick at the deck and nine feet thick where they join the towers at their base. The arches are four and one-half feet wide. All of this, Wikipedia confidently tells me, means that the bridge was designed to support more than six times its intended load. (Good thing, too, it’s a heavy traffic area these days.)

It turns out that these two large, vertical buttresses on either side of the arch aren’t necessary. It is not clear to me if that includes the 6X wiggle-room design tolerance or not.

We didn’t drive over it. None of this was my concern.

Sure is something though, isn’t it?

Tomorrow, we turn south, for Burbank, and a work conference. It will be fun, but not as fun as all of this.


8
Mar 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part three

More photos, via the new desktop camera. The workflow is getting a little bit better. The quality of photos seem a bit nicer, and I expect they will continue to improve. I am, so far, quite pleased. This feels, at least, like a more efficient way to share ancient photos.

So here are a few more selected shots from the 1946 Glomerata. The first few shots can be found, here in the blog, where this seems to be becoming the Friday feature. The full collection lives in the Glomerata section, of course.

Let’s see a bit more of what was worth memorializing 78 years ago, shall we?

So here are five freshmen. You can tell from their rat caps, which we touched on last week. Also, you can tell from the caption.

Why are the freshmen running around in their pajamas? This is about the Georgia Tech game. This yearbook is from 1946, and this is from the 1945 football season. This is an event commemorating Auburn’s first home game against Georgia Tech, their first ever home game, as it turns out. That was in November of 1896 and Auburn wrecked Tech, 45-0, a score that might have had more to do with Zzzzs than the now-traditional Xs and Os of football.

Tech, you see, was coming in by a special train in the early morning before that 1896 game. Some API students decided to head down to the tracks and coated the rails on either side of the train station with grease, lard, soap and who knows what else. The train couldn’t stop, so the visiting team had to walk back, several miles, on that same railway, football gear in hand. When they got wise, Georgia Tech got mad. They refused to play the Tigers the next year, and only suited up in 1898 when the university threatened expulsion over any similar pranks. But the legend was by then, well, legendary. The Wreck Tech Pajama Parade, an annual (but sadly discontinued) commemoration and symbolic reenactment of the hi-jinks featuring a pajama-clad march to the Train Depot for a pep rally and even more questionable hijinxs.

Hence the pajamas. After this parade, the Tigers lost 20-7 in Atlanta. Blame the freshmen.

Which brings us to the athletics section of the 1946 Glomerata. Here’s a generic shot that fronts the section. If there was a caption, I’d tell you all about it. Alas.

I’ve settled on avoiding headshots for this feature, but this is Curtis Kuykendall. Curtis Kuykendall was a bad, bad man. In 1944, against Miami, he rushed for 307 yards rushing, still a school record, and probably it always will be. (In the 80 years since, just five SEC running backs have broken 300 yards in a single game.)

He was a two-time team captain, a Blue-Gray all star, and was drafted by Washington, but he never played in the NFL. Kuykendall became a veterinarian, something of a family tradition.

Here’s a wide shot from a football game. This one was played in nearby Columbus, Georgia. This is the annual meeting with rival Georgia, who won this game 35-0.

The legend goes that, for years, the two head coaches would sit down and separate the gate money between the two schools. One dollar for yours, one dollar for mine.

Those buildings in the background aren’t there anymore. In their place now are parking lots and the town’s civic center.

This is one of my favorite photos in the book, and perhaps from the decade. Let’s jump in.

The guy on the left is Robert Larry Riedel, a pre-vet major from Florida. He passed away in 1967, two kids. His daughter was in the jewelry business. His son became a champion saddle bronc rider. His wife survived him by 50-plus years.

The next guy over is Herman Smith. He’s listed as a pre-law junior. A quick search doesn’t yield much definitive about him. Blame the last name. (No relation, by the way.)

The third young man is Bill Cook, who would become a veterinarian. He worked in Tennessee for almost 60 years. Loved the lake. He died in 2016 at the age of 91.

On the far right is Louis McClain, also a pre-vet major. He died just three years after this photo, in Birmingham, in 1948. He was just 24 years old. I don’t see any stories about his death in the local paper. He’s buried back in his hometown, in Anderson, South Carolina.

I love the photo because of the young women who are leaping. Leaping into the future, really. Helen Walden is on the left. She was a local girl, a sophomore, and she was studying the perfect 1940s hairstyles and, more importantly, aeronautical administration. A little under two years from this photo she married a man named Curtis Silvernail, a sailor during the war, and an International Paper employee thereafter. They were together for 50 years before she died, in 1997. They lived around Mobile.

Then there is this confident, intent look on Wyleen Hill’s face. She’s jumping into the future, and she sees it all before her. You can just tell. A native of Dalton, Georgia, she was a senior and a pharmacy major, one of only two women to graduate from the program that year. She went home and worked in her father’s pharmacy. She helped start a school for children with developmental disabilities in 1957, a concern that is still in operation today.

She died in 2010, in her mid-80s. The second sentence in her obituary noted her smile, which was still radiant even into her later years. The fourth sentence mentions her time as a cheerleader. It also mentions her additional work with another health care foundation. It looks like she has six children and five grandchildren. Wyleen sounds like a wonderful woman.

The cutline here says this is from the Mississippi game. Modern iterations of the 1945 basketball schedule tell me that Auburn didn’t play Mississippi that year. They did, however, play Mississippi State four times — twice in December and twice in February. I guess if you were taking a train you decided to play two days in a row.

Auburn won three of four.

Let’s check on the track team. On the left we have Don Harper, a sophomore from tiny Elba, Alabama, population of less than 3,000 back then and not much more today. Harper was studying agricultural engineering. He caught on with Thiokol Chemical in 1955 and worked there for 34 years. He worked on the Saturn V rockets and on ballistic missile and space shuttle programs, specifically the solid rocket boosters.

He helped found his church. He was married for almost 48 years, until his death. He and his wife had two children. One of them is a now-retired business professor.

Running alongside Harper is Harold Hartwig, who was a freshman from just up the road in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I haven’t uncovered much about him, however. (The year book cut his head off, not me.)

Similarly, I found a Tom Tabor, who is the young man jumping on the left, here. He is listed as a junior studying business administration. But I’m not sure if the older man I found has long jumps in his past, so I’ll leave it alone.

This other fellow, though, getting ready for the hurdles, on the right? That’s Richard Lasday. He was studying veterinary medicine, which seems to be a theme, this week. Born in Pittsburgh, he was a gardener and a painter, and active in his Jewish communities. He went to Cornell, and then Auburn. He served, domestically, in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He married, in 1950, a woman he met on a blind date. They had three children, and they had five grandchildren. Lasday lost his wife, who seemed incredibly active in every community they would call home, in 2011. They were married almost 62 years. Richard worked in the veterinary field until he was 85. He passed away at 95.

There’s a building on campus named after this man. I took classes there for three terms. At that time, I thought it was named after two people. Most buildings get the shorthand, last name treatment. This one got two names and, for a student concerned about making it into classroom on time, it just seemed like this building was named after two folks. Nope. Just the one. Just this one. This is Telfair Peet.

His middle initial is B. I just learned his middle name was Boys. Peet was the drama department chair in his day. He died at just 60 years old, about two decades after this photo was taken. He’s younger in this photo than I am today. His wife survived him by decades. I was still attending plays in the building named after her husband when she died.

Speaking of performances, our last photo of the day is of Dr. Hollace Arment. He was the director of the glee club. You can tell he’s excited, because he’s just heard of these new inventions called briefcases and backpacks. He’s just waiting for the first ones to arrive in local stores.

He graduated from an Idaho high school, and would wind up singing all over the country. Probably you and I will never know how he wound up at API, but Arment was a singer of some renown. He was a tenor, and he performed all over the country. In the 1930s, he was in a group called The Balladeers. I believe he might be singing lead on the song Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming.

He retired from the Daytona Beach Community College in 1973, where he spent the last nine years of his career. Soon after the local paper wrote a profile on the man, his childhood in a covered wagon, singing for others, traveling, and teaching. He was also an accomplished puppeteer and, possibly, an amateur geologist. His wife was a high school teacher. They had at least two children according to that first story. He died, just three years after retiring in Florida, at 70.

If I keep looking these people up they will just get more and more interesting, so this is probably a good place to wrap it up for now.