Spring 2010: From Our Readers

July 23, 2010

About THAT Cover

I hope the cover of the current edition of WM (Winter 2010—“Be Well”] and a lot of the content—such as “More Sex and Better Sleep” and “What Women Want From Their Wabash Men”—will be the last I ever see. Come on—this edition is absolutely embarrassing. Wabash is a premier educational institution, and WM has been wonderful, but it’s definitely not and never again should be something that looks like Cosmopolitan, People, or any of those other trash magazines seen in grocery store. Please make it the last like this, and thanks.
—Tom Williams ’65, Green Valley, AZ
 
I loved the Winter 2010 WM. I think it was the best in recent memory. The cover was a great spoof, and, I know from hearing from my friends, the entire issue has generated a lot of buzz.
—Allen Clingler ’02, Indianapolis, IN
 
My husband [Ben Thomas ’75] and I have been receiving WM for many years, but this is the first 
issue that really attracted my attention.
 
From the cover to the Garrison Keillor interview to the articles, illustrations, and photos of Wally Wabash, this issue was a gem.
 
And as the wife of a man in his middle years or beyond, I truly appreciate the tone and information contained in the magazine.
 
A big thank you from Wabash wives.
—Susette Thomas, Austin, TX
 
I mean this in the least angry and contentious way possible: I was disappointed to see the words “more sex” in bright red capital letters on the cover of WM.
 
There is a time and place for that type of thing but I don’t think it is the cover of a magazine that represents the College. I am sure that the article regarding how more sex contributes to a longer and happier life is informative and worthy of the magazine and the College. I just don’t think that the presentation of the same on the cover was equally worthy.
—Daniel J. Zlatic ’93, Dyer, IN
 
I’m sorry you were disappointed with our cover. It was intended to parody the very magazines you mention—in particular, Men’s Health. Still, I can understand how you could see that bright red headline as being over the top.
 
With the College striving to educate mind, body, and spirit, and with the recent loss of friends and colleagues to health issues that might have been prevented or treated, I thought it was time to address subjects men tend not to talk about (or, too often, depend on their mothers or wives to worry about). 
 
We received enthusiastic and thoughtful responses from doctors and other health professionals joining us in this effort as we shaped the content of this issue.
 
But health education is not high on most men’s list of interests, and I believed we needed a strong hook to get readers’ attention. Hence my decision to treat the inside of the book like a health magazine you might find on the newsstand, and to parody the Men’s Health cover. It was a light-hearted approach to draw attention to some serious questions.
 
You make a good point, and do so in a way that models the sort of dialogue Professor Vic Powell H’55 mentions in that same winter edition: “I thought it was important that students see faculty disagree with each other, argue with each other, but clearly respect each other and enjoy one another’s company. Disagreement didn’t mean enmity or disregard. It was one of the things that endeared this place to me.”
 
It’s not every day an editor receives a letter of complaint yet can genuinely say, “It was good to hear from you.” Thanks for writing.

 
PSA: Yes or No? 
 
I wanted to comment on “PSA: Yes or No?” in the WM Winter 2010.
 
As a prostate cancer survivor, I only know the “facts” from my perspective. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 54 in October 2008 after having monitored my PSA [prostate-specific 
antigen] levels for approximately five years. As a result of an ever-increasing PSA and two biopsies, cancer was diagnosed. In all cases, a DRE [digital rectal exam] was performed and no abnormalities were discovered.
 
I had the cancerous prostate removed in December 2008. Post-surgery pathology showed the prostate contained only one- percent cancer.
 
The yearly PSA and DRE exam established a baseline result for me and when the PSA changed, a red flag resulted. Were it not for the PSA test, I would still have a cancerous prostate, and who knows where that would have led.
 
The PSA test is simple. The DRE is annoying but may well save your life as well. I ask all Wabash men to see their physician and have this test annually. It may be a waste of your time, or it 
may just save your life, as it did mine.
—Dave Allen ’76, Covington, IN
 
Man Up?
The short article entitled “Man Up!” [WM Winter 2010] betrays a common confusion that is epidemic in our 21st-century American culture about what it means to be a man.
 
The title and first half of this short piece contain a truth about a man’s obligation to his beloved. A husband should “man up” and gratefully and graciously accept the role of protector of his wife and family. Similarly, the concluding thoughts in “Man Up!” express a truth—children are good. A child is the natural end of the marital act; in fact, a supernatural gift received out of love between spouses. The very nature of marriage is a self-giving love between husband and wife.
 
Between the obscured truths in “Man Up!” is a confusion too common in our culture—that contraception is good and facilitates the relationship between husband and wife. In reality, contraception (per Webster’s, “deliberate prevention”) hinders the self-giving between spouses. If a husband embracing the leadership role called for in “Man Up!” undergoes surgical contraception, would anyone be surprised to find that same husband feeling “entitled” to sex any time he wants with his wife? But “any time he wants” is a taking nature, which is completely contrary to the essential giving nature of the marriage relationship.
 
I’m not intending to suggest all husbands will succumb to the “any time” temptation. But I submit that anyone considering this procedure (or anyone selling it)—if they are being honest with themselves—posits this “sexual freedom” as a benefit. The “any time” idea creeps in. Even if not acted upon, the idea itself damages the relationship. Any contraception turns the marital act from a pure gift into, at best, a partial gift (and at worst, a taking). This is the confusion of contraception in our culture—one cannot limit the gift and still fulfill his proper role as husband and father.
 
As Wabash men, we should think critically about what it means to be married and challenge the conventional “wisdom” regarding contraception.
—Mark Gehl ’98, Louisville, KY
 
Warmth and Enthusiasm
Congratulations on another great issue! I read it cover to cover at one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.
 
I was particularly touched by the remembrance of Chris Passodelis ’55 written by his sons. Years ago, Eliot and I were Chris’s guests for a week-end in Pittsburgh, and I’ll never forget his warmth and enthusiasm. It was fun just to walk down the street with him because so many people stopped 
to greet him. He seemed to know everybody!
 
We had a wonderful dinner with Wabash alumni at Chris’s restaurant, then went on to dance at a Lebanese restaurant, and ended up with freshly-made donuts at an all-night bakery he knew, at 3 a.m. What a night!
—Jean Williams H’53, Crawfordsville, IN
 
Wabash Guys are Everywhere
I had a nifty experience last night as my wife, Nancy, and I were leaving a restaurant here in our southern Mexico city of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Two other couples, both Latin, were leaving at the same time and we were a bit surprised that they were conversing in English; so we asked where they had learned to speak our native language so well.
 
The first to respond was a gentleman from Guatemala City who was in town with his wife visiting Mexican friends who live in San Cristobal. He said, “I learned to speak English many years ago when I was in college in the United States.
 
“Where were you in college?” I asked.
 
“A small school in Indiana, Wabash College.”
 
“How did you end up there?” I asked, then proclaimed, “I’m a Wabash alum, too!”
 
After a spontaneous hug (we’d all had a couple of margaritas), Antonio Delgado ’73 told us his story: “Well, I was a first-year college student in Guatemala City when I got kidnapped and was severely injured and was in a wheelchair for a long time. My father wanted to get me out of Guatemala City, and somehow he was acquainted with a Wabash professor named Ben Rogge. 
He called Professor Rogge to see if there was any chance of my enrolling at Wabash. The rest is history: The burly football players at the Phi Delt house took me in and I had a great four years and graduated in 1973.”
 
Antonio has long since recovered from his injuries and is now in the coffee business in Guatemala City. We’ll be continuing our conversation on Sunday when we’ve invited Antonio and his wife, Marta, and their friends over to our house.
 
As we so often say, Wabash guys are everywhere!
—David Orr ’57, San Cristobal, Chiapas, MEXICO
 
Who’s Who?
In the WM Winter 2010 Class Notes we published a photograph from the first college production of the Tony Award-winning Mister Roberts—staged by our own Scarlet Masque in 1952—asking readers to identify the student actors in the photo. Thanks to those generous responses, we now have the names of all the alumni (and the professor’s wife) in the picture, plus some interesting details. 
 
A few excerpts:
 
I was Ensign Pulver, the skinny guy with the binoculars. Bob Behrens ’54 was the other officer in the picture, playing the role of Doc. Between us was Irene Mitchell, wife of psychology professor Fran Mitchell. She, along with Ginny Hays, both beauties, quickened the pulses of us students and made our cast party at the Hays home much more memorable.
 
It was exciting for me. I had no idea what the story was when I auditioned for the play, and was surprised and thrilled to be cast as Ensign Pulver.
 
The reviewer for the Indianapolis Star mentioned in his review that he overheard someone saying [of my performance], “I heard they had a hard time getting him to say those things—he’s going to be a minister.” Times have changed. The last line of the play comes after Pulver throws the captain’s beloved potted palm tree over the side of the ship, then pounds on the captain’s door and says (I remember it clearly!): “Oh, Captain, I just threw your stinking damned palm tree overboard. Now what’s all this crap about no movie tonight?”
—Tom Michael ’55, Erdenheim, PA
 
This afternoon I stopped everything to devour this latest edition of WM. You can imagine my delight when reaching the Class Notes and seeing the picture of some of the cast of the Scarlet Masque production, Mister Roberts. Though all look familiar, I can identify by name only three—myself, fellow Kappa Sig 
—Paul Tippett ’53, and Ken Crossman ’55.
 
As an aside, my interest in performing on stage has continued to the present day, as I have appeared in numerous productions with community theatre groups in San Francisco, Chicago, and Hartford. Actually, I met my gorgeous wife, Lois, when we appeared together in the 
production of LUV 38 years ago.
 
Thanks for the rush of wonderful memories of my days at Wabash, which this picture brought back to me.
—J. David Nall ’55, Wilmington, NC
 
How surprising to look in WM and find my picture. I was one of the “deck hands” in the Mister Roberts production. I do have the playbill and could email you a copy if you would like it.
—Lee Thornton ’55, Marshall, MI

 


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