Another Grad Gone West

I was interested to learn that I am not the only Penn graduate who has settled under the Mogollon Rim. When I decided to move to the Arizona outback from the Northeast about nine years ago, I avidly read many Zane Grey novels to get a feel for the country, but I never knew that he went to the University of Pennsylvania [“Dentist of the Purple Sage,” March/April]. The memory of Zane Grey is still much alive in this area.

Much of the country Grey described in his novels remains relatively preserved in National Forest land. I have traveled it by Jeep and on foot and have found Grey’s description of the locale to be accurate. My home is about 10 miles from where Grey had his cabin; it is only three miles from the center of town, but the coyotes still howl at night and elk roam through my property. Late every August I can count on a visit from a bear.

Robert H. Rimmer Jr. C67 Payson, Arizona

Hapa Article Struck a Chord

As a hapa, it was with great pleasure that I read Alison Stoltzfus’s piece “You, Us, Them” in the March/April issue [“Notes From the Undergrad”]. It immediately struck a chord with me as I am both Korean and Scottish-Irish. Like Alison, I went to Penn, with the intent to suddenly learn Korean, only to choose a different hobby. I was a founding member of Check One in 1995 (not a founder, but a founding member), where I was just glad to meet others like me. I grew up in a small community where everyone knew my mom, and where I was simply treated as Asian. I went to Penn, where, much to my surprise, I encountered a very different sentiment, one where I was simply not Asian enough, regardless of the fact that I self-identify as Asian. My attempts to join the Korean student organization at Penn were laughed at by several of the members, and my Korean roommate could not understand why I cared.

Alas, with age, it does not change! I am currently a member of a large Asian-American legal organization. I recently attended a meeting to greet a Chinese dignitary where one of my colleagues said, “What is she doing here? She isn’t even Asian.” Imagine my surprise! This woman is married to a Caucasian, I wonder if she addresses her hapa children that way? I continue to encounter some measure of racial animus from both my Caucasian and Asian acquaintances. Often, they are unaware of what they say or do and how it sometimes stings.

I have always said that I have the best of both worlds running through my veins. I have cultural experiences from both of my “halves.” In fact, I can cook authentic Korean cuisine from scratch, and some of my full-Korean friends cannot! I also have something some of my full-Korean friends jokingly envy, a blue-eyed baby boy who has the most beautiful almond-shaped eyes. It is simply the most perfect combination of my Asian half and my Caucasian half (as if my husband had nothing to add!).

Bravo, Alison! I am thrilled that you shared your experiences with us (other hapas in Penn Alumni land), and wish you great success.

Cindy Dunlap Hinkle C97 Pittsburgh

 

Choose Those You Love By Their Hearts,
Not The Color of Their Skin

You, Us, Them” took me back to a time when I agonized about the same issues. I am Chinese American but have also felt on the edge of two worlds—my Eastern heritage and my Western environment. Here is the two-cents worth of wisdom I have acquired since those days: Choose those you love by their hearts, not by the color of their skin. I have Caucasian friends who truly share the same heart—a love of art, music, and walks in the woods, a certain way of thinking about life. I also treasure my Asian friends, who share with me a common heritage and that certain mix of values that come with being Asian.

Race only matters if you let it matter. I have had my share of hurtful comments and, looking back, one can only feel sorry for the unenlightened, narrow-minded state of those who cannot see beyond the color of skin or eyes. There is so much more to us than our “surface coverings”—whether we are fat or thin, whatever shade our skin is, from blackest black to palest white, as human beings we all have so much in common, so much to share and give to one another.

You don’t need to “belong” to any herd or flock. You are one of a kind, just as each and every snowflake or seashell is unique. Value your rich, unique heritage, and live the best life you can. Be part of ending the racial tensions and divisions that often divide Penn in the same way they sadly divide our nation and our world.

Harriet Wu C89 Nashville, Tennessee

 

Anti-Miscegenation Law Lasted Even Longer

In the essay “You, Us, Them,” Alison Stoltzfus cites 1998 as the year that the last anti-miscegenation law was lifted. The Alabama referendum actually did not pass until 2000. In 1998 a similar referendum passed in South Carolina. This factual error notwithstanding, I commend Ms. Stoltzfus on an excellent article. I admire her courage in accepting the ambiguity inherent in sorting out one’s identity when caught between clashing cultures.

Barbara A. McNichol (Van Opdorp) C85 Somerset, NJ

 

Still Great, But Not Bermudas Only

Congratulations to David Ferreira on his earning a Rhodes Scholarship [“Gazetteer,” March/April]. Not to detract from his achievement, but his is not Bermuda’s only Rhodes Scholarship, as the article states. W. Preston Hutchings, a 1978 graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, earned one, too. Hutchings studied law at Oxford just as Ferreira intends. The article on him and his interview was great.

Sidney Wertimer W42 Clinton, NY

 

Another Reader for Mossman

While reading my daughter’s (Ann Dibble C’85) copy of the Gazette, I came across an article by Holly Love concerning Mark Moskowitz and his documentary about searching for the novelist Dow Mossman [“The Constant Reader,” January/February]. Having just finished reading The Stones of Summer by Dow Mossman, I was delighted to read about the connection between them. The Mossman book is a very unusual novel (to say the least!) and, not knowing anyone else who had read it, I was fascinated by Mr. Moskowitz’s connection to Mr. Mossman and so pleased with the way Ms. Love chose to describe their relationship.

I really enjoyed the article.

Ann Dibble, Parent Rockville Centre, NY

 

Student Mobs Wont Save America

Admittedly, my attitude to Mr. Drabelle’s essay, “Power to the Students,” [“Alumni Voices,” January/February] is colored by the fact that I entered Penn’s Graduate School majoring in physics in September 1946, after having volunteered to serve as a U.S. Naval officer in the Western Pacific, and, before that, having worked on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Frankly, my memory of that turbulent time, 1965-1969, is one of strong disgust with the violence initiated by immature, ignorant students, many on drugs, senselessly seizing buildings on campuses. Of course there was plenty wrong with the conduct of that war, poorly led by Robert McNamara and Lyndon Johnson, but that does not mean mobs of emotional left-wing students were right in forcibly disrupting the 1968 Democratic Party Convention with riots in Chicago, calling policemen “pigs,” etc.

Mr. Drabelle seems to assume that the Vietnam War was morally wrong, and also was unwinnable. Both assumptions are false. These assumptions led a bright cousin of mine, a promising student at Columbia University, to participate in seizing buildings on the campus; he eventually ended up on a drug-ridden commune in New Mexico, where he died.

Today, in wartime, when America is threatened by secret cells of fanatic, violent, evil Arab Islamicists willing to commit suicide to murder many thousands of civilians in order to destroy our way of life, common sense tells us we must take strong, intelligent preventive action, as we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our constitutional liberties are certainly precious and must be protected, but the American Constitution is not a suicide pact, as a Supreme Court Justice once remarked. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed, “This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” My respect goes infinitely more to those who obey American laws, like my father, wounded in action in the trenches with the Allied Expeditionary Force in 1918 in France, and young Oliver Wendell Holmes, a volunteer in the Civil War who was wounded three times and returned to fight.

I have zero respect and much contempt for those who insulted our armed forces, and lied, and cowardly avoided the draft, like William Clinton and Howard Dean. America’s destiny and a secure free world cannot be achieved by mobs of students acting in collective ignorant fury.

Howard D. Greyber Gr53 Potomac, Md


2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 04/29/04


Howdy from Zane Grey country,
and hurrah for hapas article.

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