“The Most Lyrical Guitarist”

Amos Garrett ’64

Can you name the Wabash alumnus who is one of the world’s most influential electric guitarists and has recorded with more than 150 artists, including Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, and Jerry Garcia?

Who has won two Juno Awards, the Canadian version of the Grammys?

Whose one-take guitar break on Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis” (the solo Stevie Wonder calls  “the second best recorded solo of any instrument”) made that song a hit?

That’s Amos Garrett ’64.

We couldn’t convince him to attend the Wally Tunes Symposium February 21 (extensive damage to his home on Alberta’s High River during one of the worst floods in Canadian history is keeping him close to home), but his original song “Bert’s Boogie” is one of the tracks on the commemorative CD we’ll be giving away to those attending the symposium.

Page Stephens ’65, who helped found the Wabash Folksong Club—which brought to campus some of the leading folk and guitar acts of the 1960s, including the powerful Delta blues man Son House and folk music legend Doc Watson—calls Garrett his guitar hero.

In a story in the Summer 2002 issue of Wabash Magazine, Page recalls the first time he heard Garrett play: “Amos and I were both Kappa Sigs, and the first time I heard him play his guitar—an old Goya flat top which he probably has forgotten he ever owned—I learned that there was much more to playing the guitar than I ever realized.”

A writer for Scene Magazine wrote in 2002 that “the reason that Garrett’s name floats along the periphery of pop music instead of the front lines is because Garrett eschewed mainstream rock to make consistently interesting music.” That sounds like a Wabash man.

Guitar Player calls Garrett “one of the most lyrical and original guitarists playing today.”

You can hear Amos’s music all over the Web, but start with his site at Stony Plain Records. And here’s a youtube link to “Midnight at the Oasis” and that famous instrumental bridge. Amos’s solo starts at about 1:21 in.

Wally Tunes: Music and the Liberal Arts is February 21 in the Fine Arts Center.

Wabash Pulse: Winter Olympics

Richard Paige — Just because the Winter Olympics are a half a world away in Sochi doesn’t mean that the glow of the Olympic flame can’t be felt here on our campus.

Most of the North American viewing audience may have to brush up on the differences between skeleton and luge, pairs and dance, and the confluence that gives us the Nordic combined. Bonus points will also be awarded for knowing the difference between classic and free technique.

I took a very brief Wabash pulse on these Games to see what interests these Little Giants about the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

Location matters in the Olympics, as nothing casts a longer shadow as the vibe displayed by a host city. Looking back at the host cities in the last 20 years, the most mentioned hosts were Vancouver (2010) and Lillehammer (1994).

It’s interesting to see the weight that Lillehammer’s well-earned reputation for delivering a transcendent Games resonates with a group that, at best, were mere toddlers two decades ago.

The 2014 Olympic Winter Games opened Friday, Feb. 7, at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia.

When it comes to favorite sports, the answers ran the gamut, as skiing (“the body control they have is insane”), hockey (“I’m from Wisconsin where hockey is huge”), figure skating (“it’s very interesting because of the precision”, ski jumping (“they defy gravity while effortlessly flying through the air”), and superpipe (“all the biggest stars are there”) all received mentions.

Prompted for a favorite athlete or moment, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” trumped individuals like Bode Miller, Peter Forsberg, and Apolo Anton Ohno, and my anticipated winner Shaun White.

While the Miracle on Ice still might be the greatest upset in sporting history, the geopolitical implications still bubble up. When explaining why it’s so memorable, Ben Cook ’14 said, “I love capitalism and freedom.”

Bonham ’80 and the Hoosier Blues

Gordon Bonham ’80

Steve Charles—In 1995 I’d been working at Wabash only for a few months when I was startled to see a name in the alumni directory: Amos Garrett ’64. Canada’s master of the Telecaster, whose groundbreaking solo on Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis” made that song a hit in 1974, was a Wabash man?

Later that year I interviewed Larry Bennett, the Grammy-nominated tenor the College hired to rebuild the music department. In 2000, James Makubuya arrived, making Wabash the only College in the country where you could learn to play East African instruments from a virtuoso who had performed in Carnegie Hall.

A year later we featured a story about Gordon Bonham ’80—a biology/philosophy major, student of Bill Placher ’70, and one of the top blues players in the country. And these days we’re writing about Nashville singer-songwriter Dan Couch ’89, whose songs co-written with Kip Moore were #1 Country Hits in 2012 and 2013.

You get the idea: Wabash may be a small College, but our musicians are Little Giants.

This year on February 21, the Wabash campus will host Wally Tunes: Music and the Liberal Arts, the 5th Annual Alumni/Faculty and Staff Symposium. As a gift for those attending and participating in the event, 13 Wabash musicians generously contributed tracks to Scarlet Hues, a commemorative CD (a limited run of 250) that Wabash Media Services Specialist Adam Bowen is producing.

With the event less than two weeks away, I’d like to tell you a little each day about the musicians on the CD, and Gordon Bonham is a great person to start with. Not only is his work included on Scarlet Hues, but he’ll be presenting and performing at the symposium.

Gordon brings together a mix of blues styles from the Mississippi Delta to the back alleys of Chicago, from big Texas shuffles to jumpin’ West Coast swing. He performed with the legendary Pinetop Perkins at the grand opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has opened for such greats as John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and B.B. King. In 2011 he released his most recent CD, Soon in the Morning, featuring original tracks performed by some of the region’s leading blues musicians.

Lately he has been accompanying former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf in a series of poetry and blues performances. In 2011 he released his most recent CD, Soon in the Morning, (check out “Get Back, Jezebel”) featuring original tracks performed by some of the region’s leading blues musicians. His solo acoustic album, Get Back Home, includes a collection of original country blues and Delta blues played on National steel guitar.

The host of Blues Jam at the Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis, Bonham recently received a grant from the Indiana Arts Council to study and incorporate the five-string banjo into his blues arrangements. He’s traveled the country learning from other banjo players and developing his own style for the blues. He’ll be talking about that (and, we hope, playing some of those 5-string banjo blues—he’s come up with a version of Willie Johnson’s “Soul of a Man” that brings out the essence of the song in a new/old way) during his presentation at the symposium. He will also be a featured artist during the performances beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Check out his web page and links to his CDs, where you can hear a sampling of his work

And here’s the story Howard Hewitt wrote about Gordon in Wabash Magazine: “Those Good Time, Hard Drivin’, Philosophical Blues.”

Tomorrow: Amos Garrett ’64




Students Gather for State of Union Discussion

Scott Morrison ’14 – The frigid temperatures did not stop roughly 50 enthusiastic Wabash students from attending a flash discussion on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night.

The event co-sponsored by the College Republicans and Democrats as well as the Political Science and Rhetoric Departments, provided students with a unique opportunity to view the address while having a little fun.

Nathan Manning ’14 joins the post-speech discussion.

“I think it’s a great experience,” Derek Andre ’16 said. “I would feel pretty silly if I was clapping while watching sitting in my dorm room by myself, but it’s just good to be able to come and be with your buddies and those who both agree with you and disagree with you on this sort of thing. It was just neat to be able to watch it together to get at each other and also figure out why people think like they do.”

The flash discussion featured two screens for those in attendance. One featured the President’s address, and the other featured a constantly refreshing Twitter feed started by the sponsors with the hashtag #WabashFD.

The Twitter feed was a unique twist to the discussion which had never been used before at such an event. “The great thing obviously by going through Twitter we had some alumni comments,” BKT Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Sara Drury said. “They weren’t here with us, but they were able to be part of the conversation happening on campus which is cool.”

Many of the students in attendance enjoyed the ability to communicate with the world via Twitter as well. “I liked the fact that we had the tweets going at the same time because you had people giving their concerns like ‘well the President really addressed this’ or maybe he addressed foreign policy a little bit more than people thought,” Fabian House ’16 said. “I wasn’t surprised by any means by the speech itself, but I did appreciate the interaction of the people to give me a little bit more information.”

Professor of Art Stephanie Rossi and Chemistry Professor Laura Wysocki joined the evening’s discussion.

Individual political science and rhetoric classes have had flash discussions before, but this was the first time that such an event was College-wide. “I think that there is something to be said for bringing people together to watch and respond to the issues of the day,” Drury said. “I think that event of bringing people together and watching it together and having conversation as it’s happening and afterwards is the beginning. I am confident that those conversations then continue beyond the event. I think that is really the benefit of having it as a central event on campus. That’s part of the reason that those of us in the Political Science and Rhetoric Departments wanted to team up and meet to keep doing these flash discussions for relevant contemporary political events, because it brings people together to talk about the things that are happening in the world around them.”

Overall, the atmosphere of the event was fairly lively. Pounding of desks for approval and hisses of disapproval were common with a bit of occasional laughter at the Twitter feed. See more student reaction below:

“The reason why I came is not only just to watch it in a group of people while live tweeting it, but also the discussion afterwards. It gives you a deeper understanding and more perspectives on the different issues and everything that he was talking about in his speech.” - Carter Adams ’15

“I could have just as easily sat in my room and watched it, but being able to have the environment is a good idea. The State of the Union is a give and take I suppose. It’s not going to be exactly what you want to hear, but it’s also not going to be a total insult. It’s been better than in some years. He seemed to have toned it down a little bit on who he was trying to make upset. There are some things that can be worked on, but there are other things that pretty much are dead on the water. Time will tell.” – Nick Freeman ’15

“The people who stay behind are able to get a lot of insight on what other students have to say especially with the conversation we have. It really allows for a lot of bipartisan consideration and deeper discussion of the issues. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises. Like Dr. Drury said, you can lay a lot of these State of the Union speeches on top of each other and they would make up pretty well. With that being said, there were a couple of surprises that are pretty significant. There were a lot of omissions in certain areas that are highly contentious including the ACA and work force and unemployment rates that misled some Americans, and he didn’t do a great job of providing some of the proper statistics and information that he should have.” –Nate Manning ’14


GM’s Davlin ’85 Talks Pricing with Econ Students

Howard W. Hewitt – Jim Davlin ’85 told a large group of Wabash students Friday that pricing any consumer product has many variables, some obvious and some less so.

Davlin ’85 talking with students after his lecture.

Davlin, a Wabash Economics major, is now General Motors Vice President Finance/Treasure. The Wabash Trustee used the stops of his career to illustrate the differences. Before joining GM, Davlin had worked at consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and John Deere.

Even though he is at a corporate level now, he has had “a lot of line development for products.” He used the example of dish soap or laundry detergent to start his talk. The components of cost, competition, are relatively simple, he suggested, but packaging can also have a huge impact with consumer goods.

While at Lilly, he learned pricing of drugs is very different. “The insurance market clouds the cost of health care,” he said. “The raw materials cost very little to make one pill. What’s expensive is all the cost that went into the drug (research) to make it successful. One in 10,000 compounds will be a successful drug.”

The market is fickle. Drugs can greatly aid one healthcare affliction while causing other patients side effects. The customer, Davlin said, must weigh price against result in unique ways no at all like buying dish soap.

Davlin ’85 talking about GM finance.

Davlin’s time at John Deere gave him a new-found respect for agriculture. “Farmers are dramatically underestimated for their financial savvy,” he said. He explained farmers will weigh the benefit and gain of buying new equipment, its impact on harvest, prices, and labor in determining what they will pay for a new tractor.

He jokingly noted that most of the young men probably wanted to hear more about selling Cadillacs than tractors so he used Cadillac’s 2013 introduction of its new ATS as an example. He explained how the company tried to position the vehicle in comparison to a similar BMW.

But the other factor for pricing in the auto industry isn’t just market demand, raw materials cost, and the other components.   Auto manufacturers also must consider how a vehicle price-wise fits in its own lineup.

Students peppered the GM executive with questions for the remainder of the hour. He talked about targeted advertising, GM’s downsizing, and the company’s substantial financial turnaround since 2008.

Claxon ’06 Talks Behind the Theater Curtain

Brent Harris – Wabash College students peeked behind the theater curtain Tuesday afternoon thanks to a visit from Donald Claxon ’06.

Donald Claxon ’06

Claxon returned to his alma mater to discuss the duties and responsibilities off stage in both theater and opera productions. He also brought a wealth of experience and personal stories from his work in Chicago.

After graduating from Wabash, Claxon attended the Yale University School of Drama, earning his masters in stage management in 2009. He has worked at various theaters in Chicago since 2009, most recently serving as the stage manager for the Grant Park Music Festival, assistant stage manager and production manager at the Chicago Opera Theater, and assistant stage manager at the Court Theater.

After listing the various technical theater positions, Claxon focused on more specific day-to-day responsibilities.

“When I was at Yale, some production managers were only known by the color and number of post-it notes on their desks,” Claxon said. “I enjoy being back stage and getting to know the actors. My job is to assist them in any way possible so they can focus on their role.

Claxon sharing experiences with Wabash students

“Part of an actor’s job is to be perceptive. They know if you are assisting them. I worked with an actress who was diabetic. She wore an insulin pump during rehearsals, but it would have been impossible for her to wear it in performances due to her movements on stage and her costume. I asked her if it would be helpful to have some glucose tablets on both sides of the stage just in case she needed them. She told me no one had ever asked her that, and she was grateful that I considered that option.”

Claxon, who worked as a production assistant with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in “The Addams Family: A New Musical” in 2009, talked about the different challenges created by different types of shows.

“Working with the Grant Park Music Festival, we have a different performance every night. We have roughly 21 hours to change out the set and prepare everything for the next performance. In some theaters, you might have two different shows in the same day. You have to take all of those things in consideration when preparing the budget and planning the design and construction of the set. What might work perfectly for a show that will run over a series of days or weeks might not work at all for a traveling production.”

Shift Gears for Success

Richard Paige — He drew me in with a well-emphasized have.

“I don’t play golf when it’s hot. I don’t play golf when there is a chance of rain, because I don’t have to. I can wait for 250 other great days of weather.”

Listening to Brent Bolick ’91 talk about his life in and around Florida, those words confidently paint a picture of a guy who likes where he is.

Currently, he’s the Jacksonville Division president of Clear Channel Outdoor advertising. Along the way he’s held titles like salesman, fundraiser, landscaper, and public affairs manager.

“I wanted to be a lobbyist,” said Bolick, the son of a lobbyist, when asked if he’d planned on a career in billboards. “It seemed to me that most of the lobbyists I’d come in contact with through my father were lawyers, so I applied to law school.”

Brent Bolick ’91 is the president of Clear Channel Outdoor advertising in Jacksonville, Fla.

There was just one hurdle for Bolick. “I had very average LSAT scores.”

Undaunted, he went to work right out of college on Steve Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign in Indianapolis. That led to a fundraising gig with U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and his 1992 re-election efforts.

Bolick passed on an opportunity to work full-time with the Coats local administrative staff and ended up working at a Carmel landscape company with more than a handful of recent grads.

“They gave us the flexibility to leave and interview when we needed to,” Bolick said, “and they loved us because we had clean driving records and could communicate with customers.”

He did a stint with Sue Anne Gilroy’s secretary of state campaign in 1994 before settling into a public affairs position with IndyGo, the regional transit authority.

From there, he took a chance with Clear Channel Outdoor, worked his way up, moved to Florida to pursue administrative opportunities, eventually rising to president and overseeing 26 people in his Northwest Florida region.

Bolick feels his Wabash education gave him the flexibility to handle whatever challenge awaits.

“Liberal arts means you know enough about everything to be dangerous, but not enough to be an expert,” laughed the political science major. “Because I dabbled in so many things, it makes it so much easier to shift gears in my world, where you may talk to a city councilman downtown, a landowner over here and a sales rep in the office. It’s like handling all of the disciplines. It’s a big snowball of everything.”

While his primary focus as president is to work with community leaders to provide for sustainable growth and consistency of regulation within the industry, one of the benefits of his multi-faceted approach was to learn all aspects of his business.

“To be able to shift gears from real estate to sales to finance to operations is an advantage,” Bolick said. “It was interesting to learn the other sides of the business and how it all fit together.”

While the digital age has affected many, including game-changing developments in the billboard business itself, one thing still ties him to his college days. He’s an old-school note taker.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like there now,” he said. “We didn’t even have computers. I think my last year there was when they opened the first computer lab in the library. Everyone takes notes on laptops or tablets and I’m still taking notes the way I was at Wabash: outlines, bullet points, arrows back. It’s amazing how much more wired things are, how much more tech savvy kids are now.”

A Wabash Q&A:

What is your favorite Wabash tradition?
Monon Bell. We were 0-4 when I was there, so I kept going back until we won one, which we finally did. That’s where I’m able to connect with other alums. The tough part of living down here is just how easy it was to stay connected by going to that one game.

Success and failure are a part of life. To this point, what has been your favorite mistake?
Not taking that job with Sen. Coats in Indianapolis. It was lesson about humility and a hard way to learn it.

If you could cook one meal, what would it be?
Steak and shrimp

If you could give your 10-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Oh, there is so much. Self-esteem and being comfortable in your own skin would be where I’d start.

If you have a personal credo, what is it?
If you start something, finish it.

If in your dreams you could have created one great piece of art – painting, song, sculpture, prose, etc. – by any other person, what would it be?
I have no idea. I’m not an artsy guy. I was always fond of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture?
With any luck, I’m retired and it’s a big family portrait.

If you could wish for one thing in your future, what would it be?
Do the best I can to get my kids through high school and college and off on their own. Hopefully, you did it the right way. I wish there was a guidebook, but there isn’t.

Wabash Preparation Aids Medical Resident

Jason Siegel ’08 with wife, Breanna, and son, Jack.

Richard Paige – This most recent winter storm makes me wish I were in Jason Siegel’s shoes.

Ten days ago he and I were steps away from the Atlantic Ocean sharing the joys of a sunny, 80-degree day in Jacksonville, Fla.  The snowfall blanketing campus today is not a reasonable facsimile for a white-sand beach.

Siegel ’08 would agree.

“When you move here, everybody, says, ‘You are going to miss the seasons.’ I don’t,” he said laughing loudly.  “I enjoy the 80-degree weather in December.”

Jason is a resident at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic.  Four years as a biology major with a chemistry and math minor propelled him to medical school at IU before earning a residency at one of the Southeast’s most reputable medical institutions.

His focus is neurology – disorders of the nervous system.  “It’s not neurosurgery,” Siegel said.  “Neurosurgery is a little sexier, I suppose, but we deal with probably 90-plus percent of the neurological diseases.”

Siegel’s dreams of being a doctor date back to childhood.  The neurology came a bit later.

“I always liked the sciences and when you are a little kid and you do well in school, you are either going to be a doctor, lawyer or astronaut,” laughed Siegel.  “I love neurology.  There was just something that fit.  It’s a very methodical discipline.  You are testing so many different systems.  It’s like a big puzzle.”

I asked Jason, now midway through his residency, what surprised him most about the medical profession, and he didn’t mention long hours of study, patient care or the rigors of residency.  He mentioned the grunt work – transcribing notes, putting in orders, calling nurses.  The stuff you never see on television.

“I spend a lot of time at a computer typing notes, putting in orders, a lot of time on the phone calling nursing homes and nurses,” said Siegel.  “That part, I wasn’t ready for.  I never watch medical shows on TV, but I caught an episode of Grey’s Anatomy a while back and you never see the any of the doctors writing progress notes or admission notes.  That’s something that isn’t recognized…just how much time we sit at a computer.”

When it comes to prepping for a career in medicine, Siegel had these thoughts:

My friends who went to bigger state schools had a little advantage over me in med school at first because you sit in a big lecture hall and you get PowerPoint lectures and you have to memorize them.  It’s straight memorization of notes and textbooks. There is not a ton of critical thinking.

At Wabash it’s the exact opposite, even in the sciences.  There is a lot of discussion and interaction.  Don’t get me wrong, Biology 111 and 112 at Wabash was a lot of memorization, but there is a lot of compare and contrast.  You have to think critically.  There wasn’t a lot of that in the first two years of medical school.

But in years three and four, and definitely in residency moving forward, you don’t do that.  It’s taking a patient, figuring out what’s happened, solving the puzzle and communicating that plan with the patient.  You can be very good at memorizing textbooks, but you have to be good at making connections.  That is where Wabash helped me the most.  Thinking critically is something I do every day.

In trying to take care of people – living humanely – I’ve found there is a bit of resistance to people listening to doctors in general.  Part of that resistance is because when you go to a doctor, you are bearing a lot, you are very vulnerable.  Sometimes we don’t appreciate that and deal with it very well.  Having empathy for what the patient is going through, whether it’s someone helping their mom with a stroke or someone who’s just been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the undergraduate education I’ve seen at other places doesn’t prepare students as well as what I had at Wabash.

A Wabash Q&A:

 What is your favorite Wabash tradition?

My favorite week every year is Monon Bell week.  The campus just has a different energy.  The freshmen staying up ringing the Bell, guarding the Bell.  That’s my favorite tradition, the Monon Bell festivities.

If you could cook one meal, what would it be?

I’m thinking of two things.  One is a very tender New York Strip steak – juicy and pink in the middle – just perfect.  The other thing is a perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I love cookies.  If I could make my grandma’s cookies – they were always soft and gooey, chocolate melted just right when they come out of the oven.  If I could do that, I’d be pretty happy.

If you could give your 10-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell him to start figuring out who he is as soon as he can.  Figure out what you are good at, and what you are not, as early as you can and let that guide you through big decisions in life.

If you have a personal credo, what is it?

There is a Greek temple for Apollo.  There are three things inscribed on it: know thyself, all things in moderation, and in essence, know that you can’t control everything.  Those are three things that have guided me since high school and I’m most cognizant of when making decisions.

If in your dreams you could have  created one great piece of art – painting, song, sculpture, prose, etc. – by any other person, what would it be?

Oh man…My favorite piece of art is a song called “Jupiter” by Gustav Holst, a classical composer who played piano and trombone.  He wrote a suite called “The Planets.” If I could have written “Jupiter” – it’s my favorite song ever – that would be something to put my name on.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture?

I’m probably with my wife and son and we’re all laughing.

If you could wish for one thing in your future, what would it be?

Do people usually put that much thought into this? (laughs) I have to make sure this is right.  I want to make sure my kids are on the right path…figure out who they are, make good decisions and are happy and successful in life.

The Many Voices of Wabash

 Steve Charles—Copyeditor Cheri Clark (whose son, Matthew, is a freshman at Wabash) has done remarkable work over the years catching errors in our grammar and suggesting edits for Wabash Magazine, but she rarely comments on the stories themselves. So when Cheri emailed, “Loved the pieces in ‘Voices’” after copyediting that section of the magazine, she got my attention.

Wabash Professor and College Poet Emeritus Donald W. Baker H’57

And I think those writers deserve yours.

We bill the Voices section as “Wabash students, alumni, and faculty engaging the world,” and the six writers published in the current issue didn’t just engage the world, they embraced it, captured it, were amused by it, knocked down by it, angered by it, and blessed by it. There’s as wide a range of emotion in those four pages as is humanly possible.

To celebrate their work in print I thought I’d highlight a piece or two at a time online, starting here with two of the most moving, if darkest, pieces.

The poetry of College poet and Professor Emeritus Donald Baker ’57 and the memoir of John Moynahan ’43 don’t exactly holler “Merry Christmas”, but their service to us as World War II veterans and articulate witnesses to the horrors of war are gifts to us nonetheless, and reminders of why “peace on earth” is mankind’s highest calling, if the most difficult to attain.

Here’s an excerpt called “Attack” from John Moynahan’s Memories: A Ship and a War, followed by Don Baker’s poem, “Formal Application” (recently reprinted in a textbook used by high school and college students, so his work continues to inform a new generation.)

On the first day of November 1944, Lt. John Moynahan was serving aboard the destroyer USS Ammen steaming with the 7th fleet on its way to Leyte Gulf when the ship was attacked by several Japanese aircraft:

We opened fire on signal at several of the closest planes, and I ran back and forth from port to starboard trying to keep track of all the reported bogies. When I looked back to port, the plane that bombed the Killen was trailing smoke and banking toward us! Our port guns kept firing, raking her wings and nose, and she was shooting at us until she hit us. I crouched against the bulkhead near my gunner, Kaufman, and watched the plane come. At the last second, she veered slightly to the right, and I ducked as she hit us. I was surprised the noise was no louder than other battle noises and our five-inch gun firing to port nearly over my head.

Now I had seen war: violent, fearful, terrible war. I felt the fear of a man close to death and experienced the sudden relief one has when he finds he is still alive after all. I witnessed the deep roar of big guns with the accompanying concussion, burnt cork fragments, acrid smoke, blinding flashes…and in between the rhythmic pounding of the 40mms, the nervous chatter of 20mm machine guns. I felt the close proximity of the enemy, and the realization he was intent on destroying me, my friends, and my temporary home. I heard the sudden crushing of metal and, almost as bad, the moment of silence that frequently follows disaster, in which everyone is frozen in place while he convinces himself he is still alive.

Five of our shipmates were killed. Charles “Joe” Helmer, standing 30 feet from me at the time, was hit by the starboard engine and propeller, his body obliterated.

I felt sickened as I looked at the spot where Joe had been. He was my storekeeper, one of two, on whom I was heavily dependent. He was very likable, fast efficient, and now he was gone.

The night was uneventful, but sleep did not come until just before dawn. I slept by my gun station along with others, and I kept trying to accept Joe’s death. When dozing I dreamt of him and he was alive again. All the next day he kept reappearing in my imagination, doing customary things.

The next day we had a burial-at-sea ceremony for the remains, all wrapped in American flags. While the captain was still reading the prescribed words, the general quarters alarm started and the remains went into the sea while we all ran for our battle stations.

This was war, a man’s circus. This was the way death often happens in war, violently, suddenly and unexpectedly. This is what I have now experienced, and I regret that my sons and their sons may also be involved in even more terrible struggles “to make the world a better place.”

John Moynahan ’43, Lieutenant (SC), USNR, edited and excerpted from his diary
Memories: A Ship and a War, originally written in 1945 and published in 2010 by The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, Florida State University.

Formal Application

I shall begin by learning to throw
the knife, first at trees, until it sticks
in the trunk and quivers every time;

next from a chair, using only wrist
and fingers, at a thing on the ground,
a fresh ant hill or a fallen leaf;

then at a moving object, perhaps
a pine cone swinging on twine, until
I pot it at least twice in three tries.

Meanwhile, I shall be teaching the birds
that the skinny fellow in sneakers
is a source of suet and bread crumbs,

first putting them on a shingle nailed
to a pine tree, next scattering them
on the needles, closer and closer

to my seat, until the proper bird,
a towhee, I think, in black and rust
and gray, takes tossed crumbs six feet away.

Finally, I shall coordinate
conditioned reflex and functional
form and qualify as Modern Man.

You see the splash of blood and feathers
and the blade pinning it to the tree?
It’s called an “Audubon Crucifix.”

The phrase has pleasing (even pious)
connotations, like Arbeit Macht Frei,
“Molotov Cocktail,” and Enola Gay.

—Donald Baker H’57

Originally published in 1982, was reprinted in 2012 in the 5th edition of Sequel: A Handbook for the Critical Analysis of Literature, a textbook widely used in AP high school courses, colleges, and universities.

Read more about Don Baker here. 


WM and The Craft and Joy of Printing

Quad/Graphics’ pressman and lead operator Rick Austin holds the cover of the Fall 2013 issue of Wabash Magazine at the console of one of the plant’s presses.

Steve Charles—Just received this photo from Mike Moxley, our consultant at Maury Boyd and Associates who shepherds Wabash Magazine through the final printing process at Quad/Graphics in Midland, MI.

The guy holding the cover of the latest issue is Rick Austin, lead operator of the press that printed it. Mike and Rick knew we wanted the Wabash College seal on that facsimile of the program from President Hess’s inauguration program to look as much like the original 3-D embossed image as possible. Embossing 13,000 issues would have been an unforgivable expense, but we hope readers will, at first glance, think that seal is real. Rick is smiling because he thinks they will.

I’ve stood with Rick at that console many times during my own press checks for the magazine. I’ve watched him meticulously dial in the colors, seen him match photos across signatures that I feared would never match, wondered at his skill and dedication printing the stories and images of this College he’s never seen except through those pages. He’s printed at least a portion of every Wabash Magazine that’s been printed in Midland. Those pages have made him a Wabash fan, too. (Mike’s email included this message from Rick: “Tell Steve I’m glad we get to keep the Bell for another year.”)

Seeing our cover in the hands of perhaps the only guy in Midland who cares about the Monon Bell Game made me grateful once again for the printed page—not only for the product and the tactile pleasure of holding something real in your hands when so much of what we read disappears when the electricity is off, but also the process.

By the time you receive this latest issue and read Tyler Burke’s first person account of one of the greatest comebacks in Wabash history or Tara and Glen Elrod’s moving piece about their work in Haiti, each story will have gone through hands of the writers, myself and any co-editors for that particular issue, copyeditor Cheri Clark (whose son is a Wabash freshman), three proofreaders in house, and one external proofreader. The photos have been selected by photo editor Kim Johnson and sent to art directors Cathy Swick and Becky Otte. All 96 pages they have designed, laid out, and illustrated over several weeks have been proofed and reproofed. Digital files have been sent to Midland and prepared for the press, then reviewed online by the editor and art director. Final corrections have been made and printing begun on two immense web presses, each run by a lead operator and several other pressmen over a couple of shifts. Pages have been trimmed and bound on another line and issues have been delivered to the post office.

The edition with your name on it (I can’t forget Heather Bazzani and Doug  Brinkerhoff, who prepare the mailing lists) should reach your mailbox by next week. And that list doesn’t get to the post office, and dozens of other steps don’t get completed, without Susan Casalini of Maury Boyd, who coordinates the entire production process and keeps it all moving.

The Web is a great communication tool, but there’s something about the collaboration and craft of print—all the connections between so many people who have to do their jobs so well to make a book or magazine—that I find exponentially more rewarding and joyful. Each step opens up the potential for error, yes. But at each step another person brings his or her own creativity and ideas, attention to detail, perspective, artful eye, and skill to the finished product.

At the very beginning of the process, as I gather stories and images for each issue of WM, I always envision the finished piece. Thanks to these people and this creative process over the past 18 years, it’s always better than I could have imagined.