A Periodic Column by Steve Duffy ’77
April 27, 2012
Good things sometimes come in twos! Last week, Jen Paul ’93 and Peter Klarnet ’91 were the perfect twosome to come and spend time at the Olive Kettering library. They came from New York City to review the papers of Louis Filler. Filler was one of Antioch College’s most published and beloved history professors—he was Professor of American Civilization for more than four decades. He was the editor of the Antioch Review, and produced a score of other historians, as well as lawyers.
Fortunately, I, like many Antiochians, had been blessed to take a Louis Filler class. Louis would lecture some, but would always encourage deep debate and constant conversation. He also made everyone read and critique each others’ weekly papers.
He actually would tell the class that we could take classroom conversation almost anywhere, but we ALWAYS had to back up what we said. He would pound his desk and pound into our minds the saying “reference and example, reference and example!”
Ten days before Jen and Peter said they would be coming to visit, they sent me a Facebook message saying they would bring with them a book that had been checked out for twenty-five years! And yet, that’s not even the record but it’s pretty close; I have seen books come back more than fifty years later.
Jen and Peter had a great time visiting. They also stopped by to see Bob Fogarty, professor emeritus and editor of the Antioch Review, who has his own forty years of history with the college. Jen and Peter looked well and happy, and they’ve not yet had any gray hairs pop out. Like so many Antiochians, they have remained a great twosome.
It turns out that the tardy book in question, by William Burroughs, had not even been checked out by them, but was inadvertently packed with their boxes after they had lived in a Yellow Springs collective known as “The Cave.”
As Antiochians pack and move more than your average American, every now and then it is understandable something does get packed and not unpacked for maybe many seasons. Jen was amazed to see South Hall open, as it was boarded-up when she was a student. The renovations on North and the prep work for geo-thermal heating wells in the Horseshoe (Morgan Place) also were a thrill to both of them. As we went down memory lane, we talked about their professors and we laughed heartily. We talked about Frank Adler and, of course, Joe Cali as well, with his five decades of dedicated librarianship and his grand eccentricities.
Finally, they handed me that Burroughs book with big smiles and, as a grand surprise, a stack of brand new $2 bills, freshly printed and in perfect serial number sequence! They had remembered that the OK Library was the home of the two-dollar bill. Every so often, and almost predictably on payday Fridays, Joe would turn all the currency in the library cash drawer into “two”s. It was a wonderful quirkiness connected to Joe Cali’s other passion—horseracing! People reacted quizzically when handed change in multiples of twos for their transactions. Their reactions were often worth two million dollars—or more!
After some final hugs and laughter, Jen and Peter left and went exploring. They took their camera with them and toured the Horseshoe, the Glen, the Farm, and even Young’s Jersey Dairy. Since the Burroughs book was not checked out by either of them, the two-dollar bills weren’t a fine; they were a wonderful, whimsical, nostalgic, fun, and meaningful donation.
With YS schools on Spring Break last week, Laura Ellison ’89 camped out with us and got tons of work done, thanks to the library’s new wi-fi. A long table, a great view of the towers, and wi-fi make a perfect business getaway, I guess.
This week also brought us the first of two “Choose Antioch” weekends for accepted students. The weekend had hours of presentations, conversation, and tours, ending with a barbeque and wonderful eclectic bluegrass music. Prospective students and parents got to see one of the most innovative academic hot spots in the country. Tons of information on what to expect were given by a host of people, including President Mark Roosevelt, the deans, and faculty. To tie everything together, Maya Nye ’99 and Sarah Buckingham ’08 eloquently testified how their co-ops really woke them up to the world and its real and sometimes gray complexities.
Sara Black, current arts professor, also made a presentation about the Handshouse group. This summer, she will be taking some students to Poland to work on recreating historical wooden Jewish synagogues that were burned down during World War II. Students will have a truly hands-on experience, and learn some cultural and visual literacy, as they help recreate the structures.
Some of their work may actually later wind up in the Polish National Holocuast Museum. My current library co-op student Kaleigh Harris ’15 will be among those to go Poland. In between the zen of routine library work there is a little practice in some Beginning Polish…using a combination of textbooks and YouTube!
This week also brings the April Volunteer work project, which will be working on the Case Commons area. So many other friends will doubtless be here again, including Gary Houseknecht ’66, who sat with me Sunday and listened to that eclectic bluegrass music on South Hall’s patio.
Don’t forget to visit us whether you want a working getaway like Laura’s or Gary’s, or whether it is a more nostalgic and fun moment like Jen’s and Peter’s. Reunion is already less than two months away. Maybe YOU will come for that working getaway or to play. For those of you who like to take advantage of a discount … if you register for Reunion by May 18, you can save bundles.