News about News . . . .

ImageA kind reader of My Notebook wrote to ask if something is wrong . . I have not been posting.  Well, yes and no.  It’s wrong that my atrial fibrillation acted up sending my pulse sky high and then plummeting down, but good that I went to the E. R. and spent a few days in the comfort of Queens Hospital while the doctors puzzled over me.  I’m now set free but wearing a monitor and have appointments for the verdict.

So while I’ve been taking it easy I’ve been looking over old pictures and ran across this one of me in 1945 or 1946 when I was editor of the college newspaper, aptly named the Collegian Reporter.  Not because I had a nose for news, although I did, but because the job paid my tuition that year.  I had two or three other small jobs to pay for room and board and now and then a piece of apple pie at Mrs.Schwartz’s on the corner by the campus.

Notice how I’m “dressed.”  This was before t-shirts and jeans.  It was during the war and so many of our young men had gone into service it was hard to maintain much of a sports program, still sports were a main feature of the newspaper and sports were not my thing.  So I chose a guy for my assistant editor.  His name was Tom Wickstrom.  We had met in music studies and became friends, not one I dated  but one I walked with,  pondering the meaning of life.

Tom’s story was a sad one.  While he was working in some kind of plant to earn money for college, a machine came down on his hand and took off three fingers.  Tom played the violin and planned a music major, so this was a challenge, but he went on with it and excelled.  In fact, years later I learned he was in D. C., head of music education for the nation’s schools.

One night we were at the college working together to wrap up an issue. It was a special one, the annual April Fool  nonsense.  We decided we needed something really sharp, arresting, maybe even shocking for the headline.  Between us we came up with what we thought was hilarious.  In fact, we were hopping around, holding our sides with laughter that wouldn’t stop.  Of course it was late and we were tired, but we insisted we were brilliant.

Two days later issues were on campus.  Within hours Tom and I were called in to the college dean’s office.  A copy of our issue lay on his desk, with the headline screaming “Professor Gwyn, head of the Physics Department, to leave to work for Exlax Company.”

We had no answer for the dean’s question “What were you thinking??”  We were told the professor was in shock, his home phone was ringing off the hook, his wife and friends were upset,  Somehow we survived the conference without consequence..  Maybe the dean caught a glimpse of Tom’s poor hand just before making his decision. Or maybe the dean was, in fact, holding back laughter himself.

In 1996 I attended a 50th class reunion.,  Tom Wickstrom was there, looking still much as I remembered.  I went to him and put my arms around him, saying how glad I was to see him.  He pushed me away rudely, saying “Who are you?”  I told him but the name didn’t mean anything to him.  His eyes were vacant.  I was hurt.  Not long after that I learned that Tom had died.  An article online said that he died from Alzzheimer’s disease.  I should have felt sad, but felt glad to understand why he hadn’t known me..

Now I’ve finished my story and read it to my daughter, the baby boomer.  She had no idea what I was writing about or what the joke was.  I had her look up the word “physic” in the dictionary.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Betty Fjeldheim Clark
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 09:04:47

    Thanks for writing again, Doris. You’ve eeen in my thoughts.

    Reply

  2. Donna Thomas
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 23:50:45

    A pretty lady; still a pretty lady. Happy to read your posting of fun, gentler times.

    Reply

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