2003: The Banner
the Sixties, any self-respecting radio station identified itself at
a remote broadcast by draping a colorful piece of cloth over the
front of the table. As the new station director at ten-watt
WOBC, I wanted a new banner.
June 24, 1968, I wrote as follows to another Oberlin College junior,
my friend Jan Olson, a seamstress who made much of her own clothing.
you recall one evening when we were working on math problems when I
asked you if you would be interested in making a WOBC banner for us
this summer? As youve undoubtedly discovered by now,
Ive enclosed a design for such a banner.
scale is three inches to a foot; i.e., your assignment, if you
should decide to accept it, is to make a banner about two feet by
three and a half feet. It will often be hung from the edge of a
table which is thirty inches from the floor, so two feet is about the
maximum possible for height. Wed like it to be a yellow
banner with red letters. Oberlins colors are
theoretically crimson and gold, but the team uniforms are almost
always just red and yellow.
notice the grid of half-inch squares superimposed on the letters
WOBC; these squares correspond to eighth-inch squares drawn over the
letters WOBC in our letterhead (which provided the pattern for the
form of these letters with their serifs and all), or to the two-inch
squares youll probably use in making your full-size pattern.
far as materials go, you know more than I do about it. The
banner needs to be flexible enough to be folded up so we can take it
with us on the basketball bus, yet hang it up at the game with no
noticeable wrinkles. It also has to be of a rather heavy
material, both for durability and to assure that it will hang
straight and not billow in the breeze from some ventilating fan.
And it should be possible to clean it without taking undue
precautions. The banner we have now, which is a little too
heavy and looks terrible, appears to be some sort of vinyl on a
canvas backing; commercial banners are made of felt.
item: in order to hang the banner, we need three to five loops
of some sort attached to the back of it at the top, or a better
system if you can think of it.
will pay for the materials you use, within reason. Please
dont make the banner of chinchilla fur, however. We can
have a banner made for us by some company in Iowa for about $20,
though Im sure the quality would be inferior to what you would produce.
dont think that Im demanding that you do this. If
your job for the summer consists of washing dishes at a hospital for
eighty-three hours a week, I can imagine that in your spare time you
would like to do something other than cutting little letters out of
felt. But if youre looking for a worthwhile secondary
endeavor, this, I think, is a good one. Its certainly a
lot more practical than making another dress.
put off the project until the end of summer, but she didnt
forget that shed been commissioned by the president of the
Oberlin College Student Network, Inc., namely me, to create a work of art.
cut letters from yellow felt and glued them onto a piece of red
felt. The banner included our audio radiance slogan
and looked rather like the re-creation at the right. Colorful
enough for you?
must have been some materials left over. Not long afterward, I
received an envelope from Jan, containing what you see at the top of
this page: a 6½" by 4½" bannerlet and a
note ("I present to you this small token of friendship").