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Wolfbook
Written January 1966
Added to website April 2011

 

Background:  Long before your friends were on Facebook, my friends were in the Wolfbook.

In 1965, as part of the admission process at Oberlin College, we incoming freshmen submitted photos of ourselves.  In many cases these were our senior portraits from high school.

The pictures, each reduced in size to about one square inch, were then compiled into a large-format 24-page photo directory of the Class of 1969. 

This booklet included our names and hometowns and college dorms.  It even had our Oberlin phone numbers in the back, though there were actually only eleven phone lines (campus extensions ranging from 2203 to 2297) for the five freshman dormitories.

Why was it called the Wolfbook?  I imagine a campus “wolf” — a male student who makes amorous advances to many women — could constantly consult this catalog of cute coeds in order to put names to faces like these:


Jane Arvin, Carbondale, Ill. — Dascomb
Mary Baetz, Buffalo 22, N.Y. — Dascomb
Anne Brooks, Waipahu, Hawaii — May


Karen Lindgren, Palos Verdes Est., Calif. — Talcott
Janet Kidder, Troy, N.Y. — Talcott
Linda Johnson, Amherst, Mass. — Dascomb


Sherrill Sherman, Columbus 21, Ohio — Dascomb
Mary McDonald, Clarksburg, Calif. — Talcott
Margaret Duncan, Hartford 7, Conn. — May

However, the college also mailed a copy to my parents.  They were acquainted with very few of the 681 young men and women pictured therein.  Therefore, four months into my freshman year, I wrote little thumbnail comments to describe 96 of my closest friends.

I was relatively shy, but I had gotten to know a number of freshmen from various classes that we shared.  Others were students in the Conservatory of Music (the “Con”).  Many of the male students lived in my dormitory, Burton Hall, and in particular in my section, 3C (or Third Floor Center).  I met other young men and women while hanging out at the campus radio station or dining at the women’s dormitory called Dascomb Hall, where some students had part-time jobs.  And we talked about sports and politics and the Gemini space program.

Yes, college teaches us more than just academic subjects.  We learn about other people, and about life.

Without further ado, then, here’s a selection of the notes I typed up for my parents.

SAL BARBATANO is a waiter at Dascomb.  Like other waiters and waitresses, he usually works one week and sits down to meals the next.  He was elected by the dining hall to be Santa Claus at the children’s Christmas party given at Dascomb December 12.  The candidates were all assembled one evening at dinner, and each came to the P.A. microphone to “tell why you want to be Santa Claus and sort of, uh, laugh.”  Sal won by using some sort of comical Swiss-German-Italian accent, and by ho-ho-hoing sincerely.

RAY BROGGINI is a friendly fellow who was in my bowling and skating classes.

PAUL BROWN is another football (starting quarterback for the varsity the last part of the season) and basketball player, and also a waiter.

CAROL CARTER is, in fact, laughing like that most of the time; a real fun-loving little imp.

ROGER CONNER is a friendly fellow with a voice you can’t not recognize:  he comes from Texas.  Very likable.  He was a little disappointed that it took so long this fall for snow finally to get here — he’s seen snow before in Dallas, but only once every couple of years — but when it finally did arrive, he soon was joking about the cold.  [See also here, third photo.]

DALE DOTEN is the minister’s son who went to the Group Relations Conference and is a member of Wesley Fellowship.  Doesn’t talk too much normally.

JON DREGER is the kind of fellow you like to talk to because he’s so entertaining.  Likes to poke fun at himself, and can keep going that way all day.

ERIC FREDIN you know about:  sectionmate, friend of [my roommate] Dave, from Minnesota, plays cello in the orchestra, studies Chinese.  His hair’s a good bit longer than it is in the picture.

BRUCE FREEDMAN is going to be a government major; he seems to have some pretty sensible liberal-Republican or moderate-Democrat views about politics, in contrast to many of the radicals around here.  He’s one of the Review’s Student-Council reporters.

JIM GERTMENIAN, or “Gert,” is in my section.  He plays the guitar and sings folk-type songs, and doesn’t do a bad job.  His favorites seem to be “San Francisco Bay” and “We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus and a Lot Less Rock and Roll.”  I don’t mind listening to him now and then, and he doesn’t sing often enough ever to become a nuisance; actually, he’s well liked.

BIZ GLENN is a flirtatious type.

WARD GUTHRIE is another from the section, a fine tenor.

JEFF HANNA is my next-door neighbor, a friendly guy with a high-pitched voice.  He’s on the freshman basketball team.  [See also here.]

JACK HELLER is quite a character to talk to.  I’ve gotten into dining-hall conversations with him about olive pluckers (some sort of useless serving utensil, I gather), grauple (which is a cross between sleet and snow), football teams with Italian place-kickers, and all sorts of other fascinating subjects.  You’ll think the conversation has died a natural death, and then he’ll come up with another comment.  And frequently these comments are atrocious puns.  But a talk with him is never boring.  He’s dissatisfied with Oberlin, by the way, and plans to leave for somewhere else after this year.

JOHN HOLLIGER is a radical conservative.  I may have mentioned him to you before, though not by name:  he’s the one who opposed the Thanksgiving fast because he neither asks for charity nor gives it, among other reasons.  He’s the one who believes in complete freedom from government interference, and states his position so strongly that he has to end up claiming we shouldn’t have any laws at all.  This attitude, along with a peremptory manner of speaking, makes him rather unpopular, and he doesn’t smile a great deal, although I can tell he’d like to be able to talk to people, even about ordinary subjects.  Here’s where Miss Huysman, who shows an interest in everyone, comes in.  Lately I’ve even seen John laughing.

RANDY HOLLINGSHEAD is our section president.  It’s not a political position, but incidentally he happens to be the political type, trying to draw out the more remote members of the section (like me) and get them to talk about themselves and feel at home.  I feel at home, all right, but most of the time I prefer to be down here in my private room.

DEBBIE HORN is the president of Dascomb, probably because none of the girls dislike her, if I understand female politics properly.

DAVE HOWELL may very well be the best tenor in the Conservatory.  Already this year he’s had the lead in an opera, and he was one of the four soloists for the last Musical Union production — and he’s a freshman.  From what I know of him, he too is a friendly fellow, especially liking to get into a punning situation around a dinner table; see Polly Moore.

NANCY HUYSMAN is probably one of the most genuinely happy and friendly girls around.  She’s a good student and enjoys working hard — in addition to a rather full schedule she sings in the Chapel Choir and a church choir, both of which perform weekly, and she’s planning on trying out for an opera — but she never seems to get tired and always is enthusiastic about talking to people.  No wonder she’s popular.  And, as I mentioned before, her optimism rubs off on the rest of us.  The other day at lunch someone said [about laboratory classes in chemistry], “Remember how easy labs were back in high school?  Those were the good old days.”  Nancy smiled and replied, “I think these are pretty good days, too, Steve.”

BESSEL KOK, another from Section 3C, is a talented cartoonist.  For our open house he drew a poster showing a determined Pill A chasing a terrified Pill B down the alimentary canal, since that was the general idea of our section’s theme.

ELLEN LEWIS, from here in Oberlin, is probably the best student in my [introductory] German class — with the exception of Herr Nosbaum, who’s had German before.  I think she’s studying music.

RHONDA LISS is the opera singer.  She’s also a waitress and quite a clown; people really have fun when they sit at a table she’s serving.  Not that she doesn’t get the job done efficiently, but rather that she has such a lively personality.

KAREN LUXTON is one of the two blind freshmen.  I don’t see her very often, since she’s from Talcott, but she usually appears very uncertain and acts like a normal person would if they had to group their way around in the dark.  Could be she hasn’t been blind long enough to develop the sixth sense that others seem to have.

PETER MARTYN is one of those types I don’t particularly like.  I wouldn’t exactly call him an “intellectual snob,” although he mentions casually that his father is a good friend of all the contemporary English philosophers — Russell, Ayer, and that group.  But there’s something about him.  Maybe it’s partly the fact that he wears him blond hair long and all combed to the left front.

JAMES MEYERS is another from the math class.  He’s big; I’d guess about six feet and 240.

POLLY MOORE is the expert on puns.  She can keep a string of them going for several minutes, one right after the other, if she wants:  “You say you went ice fishing last weekend?  That must have been a chilling experience.  I can’t fathom why anyone would want to do that.  You must really be hooked on the idea.  It must have really caught your fancy.”  Actually, this example makes it all sound rather contrived, but she can get off some witty ones too.  The report is that her roommate (who was dating two boys, both of whom were named Bob) and she were just about ready to go to bed one night when the roommate got a phone call.   As she got up to answer it, Polly looked up sleepily and said, “Will you quit Bobbing around?!”

RHONDA NAKATA is another Dascomb waitress.  She looks very Japanese, but her speech and actions are completely American — maybe even a little more American than the rest of us, if you know what I mean.

JANET OLSON is another girl who’s fun to talk to — one of the few girls I’ve run into, for instance, who’s interested in the Gemini flights.  But one can talk to her about almost anything.

ROY PARTRIDGE is another from Section 3C, a soft-spoken chap.  A week before Christmas he showed us a letter from New Jersey that had come to him in the mail.  None of us could quite believe that the Post Office had gotten it delivered, but somehow they had.  The only address on the envelope was “Mr. Roy Partridge / Burton Hall / Ob”!  Now if the Post Office knows that “Ob” stands for Oberlin College, they’re pretty smart.

PAT PEARCE is one of the leaders of a section in Dascomb that has set up a sect ostensibly to worship a cow named Gus.  They have a well-developed liturgy which includes a ritual moo.

CHIP REARDON is the blind organist from Philadelphia.  He’s got quite a few friends among the other Con students.  He seems to be a fan of monster movies; he was telling a couple of weeks ago how his mother [audio-] taped all the weekly Triple Chiller Theaters on the television this fall so he could listen to all those movies over Christmas vacation and get caught up.  And I guess he did listen to them.  Probably was his idea to tape them in the first place.

SAM RECHTORIS, who was on my team in bowling and also skated, won three of the college newspaper’s football contests this fall by guessing the winners correctly.

TOM RENWICK happens to be one of my closer friends due to the fact that we’re in the same German, chemistry, and math classes and eat at the same dining hall.  He’s redheaded and, from time to time, has a beard; he’s got a dry sense of humor.

JON SHAPIRO hardly ever looks this serious; he almost always has a toothy smile that makes him look like a happy beaver.  He’s another one of these friendly ones.  He’s on the wrestling team and always seems to be trying to gain weight or lose weight in order to make a classification.  His political views are socialist, but not too radical.

TOM STALLONE is another Conservatory student, I think piano; a little fellow, but outgoing.  Unfortunately, some sort of sports accident put his arm in a cast during October and November.

CINDY SMITH is another girl who’s easy to talk to; she’s in my chemistry class and lab.

LOIS JEAN TABER seems like an old friend by now.  She was Dave’s first discovery, back during Orientation week, and the three of us got to know each other at a barbecue.  He’s long since lost interest, but Lois has the desk next to mine in lab and also is in my math class, so we continue to talk to each other.  She’s yet another one who’s easy to get along with.

ART WESTNEAT, from my section, is the biggest space bug I’ve run into yet.  We sort of went through the flights of Gemini 7 and 6 together.  He even had trouble concentrating that Wednesday afternoon in lab while they were rendezvousing because he would so much rather have been back at the dorm watching it on television.  (I would have too, but by that time I was confident enough to feel that [astronauts] Wally and Tom and Frank and Jim could get along without me.)

STU WHITE looks a little pained here; I don’t know why.  He’s a quiet fellow from my German class who lives directly beneath me in Second Center.  He was an end on 2C’s touch football team, the team that won the intramural championship.  After every victory he’d come back to the dorm and put on a record of bagpipe marches, full volume, while everyone was getting dressed for dinner.

ANNE WICKHAM is a girl who manages to get around on crutches pretty well and always has a smile (I wouldn’t recognize her at all from the picture).  For dashing about the campus, she has an overgrown tricycle with a motor and a luggage rack.

TRACY WOLF lives in Oberlin; if I’m not mistaken, he’s the son of Professor Wolf of the Theological School, who will be moving to Vanderbilt before too long.  Tracy’s been having a lot of trouble with his French, but Cindy Smith has been trying to keep his spirits up.

TBT

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