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Wolfing in 1950
Written February 2019


Along the right bank of the Kiskiminetas River, less than 10 miles east of my present home, lies the palindromic borough of Apollo, PA. 

This 200-acre town has lost half its population since 1950, and today there are only 1,500 residents.

The yellow arrow marks the location of 310 South Second Street.

That address is a doctor's office now.

But in the fall of 1950, when Mrs. Lee Roy King was living here, the postman delivered a 16-page magazine to her door. 

Well, it wasn't a magazine exactly.  It was a Wolf Book, mailed by the folks at Oberlin College out in Ohio.  “Hi,” said the label.  “Oh, hi!”

Mrs. King received it because on Page 6 was a portrait of her daughter Barbara King, who had just enrolled at Oberlin.  Barbara was included among 385 members of the new Class of 1954.  Yes, the Wolf Book was a photo directory of all the freshmen.

(When I myself was an Oberlin freshman 15 years later, my parents likewise received a copy of the latest edition.  Of course, they recognized almost none of the pictures, so I wrote home to tell them something about a few of my classmates.)


Nearly 70 years later, Mrs. King's Wolf Book somehow ended up on eBay.  I immediately seized the opportunity to acquire it and share it with you!

The publication had been put together by the 1951 staff of the college yearbook, the Hi-O-Hi, including editor Tony Armer and business manager Henry Kaufmann.


The cover artwork, “The Progress of Wolfing Down Through the Ages,” was by 20-year-old Bruce Mattoon.  His commentary appeared on the inside of the cover, and I've quoted it below in red.  I've also enlarged and colorized his three depictions of a wolf's progress.

A wolf is a wolf in any age.

In the first picture we have the knight in armor trying to make love to his damsel fair.  It was two centuries later when they discovered the bathing suit.
[Notice that her horse is looking askance at his.]

The next picture shows the originator of the ‘running out of gas’ technique swinging into action.
[He's proving his motorcar's tank is empty by displaying a dry dipstick, the measuring device in those days before gas gauges.]

This third masterpiece represents contemporary wolfing.  No longer do we wolves rely on moonlight and roses.  The television set has arrived.  No longer do the young of our race trot off to the theatre to enjoy the nutritious bone-building popcorn and the darkened back rows.  No longer.

This last picture is significant because it implies that the art of wolfing is passing through one of its most critical stages.  The question I had upmost in my mind as I drew it was:  Will wolfing be able to stand the test of contemporary civilization?  Clearly, it is up to the Class of 1954 to meet this challenge and to fight for the survival of this glorious art.

Having opened the cover, we see the first page below.  I'm sure you recognize many of these eager young faces.

Actually, I do recognize one person:  George Andrews, the first guy in the third row.




His connections go back to the very first decade of Oberlin's existence.  His great-great-grandmother was the 13th woman to graduate from the college, way back in 1841.  Also, George's father was a member of Oberlin's undefeated football team in 1921.

George himself played football as a freshman in 1950.  Later he became a Senior Advisor in the Men's Building. 

More importantly, beginning in 1962 he was a mathematics professor at Oberlin for 35 years.  A “much beloved teacher,” President Nancy Dye called him in 1995. “Students at all levels praise the thoughtfulness and clarity of his class presentations, his accessibility, and his extraordinary helpfulness outside of class.”  He chaired the math department, the Athletics Committee, and the Heisman Club.

I don't think I took any classes from Professor Andrews when I was a student in the late 1960s.

However, it was in 1968 that he and his wife Marlene bought this Greek Revival house at 174 East College Street.  It would be their home for the next 41 years.

After retirement, Dr. Andrews moved into Kendal at Oberlin, a senior living community on the north edge of town.  According to Molly Kavanaugh's Kendal blog post in May 2018, he still attends all the college reunions.  “I go down to the alumni office several times to see the schedule and look for former students,” he says.  “One commencement is just as enjoyable as the next because you know almost everyone — mathematically speaking.”

And if my math is correct, George will celebrate the 65th anniversary of his graduation in May 2019.  We hope to see him at the reunion!



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