Like most people in my graduating class, I naively expected to be hired right after graduation and to begin a fabulous career. In my case, with a degree in International Relations, I wanted a job in government service. After several months of unemployment and underemployment, I decided to fly to Washington D.C., hoping for a personal interview, which never materialized. On the third day of trudging around the strange city, discouraged and a little desperate, I was walking along a sidewalk in the rain when I suddenly spotted the largest shoes I had seen this side of Pomona. Looking up, I realized the shoes did indeed belong to my large-footed Pomona friend, John Hope '71. I was never so glad to see anyone in my life! John graciously invited me to his house, where we had dinner and talked about old times. Although that was almost 30 years ago, I'll never forget how happy I was to see those big shoes.
--Kathy Free Foley '71, Las Vegas, Nevada
47 Views of a Porsche
I maintain a Web site about vintage Porsches and receive e-mail from people around the world. One particular e-mail stuck out because the writer explained he was a longtime 356 owner looking to purchase a newer 914, but wasn't sure if he'd fit being 6'4". This was strange because I'm 6'6" and fit well into both models. After a couple of e-mails I learned he was a fellow Sagehen, Crit Taylor '79. (It's even stranger when you consider that all 914/4 serial numbers start with 47, their engine ignition dwell angle is 47 degrees, and the factory recommended gear oil is Shell S47A. The first 356 was designed in 1947, and the 1963 models have a 47-liter gas tank and their engine produces 47 HP (DIN) per liter of engine displacement.)
--Steve Iverson '98, Fountain Hills, Arizona
More Ubiquitous than 47
While doing alternative service to the draft from 1969-1971 in Slovenia, for my first vacation my colleague and I headed to Florence. At our first stop was a group of four, including two Sagehens--I knew Joan Nice '70 by name. Later at a restaurant, we were seated near two young women who were already on their dessert. By the time we finished our meal, they still lingered with their coffee. Curious, we came to find out that they were stalling two Italian soldiers and that one was a 1965 Pomona grad! In sum, three Pomona grads out of 19 Americans within 24 cold and rainy hours--we're more ubiquitous than 47!
--Gordon Burck '73, Washington, DC
In the early '70s I moved with my family to an old homestead outside Fort Bragg in northern California. Our farm was at the end of a long, isolated rural road. I never expected to run into anyone from Pomona out there. Sure enough some time after moving, I received my alumni directory. I was surprised to find a listing in California for Robert '41 and Mildred Boddy '41 at 20100 Hanson Road in Fort Bragg--just across the road from me! I called and introduced myself. This led to a job offer at their nursery, and I have worked for Bob now for more than 20 years. Bob and Millie were sweethearts at Pomona and married after graduation during the war. Millie died just last September. The occasion of her death resulted in Bob hearing from several old Pomona friends and they talked him into going to Pomona for his 60th reunion in April. He acquired a new wardrobe for the trip (his usual attire being coveralls and work boots), and he was one of the speakers for the World War II symposium.
--Peggy Halstad Templer '68, Fort Bragg, California
Sagehen Health Care
When my mother, Edith Michel Gillis '53, needed a specialist, another Pomona graduate came to her aid. She went to Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut and was under the care of Dr. Robert White '59 with the Yale Vascular Clinic. My mother was there in December 2000 and then again from January to March of 2001. She did very well under his care and had almost made a complete recovery there. Though she has since been transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, she was happy to reminisce about Pomona College while she was at Yale with Dr. White.
John D. Gillis
Reminiscing in Laos
I sat in a cafe in remote Phonsavon, provincial seat of Laos's Wild West. I had deliberately chosen Laos as my vacation destination because I had never heard of anyone going there. My friends and I, studying for a year in Nanjing, China, had made our way overland through China's Southwest and into Laos. The day before, we had ridden for twelve hours over the bomb-crater and Agent Orange scarred hills of northeastern Laos to reach Phonsavon. Two dusty figures stepped out of a tuk-tuk (tricycle cab) and disappeared into the cafˇ. As I got a good look at the woman inside the cafˇ, I stood up so fast from the table that I knocked over my beer. It was Sheila Pinkel, photography professor at Pomona, whom I'd worked for as a photo lab tech for two years. She was just as flabbergasted as I was to meet in this remote corner of the world. She was on sabbatical, interviewing Hmong people about their lives after the war, as an extension of the work she'd been doing with Hmong in the U.S. We reminisced about Pomona, and documented our chance encounter with a photograph taken against the background of the ubiquitous land-mine and unexploded-ordinance safety posters.
--Alison Denton Jones '98, Hope, Maine
Pomona and the Kid
In December 1989, I traveled to Portugal to visit my pen-pal, Ana Andrea Soeiro. Prior to my trip, Ana asked me to bring photos of Pomona's campus, but I forgot to pack them. On New Year's Day, 1990, Ana and I were watching Portuguese television and images of Pomona came on the screen. Back in the early '80s Gary Coleman had starred in a movie filmed at Pomona called "The Kid with the 200 IQ." The images of Big Bridges and the old Coop Fountain made me laugh. I didn't feel that guilty after all for not remembering to pack the photos!
--John Lopez '91, Pomona, California
TOPIC for Next Issue:
Share your most notorious or ingenious Pomona prank.
College life is about dorm rooms, dining hall food, and, for some, the college prank. Left to the most imaginary students, some of the best pranks live on through generations. For those who wish to remain unnamed after all these years, anonymous submissions will be accepted.
Send your submission by October 12, 2001, to: Sarah Dolinar; ATTN: Parlor Talk; Pomona College; 550 N. College Ave.; Claremont, CA 91711, or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, class, address, and phone number. Responses will be selected based on content and will be edited as necessary for publication.