I was glad to read in the description of the back cover of the Fall 2005 Denison Magazine that D-Day is again being celebrated at Denison. Several years ago, I recall D-Day fondly, especially that rumors would fly that D-Day would be the next day, causing some students not to study for scheduled exams. Of course, the rumors were wrong. I just hope that the tradition of announcing D-Day by the playing of “Hold that Tiger” on the Chapel bells is back as well.
Barbara Atkinson Seely ’72 St. Louis, Missouri
A fine “how do you do”
The cover of the fall Denison Magazine [featuring Jennifer Garner ’94] gave me a start! Good articles, though. I guess I’m not “too old.”
Marion Pritchett ’50 Charlotte, North Carolina
What a joy to read in the fall issue of Denison Magazine that Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company is still going strong. As another of the original members, I’d figured it was something that had long ago faded away. The many lessons of comedy and performance that Kevin Hoggard taught us in those days has stayed with me all these years. Just this past summer I was directing a production of The Taming of the Shrew and some of the actors were pushing the comedy, so I told them of Kevin Hoggard’s theory: “Comedy is like banking. You deposit, and deposit, and deposit until you can withdraw with interest.” They took their time, allowed the comedy to develop, and found new humor in their characters.
After my sophomore year I transferred to Syracuse University, where their department, although much larger than Denison’s, had no improv program, so naturally I started a group there and we performed wherever we could, much like the old Burpee’s crew.
Today, as the producing director of a small professional theater in Maine, I see nearly 2,000 young actors audition each year, and I can attest to the need for good improvisational training for young actors. Many don’t have it. Denison’s commitment to Burpee’s and the legacy of Kevin Hoggard’s training in improvisation has no doubt inspired numerous actors and non-actors in all walks of life. Thanks for the great memories, and congratulations to all the Burpee’s crew over the years for making it bigger and better and a Denison institution!
David Greenham ’83 Readfield, Maine
A run and a prayer
In our last issue, we ran a list of 25 things Denison students do for fun. Number 23—“Drive around Newark trying to spot the guy who seems to be constantly jogging with a ‘Jesus Loves You’ sign in his hand”—evoked a rather surprising but welcome response:
While cleaning a house, my wife was given a copy of the Fall 2005 Denison Magazine. At #23 on the list was a sticky note that read “You might be interested in this.” Well, she is a wife of one of the runners. Yes, there are two of us in Newark—one on the north side and one downtown. That is why we can get to opposite sides of the town faster than a car can…a lot of people are very relieved to find out they were not going crazy. We are brothers and have been doing this for 20 years, starting in Alexandria, Ohio, around 1986. And by the way the signs don’t say “Jesus loves you”, but if that is what people see or sense, that is good enough! I thought the students would like to know more of the story. In fact, if they see us, day or night, and honk their horns they can be assured of a prayer for them right then.
Baxter McCanna Newark, Ohio
From the Department of It’s Never Too Late
Alumni Affairs Director Sandy Peeler Ellinger ’65 was having a usual day when she received a rather unusual package of unknown origin. It contained an assortment of tools, a microphone cable, and the following letter:
I am regrettably writing to inform you of an injustice which occurred over 20 years ago, by a senior at Denison who was in fact, me.
During this time, I attended a Theater Shop class under the direction of Mr. Rick Loula. Unfortunately, (and for no apparent reason that I can now identify – other than my immaturity and misguided direction at the time) I stole (misappropriated) four items from the university’s theatre workshop. These items included two large screwdrivers, one crescent/adjustable wrench and one professional microphone cord.
Again, I do not actually understand why I did this. I had plenty of financial resources available to me during this time to actually purchase these items on my own and for myself, but for some unclear reason, I was enticed (perhaps by the excitement of the thrill of the experience) into carrying out this clear injustice.
Obviously, this behavior is clearly unacceptable at any age and “Unbecoming of a Denison Student.” The truth is, I came from a quality upbringing, having good parents who actually taught me the difference and value between right and wrong, but for whatever reason (during this volatile time of my adolescence), I consciously chose to make the wrong decision.
For this action and lack of honesty and integrity, I am truly and sincerely sorry. Please find enclosed three out of the four original items that I stole from the university and also four newly purchased replacement items for the theatre workshop.
I am only thankful and glad that I can finally obtain closure (now at age 43) by taking and admitting responsibility for this series of dishonest events, which I both selfishly and recklessly carried out for no apparent or logical reason during the time these acts were committed.
Please accept my sincere and honest apologies for my dishonesty, lack of respect and integrity that I showed to the finest university in America, through my dishonest acts and bad faith.
Respectfully submitted, Anonymous ’84