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Mailbag

Along North 13th Street

The Albright Reporter encourages letters to the editor related to issues discussed in the magazine, issues that relate to college news or policies, or that are of interest to a segment of our readership. Letters can be mailed, faxed or sent via e-mail.

For our Letters to the Editor Policy, please click here.

The Albright Reporter
Albright College
13th & Bern Streets
Reading, PA 19612-5234
Fax: 610-921-7295
E-mail: jstoudt@alb.edu

Dear Albright Reporter,

My husband, Sherm Barto ’98, and I received your latest issue of The Albright Reporter. I noted the article on Prof. Phil Dougherty and his dedication to saving Lake Ontelaunee from the pig farm agricultural waste. I have been following the proposed pig farm request over the past couple of years with much concern about the pollution this will cause to our water supply in Berks County. I was very happy to see that Prof. Dougherty has gone the extra mile to help protect us from this potentially hazardous waste product. Please keep the public informed of any progress in this area. Hopefully the state will rewrite the regulations to prevent the pig farms from coming to this area. Please pass this email on to the professor and let him know of our gratitude and appreciation for his work.

Gloria Barto
(wife of Sherman Barto ’98)


Dear Albright Reporter,

Earlier this summer, I was driving to Leesport for a bridal shower and after taking the wrong exit—then making a U-turn somewhere in Sinking Spring—I discovered that Highway 61 South ends abruptly at a stoplight in downtown Reading.

Frustrated, I decided to head straight up the hill to the part of the city that over a span of four years was the impetus of some of my best adventures and closest friendships.

I passed Walton Hall and turned toward the main parking lot. Given that it was a Sunday afternoon, the campus was deserted, but Officer Gerald Daub greeted me in the Security office. My mood completely changed—four years since my last visit to campus, and here was one of my favorite people working at the desk!

See, “Jerry” was the guard who would not only brave NYC traffic, but would do so with a band of students in tow. Every time, these adventures embraced elements of the proverbial college road trip. Plus, whenever my DJ partner and I were late for our show, Jerry would let us into the WXAC studio, then stop by during his rounds to say hi. Meg and I especially appreciated this last gesture, because we easily spooked ourselves (when it’s Saturday night and you’re the only two people in the basement of Gingrich, you pray those eerie footsteps in the stairwell are a guard’s!). And when those die-hard students set up base camp outside the Registrar’s office the night before course selection began, Jerry and the rest of the security crew were there, bringing hot chocolate to everyone. While I was never one of those individuals, I admired the numerous trips they made with their thermoses.
Between reminiscing about the past and updating each other on the present, we were laughing so much that I didn’t mind I was running an hour late (sorry, Jill).

Additionally, Jerry and another guard offered another set of directions, managing to do what Mapquest didn’t—get me to the party!

Despite being an alumna, I’ve yet to return for Homecoming or Alumni Weekend. I haven’t utilized resources available through Career Services and I’ve skipped the YA events. With respect to the tireless effort that is invested in such large-scale projects, for some of us, it’s the ordinary, unrehearsed encounters that leave lasting impressions and reinforce fond memories.

Thanks, Security, for taking care of us then—and now.

Jemmell’z Washington ’99


Dear Albright Reporter,

Having lived through the horrors of World War II in Germany, I was most interested in B. J. Marshall's "The Rules of War" (Summer 2004, Vol.24 No. 3). Marshall's article with Ogden Rogers' quote – "War is a terrible thing and it would be great if it didn't exist anymore. But there is no evidence to suggest it will go away any time soon. Even in the midst of great tragedy, there exists a capacity for basic humanity." – reminded me of Leo Tolstoy's remarks in War and Peace. Tolstoy contends that war is the vilest thing in life; that war should be war, not a game with rules. Furthermore, he writes:

"Not to take prisoners, that by itself would transform the whole aspect of war and make it less cruel. As it is, we have been playing at war – that's what makes it vile! We play at being magnanimous and all the rest of it.

“Such magnanimity and sensibility are like the magnanimity and sensibility of the lady who faints at the sight of a calf being killed: She is so tenderhearted that she can't look at the blood – but fricassée of veal she will eat with gusto."

Of what value is it to give the rules of war (Geneva Convention) to combatants who are then ordered to violate them – e.g., to use carpet bombing (World War II) over densely populated areas to kill as many civilians as possible and to expel thirteen million from their homeland? I, therefore, propose that we stop glorifying war as done since the time of Homer; instead, let us look at war realistically and recognize it for what it is, an abattoir. Only then might our "basic capacity for humanity" prevail.

Hans-Georg Gilde ’57


Dear Albright Reporter,

I read in the latest edition that Professor Mest was going to retire. I was in the nursing program back in 1978 to 1982. It was with trepidation that I first walked into Professor Mest's classroom. Much to my delight, however, Professor Mest made the subject of Calculus come alive. I couldn't imagine how integration and differentiation had any practical application to daily life. Professor Mest soon enlightened me, and shortly thereafter I was looking at odd shapes and wondering...what is the area under that curve? Calculus gave me the answer.

I still have my Texas Instruments calculator that I used in his class. It is somewhat beat up, but it still works. I will retire my calculator in honor of Professor Mest. I would also be honored to contribute to the Ray Mest '62 Mathematics Scholarship. For me, Professor Mest is one of those teachers who will never be forgotton and who deserves the highest of praise for giving me a greater appreciation for learning. Please forward these sentiments to Professor Mest as well as my best wishes for a happy retirement.

Susan K. Vogel ’82


Dear Albright Reporter,

Okay, I’ll admit it. The first thing I do when I get The Albright Reporter is turn to the back to see what happened to the people in my class. Even though I know that most, like me, are too uncomfortable to send in a note with our own update. How can I boil down what I’d like my old friends to know about me in two sentences? Does anyone care where I work, what I do, who or if I married, and the names and ages of my children? But that’s what I seem to look for since that’s all that’s offered.

So I look at those “Class Notes” and search for names of men and women I once knew in order to remember what has truly become a sacred time in my life. Looking back to my years at Albright I sometimes think I can recall every second there.

So many memories are carved into my mind. Waking up after over two feet of snow had fallen and pulling back the curtain only to find that my friend had hung a huge old man’s boot from our window. I loved my time at Albright so much that I also spent almost every summer there, working for Mr. Jackson in the cafeteria, just so I could obtain free room and board. This allowed me to take an extra course to ease up my fall load, or work at The Reading Hospital as a student nurse.

Yet it’s all the people that I remember, much more longingly, than the smell of whatever was cooking in the dining hall. It was standing in line outside waiting to get in and laughing about the menu. I actually remember the very second I met some of my friends. It has been 27 years since I first met my freshman roommate Margaret (Harvey) Nusbaum. We roomed together for three years, and whenever we speak it’s as if we’re still 18 years old and not one second has passed.

I think I was moved to write to The Albright Reporter today because of a photo I saw in the summer 2004 issue of Mrs. Reppert standing next to a small white bench purchased to honor her husband’s memory. That bench will forever remind me of one of the most caring professors I had in my life. Not just for the great literature that he had me read and try to understand, but for the life lessons he shared with us. The class trip we took to visit his wife’s church was one of the most joyful in my life. As a Jewish girl from Northeast Philadelphia I had never been exposed to a Baptist church, and will forever remember the clarity and ease with which the minister spoke. I wish we could record our memories of Dr. Reppert and leave them with the bench, so on one of those beautiful October days when a new student stops and sits there they’ll be given a brief glimpse into his life.

To all my friends and amazing professors, please know that I continue to look for your name. Not so much to find out what you’re doing, but more to find out that you are still doing. One day a group of students may decide to place a statue to honor other great professors like Janet Gehres.

In the meantime, this is just a little hello to let you know that I’m thinking of you and how much I appreciated getting to spend time with you for such a brief period in my life.

Harriet Stein ’82
HStein@cntus.jnj.com


Dear Albright Reporter,

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." Back in l967 our football team was youthful and a bit inexperienced as we started out losing our first three games. The fourth game on the schedule, although they were nursing several injuries, was a university division school, Gettysburg College, which happened to be my hometown. The Albright Lions were small in depth as we traveled to this town, population under 9,000, with 28 players to be in uniform on October 14, l967. This game would mean everything to the members of the team. If we could win, we could reason that the season could start fresh and anew. Losing became almost totally unacceptable.

One can only guess where all the Albright adrenalin came from, but the Lions dominated that first half. The offensive line fired out and held their blocks as though the whistle ending the plays didn’t mean anything; we ran, blocked, faked, passed and tackled as though our lives depended on the outcome. Herbie Nauss was truly the "splendor on the grass" that day and should be considered that for all time in the annals of Albright athletics. But each and every player more than fulfilled their role.

The story during our half-time needs to be told because what our head coach told us then has sustained me personally so many times over the last 37 years. Our team was literally exhausted. Where or how do we get re-pumped with adrenalin and desire? Will we lie down bravely to die during the second half or can we maintain the momentum? The coaches were excited for they wanted this victory in the worst way. Coach Potsklan looked at us and finally exclaimed, "You young men are not the best small college team in this country, but I will guarantee you this – right now, you are the best small college team with only 28 players in this country.”

That was it. The team went out and held Gettysburg scoreless in the second half. No one knows what a former POW from WWII did for me by uttering those few words. It was expressed in high emotion, but in perfect English with no blemish in diction. How can one honestly thank the surviving coaches and players, not to mention the cheerleaders who traveled 200 miles, for making a dream come true for me? Our team ended at 5-4 that year, and I truly know that a short, meaningful pep talk at half time in a game that we were not predicted to win was what got us started. Final score…33-0.

More importantly, today and for all time, we should honor our late head coach. He gave so much for his country. The wound on his left shoulder appeared to never have been treated. How many of us would willingly go through two years without ever using a toothbrush? We don't ennoble Coach Potsklan today for teaching us optimism, we honor him for all time, for he knew when and how to readjust and reset his sails.

John Longanecker ’68


Dear Albright Reporter,

I enjoyed reading in the summer 2004 edition of The Albright Reporter the article titled “The Coach with the Golden Tongue.”

I refer you to volume 15, number 3 of The Albright Reporter for the winter of 1993, which contains an article on the same subject titled, “More Than Just a Coach, John Potsklan is a Legend for his Marvelous Malapropisms.”

I saved that old issue just because I found the contents of the article so amusing, and thought it should have wider publication even than The Albright Reporter. I, however, did not see any way to do this, and in fact I am not sure how I would have done it. You will note that the 1993 article contains most, if not all, of the malapropisms referred to in the 2004 article and has additional comment.

David H. Roland, Esq. ’50


Editor’s Note: Following the publication of the article, “The Coach with the Golden Tongue,” printed in the summer 2004 issue, we received many more memories and “Potsklanisms” from alumni. Look for a follow-up in a future issue of The Albright Reporter.

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