I? regret that I won’t be able to join you in this gathering of emeriti and alums. Teaching commitments and distance make it impossible. Thanks to his dissertation supervisor, Prof. Grey, I was able to attend Tony Frazier’s PhD defense last year. I was grateful for that opportunity. The campus looks thriving, and the department especially active. It was especially gratifying to participate in Tony’s success and to have an opportunity to interact with colleagues.
Life in Portland is not surprisingly quite different than life in Kalamazoo. The differences can be summed up in hills, public transportation, yoga, and literature. I have not wandered too far from history. I regularly teach as an adjunct in the history department of Portland State University. I enjoy the teaching and have even developed a course in Early Modern Europe. It has always seemed to me that teaching is an ideal way to learn. But I am more and more drawn to fiction. I’m associated with a unique organization Literary Arts that organizes readings by well-known writers to large audiences (Alexei Sherman, Margaret Atwood, Salmon Rushdie). In addition Literary Arts organizes small seminars of sixteen or less to read and analyze particular authors. I have gained immensely from these both as a participant and a seminar leader (reading Faulkner, Morrison, Dickens, Whitman, Dickenson). Lots of meaningful reading. But I do get out, walking up and down the hills, visiting our parks and gardens, lots of movies and sampling our outstanding restaurants and wines. And of course there’s yoga.
Should you be visiting Portland, please let me know. A number of alums and faculty have stopped by. I still use my WMU email, email@example.com. I’ll introduce you to one of the best bookstores in the country, Powell’s, and take you to my favorite café. Hope to see you.