Letters to the Editor

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Pranks, Continued

When it comes to pranks ("Pranks a Million," Fall 2011), in the mid -70s, a few Gibbs Hall guys came up with a creative way to enrich the college experience of one of their own. It seems that one of the residents had a reputation of being a rather heavy sleeper, no doubt influenced by the generous consumption of 25-cent drafts at the Keg Room. One cool spring evening the hapless victim was hand-carried sound asleep, bed and all, from his second floor room and placed in the middle of the quad. The look on his face when he woke up was pure comedy!

I enjoyed reading the student pranks article in the latest issue of UNH Magazine. It took me back in time to the mid-1950s when I dumped three pounds of chocolate-covered dried grasshoppers into the dining-hall chili served at my undergraduate alma mater, Manchester College. I remember hearing comments in the dining hall about the chili tasting "sweet" and "crunchy."

Thanks for your splendid latest issue!

One night when our Alexander Hall director and his wife were out for the evening, two of us gained access to their apartment and removed every light bulb—including the refrigerator light. We then rigged their phone so we could listen in on another phone when they returned. We could hear them bumbling around the apartment, trying all the lights and remarking that the power must've gone out. When we realized that they were about to call Maintenance, we fessed up and returned the bulbs.

Sugar Maple Mystery

Regarding "The Quest," (Fall 2011) ever since we moved to Sand Lake 40 years ago, we have tapped our maples and made syrup almost every spring. We have a very small operation—only 12 taps and we boil it down over our backyard fireplace—but we would be devastated if the maples died off. We have been concerned with our maples for the last three years, or maybe longer. At first they started getting black spots. Then they started drying up early. They used to be some of the most beautiful trees around in the fall, but last year they were dull. This year, they were drying by the end of August. I am glad Martha Carlson is trying to find out what is happening. I hope she finds a solution before it is too late.

I'm an amateur tree lover, and when I moved to Hudson in 1990, I planted a sugar maple in my front yard. It's one of my favorite trees. It always looked very healthy until 2009. I started noticing a lot of dead branches that would break off at the top of the tree, and the leaves started falling off earlier than normal. Last year the leaves were falling off in August, which I thought was due to the extreme hot weather we had in July. This year was no different. I'm concerned because the tree provides good shade to the front of my house, and was beautiful in the fall. I hope this observation helps.

Editor's note: Martha Carlson '09G replies, "Stressed trees get more insects and more fungi—such as tar spot—on their leaves. That's because the trees are not making enough sugar to produce protective phenolic compounds. And stressed trees often lose their leaves early." Carlson encourages homeowners to become "citizen scientists" to help monitor the environment. To contact Carlson, email her at martha.carlson@unh.edu.

More Need to be Honored

The article ("Out Front," Spring 2011) that addressed the leaders of gay emergence at UNH didn't mention two individuals who I believe merit note: Tom Joslin '68 and his partner Mark Massi. Their documentary film, "Silverlake Life: The View From Here," which I saw broadcast on public television, followed their lives, ending with his and Mark's horrific deaths due to AIDS. My shock in watching them wither to nothing remains to this day. Mark and Tom to me were just people—very talented, inventive people who happened to be gay. Mark and I worked at the New England Center media center back in the 1970s. They laughed a lot when together and they found much of life to be amusing. Their lives should not be forgotten and their film should be honored by UNH.

I read with great interest the "Out Front" article in the spring issue and the letters to the editor in the fall issue. I attended Thompson School of Applied Science during this tumultuous time and then continued on, earning a bachelor's in animal science. I was somewhat surprised there was no mention of the Gay Students Organization's adviser, Mr. Dodd. He was the dean of the Thompson School and taught animal science and genetics. One day in class in the midst of all the controversy, Mr. Dodd said he had decided to offer to be their adviser. He explained policy required that all campus organizations have a faculty adviser to be officially recognized by the administration. Mr. Dodd was ahead of his time and showed considerable courage and compassion in stepping forward. All of us in class that day were very proud of him and took heart that not everyone in positions of power would back away from doing the right thing.

Editor's note: John Dodd taught at the Thompson School from 1953-1979 and was an associate professor and supervisor of the Applied Animal Science Program.

Mountain Men Memories

My uncles, Paul '41 and Ralph Townsend '49, '53G, ("Mountain Men," Winter 2011) were both injured in Italy. Uncle Ralph was shot in the shoulder just above his heart. His shoulder was so badly damaged that he was told he would never ski competitively again. He was, however, a member of the U.S. 1948 Olympic Nordic Ski Team. I remember hearing Uncle Paul tell of how he skied behind Ralph as he trained, watching him and coaching him so that he would use his arms properly. In the last battle in Italy, Uncle Paul's pelvis and several vertebrae were crushed. He was told he would never ski jump again. After he recovered, Uncle Paul went off the jump in Lebanon, N.H., and broke his knee because he was favoring his war injury. Thus, my earliest memory of him was seeing him speed through the park in Lebanon on his crutches.

Interim President Peterson

As I read the obituary of former Gov. Walter Peterson '46, '69H, ("In Memoriam," Fall 2011) I was disappointed that his time as the interim president of UNH was not mentioned. Although his accomplishments were numerous it seems odd that it was not included. I was a nontraditional student at UNH during that time and had the honor of receiving an award and attending a reception at the president's house. All of us got to sample Dorothy Peterson's famous flourless peanut butter cookies, and I still recall how welcoming and unpretentious the Petersons were.

With the current political climate in Concord I reflect back on the divisiveness of Gov. Mel Thomson and have to wonder how different our state might have become if Walter Peterson had held office for more than two terms. I wish more politicians and leaders would emulate the qualities embodied by him, such as having a passion for public service and a willingness to reach across the aisle.

Editor's note: Due to an editing error, Gov. Peterson's service as interim president at UNH from 1995-1996 was not included. Our apologies for the omission.

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