Like a Bridge — On Sunday afternoon a congenial group of Stan Patten’s friends gathered together in the English Department Lounge to share stories about Stan and remember the roles he played in our department and our lives outside of the department. For those of us who were able to participate in this event, the experience of talking about Stan with others who knew him was a pleasure despite our sadness over his recent death.
After everyone left, I spent a little time in my office reflecting on our losses this semester. I am still having trouble dealing with the deaths of Julian Mason, Anita Moss, and Stan Patten within just weeks of each other. However, I find that sharing stories about these friends helps me cope with their deaths, for I know that they will live on as real-life characters through these stories. Whenever I tell the story of Julian’s love of stuffed peppers without the peppers, or the story of Anita’s energetic performance of Dr. Seuss’s Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, or the story of Stan’s exciting adventures in Ethiopia during his time in the Peace Corps, these friends come back to life for me.
There is another reason I like to tell stories about Julian, Anita, Stan, and all of the other colorful characters who have contributed so much to our English Department over the years. In a sense, I see myself as playing a similar storytelling role to the role that L. Frank Baum assigned to himself when he wrote the Oz series. Baum often called himself the Royal Historian of Oz. Given my long association with this department, I sometimes feel as if I am one of our department’s resident historians. Many people have helped build our department, and our department would not be the same without their contributions. For this reason, I believe it is important to share our history with the newer members of our department. Through organizing events like Sunday’s gathering for Stan or the recent celebration of Anita’s life or through writing about former colleagues in my Monday Missives, I am trying to use stories to bridge our past and our present–like a bridge over storied waters.
Meghan Barnes recently published an article in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literature (JAAL) titled “Centering the How: What Teacher-Candidates’ Means of Mediation Can Tell Us about Engaging Adolescent Writers.”Ralf Thiede presented a paper on April 20 at the SouthEastern Conference on Linguistics (SECOL) titled “The Bigger Picture of Parameter Theory: Interfacing Language and Cognition.”
Upcoming Events and Deadlines — Here is information about upcoming events:
May 5 — A food symposium titled “Latinx Foodways in the New South: A Public Conversation” will take place on Saturday, May 5th, in Atkins Library room 143 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Consuelo Salas is the co-organizer of this event.
Quirky Quiz Question — The heading for today’s Monday Missive is a nod to a famous folk-rock duo from the 1960s and early ’70s. Can you name this duo?