Remembering J.K. Adams
It was both sad and enlightening to read about J.K.’s death (Potash Hill, Summer 2011). I had no idea about how he had spent his life after Marlboro. It was no surprise that he went on to be incredibly creative. I spent the summer after my freshman year living with J.K. and a somewhat rotating group of kids in what we called Halifax Jazz, a rundown house somewhere on the back road to Halifax. It was waist deep in debris when we got there, but we shoveled it out and made quite the home of it. Some of us were working for Halsey Hicks, traipsing through the forest with, literally, flowers in our hair (Stuart Spore). Others were waiting tables and providing us with leftover food from the restaurant. It was one of the most memorable summers of my life, and running all through it was J.K. Adams and his music. I remember driving down the dirt road with J.K. banging away at a piano in the bed of the truck. He literally provided the music of our lives that summer. What a loss to the world.
—John Atchley ’69
I just finished the most recent version of Potash Hill, in which there was a letter to the editor from Janet and Herman Schnurr that reminded me to write to you on the topic of receiving the magazine in paper format. Although I very much enjoy receiving it in the mail, I’ve been finding it much more convenient to simply download it for perusal on my laptop. In the additional interest of saving some trees and postage, it makes sense to ask you to stop mailing it out to me. Although html is great, I get much more from pdf versions of periodicals like Potash Hill because of their versatility. Thank you for producing both. Just please, please don’t stop publishing it.
—Brian Whitehouse ’91
Worth the Effort
Forty years ago this September I entered Marlboro College with joy in my heart. To this day, I do not know how or why I was admitted. According to my advisor, Alan Kantrow, the poetry I submitted in my application was so awful that he pleaded to the admissions committee that if I were accepted, the entire college would, or should, close in disgrace. As things turned out, he became one of my Plan advisors, and I keep up with him to this day. I write simply to say thank you to Roland Boyden, Dick Judd, T. Wilson and Alan for taking me under their wing. When I entered Marlboro, I could not write an English sentence properly. When I left, I had written a Plan worth the effort. All the credit goes to Alan and Roland and especially Dick. His expressive eyebrows and twinkling eyes always conveyed his deep love of scholarship and learning—and the sheer fun he was having as our teacher. I can still smell his pipe. I went on to earn degrees from Brown and from the Bread Loaf School of English, and I have taught English and history to high school students for over 30 years. Not a day goes by in my life as a teacher that I do not think of Marlboro. The college has a special place in an America too often impressed with appearance and status over substance.
—Terence Woods ’75
Tail-wags for Bob
Bob Engel was one of my Plan sponsors and my favorite teacher (Potash Hill, Summer 2011). I was not a naturally talented science student, just enthusiastic, and he was warm and helpful and patient with me. I regularly wound up in the green chair in his office with my shoes off and my legs tucked under me, talking out an issue or arguing sociobiology. My most enduring memory of Bob comes from a day when several of us drove to his house for a relaxed afternoon tutorial. He showed us into the greenhouse section and we all got comfortable. Then the phone rang, and when Bob got up to answer it, his little dog (the Basenji) jumped into his chair and curled up in his spot. When Bob returned, he took one look at the dog and sat on the floor. “Why don’t you move the dog?” I asked him. “Because he’s sitting there,” Bob said, as if to a slow child. It just didn’t occur to him to disturb the dog. I’ve always been an animal lover, but I learned a lesson that day, and when my cat stretches out on my bed, I curl up and give her room. I was extremely lucky to spend so much of my time at Marlboro with Bob Engel.
—Deborah Ratner FS ’94
I just wanted to mention that it seems one word was missing from the link on the last line of page 59 in the Summer 2011 Potash Hill. To read the full entry in the career development newsletter about Lisa Orenstein ’10, who’s in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine, go to www.marlboro.edu/communities/current/career.
—Anne Stevens, parent of Julianna Stevens ’12
After seeing so many college mags, and now receiving two others (from Earlham, our daughter’s alma mater, and Lawrence University, where our son begins this fall), I have to tell you I’m all the more impressed with the depth, design and originality of Potash Hill. It truly stands out and above all the others. Thanks for all you do to produce such a beautiful publication. Mom-in-law Fran Nevins emailed me today to say she saw mention of me in the alumni news (Potash Hill, Summer 2011) and one of the facts wasn’t right. I gather she’s referring to my location. I have long lived, wandered and worked to inspire a sense of place in Concord, Massachusetts—where the Minutemen, Thoreau and Emerson once roamed—not Concord, New Hampshire. No worries, the confusion must still be stuck in the ethers since Bachman’s slip-up.
—Cherrie Corey ’76