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Spring 2011: From our Readers

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A Different Perspective

It was with great interest that I read Kim Johnson’s article about her trip to Italy [“Ciao, Bella,” WM Winter 2011]. My wife and I took a trip to Venice, Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, and Milan in 2000. My wife is a trained artist and, when she was in college, had drawn many of the sculptures we saw, including Michelangelo’s “David.” In Siena we felt as Kim did, walking the “uneven bricks,” thinking about the history that unfolded in these streets.

Enclosed is a photograph of the Siena Synagogue that we had the pleasure of visiting. It was built in 1740 and survived the War. The same cannot be said for its members. The deacon gave us a tour and it was a moving experience. There is a small Jewish community that still holds services there.

I am sending this photograph to underline the different historical aspects of Siena.

—Harvey Share ’49, Rockford, IL

Remembering Bob Cooley, Honoring the Doemels

I enjoyed the latest WM [Winter 2011], even though some of the news was bittersweet. It brought back lovely memories of some of my firsts at Wabash back in 1985.

The first picnic I attended at Wabash was the math department picnic (mainly because the food was free and that was all we could afford). I was rescued by [Professor] Bob Cooley from being in charge of making the burgers. (I was vegetarian at the time and had no clue what a burger was but was too scared to fess up.) He nearly managed to convince me to become a math major, and the fact that I took Abstract Algebra with Bob and enjoyed every minute is testament to who Bob was as a person, teacher, and mentor.

My first Thanksgiving was at Nancy and Bill Doemel’s house (along with three other foreign students—Raman Ahuja ’88, Kumi Frimpong ’89, and Gang Su). For a foreigner fresh off the boat, nothing could have been more amazing than the warmth extended by them and the fabulous spread. To this day, every time Thanksgiving comes around, I remember their generosity in opening their house to us. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the best and tell them that this Indian (from Asia, though) appreciates that small gesture made to the foreign students who were pretty far from home.

—Arun Muralidhar ’88, Great Falls, VA

“We Will Manage to Overcome”

Tomoaki Ishii graduated from Wabash in 1982, returned to Japan, and was living in Tokyo when the March 11 earthquake struck the city earlier this year.

“I am okay, as is my family,” he wrote in response to Wabash Alumni Affairs Director Tom Runge’s email the day after the quake and following one of a series of aftershocks. “City Hall went down yesterday and most foods have disappeared from supermarkets and convenient stores nearby. We are currently under strict restriction in using electric powers due to nuclear plants accidents. There was another explosion yesterday.

“What’s going on is still a nightmare to all of us, but we will manage to overcome, so don’t worry!”

—Tomoaki Ishii ’82, Japan