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Slightly Off Course with the Women Golfers
I read with great interest David Shaffer's excellent article"On Course" [summer 2004] on the Northwestern men's and women's golf teams.
However, David overlooked and omitted the fact that the 1999-2000 women's NU golf team qualified for and competed in the women's NCAA championships at Sunriver, Ore., in May 2000, the team's first and only appearance to date at the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships. My daughter, then first-year student Elizabeth Burden (WCAS03), finished 34th individually in those championships, the highest individual finish of any member of a Northwestern women's golf team since the program's inception.
Questioning Chicago's Culture Queen
Your story"Chicago's Culture Queen" [spring 2004] about Chicago's cultural affairs commissioner Lois Weisberg mentioned that she oversaw the transformation of the 1897 Chicago Public Library building into the city's Cultural Center. According to Weisberg,"This was an empty building after it was the library. We didn't have the things you use to put the light bulbs in. They took everything."
It would be incorrect to assume that the building had been standing derelict and abandoned prior to the late 1980s.
In the 1960s it became clear that the building was not suited to the needs of a modern library. Around 1970 my father, Alex Ladenson (L32), then chief librarian, engaged architects to design a doubling of the library's size. The addition would become the modern library and the 1897 building would be used for special collections and cultural events.
The city's real estate interests coveted the building's prime location and wanted to demolish it and erect an office tower.
My father led the successful effort to save the building from demolition and transform it into the Chicago Cultural Center.
The building was rededicated as the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center in 1977. Some special collections remained in the 1897 building until the Harold Washington Library Center opened in 1991.
Mark Ladenson (G70)
Mee-Ow Turns 30
While it is true that Josh Lazar (WCAS75, G75) and Paul Warshauer (C76) started a show called Mee-Ow in 1974, it should be noted that the first show bore no resemblance to the enduring show that Mee-Ow became over the years ["Mee-Ow Turns 30," News on Campus, summer 2004].
The'74 show was scripted, had traditional musical numbers and, in reaction to Waa-Mu, was open to anyone on campus who wanted to be in it. A noble thought, but a recipe for disaster. I would know; I was in the"Schlepardy" spoof along with Eugene"Dusty" Kay (C76). Dead because of the financial scandal and scathing reviews, Mee-Ow was reconceived by myself and Dusty Kay as an improv company with a small but talented cast, taking its inspiration from Chicago's Second City and Kentucky Fried Theatre, which we had seen performed live while visiting Los Angeles. The name was almost changed to Improv'75, but instead Mee-Ow was kept, so that the poster for the'75 show could be a bruised and battered wildcat, acknowledging the previous year's debacle. Kay and I co-directed the'75 and'76 versions, which put the show back on the campus map. We knew it was a hit when theater department chair Leslie Hinderyckx sat in the aisle to catch the closing performance of the'75 show.
Bill Nuss (C76)
During graduate school at Northwestern I attended a production of the famous Waa-Mu Show, and an impressive production it was. I still remember the line from the show about searching for the"One Stinking Drinking Fountain" that was aimed at a perceived deficiency in the Scott Hall auditorium. But in your summer issue, a show called Mee-Ow, sounding much like the old Waa-Mu, is celebrated for achieving its 30th anniversary. What happened? Has the one show replaced the other, and if so, why?
Marjorie H. Goss (G61)
Editor's note: The Waa-Mu Show is very much alive and well and under the capable direction of theater professor Dominic Missimi and bands director Mallory Thompson (Mu79, GMu80). The Waa-Mu Show was first presented by the Women's Athletic Association and the Men's Union in 1929-30. Through the years the Waa-Mu Show has served as the launching pad for some of the University's most talented alumni.
MOCs and WOCs Return to Campus
Glad to see the Men Off Campus and Women Off Campus return ["Commuters Come Together," News on Campus, summer 2004]. They're more déjà vu-ish than they know: A commuter lounge and an orientation event were parts of MOC/WOC life in those'70s when supposedly the groups died. MOC and WOC actually survived at least until 1980 as social arms of another group, the Off Campus Students Association. (I was OCSA president a couple years.)
OCSA, MOC and WOC sponsored an annual preorientation sleepover and dance on campus. Our lounge was on the main floor of Norris, with a wall of windows overlooking the lake. (MOC rule: If you can't see the Tech Institute because of fog, it doesn't exist, and you can skip class.) We sponsored road rallies, competed in intramurals and had a complement of representatives in student government.
I think it was shortly after I graduated in 1980 that off-campus students were booted out of the lounge into a room down the hall so tiny that not even the marathon 12-player Hearts games could squeeze in. Commuters dispersed; the groups must have died after that.
John Kroll (J80)
Just a note to say that your article on the MOCs and the WOCs brought back such memories. Those of us living off campus needed a social life to participate in, which these organizations provided through campus activities. It's a mystery why the two groups disbanded years ago, and I'm pleased that they may be resurrected.
We had dances, parties, baseball and touch football teams, all of which cemented lifelong friendships that I cherish to this day. We MOCs continued our socialization after graduation and at one such affair, I met my future wife. We celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary in September.
Jim Welty (EB50)
Sheldon Harnick Connections
Upon perusing your 2004 summer issue I found the article"Words Into Song" about Sheldon Harnick most interesting for several reasons. The first being that my husband, Randy Johnson, used to sit in the same orchestra pit with Sheldon Harnick at Carl Schurz High School. My husband played both first and second violin and eventually earned a letter in orchestra. He tells me that a Mr. Mason and a Mr. Fisher were directors of the high school orchestra while he was there.. Perhaps Mr. Harnick will recall those names, too.
When we would go to a performance of Fiddler on the Roof, which we love, my husband would mention that he once knew Sheldon Harnick many years ago.
In my senior year at Northwestern, I was in the Waa-Mu Show and found it an absolutely wonderful experience.
Joe Miller (J29) was in charge of it then. I attended Northwestern for approximately two years, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will always remember my experience at Northwestern - it certainly enriched my life and taught me an awful lot about music and life.
Myrra Johnson (Mu52)
I did enjoy the story about Sheldon Harnick. It was very interesting and just another example of our alumni who many of us don't realize are fellow alums. Little did I know that I was in the same class with such a distinguished fellow!
John W. Plattner (EB49, KSM51)
Love on the Rocks
Your photo essay"Love on the Rocks" [summer 2004] brought back a wonderful memory.
The year was 2001. My boyfriend, Jake Taylor (McC01), had tricked me into believing we were just going to have a small picnic overlooking the rocks on the Evanston campus. We were searching for the perfect place to sit when Jake stopped and turned to face the rocks. Just in front of me was a rock where he had painted"I love you, goofball." I was so excited to see those familiar words painted on the rocks. But Jake wouldn't let me set up our picnic there. He insisted that we walk down to the other end of the rocks. He found a spot, stepped in front of me and asked me to go"check it out." As I turned around to join him, he was down on one knee with a ring in his hand, in front of two rocks that said"Suzanne, will you marry me?" The day was absolutely amazing! We just celebrated our one-year anniversary and look forward to many more together.