The Colgate Scene
September 2000
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Letters
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The Colgate Prayer Connection
. . . Thinking of the hundreds of times I've sung the lines "thirteen prayers were said with 'rapt devotion," only now at age 86 did it dawn on me that God is still answering those prayers. This has caused me to reflect on what motivated those prayers. Probably, all of the thirteen came to the realization that God does not place a premium on ignorance and that those who serve him should be educated. Thus -- "in the Valley of Chenango" they sought God's help in the establishment of a college, a people-pool from whom God could call those he would have serve him.

     My own call came on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in early October, 1935. Having just received news of devastating financial reverses my family had sustained, I needed to get off by myself and think and pray. It did not look like I could finish my senior year. The quiet spot I found was on the old golf course near where the ski lift was located. As I sat there, a quiet gradually came over me, and I received what turned out to be an assurance that I could complete my studies at Colgate, and that I was being called into God's service. The road of this service has been marked by twists and turns and some dead ends. These were caused by times when I walked away from my calling.

     Realizing that my calling may well have been an answer to the prayers of the "thirteen," I write this to encourage those who have had a similar experience to share it with me.

FRED B. RHODES '36
P.O. Box 75
Anderson, SC 29622
rhodes@carol.net


Ski memories
. . . The 1948-1949 picture of the ski team in the May Scene probably was taken in back of the old gymnasium near Trainer Hill. As ski manager, I arranged for the photograph to be taken. During the World War II Naval Officer Program each trainee had to carry a comrade up this hill on his back. It was nicknamed "Agony Hill."

     The primary challenge of Colgate's first post-war ski team was the rickety, ancient ski jump that swayed as the jumper hurtled down to his fate. Many of us felt that any brave soul who negotiated this killer once during an official meet should be awarded a varsity letter on the spot. I did not volunteer!

     Another challenge to the fledgling team was that there was no one available to coach. Eventually, the problem was solved in a very logical way. Bill Miller '50, a team member, was appointed by the athletic department to be our coach. He had served with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy (Senator Dole's famous outfit) and Bill whipped us into shape. We competed with the likes of St. Lawrence and, if I remember correctly, Cornell and Syracuse.

FRANKLIN R. "TIM" MCELWAIN '50
Huntington, NY


A correction
. . . Though I'd like to point out an error in the photo caption on page 23 of the July Scene, I don't know quite how to do so without appearing to be belittling Mike Supa '40 in some way -- the last thing I'd ever want to do. Mike was two years ahead of me at Colgate and, like everyone else, I had nothing but admiration for him.

     To get to the point, the caption I refer to states that Mike was the first blind student to graduate from Colgate, but in actuality George P. Preston, my father, who as a result of a childhood accident was totally blind, graduated from the university in 1924 (whether or not there were other blind graduates before him, I've no idea).

DAVE PRESTON '42
Prescott, AZ


Thanks
. . . May I take advantage of your letters column to thank Dr. John Bourke '57 for his great letter and you for printing it. Once again, Johnny kept me "honest." At least one classmate ridiculed as exaggeration the March Scene letter that prompted his response! Back then I don't think we knew the term "extended family" but many were, and are today, part of our family, wherever they may be (and we'd like to hear from more of them). Over the years we celebrated both our joys and tragedies together. Some, lacking grandparents in their immediate families, have extended the unique pleasure of being an "adopted grandfather" and join in family celebrations.

     Permit me one more Colgate tale from the past. More than 40 years ago, down in the metropolitan area, a friendly lady observed, ". . . we had an interesting chat, but he says he has two sisters and a thousand brothers. What did he mean?" Mother explained, "You have to understand, we live on the edge of the Colgate campus. He does have a thousand brothers."

     After a four-year enlistment in the Navy, son Frank was admitted to Colgate, graduated in the Class of '74 and served as president of the Outing Club John Bourke mentioned. (Oh yes, Frank '74 was on that famous Outing Club trip to the Saranac Camp.)

     Some of my colleagues and professional associates are puzzled by my 46 years on the Colgate faculty. Despite tempting opportunities at other institutions, even deanships, a chair and a respectable college presidency, or chances to "build" in distant places, I guess it was up to John Bourke to let the secret out.

     Thanks, Johnny. And, by the way, the door is always open to any of our "family" (here in Hamilton or at my second home in Vermont).

FRANK A. FARNSWORTH '39
Professor of Economics, Emeritus

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