So, I have this history problem. I recently read a five volume work on the Shoshone dog soldiers of Eastern Oregon, the greatest light cavalry in the history of the world. The author is not a formally trained historian. He wrote these books in his spare time while working as a ranger for the BLM. Some really strange and startling revelations in here. Is this guy for real or is he a crackpot? Who would know? Dave Hitchens would know. So I googled your name and found this. More than I bargained for, I guess.
You were my Western Civ professor at Lewis and Clark College in 1970. You rescued me, in a way, and opened my horizons, but you were soon gone to start a new school in the moldy woods near Olympia. My friend, Paul Blanding, and I drove up to see you one time when you were on the planning faculty there at TESC. Spent the night at your house. Went to a faculty planning meeting with you and to what seemed like a pretty wild faculty party (where we all sang about that Great Speckled Bird). Haven’t seen you since. Nice memories. You seemed older than me at the time. Now, not so much.
This evening I read all 32 pages of your guest book. Shoshone dog soldier questions can wait. What a long and distinguished career you’ve had. So many lives changed. I get a sense of completion, fullness. You’ve done well, pilgrim. See you on the other side.
It began Oct 1, 1979 in Lec I (I believe). First, there was the reminder that “you are here because you want to be, not because your parents attended or some other ‘legacy.’”
After warning that if one voluntarily missed seminars, not only would one cheat oneself of learning from fellow students, one would be depriving the others of one’s contributions, a “reminder” that this was college: “No one’s going to call your parents ‘Johnny wasn’t in class today.’”
The all-time perfect example of How Evergreen Is Different and the Challenges That Await: “The only reason I’m standing here and you’re there [sitting] is experience. It’s not IQ or degrees or titles. It’s experience. I have more than you do in a particular field.[Pause of about 5 seconds] And I fully expect the situation to be reversed in four years, with me listening to you up here. Every one of you is capable.”
Those words were the introduction to my education as well as an example of the program theme: The dialectic of overlapping generations.
David, beside being the ONLY person to ever call me “evil” (or try to say chocolate chip cookies were evil), you taught me to look at most issues as diamonds, i.e., a properly cut diamond has 58 facets.
Depending on where the light is coming from, where one’s standing, and other factors, it’s going to look different to each viewer.
Your teaching made me stronger in ways I’m still discovering.
“Don’t forget to take time for yourself.” I still hear that at times today. Part of “taking time” in 1980 was a little group called — Scatter Creek. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not many folks play “Jerusalem Road.”
Let’s not forget Clock Tower Mickey (has that story ever been recorded?)!
It all started with you.
For all of this and a lot more, I give my never-ending thanks.
P.S. If you thought the cookies were dangerous, I now make some amazing (legal) brownies — dense & fudgy from 100 -year- old receipe.
Dave and Joan:
YOU BOTH know about the power of the mind. The three of us elect to see the good in what others consider a “horrific situation”. The is no situation, event, person, or loss that will EVER take our smile away.
The newspaper stated you had weeks to live???? Who do they think they are talking to???? No Dave, you have YEARS left to live….don’t you or your beautiful wife, Joan, EVER forget that!!!!!
YOU ARE STILL TEACHING ME, DAVE!!!!! I read about you each week. Both of you inspire me, and it is my desire to be just like you both!!!!!
And I would like to thank Dr. Rainey for reading my email to you last Friday. YOU BOTH ARE MY FAVORITE AND MOST POWERFUL PROFESSORS I HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO HAVE SHARED YOUR AIR WITH!!!!
We are beautiful and free butterflies…..
All my love to you and your beautiful family,
Looking Backwards 2010-2011
Dear Prof. Hitchens – I was fortunate to take your class examining race, gender, and culture in American history in the summer of 1995. While in your class, I was diagnosed with a medical condition and being away from home, was feeling very scared. You spoke to me about your own battle with cancer and your emotions, and it really helped me to get through those first days. It’s now sixteen years later and from that class, I still can’t help but look for the hidden stories and appreciate the perspectives of others, especially those without a voice – and I am still grateful for the kindness and empathy you shared with me that got me through a very tough time. Thank you so much!
World War II was quite an adventure. Thank you, Dave, for so very much. I met my wife Cedar Burnett in that wild class. We speak of you often and truly cannot imagine what life would have been like without your influence.
I have to say, I have not yet heard of anyone else who was able to utilize a dead chicken and an inflatable penis in the successful pursuit of college credit. The best part of course is that our video interpretation of the Cold War really did teach me a great many things.
Thanks again. You changed my life.