Ben Oostdam's


page 46

back at SIO, late 1962

For obvious reasons, I did not like being stuck at Scripps for the entire semester - having anticipated a speedy return to work in Hawaii by September or October at the latest. I started seeing signs of unpleasantry and intrigues. Some of my earlier idols now had feet of concrete - or I wished their feet to be entombed in a tub of that substance.
I noticed three geo profs "meeting" in a hallway, two of them inspecting the closest wall, the third the ceiling; no greetings, not a word ... A story about one geochem prof replacing another as chair calling in a graduate student and asking if he could use some glassware. "Yes, of course, thank you!" "OK but you have to get it out of this room within an hour" The student got a cart and packed one load after another, dashed to his office to unload, but suddenly ran into the former chairman who asked him "Vhere are you goink with my glassware?"(accent added to hide identity). Amazing thought: for 40 years I myself used dozens of file boxes which that chairman threw out on the occasion of moving into his new office...
In seminars and exams, attacks were made using one's colleague's ("opponent''-s?) advisee as victim or sounding board. But maybe I myself was at fault and getting too supersensitive? Years afterwards I had a nice chat with Dave Ross, who said that, coming in with a Sverdrup Fellowship, I could do nothing else but either be perfect or -more likely- disappoint people who fostered high expectations. My technique had been wrong, and his had been much better: no-one expected much from him and he had surprised everyone by slowly improving, asking for their help, and giving them ample credit. Come and think of it, Dave was right and built a glorious career, not only parting the Red but also the Black Sea.
And while I that fall sent a half dozen letters to publishing companies proposing to write an introductory college text based on our SIO courses, all responses were negative: there would be no market. Dave waited a bit and wrote about the same type text I had planned a few years later. More credit to him for his tactics and sense of timing! (my students were his major market!)

Anyhow, as usual, my 1962 Christmas was miserable again,
in fact, bewitched (by EVE)

while Hanukkah was a
propitious events that year:
"the very world rests on the breath of a child in the schoolhouse."

(Kwanzaa was not born
till 4 years later ...)

BLO fecit 20021222 Ted Foster's second visit this month ... COMMENTS, PLEASE ? - next page - contents