Reflections and Connections
guests travel here from all over the globe. And, best of all, because
of the tourist attractions in our community with the arts, extensive
bike trails, and river sports, we have hosted or had visits from many
intriguing guests, including former colleagues and ACE friends.
Mark and I would love to host ACE retired colleagues at our B&B. We were happy to provide a gift certificate at the 2016 ACE Development Fund auction towards a stay at our home.
Brad Schneller noted the retirement and passing of 60 Minutes investigative reporter Morley Safer with his own memories.
Morley Safer has been called “the best of the best.” I was fortunate to get to know Morley when he began his career as an reporter at the Sentinel-Review newspaper in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.
Let me recall some of those days back in 1953.
When I came to Woodstock in June 1953, I boarded at the home of Harper and Pearl Hammond at 32 Brock Street. The Hammond house was just two short blocks from where I began Extension work with the Ontario Department of Agriculture as Assistant Agricultural Representative for Oxford County. I had the larger front room upstairs and next to this and at the top of the stairs was a smaller room. At the time it was rented by a man who worked at the Sentinel-Review. Within a few weeks the room became vacant.
The next person to rent the room was Morley Safer. This was his first job. He had enrolled at the University of Western Ontario but quit after attending a few lectures.
It took some time to get to know Morley. Our work schedules differed. I was out most evenings at 4-H and other meetings and when he was in his room, his door was usually shut.
When we did get to talk we didn’t seem to have much in common to talk about. As a junior reporter, Morley was assigned the police, city hall and town meetings beat.
When we did get talking, I got the feeling that Morley felt out of place in Woodstock. He left the impression that the people were not as friendly as he expected. And the reporting tasks were, to him, a tad mundane. Not the headline grabbing stuff that he expected or considered capable of writing. I had heard that the editor of the Review was a bit of a taskmaster and often required writers to rewrite stories.
We both recognized that the Sentinel-Review was in the chain of the Thomson Newspaper empire and the number of pages of each issue was determined by the lines of advertising and subscription numbers or sales. Canadian Press stories, local correspondents, PR stories, breaking local news – all came before the police-city hall reports.
To some local people, Morley didn’t seem to have the same accent. Even though he was from Toronto, they thought he had a Bronx-like accent. Strange.
Also, he may have felt prejudice.
I tried to console him by telling him that even though I was from a farm, and not that far away, that more than one farm person cautioned me that it would take maybe two or three years of hard proven work before I could be expected to be fully accepted by the farm people in Oxford County.
I did arrange for Morley and me to have an evening of double dating with two farm girls. To Morley, that was an evening to forget. Different chemistry!!
But after all these years, what remains indelible in my memory of Morley and would be ever a reminder of his incredible career as a journalist, was coming up the stairs of the Hammond home late one evening in the Fall of 1953. Likely after a 4-H meeting. Morley’s door was open. He was standing shirtless in front of the dresser mirror and he had his Star of David solidly crunched in his one hand. He had a look of anger.
I asked “What was wrong?”
His reply, “I’m going to be the best investigative reporter in the world.”
Alf Burman, the editor at the Review, had given him a rough time that day.
But you knew that Morley was a person with ambition.
After only a few months as a reporter at the Sentinel-Review, Morley left unannounced.
Every time I heard Morley’s voice on a radio report or saw him on TV reporting from London, Paris, Vietnam and, of course, the nearly 50 years with 60 Minutes, I reminded myself – and others – of that night at 32 Brock Street in Woodstock.
In the years since 1953 only once did I try to connect with Morley. That was in the 1980s. I wanted to have Morley speak at a Northeast AAACE regional meeting being held at Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.
The goal was to have him speak via telelecture on some aspects of investigative reporting. Sorry, was the reply from a secretary. “Mr Safer will be flying that day – returning from some assignment in Asia.”
One week after the CBS 60 Minutes special on Morley’s life, he died on May 19, 2016 in New York City of pneumonia. He was 84.
Jim and Marlene Evans send their best from the Illinois prairie where they continue to enjoy their rural home. Daughter Dena and husband Bruce live nearby while son Lynn and his family live in southern Tennessee and son Loren and his family in southern Indiana. A family popcorn project emerged after Jim retired in 1995, continuing an interest his father had pursued throughout his farming career. Their small-scale operation serves a niche that features gourmet varieties of colored popcorn.
Jim's profession-related interests include the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. It is an international resource and service housed in the University of Illinois Library. As a volunteer associate, he helps identify documents of interest, process citations into the online-searchable database and coordinate a monthly e-newsletter. The collection contains nearly 42,000 documents at this 35th anniversary year. Jim remains amazed by the literature of this field and encouraged by the growing research agenda. He also continues to enjoy contacts with students, faculty, alumni and others.
A couple special thoughts come to Jim's mind for your consideration:
Please let Jim know at email@example.com or 217-684-2354 if you would like to visit about these and other possibilities.
In 2002, Lyn Jarvis retired from University of Vermont Extension as producer of Across the Fence telecast on WCAX-TV, the CBS affiliate in Vermont. This year it celebrated 60 years on the air and is the longest running farm and home show in the country. Lyn has been involved for 40 of them...hard to believe. Upon his retirement, Will Mikell, the current producer, invited Lyn to serve as contributing editor and do a show the first Thursday of every month called “In the Kitchen with Across the Fence.” It is very popular and a nice way to keep in contact with their many viewers.
With free time, Lyn started to travel and purchased a Cannon XA10 to document his adventures. These are aired on Across the Fence and below are links to shows done in Spain that aired n December 17 and 18, 2015.
In Antarctica he captured a “Rolling Iceberg” on video that now has 566,337 hits on YouTube.
He stills considers enrolling his work in the C&A competition. Since Memphis is one of his favorite cities, he hopes to be there in June.
After 31 years, Delmar Hatesohl retired in 1985 from the Agricultural Editor’s Office at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He was a bit young to retire but he has never regretted doing so. Some interesting opportunities came up. For two years, Delmar worked half-time for the Mid-America International Agricultural Consortium located at the University of Missouri. This consortium included Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and the Universities of Nebraska and Missouri. It gave Delmar a good opportunity for more international work. He had worked in Somalia several years earlier. After retiring he consulted in Liberia, Pakistan, and Kenya, working in the information offices of their research and extension institutions.
Then Delmar and LaVerna made a big decision. They moved back to their home area at Linn, a small town in north central Kansas. They had some major family responsibilities, helping take care of older relatives. It was not an easy transition. They rented an old, small farm house. In two years, they had a new house built in a five-acre milo field.
Delmar and LaVerna missed visiting with their friends and co-workers, such as Dick Lee, Don Esslinger, Duane Daily, Paul Gwin and many others. There is something special about College of Agriculture and Extension people, he says.
But they soon got involved in a variety of activities: the local booster club, American Legion and the old church in which Delmar was baptized. He has a special feeling for this church. His Dad and four uncles were among the 12 charter members in 1917.
Delmar tried to be selective about the jobs he took on, only those that could not or would not be done by locals. For Linn’s 125th Anniversary, they published a 114-page book with about 250 pictures, most of them taken by Delmar. Perhaps the most interesting and rewarding thing he did was write individual stories for the local newspaper on more than 20 World War II veterans. Some said it was the first time that anyone had asked them the details of their military experience. It was humbling for Delmar to visit with these men. All had been overseas, most had seen combat. He felt good when the newspaper editor told him one veteran wanted 10 copies of the issue with his story. He wanted them for his family.
During this time Delmar and LaVerna traveled quite a lot. He went to Africa eight times, five to work and three as a tourist with LaVerna. To celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary, they took their family (10 people) on a safari in Kenya. The first 10 days went well, visiting where Delmar had worked and game parks. Then misfortune took place. They decided to take a balloon ride in the Maasai Mara Game Park. At first, it was a great ride, seeing bits of the big animal migration. Then they landed. The wind had come up, they hit the ground hard and bounced once or twice. LaVerna hurt her back and they had to call in a helicopter to fly her back to Nairobi.
It turned out she had a compression fracture in her back. She was in the hospital several days until they could get a first class flight back to the States. Fortunately, they had a great nurse to fly home with them to keep LaVerna sedated. They quickly learned that their travel insurance did not cover balloon accidents. They tried comforting LaVerna by telling her that not many kids get to see their grandmother flying in a balloon and a helicopter the same day in a game park in Kenya. They certainly don’t want to scare anyone from taking a balloon ride. They just happened to get a hot-shot pilot who was showing off.
Back in Linn, Delmar did considerable work planting and caring for trees. Some effort was successful but they had problems. They had some Scotch and Austrian pine growing just in time to get hit by the pine wilt disease.
Delmar and LaVerna have had some fine family experiences. While traveling in Europe, they met some relatives in Germany. These relatives have visited Kansas several times. In turn, the Hatesohls were invited to a 25th wedding anniversary in Germany. The Germans certainly know how to celebrate such events. LaVerna has become the local Hatesohl heritage expert. They have been able to help some older relatives through difficult times.
Their advice for younger retirees: If you like travel, do it now. The years go by quickly. They are still in pretty good shape for 85-year-olds but their travels are limited to domestic trips. Delmar’s heart beat is too slow and he has a pacemaker in his future. He also inherited family tremors (shaky hands). Handling food is sometimes difficult, he finds it hard to use a screwdriver, and setting a mouse trap is tricky. LaVerna is still bothered by her back. She reminds Delmar that she is carrying a load of concrete in her back (several injections).
Some of the older retirees believe they lived during the golden age of College and Extension information. It is Delmar’s hope that each generation feels this way about their work. He is grateful to ACE (or AAACE) for the opportunity to meet so many other professionals in the field. His family fondly remembers the annual meetings where families joined members in dorms on university campuses.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than 10 years that Meg Ashman left University of Vermont Extension. But these ensuing years have been rewarding--professionally and personally.
In addition to some freelance editing and communication consulting, Meg has taught writing and intercultural communication courses in the public communication major at the University of Vermont and has led a UVM semester-abroad program in Belize with her husband, Jay.
Her community volunteer activities have included tutoring children of resettled refugees in Burlington, serving on the board of a center for pregnant and parenting teens, and working in a community garden at a local senior center.
In her “free” time, she plays piano and participates in a weekly Spanish conversation group, a monthly documentary film discussion group, and a book group that she’s been meeting with every 3 weeks for 41 years!
Outdoors, she plays a lot of tennis, does some hiking, and enjoys what their family refers to as the “three B’s”: biking, bocce, and boating.
In addition to teaching in Belize for a number of semesters, she and Jay have spent the past few winters in Panama, Ecuador, and Key West, Florida.
Much has happened--more good than bad--within her family: Jay was treated (successfully) for prostate cancer; their son, Dan, married his long-time sweetheart ; her mother--who was an active participant in that wedding--died a few months later; and the following year Dan and their daughter-in-law had a beautiful baby boy, their first grandchild.
They are delighted that Kate, their world-traveling daughter, decided to return to Burlington and is working and living less than a mile from her parents.
Finally, long-time friends continue to be an important part of their lives, and visiting LaRae Donnellan in Tallahassee this past March was a highlight of the year. Meg thinks fondly of her many friends she made during my active years in ACE and invites any of you who travel her way to pay a visit!
Since retiring six years ago, Ashley has been busy working on the original family home, built in 1886 by his great-grandfather W.D. Evins, who established Evinston, the town where Ashley and Sara-Nett live. The house is a southern-style folk Victorian structure with two stories, a large verandah that wraps around the front, and a bit of ornate work on both stories. He’s finished the outside, rewired, re-plumbed, and currently has several rooms that he’ll be finishing this year. The house is on the original family farmstead, which was designated as a “Florida Pioneer Family Farm” by the state agricultural commissioner. Ashley and Sara-Nett own and manage about 42 acres of this farmland and partner with his brother who owns and manages most of the 200 acres remainder. They raise beef cattle; have citrus trees, and a bit of forested land. (Left: Ashley Wood at the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.)
Ashley is active in a number of onservation/preservation organizations, working with other like-minded folks who are trying to keep as much open space and conservation lands that remain in Florida, while attempting to protect Florida’s natural springs, ground water, and natural areas.
For the past several years, Ashley has chaired Alachua County’s Historical Commission. This is a countywide commission that works directly with county government to set policies that protect historical resources, educate citizens about the history of the area, and work with other historical societies. He is also active in several of the area’s and state historical societies and groups. One society is working to preserve his town’s historic old store and post office, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Recently threatened with closure, they convinced the U.S. Postal Service to continue service at this historic post office. It is one of the few remaining historic store/post office buildings in the U.S. and housed the international ACE post office box for 15 years.
Through Smithsonian, Ashley and Sara-Nett found a tour group based in Oxford that they use to provide outstanding international travel. They’ve been to Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Malta, and Israel. The trips are mostly on a small (300 max.) ship with great tours, lecturers, and wonderful entertainment. During this year’s ACE meeting they were traveling in France, Spain, and Morocco.
Their son is a Federal Officer with the Department of Justice. Their daughter-in-law is the assistant graphics coordinator at IFAS, University of Florida, a gold and OPS award winner in ACE. Their daughter is the Apple computer coordinator for the Orlando Veterans Hospital. They have a three-year old grandson who they really enjoy. He spends three days each week with his grandparents and really appreciates being in a rural, quiet, and natural environment.
NOTE OF APPRECIATION:
Thanks to Janet Rodekohr, member of the ACE Retiree Web Oversight Committee, for her careful editorial review of some of these reflections.