ACE Retiree Updates
ACE Retiree Director
Last year, I spent four months working on my friend's farm in central New York. Quite a change for me, but I really enjoyed it. The little town had three churches, one laundromat, two gas stations, a hardware store, a library open three days a week, an Italian restaurant, and a diner on the highway. I worked at the food pantry and met some remarkable folks living the rural life. Everything slowed down, in contrast to my time spent in Champaign-Urbana and Southern California, where I usually live these days. I even went to meetings of The Livestock Conservancy and the New York Nut Growers Association. Not as exciting as an ACE meeting, but what can top a gathering of ACE folks? Neither livestock nor nuts it turns out!
I keep writing and had another short story accepted for July publication in a literary magazine.
I also drive my grandchildren to school, piano lessons, baseball practice and games, Aikido classes -- wherever they need to go. This is rewarding and tiring. I sleep well at night!
The Committee is a documentary film about the little-known Florida Legislative Investigative Committee of the State Legislature from 1956-1965. Florida Senator Charley Johns chaired the committee, and its aim was to root out communist and homosexual teachers and students from state universities. It was successful in either firing or expelling more than 200 suspected gay and lesbian citizens. http://video.wucftv.org/video/2365975721/
He will receive the Robert O. Sinclair Cup Award May 13 from the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/UVM Extension.The award recognizes those individuals who, like Dr. Sinclair, served CALS/UVM Extension with distinction as a member of the faculty for a major portion of their professional career.
I've gotten used to living alone again and am doing a lot better as time goes by! This week I'm at Epcot with my daughter Laura to see the flower and garden show. In a couple weeks I'm gong back to Maryland for a month for two graduations and a trip to the ocean!
Let Love Happen is a religious romance about a Spartan plant scientist, who is researching the Jatropha plant, and a Montessori Directress. He moves back to Michigan after the death of his wife at the hands of a drunken driver in hopes of rebuilding his life and that of his young children in the community where he spent a happy and secure childhood. My husband, who also has written a popular graduate Ag Econ text book, is publishing a book about Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, the sister of his great grandmother, who was a prominent Hicksite Quaker suffragette in Iowa and nationally.
He is organizing his thousands of .jpg files, editing two books, writing opinionated editorials and planning an 8,000-mile trip with his wife Ruth to visit friends, family and historic places.
Dorothy was head of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service publishing unit for many years and an active member of ACE. At the time of her retirement in September 1981, she was Editor and Interim Head of the Department of Agricultural Communications.
It was 1953 when Dutch Elder, Iowa State, sent me (in my first year as an AAACE member) to Berkeley, CA to report on a research project we were doing: "Can you give economic information by television?" We could. Among those who inspired me at that meeting, along with membership on the research committee of AAACE, were Bill Ward, New York; Hadley Read, Illinois; Bry Kearl, Wisconsin; Phil Tichenor, Minnesota, et al.Tom Merrill
When Iowa State and Nebraska shared the national conference in Omaha in 1955, Dutch was pulled off to help host the first visit by Russia's agriculture delegation. I sort of filled in as the Iowa host. That was when Candace Hurley and I wrote, and got help from others (Mark Allen and Earl Brigham, both Michigan, were two), in the Editorial Arts and Sciences Academy Awards for such things as word simplification (Amy Cowing, teaching Flesch) and word complication (Lester Schlup, FedExtension communications guy so big words wouldn't suffer the fate of dinosaurs) and more.
Hadley Read and I created a Round Robin newsletter in the late '50s that may have been a forerunner to regional newsletters. At the time of the Illinois conference (around 1960), I let my name be entered for AAACE director, North Central. To my consternation, I was elected — and not even present at Illinois (my alma mater). Who could afford annual meetings, although membership was only $5? Surprisingly enough, the directorship led to vice president, president (AAACE's golden year, 1965-66) and past president.
Then there were some committee jobs. A major one was our attempt to bring back NPAC for a three-year run in the late 1970s. After the committee's work (Ralph Reeder was a key player; Cordell Hatch, Penn State, appointed the committee and, for reasons I didn't understand, I was chairman). Don Wells, then USDA with Mason Miller, and I put together a program to do that, but lack of support by ACE officers in Washington, DC, meant we went down in flames. Hal Taylor, then head of the Office of Information, put together one of those department projects by which the department brought people to Washington for special projects. I went in for six months to salvage something from our thinking: I read in the Library of Congress in the communications literature to find what had been written since NPAC closed down in 1962. The result was a 60-page edition of the AAACE magazine, under Hal Taylor, with what I had found.
On the tail of that work, I qualified for early retirement and took it. Four years in international ag research centers (Mexico and Holland) took me to another retirement and 18 years of international consulting — great fun, much arranged through the consulting firm John Woods served. It was John who offered my return to ACE as candidate for director for retirees.
(I had chosen two retirements — Iowa State, 1980, ISNAR, Hollard, 1984. Clients who quit calling determined the one that took in 2002, after I had gone to Moscow when Eric Abbott helped develop an ACE affiliate there, which we both outlived.)
All of this was more fun than I had reason to expect. Bright "kids" followed us old-timers in shaping ACE as a professional society. It had been a fairly slow transition from Old Boys Club (even though Marge Arbour, Louisiana, had been president years earlier) to the professionals who now practice the art and science of the field.
When I wrote my autobiography a couple of years ago, I was moved to conclude that I could not have planned a career with as much fun, satisfaction, and my own sense of achievement as occurred in my life. And I have no doubt that AAACE and ACE were significant contributors to those pleasures.
During my time in ACE, I served as a state representative, board member and officer in the Diversity Community, as well as helping on meeting planning teams and other committees (including this year's upcoming meeting in New Orleans).
My favorite part was the amazing people I got to know, to work with and to learn from along that way. When I look back on it all, there are lots of fond memories of what we accomplished together!