ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO IRON
What a strange archival photo in the
spring issue. The young woman seems
to be ironing photographs!
Well, that’s me, and it is exactly
what I was doing. It was early winter,
1953, and I was editor of our yearbook,
L’Agenda (which I believe is still being
published). We had a tiny office in the
dreary basement of Roberts Hall, down
the hall from The Bucknellian. Publishing was a complicated, time-consuming
process in those ancient days, especially the visuals. Our printer told us
the best way to affix photographs to
the necessary backing was to iron them
on, pressing down with all your might.
I thought editing the yearbook was
going to be a writing job, but instead,
I spent much of my senior year over a
Jane Brown Maas ’53
WHEATCROFT’S WAR MEMORIES
In 2006 my Lunar Offensive Press
published the late Jack Wheatcroft
’49’s novella Answering Fire, together
with a reprint of his story “Kamikaze,”
which first appeared in his 1986 collection Slow Exposures. Jack and I had
many exchanges over the final form
of the book. Not only was he pleased
with it, but he told me after its publication and our production of a related
video of an interview with and reading
by him, that he stopped dreaming
about the war. The interview is available on You Tube.
“Kamikaze,” based on Jack’s experiences under aerial suicide attack and
landing on the devastated Japanese
mainland in 1945, and the title novella,
which depicts the post 9-11 invasion
of Iraq by the United States, bracket
a history that brings us to our current
dilemma of permanent, worsening
war, about which Jack’s literate reflections bridge eloquently and relevantly
between the personal and political.
Answering Fire never enjoyed wide
sales, but copies were circulated to
several book discussion groups around
Lewisburg, and I maintained a steady
stream for Jack to distribute. Most of
the print run remains in storage. The
work deserves a wider readership,
and I’d be pleased, in honor of Jack’s
memory to provide a free copy to any-
one who emails their postal address to
Stephen Fried ’67
Brooklyn, N. Y.
‘BUCKNELLIAN’ STILL BLOSSOMS
So The Bucknellian is 120 years old. I
was the features editor 65 years ago and
wrote a column on music. That experience and other extracurricular activities
helped shape the rest of my life.
In 1952, I met with Mollie Brown
’53, the editor. Mollie asked if I would
be editor-in-chief. We had just finished
an overnight marathon session to
publish a special edition celebrating
the election of Dwight Eisenhower
(using typewriters, scissors, paste and
linotype lead). Bobbie Roemer Gibb
’53 became the next editor, while I took
a job at American Broadcasting Co.
Flash forward to 2003, the 50th
Reunion of the Class of 1953. By then
I was a professor emeritus of journalism. My weekly column, “Historically
Speaking,” appeared in The Brooklyn
Daily Eagle. My second book was
reviewed on Page 1 of the Sunday New
York Times Book Review.
At Reunion, I looked through
L’Agenda and discovered many of our
classmates had worked on the newspaper. Why not use them to publish a
Meanwhile, Bobbie Gibb recrossed
my path, and I mentioned the possibility of a newsletter tied in with
Reunion activities. After several calls,
we settled on a newspaper tabloid.
The class talent amazed us. Volunteers
wrote about topics unassociated with
their majors, artists surfaced and poets
bloomed. In the end, we had to reject
copy and produced a flawless publication
of which everyone was proud.
Bobbie Gibb has since died, but
the efforts she put into our celebratory issue of The Bucknellian live on.
More than 10 years after our initial
effort, the University still publishes a
John Manbeck ’53
East Stroudsburg, Pa.
NATURAL HIGHS IMPORTANT
I’m responding to the recent Bucknell
Magazine article on the business of
marijuana. As a clinical neuropsy-
chologist who speaks to high-school
and college students about alcohol
and drug prevention, I have a unique
perspective on this.
The under-reported story on
recreational marijuana use is how it
impacts adolescent mental health.
Marijuana use, as stated in your
article, has shown negative impacts
on learning and memory. Recent
neuroscience research also has shown
that regular and even casual use by
young people decreases IQ, academic
performance and mood, and hastens
mental illness for those predisposed.
One of the most compelling studies
I share with audiences is how the
hippocampus, the most important
brain structure for memory, changes
structure in response to regular
use. This may sound like the Reefer
Madness movie of the 1930s, but at a
time when highly potent marijuana is
being commercialized, I find far too
much discussion of money and far too
little about the science.
Bucknell first-year students are up
to seven years away from having fully
developed brains. We owe it to them
not to just talk about the negatives,
but also the benefits of natural highs
(e.g. fitness, meditation, helping
others). A longitudinal study done
in Iceland in the 1990s showed that
when teens had ample access to natural high activities, drug and alcohol
use plummeted. Today, Bucknell does
an excellent job of providing these
activities to students, but making
them cool and explaining the mental
health benefits is an ongoing effort.
This topic is close to my heart
because I founded the Bucknell student group C.a.l.v.i.n. & H.o.b.b.e.s.
in 1993. It still exists with weekend
events and residential options at its
house on campus! When I speak at
schools, my talks focus on adolescent
brain development, stress reduction
and the hundreds of groups that
promote natural highs around the
country. I also wrote a book called A
Better High and in November, spoke
to Bucknell athletes.
Matt Bellace ’96, M’98
See more letters at bucknell.edu/