Memoirs of a Maniac
Destined to Teach
An Examined Life

Allan Wooley © Dec. 2012, Nov. 2018

In the interest of full disclosure, I should clarify the title. It comes in three parts, just like Gaul. Probably most readers were misled by the first part of the title. Perhaps Mainer or "Mainiac" instead of Maniac would have been clearer, if not more accurate nor carrying as clearly the allusion to Plato's four versions of madness (mani/a) in the Phaedrus (44a ff. & 49d ff). The third part of the title is an allusion to Socrates’ axiom in Plato’s Apology, but an allusion also mindful of Solon’s prescription in Herodotus to see the end [of life] and Aristotle’s comment on that1. At later time I will need to examine just what I mean by life. Finally, the second part of the title may be a philosophic fallacy. It might be more accurate from the point of view of the ‘realists’ to say that those who can not do anything productive or worthwhile end up teaching. Nonetheless, that part of the title is supposed to suggest that there was a touch of fate or some innate swerve in events that affected the course of my ‘career’.

To elucidate and clarify what I mean by that, reversing my procedure with the title, I will start somewhat in medias res with a story. I went to a public high school, Stephens High, home of the Panthers, in Rumford,ME, where the blackboard was first introduced to American education by Samuel Reed Hall of Brownington, in the NE Kingdom of Vermont (a fact that rather strangely connects the first and last chapters of my life!). That was perhaps a hundred and fifty years before my time, and not much had changed since that introduction. Still in hindsight I must say that that school provided an adequate training in literacy, especially when compared with schools today. In a way this may nudge one to the notion that change is not always progress. However, I stray from the point. For the first two years I took the standard courses for those preparing to go to college: English, algebra, science, foreign language and such. The foreign language curriculum was staggered: Latin in Freshman year and then in the Sophomore year one could start French and continue with Latin. That is what I did. I did well in the various courses, but I wanted to go into something interesting in science; at the time I was mesmerized by electricity. I was a bit of a wiseacre and flippant in class,- just to liven things up a bit, though on occasion it might have seemed as if I was harassing the teachers. There was one teacher, however, who was proof against all my probing questions and flippant comments, the Latin teacher, Miss Murphy, who had taught the parents of many of my classmates and who more importantly knew her subject cold and who was bright and quick with an answer, even for the toughest question.

By the end of my Sophomore year I decided I had had enough Latin, especially since it would be so small a class for the third year that it had to be taught at the noon hour lunch break. Accordingly, I did not sign up for it, but with foresight I knew that I would need a better argument than inconvenience. Luckily for my plan there was a state law that said a student could not take more than six courses. I had made sure that I had six courses. All my ducks were in order, and that is when fate or some perverse atomic swerves in events took place. The first on this particular occasion was apparent as soon as I arrived at school for the first day of my Junior year. I was assigned to Miss Murphy’s home room. With some trepidation I walked in and found my desk. No sooner had I entered than Miss Murphy appeared like a ghost of Christmas past. “Allan,” she said, “I noticed that you had not signed up for Latin.” This was the beginning of the second swerve and it unnerved me a bit. Flustered, I responded, “I know, Miss Murphy, I wanted to fit in the Latin (I lied), but I couldn’t, because I had to take all these other courses, and, you know (I played my trump card), state law does not allow me to take more than six courses.” Strangely, Miss Murphy did not seem at all perturbed by my kill shot, and just calmly suggested that I should go see Mr. Kitchen, the principal, and maybe something could be worked out. With a young idealist’s implicit trust in the providential concern of authority, the more so the higher the authority, I strode confidently down to the Principal’s office. Surely the Principal, the main local authority, would support the more (nearly) ultimate authority of the state from which his own authority devolved. When I was ushered into the inner sanctum, I explained to Mr. Kitchen the situation. His reply remains freshly engraved upon my memory even today: “Allan, if Miss Murphy wants you in her Latin 3 class, I think we can disregard state law.” Where, I ask, is the state when it is supposed to protect the young? Is this the way to foster faith in authority and government? This was surely the finale of the series of perverse atomic swerves in events that occurred that day long ago, and in a very substantial way altered and set the course of my personal history.

Alas, there were to be several other perverse atomic swerves of events that consolidated the ‘fortuitous’ course of my personal history. A major one occurred a little more than five years before the wake-up call about the undependability of law and government to protect people that led to my taking third year Latin. On February 20, 1947 my younger brother (by a year and half) was run over and killed while sliding on his sled with a friend. This loss overwhelmed my father and a year later he quit his job, and we moved to the farm and subsistence farming. Towards the end of my junior my father decided it was time for me to leave ‘home’. I got a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy. I will say up front that PEA was the toughest academic experience that I ever faced; the combined initial loneliness, severity of the intellectual demands, and the constancy of the pressure were a combination unequaled by any subsequent educational experience. Furthermore, I had had no formal preparation for preparatory school. As I see it now, the prep or preparation for surviving prep school has three parts: learning to cope with tough taskmasters, learning to cope with kids who are brighter than you, and learning to cope with overload. The order of importance will vary depending on the matriculant. Perhaps by more subtle swerves of circumstances I had already been somewhat prepared for the coping challenges, and later for my prep pep talks; for at PEA ‘prep’ was also the common name for what was officially called a Junior or 9th grader.

I had had at least one moderately tough taskmaster at Stephens High School in Miss Murphy, the Latin teacher, although she paled into ‘warm and fuzzy’ in comparison with Mr. Hatch of PEA. My toughest taskmasters were my mother and father, Haggie and the Old Man. Peggy, as her friends called her, was considered by almost everybody outside the family to be a saint, a warm and caring person. And perhaps she was. She did have a will of tempered steel and told us as children how she had disobeyed her mother when she was young enough to climb trees. Her mother caught her, and when she would not say that she was sorry to have been disobedient, her mother paddled her with a long-handled hair brush. After the sixth hairbrush broke, our mother-to-be finally said she was sorry. I learned about toughness when I refused to eat something she had prepared for lunch, and when forced to eat it, I threw up in my bowl. She then forced me to eat that. The Old Man was more obviously tough. Once when I broke the (push) lawn mower in what he considered to be my hasty carelessness, he handed me a pair of hair scissors and told me to finish cutting the lawn. He addressed me as chump, not chum or champ, but chump. It was clear even to me that I was a klutz, and that I had to try harder. After my parents Mr. Hatch was not so scary.

One of the hardest things for new students at the Academy is looking around the Harkness table (all classes are seminars) and thinking that all the other students know more than you/they (the old ones generally do) and that they all are brighter than you (many may sound that way, and there are always some who are). My preparation for coping with this also came from within the family, from my younger brother. Until midway through the third grade I was an academic wasteproduct; I barely made it through the baby grade. It did not help that I had Miss Matthews, a tough taskmaster who did not tolerate stupidity or inattention or any such childishness; also that year we went to war. On the other hand I can remember about that time or a year later my father teaching Johnnie algebra and bringing him home from Washington DC his own big dictionary in which they looked up the longest word in English. Johnnie was a prodigy, a sweet scrawny little very blond guy who happened to be a genius.

Learning to cope with overload and to organize my life carefully was the result of two factors: first I was given lots of freedom, and second the Old Man made it abundantly clear to me when we moved down to the farm full time that I would be totally on my own when it came to going to college and making my way in life. This was a long, long ways away from the empty boredom of post-infancy childhood. And it seemed even farther when I faced the incredible overload of my adolescent summers at the farm.

The freedom and the boredom started early, and together they were the cause of lots of foolishness. The boredom was enough so that one of my early memories was of sitting on the threshold of our front door with my back to the door, and just banging the back of my head against the door. I don’t think that I was trying to get attention or something of that ilk, I was just bored and banging my head felt good in a perverse sort of way. A cement walk led up to the brick and mortar stairs to the porch and the front door. As one came out the door the porch spread to the right and in front of the porch was a patch of trees, good climbing trees for young urchins like me. I would climb up to the top of a twenty-or-so footer, and since it was willowy I could lean over and the tree would bend down and I could hang from the top and drop down three or so feet to the ground, in this case the cement walk. Great fun, but one day instead of bending, the particular sapling I was in broke off and I catapulted head first onto the cement walk. This was not the only time that I proved to be hard-headed; there were a couple of more physical instances as I grew up, and then and latter many psychological instances.

The boredom and the freedom combined to lead me on exploratory ventures, first on my tricycle. Of course with freedom came responsibility; I was not to ride my bike on the streets; sidewalks were ok, but streets were not. Unfortunately on one occasion my mother somehow discovered me at a place that I could only have reached by riding on the street. I was apprehended sometime after lunch but no later than mid afternoon. I was sent to the dining room to stand facing the wall to wait for my father to come home from work to wallop me. I learned many good and bad lessons from this experience. However, I did not learn the lesson of foregoing exploration. Not many years later a bunch of us urchins came up with the great idea of exploring the storm drains which were numerous and long in Rumford. I have patchy, dim-lit memories of crawling up the darkling tunnels like spelunkers looking for treasure or majestic caverns of sparkling stalagmites encrusted with diamonds. We never found the glistening caverns but on occasion we would find ourselves almost wedged in motionless as the storm drains got smaller, and then came the scary ignominy of backing out butt-first. It was while we were driving over one of our favorite storm drains on one of the main streets that I had one of the scariest moments of my life. Johnnie and I were in the back seat of the Buick and Haggie (who was still years away from receiving that nom de guerre) was driving. We were tussling like little kids will and somehow the right-side door flew open and Johnnie went tumbling out. Whether rightly or not I felt it was my fault, and of course to some extent it was. I was terrified and was yelling like crazy. Haggie stopped and Johnnie was alright, no broken bones or worse. I imagine that he had some scrapes, but I was quite careful for a while after that.

We spent the summers at the farm just off Worthley Pond in East Peru and the rest of the year at 24 Lochness Road in Strathglass Park in Rumford (now on the historic registry, the homes were designed by the architect who designed the US Supreme Court, picturesque but cold). The stretches of boredom that I remember were mostly in the summer at the farm out in the two 10 acre fields picking wild strawberries or wild blueberries with Johnnie and our mother. She would try to relieve the boredom by telling us stories about when she was a little girl. Other times we whiled away the empty hours in the hammock imagining that we were in a boat on the ocean or in a canoe on the Amazon. The most boring summer I remember was the summer that Johnnie was diagnosed with possible tuberculosis; he was always the delicate one, although I spent more time in the hospital. Since tuberculosis is very infectious among children, I was subjected to the same regimen. We spent the entire summer lying on cots on the porch. Neither of us got tuberculosis.

In town there was more going on, though much of it was boring for us; I remember with special distaste meetings of the Sunshine Club, Hospital Auxiliary, and other ladies’ get-togethers. They frequently occurred in our house and Johnnie and I would try to hide upstairs, but on occasion we would be caught and pinched and fussed over by the old haggie-baggie friends of our mother. I do remember one event that was very exciting and certainly broke the monotony. The houses were all brick duplexes, and built fairly close together. There was another duplex directly behind us facing the other way on its own street; there was a yard of about 25 feet between the back stoops of the two houses. Our youngest brother David was very young and was lying in his crib one evening. There was a window right over his crib and I happened to look out that window at the house behind us. Flames were shooting out of a window in the half of the duplex right behind our house. It was scary and exciting and sad all at the same time. We knew the people who lived there; I was worried that our house would catch on fire and especially that the other half of their duplex would burn, and we knew the people in that half even better. None of those things happened but that half of the duplex was burned out. Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that David claims to this day that he remembers the whole thing.

This boredom continued in a severe state at least until the third grade and led to several antics in school. One was especially memorable, and may have occurred several times. We had recess even in the winter, and the school yard was surrounded with a steel fence with steel poles, more to keep us imprisoned than to keep anybody out. We learned that if you stuck your tongue on a steel poll when the temperature was cold enough, your tongue would stick to the pole until the temperature of your tongue melted the bond. One of my favorite tricks was to stick my tongue to the pole just as the end-of-recess bell began to ring. Later in high school the pranks were perhaps more sophisticated but equally childish and fun. Some of them centered around the chemistry lab at lunch time. One time we had just learned to use the ‘hood’ and we were trying to concoct an odor more powerful than was normal in Rumford, a pulp and paper mill town that usually smelled like rotten eggs anyway. We came up with a really rotten stench and we wanted to test it to see if it passed the sniff test. Next door to the lab was the band room where there was often a group practicing at noontime. What better test,- a group who were already inured to the usual stink of Rumford; if they noticed anything different, then our trial was successful. We ran a hose and as a precaution blocked the door to stop exit until the results were in. Then we turned on the gas generator and waited. We did not have to wait long; the yells and screams indicated that we were even more successful than we had hoped. There were other puerile pranks to enliven our boring existence such as connecting charged Leyden jars to door knobs and watching the unsuspecting get a charge out of our prank.

In my younger years there was something else besides the occasional prank, Haggie’s stories and our own make-believe that punctuated for me the long stretches of boredom. These were my numerous head infections and ear aches that often led to hospital stays and on occasion were life-threatening. I had numerous operations to remove tonsils and adenoids or to puncture my eardrums. From a very young age I had learned to endure excruciating pain. Though this is not the best way to relieve boredom, it does work. And these were all besides my eye operation at age five in Portland, ME. I remember times when I was sent from the Rumford hospital to Lewiston, because they did not know what to do in Rumford; they didn’t know in Lewiston either. Another time in Rumford they used a great thumping machine that would be hooked up to my sinuses through the nose and would create a great sucking vacuum and then at other times would create a great pressure on the Eustachian tubes, and then would suck and blow in alternation. The worst time was in Rumford sometime during the war. I remember looking up and seeing my mother and about five doctors just outside the door of my room. They all looked very serious and my mother seemed very worried. Later I learned that they told her that they had tried their last resort, which was sulfur drugs, and the drugs were not working and that I would not last much longer the way things were. And then the hospital got its first shipment of penicillin, which had been reserved up to then for the soldiers, and when I got the penicillin, I recovered fairly quickly. Of course, I did not understand all this at the time. Beyond the pain and anxiety, there was the fact that my two main ports or portals to the world around me, my sight and my hearing, were increasingly compromised, and I had to learn coping skills at an early age.

This was not my only close brush with death. The first was perhaps at my birth. I was a forceps baby; that is, Dr. Howard grabbed ahold of my head with forceps and pulled me out into life. The day before, as I learned much later, he had pulled another boy out who spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic; his family had a camp on Worthley pond, not far from our farm. In my case the most obvious effect was that I ended up cross-eyed and never developed bifocal vision. A less obvious effect, for which I am quite grateful, was, I believe on slim evidence, that the forceps birth caused my skull to be thicker than usual at the top. At least because of that I survived at least one fall from a tree head first onto a cement sidewalk, and some years later (during college) going head first through the front window of a car that crashed into a telephone pole going fast enough to propel me a hundred feet from the car, where I landed in brambles and was not found for hours. There was also many years later another close brush with death that involved automobiles. As I relate towards the end of this memoir (p. 42 or so) I hit a patch of black ice and the truck did some fancy maneuvers that totally destroyed it, before it landed on its wheels about ten feet above and perpendicular to the road. These escapes caused me to ponder why I was still here, perhaps some survivor's guilt and some wondering whether there was a point to my having survived beyond repeated dumb luck or some version of those 'strange atomic swerves of events' that guaranteed free will for Epicurus.

But to return to the long periods of boredom that infected my youth, there was something else slowly pulling me out of lethargic boredom, and this something else introduces another major theme of this ‘Socratic’ self-examination. As I mentioned above, I barely made it out of the baby grade, and one of my most poignant memories is from the end of that year with Miss Matthews. I can remember the exact place; it was at the farm, in the living room under the register to let heat from the wood stove go up into the bedroom above. The wood stove stood in front of the door to what was in those days the dining room. Johnnie was in the dining room on the other side of the almost closed door, taunting me. Johnnie had not yet been to school, and yet he could count back from 100 by twos (as well, of course, as counting forward forever by ones). He also could recite the alphabet forwards and, of course, backwards. I still had trouble both with numbers and letters just going forward, but I was bigger and tougher, and now madder than hell, and I was in the process of pushing the door open and grabbing the little bugger and pounding him to a pulp when our mother appeared behind me and stopped me with a low disappointed tone, and said how sorry she was that I was having so much trouble in school. This changed my happy-go-lucky, if bored, life from one of more or less self-satisfied assurance; after all I was the biggest kid in my class thanks to an early growth spurt that stalled in early adolescence. From now on there was something missing in my life; my self-satisfied assurance had been cracked. My life became a pilgrimage of search, a search in that first instance to get out of the state of ignorance, of being dumb and conspicuously so. That was a long search that finally ended at some point during the third grade, I believe. Again it was a clear-cut, abrupt change in my life. It occurred during a math test. I usually had considerable trouble finishing on time, so when I finished before Miss Griffith called in the papers, I was amazed. I looked around and everybody was still hunched over in desperate thought; I immediately assumed that I must have missed part of the test. I checked every thing over; I seemed not to have missed any part of the test. Everyone was still hunched over, so I checked all my work and answers over again. Even after I had passed my paper in, I was on tenterhooks, worrying until I got the test back with a score of 100, the first ever.

It was during this initial period of search from the end of the baby grade to the middle of the third grade that I first remember entering the ‘empty room within,’ that place where you retire into yourself and there is no one else there but you and maybe God, and you hold conversation with yourself about yourself or sometimes you are brave or desperate enough to try to talk to God, though the room is empty. Perhaps I had been there before in other guises, because as a youngster I had lots of different kinds of dreams, more than the usual sugar-fired nightmares after going to some horror movie at the local theater. I had repeat dreams, and then serial dreams that would go on from one night to the next like Flash Gordon episodes, and the floating dreams when you seem to float out of your body and can turn your head and see yourself lying down there, and finally lucid dreams when you would stand aside from yourself while you were dreaming and tell yourself you were dreaming. Then in late adolescence I stopped dreaming altogether. Well, obviously not, since I am not a raving lunatic, but I stopped remembering my dreams, waking up with complete recall of the dream, its events, its immediacy, its living presence. Now if I remember anything of my dreams, it is a fast-fading wisp. Entering the ‘empty room within,’ that most private of places inside where there was no one else, where no one else could be, except perhaps God, that was altogether different from a dream. The ‘empty room within’ was more than a waking vision, a ‘hupar’ as the ancient Greeks would say; it was more real than that, it seemed to be the kernel of reality. Maybe that is where Descartes started his revolution.

I believe that most people have this experience in one way or another; I see it as the bedrock of our humanity, though I sometimes wonder as I look into our dog Josie’s eyes whether she does have her own ‘empty room within’ inside too. I suspect that most discover it as children when they become aware that their parents can not hear their thoughts, despite a lot of evidence from times before when it seemed that they could. I think that it is part of the growth and development of that module of the mind, that part of the brain that becomes labeled as the ‘self’ or the ‘ego,’ but which begins as an alarm system in the reticular network of the brain, the focusing of attention after waking up, and the establishment of the court of consciousness. It also has something to do with the internalization of the family’s rules of behavior or code of conduct. And it also has something to do with that process of individuation that begins in pre-adolescence and culminates in adolescence when a person breaks away from the control and rules of others, and tries to replace them with his or her own. We each have our own way of handling this experience; I suspect that many deal with this experience inchoately without analysis. Those that do try to deal with it cognitively, consciously, and therefore verbally or ‘imagistically’ are bound to come up with different metaphors. Probably the most common word is conscience and the image of a confessional. In my case it is an empty room within where in Platonic fashion2, I suppose, I talk with myself in many postures or guises including confessional, but also exploratory, heuristic, and searching. I am still searching for something that is missing. Somehow I am still dumb. This has been from that time and still is part of my ‘Socratic examination of my life.’

By way of hypophora I should answer potential objectors who will claim that their ‘empty rooms within’ are not at all empty but filled with all sorts of items. So is mine, except that none of the items filling it are other autonomous persons. My room is empty of all other persons, and so I assume will be those rooms of all but persons afflicted with multiple personality disorder or with some forms of schizophrenia. It is a place of intense solitary confinement, and that is part of the human condition, or perhaps I should say a part of the human condition nowadays, in case there is a chance that the human condition itself is not a constant. At any rate the many other items may not be permanently in the ‘empty room within,’ but hustled in and out by a psychic dumbwaiter system much like that in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. In other words the items such as memories or engrams of events, acts, persons, songs, proverbs, ideas, or whatever are fetched from other chambers of the mind as needed and inspected in the light of consciousness.

As time passed and we (my brothers and I) grew older, the boredom was eroded by chores, school, and work projects on the farm, but there was also swimming in Worthley Pond (we had a right of way to the main beach which had once been part of the farm). In the winter we skied on old inner-tube harness skis and sled on sleds, toboggans, or old horse sleds. The farm was at the bottom of a mountainside, so everything slopped upwards from the farm which was bordered by the outlet brook of Worthley pond. There was a farm, the Harlows’, above us still in use, and there had been other farms further up the hill in earlier times. The road up to the Harlow’s bordered the hedgerow of the 10 acre field in front of our farm house. It was fairly steep and great for sledding since it always had a coat of snow in the winter. One day we (David and I) decided that we needed to be higher on the sled, to sit up on some sort of box. We found such a box in the small room off the kitchen where our father kept his beer making equipment, in fact the blue box on which he set the capper that put caps on the beer bottles. We borrowed it for the afternoon. When we returned home from Harlow’s Hill, rosy-cheeked with excitement, there stood our mother at the door with unusual sternness on her face. She read us the riot act for having had the gall to steal the Old Man’s Blue Box. I think she used the phrase that she was mad enough to jump down our throats and teeter on our gizzards.

About the same time I had started calling our mother Ma following the local vernacular. Finally, she objected rather strenuously to that appellation, and told me to call her anything but that, so I started calling her Haggie Baggie; for reason mentioned earlier in this Memoir. Dave also picked up the moniker and as time went on, in public we abbreviated it to H.B. We did not consider it any worse a name than what her friends called her- Peggy, sort of the feminine of Pegleg to our young minds. Later we learned it was the nickname for Margaret. But to return to our young lives, there was plenty of wholesome fun to be had. We had 100 (or was it 50?) acres of woodland to explore, and Trask Mountain in front of our farm to climb. In the woodland there was a place part way up the mountain which we called the Pines where we used to have picnics in the old days, and there was a little ring of rocks where we built fires for the picnics. We had trails in the woods, and we built a club house in the rafters of an old ice house on the farm and dragged a couple of old car seats up there. Our lives became a nice blend of free time (no longer seen as a desert of boredom) and things that we had to do.

That club house in the rafters of the ice house with its piles of sawdust down below and with the two old car seats facing each other with the front second story pane-less window in between was the haven in which I created a number of imaginary worlds, all documented in various ways in my puerile records. I had the name of Admiral Zoczat in charge of fleets of space ships or submarines. I drove the fancy cars of the era, the mid to late 1940's, Lincolns were my favorites at the time, if I remember correctly. I developed charts of organization for my kingdom; there were counts and dukes and barons, as well as commodores and generals and captains, viziers and chancellors, marshals and premiers. I developed codes and special languages, secret scripts with passwords and seals. I drew coats of arms, escutcheons, special icons. I marked out maps of our secret trails on the farm, maps of the imaginary kingdom, and then I drew up the plans of my castles with their fortifications. It was an endless job of construction and planning with proclamations, constitutions, and manifestos,- world without end. My interest in codes re-emerged in learning Greek and becoming a Hellenist, and then learning to write computer code. My interest in castles was not as strong, but did continue and in June, 2003 Ilene and I visited Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, and Linderhof castles in Bavaria. Naturally Neuschwanstein was my favorite and various views of it became the wallpaper for my desktop, and I wrote as special program to show it from all sides and to enlarge each view, with musical background and such.

My adolescence began shortly after Johnnie was killed; at the point when my father quit his job and we moved to the farm permanently, it was made clear to me that if I wanted to go to college after high school, I would have to do it on my own, and so I had better start working and saving with that in mind. Since the assumption in the family was that not going to college would be a disaster as well as an embarrassment because our father had put himself through school and earned his doctorate in chemistry at Ann Arbor. Accordingly, from then on my summers were very full with very little time for ‘fun’. My day started at 4:15 when I got up to deliver papers to most of the camps around the pond. Breakfast was a salad with ham and hard boiled eggs at about 7:30, then I had the cow to milk (by hand) before I went off to work at the various camps where I was the caretaker. The afternoons I spent working for a local farmer, Fon Walker, helping with the haying or whatever else, once digging a hole for the new septic tank through layers of pit gravel. When I came home from Fon’s for supper, I had more chores to do; one was leading the cow down from the unfenced pasture where the cow was staked out by hitching her to the old model A Ford,- and then going back up into the pasture and driving the model A down. Sometimes the pressure of time led me to improvise; I saved half the time if I just drove the car down with the cow hitched and following behind. This worked well despite the clear injunction against it, until one evening when I was even shorter on time than usual, and drove the model A faster than usual an without the usual glance back to make sure the cow was following along. The car started to pull harder than usual; I quickly looked back and did not see the cow. Fearing the worst I stopped and ran back; there was Lady, as the cow was named, stretched out on her side where she had toppled when the chain jerked her over and started dragging her. To my great relief, she was still alive, I backed up to loosen the chain and she staggered up. I unhitched her and very gently led her down to her stall in the barn; then I quietly hastened back and drove the model A down and parked it and scampered off on my bile to Fon’s where after supper at home where I worked as the iceman until 9 PM. Electricity had not yet reached the camps and so they used the ice that we cut out of the lake in two hundred pound blocks in the winter and packed in sawdust. In between customers in the evening I would read the dictionary (remember Johnnie’s dictionary?). It is easy to stop and start in a dictionary. Then I went home to bed to get rested for the next day.

Nonetheless, there were some joyous moments and high jinks even in the workaholic summers. It was during this lustrum that little Liz with her pigtails used to beg me to take her for rides in the big basket on my bike when I went to deliver vegetables or collect for the paper. This was the time when Dave, whom I called Kid, would accompany me as we tried various chemistry experiments or such. Of course, at other times when I was buck-sawing fire wood for the kitchen stove, Kid could be a veritable pain and at such times he would need discipline. Liz, of course again, never needed discipline, because she was cute and always good. And in the winters, when there was more free time, then we went tobogganing or sliding or our version of skiing. These were the days that I referred to when I came up with the names of Blimp, Wimp, and Gimp for the three of us. Liz had a slight case of scoliosis of the spine, while Dave was quite thin and desperately wanted to bulk up; in fact, he took to wearing ski boots (the old kind that were like regular boots but heavier with a big steel toe to clamp in the ski binding). And I did not need to bulk up in those days, though the title of Blimp applied more readily when I was in grad school. At that time I remember coming home from grad school for Christmas, and lo and behold they had finally gotten a TV, but there were only two chairs in the room. Liz was sitting in one and Dave in the other. Before this time Dave had been to young to be a match for me and moreover he had been Wimp. I did not realize things had changed until I tried to oust him from my chair. A tussle ensued in which my mother’s standing lamp was busted; I can’t remember who finally got the chair, but my amnesia suggests that Kid won the throne.

The permanent move out of Rumford and to the farm in East Peru after my father quit his job had far greater repercussions for me than just the loss of freedom and the absence of boredom. There was the change in my life and prospects which was immense, given my age. The family went from very well-to-do town life to subsistence farming; I was uprooted from the neighborhoods and schools I knew and enrolled in a rural four-room school where I knew virtually no one. I blamed my father for this, and I saw him as weak and not living up to his responsibilities. I was also shocked and unbelieving that the man whom I had looked up to as a model of honesty and honor and a pillar of strength had betrayed me, even though I had generally been aware that ever since I was fairly young, I had not measured up in his eyes. His alcoholism only further strengthened my anger and my sense of righteousness in blaming his weakness for the drastic change in my life. This falling apart was further exacerbated by my natural adolescent rebellion. Over time the rift widened as he became more aware of my hostility, and I became more recalcitrant. Step by step he removed me from his presence, first by only being allowing me to enter the house and go to my room through the shed and the attic, then by not allowing me in the house at all during the summer. It ended with his kicking me out after the end of my Junior year in high school. This breach was never really repaired before his early death at 52 of a brain aneurysm.

There was something positive that bridged the chasm of change that came with our moving out of Rumford and to the farm permanently, my friendship with Peaksey. His name was actually David Peakes and he was also visually handicapped; he had lost an eye which was replaced with a glass eye, and so he saw the world from one eye, as I did, although, I had two eyes, but could only use one at a time. From the time we entered the fifth grade in Pettengill school we were close friends and had a paperroute together on Penobscot Street, a long street that went from the Library by the river way past the hospital way up on the hill. We got up every morning about 5 AM and trudged across Memorial Bridge to the Police Station where the papers were left. We loaded up our paper bags and delivered delivered them, probably a 100 all told and at least a two mile walk. We switched sides of the street, every week or so, and did the collections on the side we had delivered in the previous week,- at least, as far as I can remember. Because he lived on Penobscot Street, we often met at this house, not only when we were doing the newspaper business, but coming home from school too, since his house was about half-way between school and my house in the Park. I was always impressed at the good things they had at his house like soda pop and cookies, things rare at my house. We would retreat to his room and discuss all the things going on in our lives, often with great merriment and laughing. During the summers I lived down at Worthley Pond on the farm, and so he carried on the paper route on his own, and we did not see each other much then.

Of course, after the sixth grade when we moved down to the farm permanently, we did not see much of each other. But that changed two years later when I started high school in Rumford at Stephens High, the scene of many of the stories related above. Our friendship continued as if without any hiatus. This provided a healthy bridge that connected the portions of my life on either side of the chasm of the permanent move to Peru and the farm on Worthley Pond. We were in several of the same classes every year, especially in science and math. We both thought we were interested in science. I particularly remember chemistry class. We were both preparing projects to take to the State Science Fair that year and were given permission to be in the lab in order to work on them after school closed. It helped that Peaksey's father was the Superintendent of Schools; it didn't help that we were there after supper and after dark when the Ass't Principal was out for a walk and saw the lights on, but having forgotten to carry his keys with him, he had to climb over the roof to get to a window of the lab to look in. He was a fairly stout man and the climb and clammering had tired him and angered him, as we found out. Happily we still got to go to the Science Fair and did alright there.

We had several other adventures in chemistry, but I am not sure that Peaksey was always involved since he went home for lunch and most of these adventures happened at noon time, but since I have already related these adventures above in a section on boredom-based pranks, I need not go into them now. However, I do have another vivid memory of Peaksey and me from the highschool years. On a couple of occasions I stayed over a weekend at Peaksey's house. One time I had bicycled the twelve or so miles up to Rumford from Peru to spend the weekend for some reason, and it must have been a long weekend and in the spring, because that weekend there was a flood that cut Rumford off from the world. The army tried to re-establish connection with snorkel trucks because the roads were under four to six feet of water in places. For reasons that I don't remember now, and that I hope were not just bravado (since our farm was not at all near the river), I decided I needed to get home on Sunday, I think. The crest of the flood was past, but the roads were still not passable for cars. In fact, in some places I had to walk the bike on a washed out road ruts, in other places I had to leave the road. In one place the only alternative was to walk along the railroad ties; the railroad track was like a swinging rope and wood-floored bridge because all the ground beneath it had been washed away for a stretch. I made it home with great relief and some pride. After I left high school for Exeter, our ways parted, and I did not see Peaksey again for fourteen or so years, when I came back to the area to teach at Gould Academy, and Peaksey had moved back to Rumford. We were both married by then; Peaksey had continued in science and engineering, and he had all sorts of 'cool' gadgets and tech tools at his house to show for it. Though I was happy with my field, I did miss the wonderful times we had had with gadgetry. Again Exeter interrupted our friendship as I left after a year to teach classics there.

Such was the nature of most of my friendships; they were close as long as the circumstances allowed, but when circumstances or some fateful atomic swerve of events occurred, I moved on to form new friendships and did not renew the old unless opportunity was presented. The first such friendship was with Bobby Jones who also lived in the park; our fathers were colleagues and friends. He was a year older than I; our friendship was strongest when I was 6 to 10, but waned as we grew older and particularly when Peaksey and I started the paper route. In one of those strange quirks of fate, Bob Jones now resides in a retirement home in Exeter, NH, where he has become a friend of two of my very good friends from the later part of my time at PEA, Pat Hindman and her husband Roger. Before they came to Exeter around 1986 or 87 or thereabouts, I had the largest personal professional library on campus, but with Roger's arrival my library was a distant second. Pat was in the math department and also worked with me in Ewald during my last year in the dorm. We have remained close ever since. During prep school, college, and grad school I had a succession of roommates. At Exeter I like all one-year Seniors was in the ringer dorm with the one-year non-returning Uppers. My roommate in Bancroft was a wonderful guy from Wisconsin named Art Bloedorn, who was the starting center for the football team. In the Exeter-Andover game he was knocked out but was put back in as soon as he regained consciousness and could answer questions. He was serious about his studies and planned to go into engineering. At Bowdoin I roomed with Frank Johnson, a serious basketball player; we had been in the same class at Stephens High in Rumford. As a Sophomore and Junior I roomed in the Deke house with David Rowse, or Rowser. I remember one end of winter term when we decided to leave campus during exam week and study up at a camp near his home town of Littleton, NJ. It was the first time that I had ever been in that part of New England. Now I drive by Littleton every time I travel from Morgan, VT to Exeter, VT and back. Rowser had died before Ilene and I had bought the place in Morgan. At grad school I roomed for the first and second years with Mal Cole who was a tall surfer from California who was studying musicology. He was also close to concert level on the piano and organ. Naturally most of my other close friends were in the Classics: Bob Connor who went on to glory at Princeton and as President of the APA and then as the head of a Classics think tank at the Research Triangle in NC. But my longest lasting friendship from those years was with Phil Ambrose with whom I travelled to Italy and Greece in 1961 since we had both taken a year off from Princeton to study in Germany and Austria respectively. Phil ended up at UVM in Burlington, VT, and after six years I ended up at PEA in Exeter, NH. We both held many offices in the Classical Association of New England and between us ran it for many years and often met under that aegis. And then we met in Italy when Ilene and I lived there for a year because Phil and Gretchen had gone to Tuscany every summer and by 2002 had bought an apartment in Asciano. Directly after grad school I taught for a while at Duke, where I made some good friends, closest was Bob Walton, who had studied to be a Presbyterian minister at Harvard, but had given it up to study for a PhD in history at Yale. We remained friends and corresponded after we both left Duke, he several years before me for British Columbia and then Switzerland and a professorship in Munster, Germany. He came to visit us at Exeter, and my daughter visited him in Germany. Bob became sick and died early. When I finally retired and moved to Morgan in the NE Kingdom of Vermont, I again made a new batch of friends, in particular two: Richard Lafoe, a native Vermonter and a man of wide experience in many arenas, military, music, accountant, customs officer, logger, living off the grid, and college career in Boston, and Steve Matson, who had moved into Vermont about when I had retired to our summer home in Morgan. Steve had also been a diver in his youth like me, but beyond that was also a man of wide experience in different professions, guidance counselor, officer in the DeLorean Motor Company, and a medical head hunter among other things. He recently went through a very tough time while his wife was dying of a severe form of breast cancer, a disease that impoverished him.

But now I need to return from this side trip to the main route. Despite the series of perverse atomic swerves of events that landed me in third year Latin in high school, I could still have avoided a career in Classics. The die had not yet been fully cast; but the odds had increased, and I crossed a couple of Rubicons in the next two years. As the result of the instability for me at home, I entered a new pilgrimage of search, the search for some stability built on getting into and through college and into a job so I could attain some purchase on security. I was living on the margin and was looking for an escape from a hand-to-mouth existence and the kind of poverty I had seen in rural Maine. Before even setting foot in Exeter, I knew that I wanted to get into college as quickly as possible; my goal was to get a college degree and become self-sufficient as quickly as possible. I did not want to spend two years at Exeter, and to meet the college entrance requirements in those days that meant continuing Latin. I wrote PEA to find out what I would have to do to get into fourth year Latin, and then I prepared for that during the summer. After a painful year under Hatch at PEA, I did so well in the AP test that I got very advanced placement in Latin at Bowdoin. This was yet another swerve towards the Classics. Still I was not committed to a career in Classics; after all, the goal was becoming self-sufficient, and even then the Classics was not the best springboard to opportunity. I still intended to go into electricity, and so I signed up for physics at Bowdoin, after having had it at PEA. Once again the swerve of events blocked my endeavor; I was told that I could not take physics until I had taken calculus, but that I could only take four courses, and there were lots of distribution prerequisites. There was no room for calculus that year, while the Classics Dept. allowed me to audit first year Greek with the understanding that I could get into second year Greek as a sophomore by passing a placement exam. Here was a further swerve toward the Classics. By graduation I was a double major in Classics after fourth year Greek and sixth year Latin to ninth year, three or four years of college French, three years of German, and a minor in philosophy,- but no calculus or physics. I was a polyglot reader, but my oral-aural talent in languages was not great.

There were still two further possible escapes from a career in the classics, although as college progressed I obviously became more deeply committed to the humanities than to the sciences. At the end of college I was called up for the draft. Although I had not passed my physical four years before to get into naval ROTC, I now passed the physical for the army with flying colors. I also passed the mental exam with flying colors and was signed up for the Monterey language school and army intelligence. But since I had already been admitted to graduate school in Classics, the draft board allowed me to continue in school. The last possible escape was my first term in graduate school. It was not at all what I had expected, it was more like taking a course in the nitty-gritty of plumbing, not the mind-expanding exhilaration of connecting with history’s greatest minds. Of course, if I had quit grad school, I would have ended up in Monterey in all likelihood. I suppose it was the challenge and the comradeship of fellow suffering student colleagues that kept me going. As Vergil wrote, forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit3, and so it was, but my career in Classics always thereafter retained the lingering pall of that bittersweet let-down. I have digressed again and it is now time to return to the earlier thread of preparing for prep school; that is learning to cope with tough taskmasters, brighter kids, and overload. Somehow I had been unwittingly prepared and so I survived the tough teaching of the old Academy. No extra help was given, unless it was specifically requested, and then it was given in such a way that the student “bore the laboring oar.” Even the liberal teachers were tough as nails. Misspell one word on a homework-written essay and you failed; misspell two words on an in-class essay and you failed. Tests were often handed back in the descending order of the grades. And so on. Horrifying as this approach is to the practitioners of modern pedagogy, it was very effective in building mental toughness and self-reliance. The goal of an Exeter training (education was for college) was very simple. A student should come out with a very clear understanding of his mental strengths and weaknesses, and where he was weak, he should have learned how to develop effective coping mechanisms; in many cases this mechanism was learning how to study efficiently, in others it was learning how to overcome some disabilities. Too many of us learned the wrong lesson from this, which was to go where your strength lay, even if that did not really interest you. But the original lesson is an absolutely essential one, though it should be followed by the caveat that the student should go where his passion for learning leads, even if he is better at something else.

At this point I should go into that “empty room within” and report what my year of Exeter education taught me about my strengths and weaknesses, and my inclinations. I must admit up front that I can not now separate totally what I learned then from what I have learned since. For instance, I may have intuited then that what a person was really good at came easily to him, and generally he did not think it was a big thing, but I had not consciously put that into a larger framework and recognized its significance. Since then I have found that I am naturally good at organizing and leading groups, but that I do not like that kind of work, though much of it seems to me not to take much talent, but is just a matter of common sense. Part of my ability here lies in being a worrywart and having a Reaganesque approach: “trust but verify.” At school I was very good at learning languages the old-fashioned way- for reading. My audio-lingual ability is not strong. Moreover, my transfer from perception to conception is very slow; accordingly, I do not read highway signs or subtitles fast enough. I am a slow reader, though I can skim very fast for a specific thing. Though I read slowly, I do build strong conceptual frameworks, so I can remember and fill in the “lay of the land.” I am slow to pick up abstract mental manipulations, but once I immerse myself in a particular set of abstractions, I can work it very well and build upon it to further levels of abstraction. In this way I can look at such matters from several points of view and build algorithms to do this in the future. As a student at Exeter I found that I liked those subjects that involved people more than those that dealt just with abstractions. By those subjects that deal with people I mean things like literature, history, philosophy, religion. As a teacher at Exeter I found that I enjoyed working finite problems; i.e. solving a computing problem by producing an algorithm, like a mathematician solving a math problem, but I found computer problems somehow more connected to the liberal arts. Though I came to PEA with the intention of going on in science, I came out with the realization that I was more interested in languages and literature than in the abstractions of math. That may well have been partly the result of the teachers I had, but I think it was also to an extent the result of my mental make-up and slowness to see the point of mathematical abstractions on my own.

I suppose that writing a memoir is a chance for reflection on what one has “done with one’s life”, or maybe that that reflection somehow generates the memoir, as some sort of a rationalization for all the opportunities wasted or perhaps as an attempt to figure out the grand design behind it all. In my case I started just to write down some of the memorable episodes before I lost them. I had always found that the events that seemed so permanently etched in my memory faded and became confused several years later. Even while I was relatively young and we were repairing and working on the house in South Rumford each summer, I finally had to sit down and go back and figure out the history of when we had done this or that, because I was getting mixed up and forgetting the historical order. Writing a memoir is basically a narcissistic exercise, even when it is done as an aid for a weak memory. As I have passed through life, I have collected stories based on episodes. Perhaps such stories are a first step in trying to make sense of life; such are my efforts at poetry too, I suppose. Several years ago my sister Liz reported to me that all our immediate family had died on the 20th of the month. Now that is an interesting fact, and I tend to be more careful on the 20th, but I am not sure that it is a glimpse of some grand plan or design. So overall I will collect the stories and ponder the point of it all, as I go, more Herodotean then Thucydidean. At this point I am still trying to develop an overall framework for the whole project; for this part my approach will be to work out what projects have continued to seem particularly worthwhile to me, some of which I had undertaken in adolescence, others garnered along the way. As I go along, it will become evident that I have had occasion off and on to “examine my life.” And as I meander along, I will try to see if there is any continuity in these ‘examinations,’ and also to assess how much fate or the “perverse atomic swerve of events” really affected my life, or whether that is just a structural device to give some shape and form to my narrative, and I must shoulder most of the responsibility for the course of my life.

There are some thinkers who claim that where one grows up has the major influence in shaping your life. Though I have never believed that fully, I have to admit that it has some truth; later in life I desperately wanted to find a place in the mountains. I spent a goodly portion of my life not far from the banks of the Androscoggin river, especially its northern part which flows through the north-eastern foot hills of the White Mountains in north-western Maine; these foot-hills were called mountains locally. The Androscoggin flows out of Lake Umbagog which is the western-most of the five Rangely Lakes which are in the mountains of north-western Maine. A friend from graduate school, Bob Connor, and I spent a week canoeing all five of the Rangely Lakes and then exited on the Androscoggin where my mother picked us and the canoe up. Until I graduated from college I had spent all but one year of my life living near the Androscoggin, and after that the first real estate that I owned was on the banks of the northern part of the Androscoggin, a farm that I owned jointly with my first wife in South Rumford from 1971 to 1995 and where I spent 20 summers, fixing it up. I do not know how much what we own determines us, but I have owned three houses, and each has had a certain influence on my life, though I have lived most of my life in houses that I did not ‘own,’ but they too influenced my life, two childhood homes, dormitories at school, houses that I rented in North Carolina, a house we inhabited in Bethel, ME, three faculty apartments at PEA, a rented room for a year in Hamburg German, and an apartment for a year in Viterbo, Italy. For a very short while after my mother died I owned with my siblings the family farm, but I do not count that among the houses I owned, although the family farm may have had the greatest formative influence on me of all the houses in my life. The farm in South Rumford, Maine, would be second, and the house in Vermont would be third, and I am still there, so its influence grows. All three houses that I’ve owned were originally jointly owned, the Rumford farm with my first wife, as also the house in Exeter, NH, and the house in Morgan, VT, with my second wife, and that is about the only thing we own jointly. I lived in the Exeter house for only about fourteen or so years from 1990 to 2004 and then off and on during the period of summer 2004 through the winter of 2005.

The length of time in a place is not a good indicator of its influence on a person. For all the time I lived in the Exeter house on 10 Whitley Street, it had less influence on me than my four years in Merrill dormitory. For that matter the 4 years in Merrill came right after 4 years in Wheelwright, and yet the Merrill years had at least 4 times the influence of the Wheelwright years. During two of my four years in Wheelwright that dorm was well run, but I was not the dorm head; during all of the four years in Merrill I was the dorm head. I had been offered the choice of staying in Wheelwright as head of a girls’ dorm, the first large dorm of girls, or of going to Merrill as head of a boys’ dorm, knowing that it had been poorly run for a while and had both drug and drinking problems. I chose Merrill; it was a “learning experience,” more a trial by and under fire than a classroom or armchair learning experience. It took two years to clean up the dorm, without much help from the administration; indeed, one of the things they did to complicate the issue, was to increase greatly the number of preps (9th graders) in the quota of new admissions to the dorm during the third year of my being head,- while we were still worried about possible remnants of drugs and drinking. Still by the end of that third year we had no more than the average infestation, maybe even less. And we did have a chance to influence the extra younger students in a positive way so dorm management became easier and life in the dorm was a much more positive experience for everyone.

I also learned that a major part of running a successful dorm was having good faculty in place; of the three faculty living in the dorm I had one each of the first two years that was not up to the job. After the first self-destructed, the administration gave me another loser; after a year I got rid of her, and she went on to be in a dorm that nearly burned down, and somehow she parleyed this into a release from the obligatory number of years of dorm duty. She escaped eight more years of dorm duty through incompetence, but without being fired, because she was a member of multiple minorities. All these lessons were learned in just three years of my four years in Merrill. There were more lessons then and later that turned me from an innocent, rather dutiful middle-of-the-roader who trusted the administration to do the right thing into a skeptical veteran who came to see the school’s administration as an upside down pyramid of ignorance with whatever knowledge there was at the bottommost point and increasing ignorance as you rose through the increasingly widespread and deepening ignorance the higher you went. This seemed the right analogy and image because as time went on, the size of the administration grew exponentially, while the size of the real teaching faculty or dormitory-resident faculty did not increase during my tenure except perhaps by a little over 3%. At the top, of course, were the Trustees, who by definition knew the least about education, and who in earlier times recognizing this had made it a rule that they did not interfere in student or academic affairs, but put that in the hands not of the administration but of the faculty as a whole. In later years, a little more than half way through my career they forgot that wise provision.

It was a blessing each summer to escape all this and to go up to the farm in Maine. Each summer provided some chance for my rejuvenation. Each summer also held forth some different restoration project. My area was the outside of the old farm house which was a two story New England farm house built in 1826 on a bluff overlooking the Androscoggin river and the old ferry and ferry road that connected it to the village of South Rumford. The place had not been painted for 70 years when we took it over. The first summer I scraped and repaired the clapboards. I would come down in the evening with this sweet taste from the dust. Only later did I learn that I was suffering some lead poisoning, and probably should have been chelated. At any rate when I returned to school and the weekly faculty meetings, I felt much more a part of things. The only time when I felt more in the flow of things was the time after the spring vacation when I gave up smoking; for quite a while I could not connect two thoughts together. It was very interesting, because no one seemed to notice. At any rate the summers were a time when I could actually see concrete results from my efforts, whether I was building something permanent like one terrace built of boulders dragged into place by a team of horses or another terrace built of old railroad ties or a dilapidated old school house resurrected or the front of the barn was re-clapboarded and then painted or the house painted or just the lawns restored and mowed. Every year there were new projects that improved the place significantly over two decades.

After 16 or 17 years in the dorm we decided to buy a house into which to move after I finished my dorm duty. We found a nice house with two bedrooms at the end of a quiet dead-end street not far from the Academy. We had some necessary repairs done and then rented it for about two years. After 20 years in the dorms, twelve in Ewald North, a house with 20 or 21 students, we moved into 10 Whitley Road. Our daughter, Helena, had already been in college for three years at this point. We had lived there three or so years when we separated. By this time Helena was teaching at Lawrenceville School. I stayed on and lived at 10 Whitley for thirteen or so more years. In the divorce I lost the farm, but kept the Exeter house. Before we moved in, I had had the garage made into a study and we had redone the heating system to include the garage-now-study and the connecting breezeway, now the breakfast inglenook. It was a very convenient location and a great house for a small family in a very nice and self-contained neighborhood.

When I got married again after six years alone, we had the wedding in the NE Kingdom of Vermont at an inn on Lake Willoughby, perhaps the most scenic lake in the area, as a more or less unspoken and even unconscious design to start anew away from prior influences. We had had a summer place near Seymour Lake in the Kingdom for about a year at that time. This was the third place which I had part ownership, and just before I retired we renovated the cottage by adding a section bigger and a story taller than the original. The whole blended together as Villa Alba Longa (tall white country house). Over the years we have added even more improving the lawns, the flower gardens, the vegetable gardens and raised beds, as well as adding stables, a hay-barn, a two acre full fenced paddock, a round pen for horses, and a henhouse, as well as a couple of sheds. It is our year round home and my wife’s farm. It also has a three acre wood lot with a maintained path around the boundary and also a camping area on a bluff overlooking a couple of viewports down into the natural semicircle theatre-like small valley below. From the stone porch in the front of the cottage part of the house we have a panoramic view of the mountains around and of the lake below, a fitting place from which to contemplate life.

More important than places are the people you meet who influence you and the course of your life. Over the years I have come to have close bonds with a number of people. Despite the fact that Haggie could be a tough taskmaster, I never doubted that she loved me and supported me. Even during the occasions when she was being the tough taskmaster, I always felt secure, safe, and loved in her presence, as did all her children; I never felt the emptiness of desolation in her presence. I have generally been very lucky to enjoy close and fond relations with my siblings. My relationship with my daughter has been from my side one of love from first sight, amazement, anxiety, pride, anger, wonder, worry, and comfortable confidence in her ability to handle her life; from her side I know there has been love, frustration, admiration, a sense of my lack of praise for her, and worry after the divorce from her mother. With each of my wives I have been lucky to have enjoyed close and tender relations for the majority of times, but in each case there have been times when the relationship foundered on my moody moments, and I would be plunged into the emptiness of desolation, a feeling of falling into an abyss. Fortunately for me, in my second marriage so far there has been ways of escape and these craters of despair have not been long in duration nor final in effect.

My daughter Helena did not to speak until sometime long enough after her second birthday that we were beginning to get quite worried, and she was also having trouble with “potty-training” at the same time. This was during an otherwise idyllic year when I was teaching at Gould Academy in the White Mountains that edged over into western Maine. We had a nice little house just behind the main Academy buildings, and at that time we still had “Cat I” which we had found as a starving kitten when we first visited the farm we rented outside of Durham, NC, the town in which Helena was born. Helena was very interested in the cat, now a grown up feline, and in every other way Helena was growing normally. Then she started speaking, but her long wait was symptomatic; she has always kept her own counsel, especially as far as I was concerned, but also in general. I can remember when a year or two after she started talking, she came out with a statement that showed me that she had been pondering over matters that she had kept to herself. And so she continued often to be a mystery to me, though she always kept her affinity for cats. When we took over the old farm house in S. Rumford and worked during the summers to refurbish it, she would gather at least one cat a summer from the barn which had a plentiful supply, and tame it to play with during the summer and in this way we gained CAT II, III, and maybe even a CAT IV from her efforts. The CAT would return to PEA with us for the winter.

Helena and I took several trips together over the years, not only the regular summer trips to Worthley pond or the farm, but special trips. The first was when she was 11 and in grade school. I was on sabbatical and we had gone to stay with Haggie at the farm for the second semester; I was working on Plotinus and on my Greek philosophy course, and she attended West Peru Grammar school where I had gone for the 7th and 8th grades, and my siblings for all their grades. She did not like it; indeed it was a further step down for her than it had been for me. In the spring during her vacation and a week more we took a trip to Europe to visit lots of places: London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Athens, Olympia, Zurich and the mountains in Switzerland. The tour took us from city to city and fed us one day in each city and then we had the other day to ourselves. We always went off on our own tour of things on that second day. Helena saw a great deal, but she had two major complaints: I never took them to any fun places to eat (or stopped to eat often enough- her mother agreed with both points), and we had seen altogether too many boring museums and ruins. She was very glad to get home. We took another trip, just the two of us, for her college visits in the summer after her 11th grade year and her return from a year abroad in France to visit potential colleges. I think that we visited at least 7 colleges making a broad swing through New England. She would visit Admissions and I would visit the computing departments. On this trip we made sure to get enough to eat; I remember stopping at many Pizza Huts and drinking a lot of Mountain Dew, both her favorites at the time. Although I did not even suspect it at the time, she had already taken a liking to Middlebury, maybe because of its strong language departments, at least that was my hope when I found out. And I only found out when she applied early decision several months later. The only college that she had rejected openly to me right away was Brown, because it was brown; “Dad, I can’t come here, all the buildings are brown”. All the others were contenders as far as I knew. Indeed after interviewing at my alma mater, Bowdoin, she informed me that the interview had gone very well.

Of course, my relationship with my grandchildren is not as close; we have always lived quite a distance apart. Helena always spent part of the summer in Maine with her mother and continued to do that after she got married and after she had Libby and Ben. Ilene and I bought the cottage in Morgan, Vermont, overlooking Seymour Lake about four years after Helena and Chris got married. A year before I retired and we decided to enlarge the cottage into a year-round home, they bought a camp on Worthley Pond, the pond beside which Haggie had lived in the family farm. During the summer we all were closer than in the winter, and Ilene and I or I by myself visited them there each summer. Before we had all the animals at VAL (villa alba longa) in Morgan, we made several tours down to Lawrenceville, two in which we also visited Ilene’s grandchildren in PA. They also visited me or later us in Exeter either on the way to or from Maine. My latest extended visit to Lawrenceville was in September, 2012 to see the Revolution-era house that they had moved into two years before.

Through the years I have had a number of teachers and mentors who truly influenced my professional life. A few early on in my life helped by getting out of the way, one such was Mrs. Russell, the 7th and 8th grade teacher and principal at the West Peru Grammar School. Then there were a series who inspired me such as Mr. Thibodeau teaching French at Stephens High School, or Prof. Geohegan who taught religion at Bowdoin and who was unique in my experience for combining a quick capacious memory, a highly analytical mind, and the ability to lead penetrating discussions (though his books were a not up to the same par), or Prof. Coleman-Norton at Princeton who taught Roman Law and the Christian Martyrs; he had a fantastically prodigious memory, an amazing breath of knowledge, and a sense of scholarly humor, skeptical of evangelical religion that got him into serious trouble with the Princeton establishment; he never made it past associate professor. Then there was the triad of teachers who launched me into Classics as a profession, all very different in style and approach, but all powerful personalities, Miss Murphy at Stephens, Mr. Norman Hatch at Exeter, and Prof. Nate Dane at Bowdoin. I have mentioned the unflappable Miss Murphy in respect to the swerve that bent my life, so nothing more need be said except one of her remarks when she caught me day-dreaming in her class and asked me what I was doing, “Thinking about infinity,” I answered with a challenging flippancy, I suppose. “Don’t do that, Allan, it will drive you crazy.” she answered without a pause or change of tone.

Norman Lowry Hatch was even more all-knowing than Miss Murphy, but was a mentor of the Old Master School. When he entered his class room precisely one minute after the starting bell, the students, all Seniors, were sitting ramrod straight on the edge of their chairs, ready for intellectual annihilation. He strode, all 5 feet 4 inches, to the head of the Harkness table. He stood there momentarily, like the Colossus of Rhodes, before he sat and picked up his oak ruler, and growled while chewing what seemed to be ball bearings (apparently he was giving up smoking), “Wooley (or whoever the victim was), translate.” As the translation proceeded, we all could tell how it was going by the bend in the oak ruler. Perfection was his expectation, and his disappointment was measured by the bend of the oak ruler and then by the death-knell comment “Wooley, you don’t have any imagination, do you?” or some equally cutting quip. Somehow, some poor student was mis-assigned to this class; his fate was the worst of all. He was never verbally whipped or suffered the bending of the oak.

The next four years I enjoyed the tutelage of Nate Dane who was almost the entirely opposite of the formidable Mr. Hatch, though both were incomparable Latinists. Because of my previous training I was in an advanced course reading Lucretius my first semester; we started off reading a hundred lines a night and went up from there. We met Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On one Saturday when there was a home football game, I was introduced to a wonderful drink, new to me, called a Screwdriver, as preparation for going to the game. Unfortunately for me I had Lucretius class inbetween. I sat in my accustomed place in the back of the classroom, and everything seemed alright at first. Then Prof. Dane called on me to translate; it was at this point that I realized there was some sort of a problem. I could not keep the lines of Lucretius’ epic verse from jumping all around. I could not keep the lines still and steady long enough to read them, even though the book seemed steady enough. Old Nate’s eyes seemed to glow and crinkle with mirth, but he never laughed or said anything other than that my translation did not seem to be going very well, which it certainly was not. In my junior year, I believe, I had to go to the Dean’s Office for my Latin classes, because Nate was the acting Dean that year. It gave me a new perspective on the school, but maybe that was because we read some of Seneca’s tragedies in one of the semesters there, and Seneca’s gory tragedy seemed somehow to befit the function of the Dean’s office.

I have lived in many different environments and in each I made a few close friends, a few of these carried over from one to another. When I was young, before marriage, these friendships had the intensity of youth and, after marriage, more the camaraderie of close colleagues. Very few of the ‘work’ projects that I ended up considering worthwhile were collaborations with friends in the sense of partnerships. Though I might discuss such with friends, generally such projects were individual ventures, though carried out in a community in which such friends also lived and/or worked. Such friends were very important to me in making such communities worthwhile: these communities were the various educational institution in which I studied (5) and/or taught (4): Stephens High School, Philips Exeter Academy, Bowdoin College, Princeton University, Universitat Hamburg, Duke University, and School Year Abroad Viterbo. I consider most of my education worthwhile and most of my teaching productive.

At PEA I learned the basic tools needed for learning and how to study, but it was not until Bowdoin that I found the joy of independent study. When I arrived at graduate school at Princeton, the joy of learning was temporarily dampened to the level of the drudgery of plodding research, but I did imbibe the basic techniques and standards of serious research. My year in Germany was a serious challenge and one of my most rewarding experiences. I went in the midst of my graduate studies, after my general exams and before my dissertation year. I had several goals, to study under Bruno Snell, to learn to speak German, to finish reading all of Plato, and to read some modern German like Tillich and Thomas Mann. I also did some travelling in Germany (Cologne, Berlin, Munich) and in Italy and Greece for about a month. It is the first and only time that I have lived in a big city (I don’t consider Durham, NC or Princeton, NJ big cities). I operated for a year in a different language and country; I came to several crucial insights: that culture was a major influence on how people saw the world; that I could be quite happy away from my homeland; that different languages were really very different; and that geographical size had very little to do with cultural importance. The last two insights were site specific and need some further elaboration.

I came to realize that even cognate languages like English and German can be fundamentally different in certain aspects. Two occasions stick out in my memory. First in Hamburg as I was talking with German fellow students who were in the English department at the University. I knew them because they came to the same pub (Stube) where I spent many of my evenings. They claimed that Kant was easier to understand in English than in German, and they were big fans of Shakespeare whom they considered the world’s greatest dramatist. When I asked them what they thought of him as a poet they seemed befuddled; they did not really consider him a poet. Their sense of poetry was distinctly different than Elizabethan or English. This was an eye-opener for me. But the next insight was even more trenchant. It occurred in Wien (Vienna) while I was standing outside the Opera House waiting with an Austrian for a mutual friend to arrive. We were passing the “time of day” in German, making polite conversation. He asked me how I liked the German language. I replied that I liked it but wished that there was a dictionary like we had in English. He said that of course they had a dictionary called Brockhaus. I replied that that was in 20 volumes and I wanted one I could carry around with me. He seemed perplexed and finally asked why would he need such a thing, since he was a German speaker, and so he already knew what all the words meant. My first reaction was that here was a typical example of Teutonic arrogance, but as I puzzled over it for several days, I realized that he was right. The nature of German, like that of ancient Greek, was very greatly different from that of English. German like Greek had very few ‘loan’ words. All the ‘big’ words were made out of the little words that all Germans learned as children. Their language was not 70% Latin roots with a large overlay of basic words from Greek, like the word ‘church’. In English the skeleton and the baby fat is Anglo-Saxon, while the muscle is Greco-Roman. English allows you to have tautological Greco-Roman phrases like compassionate sympathy or periphrastic circumlocution; it also unfortunately allows an increasing number of ‘nothotic’ or miscegenetic bastard words like microcomputer or television. The longer I pondered this single difference, the more I realized what a different linguistic environment different languages could present to developing minds. Perhaps this is why Anglo-American philosophy tends to empiric-pragmatic, while German or Greek philosophy tends to idealistic-mystic.

The second insight occurred a little later when a friend and I had climbed to the top of the AcroCorinth in Greece, and I could see in almost one peripheral view all the great cultural centers of ancient Greece. The area seemed too small to support such a large cultural superstructure. At that point I saw manifest a notion that had skulked in the backwoods of my mind for a long time that physical size of country or nation or land did not have any direct relation to the importance or worth or spiritual vibrancy of its culture. In fact, I came to realize that great cultures must germinate in intense local struggles and then enjoy the proper conditions to allow sustained growth. Fifth century Athens and Elizabethan England provided such spawning grounds. Archaic Rome and colonial America also did at the beginning but both got sidetracked too quickly by size and expansion, that diluted their promise.

These two insights led to other questions: does living in a urban environment or in a country environment change one's outlook? Does multi-ethnicity of some nations change their viewpoint? Does the sheer size of some of today's political institutions change viewpoints from the smaller institutions of earlier times? I do believe that the density of population and the size of cultural units does vitally change outlook. I was raised in a more or less rural setting: Rumford was a small mill town in backwoods Maine, and I spent summers on a farm, and then moved there all year round at the age of eleven, by which time I had seen Portland several times, a small city, though the largest in Maine. My first time out of Maine was when I went to Phillips Exeter Academy for my senior year at 17. That year I went into Boston several times to go to Classics meetings at Harvard and the Naval Base for testing. Also that year I spent most of spring vacation in Washington, DC with another PEA student on a school sponsored visit. We were given an allowance and saw all the sights in Washington (White House, Congress, Supreme Court, Pentagon, Smithsonian, Library of Congress, Washington Monument, etc. etc. as well as Mount Vernon).

I have visited many cities, probably more abroad than in the US. The only large city that I have lived in for any long period was Hamburg, Germany, for a year. I also lived in Viterbo, Italy for a year, a small medieval walled city. I know that people in cities look at things differently than people who live in the country, especially the possession of guns, the nature of transportation, housing (apartments vs. houses), and many other things. I strongly suspect that without the opposite experience (of country or city living) the conglomeration of small differences as listed above weld together into a quite distinct and even hostile outlook on life in general, that has little common ground with or empathy for or understanding of the other 'lifestyle'. I also suspect that experience of the other 'lifestyle' would soften the outlook and increase the common ground, though my conclusion from my trip to the AcroCorinth may argue against that. Still it is quite clear that 'democracy' in a relatively small city-state like Athens in ancient Greece is very different than 'democracy' in a very large city-state like Hamburg in modern Germany.

Not only is the political organization of ancient Greece very different from that of modern Germany; ancient Athens was completely sovereign, while Hamburg is certainly not. There was not 'bill of individual rights' in ancient Athens, while there is recognition of individual rights in Hamburg. There are also some differences between German notions of democracy and American; in Germany the 'bill' of rights is not the same; the society is not the same (e.g. most teachers including university professors, doctors, and other professionals are civil servants), a citizen votes not for a person, but for a party, and so on. Nonetheless, the difference between democracy in ancient Athens and in the modern examples is staggering. Ancient Athens had real democracy where the population was small enough that one could know personally most of one's fellow citizens; where no conflict between state and religion was possible because Athens like the other Greek states had its own version of the general 'religion'; all citizens were from the same set of Ionian clans; all citizens were considered equal and most 'elections' were by lottery; and most importantly the majority ruled and could exile the minority or worse,- and did on occasion. Most of these things are impossible in a modern huge nation-state. So the possibility of difference is great despite the same name; in this case the width of difference is caused by the moderns not understanding the word democracy which actually means "power of / to the voting public," directly with no 'safeguards'. In the early days of the Athenian democracy custom and respect for the aristocracy and the large land owners, who were great benefactors of the city, kept things on an even keel.

Perhaps I learned more as a teacher than as a student. Although I or have a vague memory of having to run a sort of study hall as a Junior at Stephens High School when the American history teacher, Mr. Brennick, did not show up (he had a drinking problem), and although I was a student assistant correcting tests at Bowdoin, my first bona fide teaching experience was in swimming and diving. In the summers during college I worked at summer camps on the waterfront and taught swimming and such. After graduating from Bowdoin I ran the pool for the summer. Since I had been a diver on the swimming team, some kids wanted me to teach them how to dive. One boy in particular showed promise, and so I started teaching him. As is common with new divers, he was leaning forward too much when he left the board and so he landed too far from the board and did not get enough height. In my heady inexperience I told him not to lean but to go straight up, and in his dutiful inexperience, he did just that. We were very lucky that day; he did not hit the board, but he came so close that I could hardly move for minutes afterwards. I learned a crucial lesson that day. The teacher of an eager student has incredible power for good or for bad, and the responsibility of the teacher is correspondingly greater.

My first academic teaching was at Princeton the fall of my final or ‘dissertation’ year. Although Princeton normally did not allow graduate students to teach, one of the professors had died suddenly and they needed two (or three according to the second preceptor) preceptors to fill in; I was one. As a graduate student I had been on the receiving end, and so I was unaware at the start of the precepts how deep and wide a gulf had grown between me and the normal undergraduate. It did not take me long to get over that shock. The grading was on a scale of 1 (the best) to 7. At the end of the first grading period I had a couple of dead heads; one had done nothing and the other had done the minimal. Accordingly, I gave them a 7 and a 6. My dissertation director, who was also the head not only of the Classics Department but the Humanities Division, called me into his office and explained to me that only a full professor could give a 7, because two 7’s got the student thrown out, and that only a tenured professor could give a 6. This was the beginning of my sadly slow disenchantment with higher education. The next year I was teaching at Duke University which looked a lot like Princeton, but was better organized architecturally, at least on the West campus where my office and most of my teaching was. After all, it should have been better organized, since it had all been built at one time. During that first year I made a number of good friends, Bob Walton in the history department, Erwein Pittermann, a German exchange teacher in the English department, Tilo Alt in the German department, and others. That summer I went home to paint my mother’s house at the family farm, and at the end of the summer I married Ann Welch whose family had a camp on Worthley Pond where our family farm was. When we returned to Duke in the fall in a new Volkswagen, we rented an apartment at the north east edge of town and then two years later, when we were expecting a baby, we moved to a farm we rented in a town to the north east of Durham. The direction in both cases was significant, though we did not realize it at the time.

Duke had many good features: an excellent library, good accommodations, competitive salaries and benefits, very mild winters, good air-conditioning for the summers, and such. However, it was at Duke that I saw fully displayed the flawed side of higher education, not just the publish-or-perish aspect, but all the slipshod practices and widespread short-cutting. It started with the head of my department advising me to spend my time doing research and not to worry about the teaching. I suppose that was because I was hired among other things to toughen the myth course. This course had made the top of Time Magazine’s list of the biggest guts in the US. It had been a regular elective of Duke’s storied basketball team. As the result of my tender ministrations there were soon no basketball players in class. I think the turning point was when I was explaining the realms of the Greek gods and used and wrote the words apex and nadir on the board. As I turned to face the class, I saw on their faces that I had accomplished the first goal the department had set for me. To the best that I could, while doing a thorough job of teaching, I tried to follow the chairman’s admonition to stress research. I did a lot of research in my areas of expertise, one of which was philosophy, and one of the questions afloat in the philosophical community as well as in neuropsychology and in ancient philosophy was the possibility of thought without language. For Plato pure thought was thought without images of any kind. Was that thought without language. Aristotle did not really believe in thought without images. Could animals think? How did the mind or soul fit into all of this. I finally worked out a resolution of this sufficient for my own use. It involved defining thought as having different levels. According to my observation animals could solve problems that involved working with some sort of mnemonic replica or image of objects and manipulating these cognitively. However, animals could not deal with abstract concepts. So humans (infants and young children) could also think without languages. There were also intermediate stages of thinking with aid of language but without abstract concepts. This was still a fairly inchoate resolution, but I had made some progress.

As the junior member of the department I was given most of the service courses. Not only the notorious myth course, but also the Greek history course for upper classmen. Here I was, a newly minted PhD whose main field was ancient philosophy, asked to teach history. That was like asking a Christian to teach in an Islamic madrasa. I did try to don the mental haberdashery of a historian. Over the years I came to enjoy teaching it, mainly because I had the students read Herodotus and Thucydides (in translation, of course) and then in class I dealt with questions of historiography. Every term in the history course I required at least one research essay. One year a girl approached me and said that she would like to submit an essay on Plato. I cautioned her that she might want to reconsider, because Plato was one of the areas in which I did my own research. She said that was no problem because she had done a paper on Plato for a graduate course in Political Science and had gotten an A on it. I pointed out that she could not just resubmit that paper for my course, but would need to rework it for a history course. Nonetheless, she wanted me to look at it; I said I would and would give her advice on how she might rework it. I read the paper which had hardly any notes from the PolySci professor on it and the grade A at the end. I returned it to her and told her that as it was, even assuming it had been written for my history course, I would not have been able to give it a grade higher than a low C, and explained to her why. I also repeated to her what I had told the class that I would expect in a research paper for this course. She was upset, but it was an important step for her to realize what proper expectations and standards were. It was too bad that the PolySci prof was so remiss; apparently he was following the advice my department chairman had given me.

I did gain a couple of insights from teaching these two service courses, especially the myth course in which I had a more or less equal mix of male and female students. This was just at the start of the movement for Equal Rights for Women, so my insights may be sociologically or even culturally tainted, though the majority of students in this ‘southern’ university were from New York and Ohio. I would ask some guy to give the high points of some myth, and the result would be a duh; then I would ask one of the young ladies to give the high points, and we would get chapter and verse. Then I would ask another young lady to compare this myth with another myth previously discussed in respect to its basic story line or type of characters or possible point, and I would get the dreaded duh. Then I would ask one of the guys, who had not done the assignment and so could not then retell the story, to compare the two myths, and having gotten the fact in class, he would blather along with ease. Naturally I wondered if this experiment could be repeated in a fresh environment, and term after term I got generally the same results. Of course, there were the exceptions that proved the rule, the occasional girls who could compare and contrast on the fly, and boys who did their homework and had adequate recall, but as a general rule this insight held up at the time. A more important insight came to me from teaching the ancient history course and reading Arnold Toynbee’s work on history. This was the notion that while history is generally a record of change in human communities, the pace of history itself changes. And that along with that change the community’s view of the world and life in it changes. There was a time when humans had no concept of history, when they thought that language was an invisible, evanescent gift from the gods over which they had no control, when there were no law codes, but only a quasi-instinctive semi-conscious memory or a poetic story of what had always been done in certain situations in a practice that was assumed to have been instituted by the gods. It came as a huge cultural change when humans realized that they could by their own volition and meditation change their social environment.

In the Classics the standard way to test the progress of students is to give them sight tests, that is a passage of text that they have not seen from the author they are reading, to add notes on the vocabulary that they probably have not seen, and ask them to write out an English translation of the passage. This is standard, widespread practice in serious Classics programs. It was in my first year that I had this experience; I was teaching a small class of students in a course in Vergil. They had read Tacitus the term before with the department chairman, a well known Tacitus scholar, and because of this and because Tacitus is considered a harder author than Vergil, I did not foresee any problem when I gave them their first sight test. I was very surprised and shocked when they all failed miserably. I asked whether Prof. Rogers had given them sight tests. Yes, they said he had given them one. I asked them to tell me about it. Well, they said the first day of the week he said that the sight test would be either the passage they translated that day or the passage they translated the next class. On the third class of the week he gave them the sight test. I had gotten a very disheartening lesson on the corruptness of higher education.

Another time the graduate students of a well known scholar at a neighboring university needed a course that I was teaching to undergraduates and I was told to include them in my class. At first I worried that my undergraduate students might not get enough class time, but nonetheless I decided to integrate the grad students fully in the class, so when we went over the first assignment in class, I called on one of the graduate students to translate. After this student could not translate the first part of the passage with any assurance, I tried another graduate student with an equal lack of success. I reverted to my own students and we finished the class. I assumed that the graduate students had not understood the rules of the game, and that they would come round and shine in the next class. They did not, and in fact it became painfully clear that they could not. So I just continued the course, relying mostly on my undergraduates. At the midterm I turned in all the grades; most of the graduate students received grades below the undergrads, mostly C’s. A great hue and cry ensued. I was asked whether I realized that a grade of less than B- was a failure for a graduate student,- as if that was a pertinent point. It seemed that it was a matter of ‘professional courtesy’ though that phrase was not used, because apparently the corruption was so deeply embedded for so long that it was beyond remarking. I had learned another poignant lesson about the flimsy veneer of higher education.

But there was worse to come. Duke did not have a graduate program in the Classics and it was decided by the new chairman, from Yale no less, that it was time to institute such a program. Accordingly we sat around and discussed what the program should be. It was to be a four year program ending in a PhD, with a Master’s degree along the way for those who did not go all the way. Then we discussed what the requirements for entrance into the program would be. There were to be three portals of entrance, for an advanced degree in Latin, for an advanced degree in Greek, or for an advanced degree in Classical History. For the first two there would be a language requirement of a certain number of years of Latin or Greek respectively, no more than through 4th year Latin and something proportional in Greek. But for Classical History there was no language requirement in Greek or Latin at all; however, as soon as they were admitted they could switch to Latin or Greek or both and come out in four years with PhD in classical philology with no more Latin or Greek than a student would get in a good prep school, if that much. This was an even more disheartening lesson in the fragility of the goodness of higher education. I was now convinced that higher education, which was supposed to be the moderator and warrantor of educational standards in the nation, was not, at least as far as the humanities were concerned, doing its duty and was not up to the task.

However, the feckless pusillanimity of that section of higher education that includes the liberal arts and humanities was not the main cause of my leaving Duke and higher education; there was the lack of real progress in my research, my loss of focus, the good of my family, the departure of some close friends, even the largeness and unconnectedness of the place and its setting in a disparate culture, a culture strange to me. We left North Carolina for the Northeast and we spent a year in idyllic Bethel, ME and then moved to Exeter, NH and into the dorms and academic life of Phillips Exeter Academy, founded by one of the great educational philanthropists of New England, who spent all his money founding Dartmouth and Phillips Andover and then tried to found a school in his hometown with the money of his wife; she took him to court for misappropriating her money, but it was colonial times and he won, and so PEA was founded by a gross act of misogyny. With such a beginning how could it not be a beacon of goodness and a model for its students to emulate from beginning to end, well at least up to the time just after I arrived as a teacher, when it built its new and grandiose library (architect was the famous Louis Kahn) [well, you may have forgotten this was a question; I almost did.]? This building, admittedly magnificent inside, looks like a Moslem fortress or insurance block from the outside. It is 9 stories high in a town whose bylaws prohibit any building higher than four stories. Again PEA serves as a great beacon for good citizenship and law-abidingness. Well in the Academy’s defense four of the floors do not actually extend to the outer walls, and only four floors do connect all around with the outer walls. Thus the Academy can claim to be a moral mentor, if moral only by casuistry and court decision.

To continue the theme of misogyny and perfidy at Exeter, the Academy became coed with a series of acts of ‘gross misogyny,’ as well as with acts of egregious perfidy when the Trustees promised the alumni and faculty that the number of boys would never decrease at the Academy. But the misogyny was of a class that belied any sensitivity. First the Faculty sat while three eminences grises, who had never taught females, proclaimed with solemnity bordering on severity that the Academy would not treat girls any differently from boys, and then the Academy went on to demonstrate this commitment by housing girls in boys dorms without even removing the urinals. Nor did they treat the adult females much better. It had been customary for some of the old faculty not even to acknowledge the presence of faculty wives at the dining tables. Accordingly, it was not much of a change when the female coaches’ locker room was built on the model of the male one, with a central pole shower for all. Moreover, since the female faculty were all new and junior, their apartments were small, cramped places on the top floors of the dorms. And as was the wont, new faculty were treated as less knowledgeable than the four-year boys, and indeed they were less knowledgeable, but some faculty did not bother to learn the names of new faculty for a couple years in order not to burden their memory in case the new faculty washed out. The women did not like this treatment. Growing into coeducation was not easy. The bright women did not take it personally, and the bright men tried to do better.

The Academy was never a warm or accepting place, and to some extent rightfully so; it was an educational training ground in a real sense, tough and uncompromising. It was a place where students under stress forged close friendships, and where colleagues learned the real measure of each other. When I arrived, there were nine classicists on the Faculty: Henry Phillips who had been the Greek Department until 1968 when Greek and Latin became one department Classical Languages, Robin Galt the senior Latin Instructor, Herrick Macomber (these two were serving as administrators), David Coffin, Howard Easton, Edward Echols, David Thomas, Richard Morante, and I was the junior member and long remained so, until Paul Langford joined the department ca. 1989-90. Paul had his PhD from Princeton, and was a quiet conservative and a very hard worker. He succeeded me as chair in 1997 and we have remained friends even into retirement; he has come up to Morgan a number of times during the summer. Six of us actually taught Latin when I started. I came to know and respect a number of colleagues from other departments, though the departments tended to be even more watertight compartments than at college. Still my closest colleagues were in my own department. Richard Morante, ever sardonic and mysterious, was a good friend, though we held different pedagogies. Dave Thomas I respected as a consummate schoolman, honorable and hence not always effective. Howard Easton was my official mentor, but Dudley Taft of the Science Dept. was a mentor whom I sought out, and though older we became fairly close. He was the father of computing at the Academy, a generous man, but a no-nonsense teacher.

Another source of colleagueship was dormitory colleagues. I worked with and respected Walter Burgin, who soon left to be headmaster at Mercersberg for decades, Rod Marriott, an imaginative theatrical director, and Peter Greer, who became a good friend, in my first dorm (Wheelwright), and round and about I became quite close with several others: Roger Nekton, swimming coach with whom I worked in diving, swimming and waterpolo, Charlie Deardorff, Russian, who was into rifles and hunting, Werner Brandes, German, who always had big plans, Andy Hertig, history, who ran Wheelwright after I moved into Merrill, the neighboring dorm, Charlie Terry, English, who had many humorous stories, Bill Campbell, math, who did his dorm apprenticeship with me, Bob Clements, math, who came from Choate and ran Ewald South for part of the time I was in Ewald North, Jim Del Buono, ass’t. treasurer, who did my taxes, Aldo Baggia, Spanish and many other languages, an opera lover who got married in my living room at Ewald after a long bachelorhood, David Dimmock, math, a great track coach and gentle man, Joe Reiter, German, knowledgeable and jovial, good at school politics, Polly MacMullen, French, hardworking, student-oriented, and an equestrienne, Peter Vorkink, religion, conservative with whom we often ate in the dining hall, Pat and Roger Hindman, math and history, who came to the Academy late in their careers, and Pat was the only assistant I ever had in Ewald, and that was during my last year in the dorm. I had the largest personal library on campus until Roger came, and his library dwarfed mine several times over. There were other colleagues with whom I had cordial connections, as well as those with whom I had differences severe enough to preclude much in the way of friendly relations.

In many ways the Academy was a good fit for me. It was an academically honest place when I was a student and still was when I returned, and although I spent most of my career there trying to oppose the forces that were trying to erode its academic solidity and educational honesty, it and especially the Department of Classical Languages remained more effective educationally and more noble in its pragmatic goals than any other educational institution that I came across, and as the president and then executive secretary of the Classical Association of New England, I came across many of them. Most of my best teaching occurred at PEA, some in the pool, more in the dorms, but by far the largest share in the classroom. The first thing that I noticed upon arrival as a teacher was the transparent clarity of the instructional process in my department. Everyone was on the same page; students made pre-determined progress in their grasp of Latin (or Greek after my second year when the two departments joined) term by term and especially year by year. If you taught the next term of any class you knew immediately whether the teacher of the previous term was doing the job. The expertise and grades of the students met the specs across the board. The department had its proven way of teaching and it was incumbent for each new teacher to learn that process and follow its basic design. With each level of Latin or Greek the arena for individual teaching approaches widened, but there was always the accountability of the sight tests and prize exams.

While still a junior faculty member, I participated in a group of faculty from different departments who lived in the dorms; we met regularly every two weeks or so for discussions, to exchange ideas on topics in general more than those arising from our daily lives. These were far ranging and often thought provoking. I remember one session in particular in which we were discussing whether people practicing different professions saw life differently, whether somehow their world view was affected by their daily profession. We then explored whether an English teacher who had, I think, come up with this idea saw life differently than a math teacher or a French teacher (who would be my second guess for the origin of this topic) or a science teacher or history etc. Naturally I connected this to the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis that suggested that language influenced culture and that both influenced world view. It was interesting and heady stuff. After a while this informal group was institutionalized as the Faculty Forum and became the format for faculty papers or talks once a month or so in the evening, open to any faculty in or out of the dorms who were not on duty. Now it was held in the library and offered a wide variety of after-dinner liqueurs. I do not remember those as fondly as the informal meetings, even though I was the secretary or facilitator for years (and custodian of the liqueurs).

However, I was not an immediate ‘good fit’ for PEA as a teacher. There was initial worry that I would be too much like Hatch; there was also, I believe, some envy. I was the only member of the Classics Department with a PhD and the only member who had been a student at the Academy. And finally there was the complaint that I was “too literal-minded.” To my mind then and now this was like complaining that a Classicist is too conservative, to interested in preserving the past; the art of translating Greek and Latin does require a certain close attention to detail, a certain strict adherence to the rules of grammar, and a certain structured approach to semantic and lexicographical matters. It is a trait that also happens to make the Classicists who have it good computer programmers. But I not only had the ‘reputation’ for being ‘literal-minded,’ I also actually was. I was one of the few faculty members who knew the E-Book cold; this little tome included all the rules that the faculty as a whole had passed to govern student life in general and in the dorms in particular. My knowledge of this lore made for some interesting Dorm Heads’ meetings when I would have to correct the Dean of Students.

At any rate this trait of mine led to more of those strange swerves of events that could have led to the end of my career at PEA and thus perhaps to a final swerve away from the Classics. For some reason or other I was put in charge of the School’s Education Day, an idea of Mr. Day who was the Principal when I came to teach at PEA. We had hired a top speaker from Haverford and he was to give the main address to the whole school. This address was to be two hours long with a short intermission in the middle. A committee had been appointed to run the whole day-long event. I was the chair, but there were several senior faculty members on the committee to make sure that I did not go amuck. The committee had agreed that the student body would be required to attend the first half and invited to attend the second half, but not required. When the Principal heard this, he was beside himself and ordered me to require the students to attend all two hours, because we were paying the speaker so much ($850 and travel, I believe). The Principal at Exeter was just that the Principal Instructor, with limited powers, not a Headmaster. In those days none of the administrators held the ultimate power of academics and discipline (that is over student life); the faculty and its committees did. So as a good ‘literal-minded’ Exonian I sided with the committee, and half way through the assembly, as agreed with the speaker, I went up to the podium, announced the intermission, and invited the student back for the second half. I then stepped away from the podium and was leaving the stage when Principal Day charged up to me shouting that I was fired in front of the whole assembly, which was already noisily exiting. I decided not to worry about being fired until the next day, when I assumed that if Day was really planning to fire me, he would have to call me in. I never heard anything more about it, and so that potential swerve did not take place.

Another time that the perverse atomic swerve of events actually changed the course of my life in a major way was several years after I had started teaching at PEA, about the time that coeducation started at the school (1970-71). At this time I was still in my ‘scholarly’ mode and anything clerical or mechanical was beneath me. I did not know how to touch-type (without peeking) and was proud of that. The closest I came to anything secretarial or janitorial was to run the copy machine. As a dorm person I was required to go to the dining hall for all meals to monitor student behavior, and I was going to Wetherell for breakfast. I am not a morning person and going to breakfast was a strain. Dudley Taft of the Science Dept had become a sort of mentor to me, and was at breakfast that morning. As a physicist Dudley had taken on the oversight of the boys who were interested in computing. Up until this time the Academy had had a land line to Dartmouth to connect a couple terminals at PEA to the Dartmouth computer lab and their academic mainframe which was connected to the internet. The term before this the Academy had been visited by officers of naval intelligence who complained that some of our students had broken into naval intelligence files. Accordingly, the school had decided to cut the land line to Dartmouth and the internet and to buy a mini-mainframe to allow those interested in computing to continue. The new Hewlett Packard mini-mainframe had just arrived and Dudley was bubbling over with enthusiasm about it all. In the course of conversation the cost of the machine was announced: $60,000.00. At that time this was a good deal of money as I noted by sarcastically pointing out that that was the salary for 10 instructors for a year, and all for a piece of machinery (I might have called it junk).

Later I apologized to Dudley for my rudeness. That would have been the end of the story except that soon thereafter I was appointed the head of a paid, but (as later became clear) a dead-end, committee to come up with an interdisciplinary integrated curriculum for the ninth grade. We were to meet over the summer and the next year and come up with a curriculum. To set the stage I decided that during the fall term all members should take a course in the school that was very different from their own discipline in order to remember how it was to be a student. I decided that I should take a course that required computing as sort of a penance, and so I took a probability course in the math dept. that used the computer. I expected to suffer through the course with as much dignity as I could retain and then go on with my life teaching the classics. The committee did produce a report and a curriculum, both of which the administration tried to get voted down, and nearly succeeded. The effort dragged on for a year and then morphed into something more acceptable to the administration and the history department. However, before I took the probability course and after I had asked Dudley Taft for help with computers and he had given me a quick lesson in using the terminal and a book on programming BASIC, I became fascinated with programming, and I have been hooked ever since, going from language to language, taking courses in system programming and assembly coding. I even took a five year leave of absence from the Classics Dept. to do a term as the Coordinator of Academic Computing during which I helped usher in the era of the PC at the Academy, while still running the time-sharing mainframe.

From the mid 80’s along with the rest of the world PEA and I gradually moved away from time-sharing mainframe computing into PC computing and networking, even into emailing, although the Academy would not embrace emailing until late, sometime in the 90’s. As the Coordinator of Academic Computing I oversaw some of these changes at the Academy: the introduction of PCs, the first networked pod of PC’s in the Library and in Phillips Hall, and the first school-assisted purchase of PCs for faculty, and the first attempt to get departments to get involved in digitizing and faculty training in computing; the school did not give up the Academic mainframe until ca. 1992. Along with these changes I personally moved from BASIC programming on the mainframe to DOS programming on PCs in a wide assortment of languages: BASIC, C and C++, Pascal, and Assembly. I wrote a lot of CAI programs for the Classics in these languages and even packaged and sold some of them. Then internet websites arrived and at the same time MS Windows. I decided to forego MS Windows coding and devote my efforts to web scripting with a new panoply of coding languages: HTML, Javascript, Java, CSS for client machines and then ASP and PHP for servers. And in place of MS Windows coding I went into Unix and then Linux coding using various shell languages like BASH, TSH, etc. and various versions of assembly language for Linux, and also of course C and C++ on Red Hat and then on Ubuntu. I did a lot of website coding, translating the more important of my DOS programs into web-coded scripts. I have just finished a project to make several of my special DOS disks operable with the old DOS operating systems on bootable USBs (as well as live CDs), and then I put many of my DOS programs, written at that time (ca. 1984-93) onto these new DOS incarnations. One of these DOS programs, written in BASIC, was a poetic purple patch written in Latin about pedagogy that included every trope (figure of speech) that we were teaching. On clicking a particular word the program would show all the other words involved with the target word in a particular trope, name it, and give a definition of it. I later translated that program into a web script using HTML and Javascript. Another DOS program, written in C, was an etymological randomized matching quiz of IndoEuropean roots that supplied English words through the intervening source languages of Greek, Latin, and Angl-Saxon. Yet another program, written in Assembly, allowed the user to click on any word of the Latin text to get the English meaning.

Back again at the beginning of coeducation and of my infatuation with computers the Classics Department started to experience another adverse swerve of events that lowered our enrolment. It was just after the 60’s with the Vietnam war frenzy, the empowerment of the young baby-boomers, and the rise of educational realism. If education was not immediately pragmatically useful, it was not worthwhile. It was a difficult time for the liberal arts or the humanities in general, but particularly harsh for Latin programs; after all Latin was a dead language and therefore inherently and by definition useless. Latin programs were being cut left and right in the public schools; and those that were left were subjected to academic easement (dumbing down) as a result of ‘competitive pressure’ from Spanish and other ‘useful’ languages. As our Latin enrolment dropped, we needed to increase our enrolment in the ‘service’ courses. At the time our main service courses were the Greek classics in translation and the Latin classics in translation. The course in Latin classics in translation rarely got enough sign-ups to run. Accordingly it was up to the junior member of the department, without any help from the senior members, to come up with courses to develop and then to get them approved by the whole faculty. In summer school in 1972 I tested two courses, one on mythology based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the other on philosophy which I called the Greek View of Life. The next year the mythology course was passed for ninth and tenth graders on the condition that it not be just a memory course; I started teaching it the next semester. The philosophy course was aimed for upperclassmen, especially Seniors, and finally it also passed faculty scrutiny, and I started teaching it a year later under the title of Greek Views as Classics 31. It also had the advantage of fulfilling the religion requirement, and so I became a ex officio but non-voting and non-attending member of the Religion Department.

Before I launch into what I learned from teaching the service courses, I need to emphasize that through all my peregrinations through computing and service courses I considered my main work that of teaching Greek and Latin and helping students learn to read and interpret the great works of GraecoRoman literature. From undergraduate study through graduate school my ‘major authors’ were Plato and Vergil. They were the basis of my scholarship, and although I did give papers at Classics meetings on Cicero or Ovid or Euripides and so on, my main interests in teaching and research were Plato and Vergil. I regularly taught their works in class and wrote papers on various topics involving Plato’s dialogues and Vergil’s Aeneid. Exeter’s Department of Classical Languages had persistently resisted the siren song sung through much of public and private education that the introductory study of Latin (essentially the first three years or more in secondary school or the first two years in college) could be made easier and just as good or even better by wonderful new methodologies from hither and yon. Consequently, our courses continued to be on a par with college courses or in some instances better, and so I was able to do some real teaching in my Plato and Vergil classes. In this area then I found the center of my professional life. Nonetheless, I am now glad that I developed these other side-lines which were more accessible to the rest of the world.

I learned a lot from teaching both the service courses in philosophy and mythology. The mythology course became a course in introductory literary criticism, since it had to be “more than a memory course.” Both this course and the Committee to set up a ninth-grade interdisciplinary course (discussed above) gave me a number of insights about the development of the human mind from ages 12 to 15. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a great text for introductory (& intermediate) literary criticism, because each of the basic vignette stories were connected one to the other by transitions, and furthermore, he deliberately introduced comparable stories and contrasted stories to make ‘metatropological’ points; that is, a non-expository subliminal commentary on the myths that he was telling. Moreover, he told the stories in a generally chronological sequence, but he punctuated the basic time-line with flashbacks and foreshadowings. Finally, the narrative character of these transitions changed and became more complex the closer to historical times Ovid came. Of course, many of the stories may have been topical, referencing current events. Moreover, it was important for the students to realize that the metamorphoses that Ovid was referencing in his title were not only the physical changes the mythic characters underwent, but the changes that the transitions and the style of the stories themselves underwent. Since I had both ninth and tenth graders and ultimately both boys and girls, I am fairly confident about insights that I came to have about the development of the adolescent mind. Most ninth grade students can not naturally compare and contrast two myths with ease or to track the changes in the transitions without some rigorous training. On the other hand most tenth graders can do this with greater, even relative ease. I concluded that this change was part of the ‘natural’ development of the brain.

As coeducation became more pronounced at the Academy, I noticed a subtle yearly change that in the end resulted in a general overall change in the teaching at the Academy, and it followed the gender distinction I had noted at Duke. Because females are more dutiful and less self-directed, more sensitive and less tough-minded, more and more emphasis was put on homework. When I was a student and when I first started teaching at PEA, daily homework was given, but never corrected or graded; essays or lab reports or foreign language compositions assigned to be written outside of class were turned in to be corrected and graded, but a student’s grade depended on his performance, not on his preparation. How and how much a student studied was not the teacher’s concern; it was the student’s. After coeducation, which at the Academy was coterminous with a greater concern for outreach to students as a result of a general cultural change outside the Academy, the expectations all changed. These changes affected the myth course and the teaching of it to some extent, much more than they affected the teaching of the philosophy course. Ultimately there were two versions of the Greek Myth course, one based on the Metamorphoses, another based on the Greek tragedies.

The Greek views course underwent several major revisions. It always had a central core that aimed at introducing the student to the ‘philosophic mindset’ and a simple basic structure and method for categorizing and classifying individual philosophic ideas or groups of ideas. Then the course studied separate works or passages of the ancient philosophers. It started as a two semester course covering the Presocratics, Plato, and Aristotle. Then when the school changed to a term system, the main course (Classics 31, later Classics 401) was only one term and centered on quick look at Greek culture and then on Plato and certain of his dialogues. At this point one of the exercises was for students to outline each dialogue; the goal was not so much to outline the dialectical give and take as to discover the real Platonic point of the dialogue and show how the component parts of the dialogue fit into undergirding Plato’s message which most often was not directly manifest. The point was to see Plato as a master of indirect commentary. This basic course plan underwent a number of refinements, as some of the introductory material was homework on the mainframe computer and then on a standalone computer in my classroom. Over the years the course became a fixture because it satisfied either all or part of the religion requirement, and because it became a kudos course for those students who relished intellectual challenge. It was a hard course to teach because of the breadth of the material and need to be up on it all, in order to manage the discussions which had definite goals that we needed to reach to continue to the next stage of dialogue interpretation. The dialogues that we read were closely connected in their interlocutors, and ordered from the simpler to the more complex so that once you understood the simpler dialogue, it would be easier for you to understand the new feature(s) in the next dialogue and so gradually climb the interpretive ladder. For most of the history of the course I did not include the Republic, stopping instead with the Symposium.

Through this course I was able to have a starting point for my own philosophic inquiries that led to several position statements, as I tried to correlate studies in neurology, psychology, linguistics, ancient and modern philosophy. Several of the building blocks were interdisciplinary. For instance, my notion of the three environments in which all humans lived, starting as infants, the physical, the social, and the mental. In each environment humans had various immediate objects (food, care-giver, instincts & sensations) and ‘built-in’ or natural tools which required some subliminal learning (hands, facial-recognition & family bonding, language), and artificial or culture-transmitted tools (technologies, institutions, literature). Each environment was the basis of one of philosophy’s main questions: what is existent? what is valuable? what is knowable? Another building block was based on the axiom that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” Though this so-called biogenetic law has been disproven in some instances in which it was applied, it remains very suggestive. For instance, Paul MacLean’s notion of the evolution of the human brain: the brain stem with the autonomic system and instincts from reptiles, the limbic system with emotions from lower mammals, and the neocortex with reasoning from the primates.4 Each part of the brain was related to and controlled one of the three environments, and the sequence of the appearance of a baby’s first mastery of each environment (e.g. controlled motion, family-awareness & some emotional control, some speech) and humankind’s mastery of tool-making tools (iron smelters, constitutional conventions- like Cleisthenes’ democracy plan, development of logic, math or science) certainly follows the evolutionary sequence, and is suggestive about the order of the appearance of philosophy’s questions and maybe about their relative importance because the last in the series is generally the one that exerts the most control over the others.

Further commenting on ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, we might hearken back to the notion of the ‘empty room within’ as a place of intense solitary confinement. Perhaps it only came into being or was built somewhat recently in evolutionary time; perhaps it was not always what it is today. Just as there was a time when all humans were nomadic hunter gathers without wheels, fixed habitats, any means of external non-human memory by which to pass messages from one place to another or from one time to another, so there was an even longer time when man could not think conceptuallywith abstract symbolism. Luria or Jaynes and others argue that there was also a time before self-consciousness evolved in humans and it was not so long ago; Luria claims he has found peasants living in rural parts of Russia who do not use categorical thinking, have no inner discussions with themselves, and no self-consciousness; all their mentation or conversations involves external events and external social contacts; different scholars set different triggers and times for the first appearance of this self-consciousness. I certainly believe it is present in some form when archaic Greek poets either directly address their own ‘soul’ or have someone else do it. Further, I think that the first appearance of conceptual thinking begins one or two centuries after that, and only is converted into a real mindset through the efforts of people like Socrates, and only becomes the prevailing mind-set replacing oral-poetic-mythological thinking by the time of Alexander who then spreads it across the civilized Western world. All of these advances from the rise of individualism, to that of self-consciousness, to that of conceptual thinking have an affect on the inner furniture of the mind. And once in place it is very hard for the Monday morning quarterbacks to recover the superseded mindsets, just as it is difficult for adolescents to recover their mindset as an infant, or for adults to recover their mindset as a child, or for senior citizens to recover their mindset as a young adult, though in that case the length of time may have as much affect as the structural change in the brain, though it is the case that in antiquity the senate was filled with those over sixty and the armies as now with those under 60, more often under 30. And neurologists tell us that those who claim to be able to recover earlier mindsets are the victims of a confabulating imagination.

Before I go any further, I should remind anyone who has read this far, that I am now fulfilling my remark in the introduction of the title that I would have to come back to the meaning of life in Socrates’ claim that the unexamined life was not worth living. And here we are. Life is obviously not a simple concept; in fact if my understanding of how it all works, until the later part of the fifth century BC [for my usage here see the Appendix], it was not even a concept, and was not capable of being a concept. Here I went back to my insights doing research and teaching history at Duke, that the pace of change itself changes, that certain cultural changes bring on changes of community’s outlook and others bring on a change in the human mind. This last change is crucial and we can observe it happening in the history of archaic and classical Greece (and here I will review and elaborate on points already adumbrated in the last paragraph). After the Greek “Dark Age” ended in the “Homeric Age,” slowly during the early archaic age with the spread of colonization and the rise of mercantile Ionia, a new mindset also arose that fostered the increase of individualism which had its start in Homeric Achilles. At the same time the Greek invention of the full alphabet [adding vowels to the Phoenician consonant signs] gradually spread and also changed how the Greek mind operated by making language an artifact more under the control of the conscious mind as was also more and more the sense of self. Then during the fifth century we see the accelerating rise of words for abstract concepts within history (historia, aitia), philosophy (arche, to on), and generally in culture (dike, eleutheria, psyche). Sometimes these words for abstract concepts were new coinages, more often they were new uses of old words, but from the late fifth and early fourth the new coinages increase dramatically. Apparently aided by a growing interest in mathematics, generalized conceptual thinking, along with its expression in written prose, is born, and just as it is hard for adults to remember how it was when they were children before they had mastered conceptual thinking and critical thinking, so it is hard for conceptual thinking, prose writing cultures to imagine life in an oral, poetic, memory-based, narrative, mythic thinking cultures. The switch-over from Aristophanes (Socrates) to Plato and then to Aristotle demonstrates the difference for us. There we can see two levels of the life of the mind as the third environment in which we live fashions new tools for itself. My point is that today for me and my contemporaries the history of our lives, as the life of the mind, has several sequential stages, which seem to recapitulate the history of the development of the mind as a cultural phenomenon.

Minds also have different stances or points of view. This was an even more difficult matter to resolve and explain; however, ultimately one has to connect all the building blocks together. I have tried that too, several times. One of these attempts to organize my ‘beliefs,’ thoughts, and insights into a consistent whole, I called temperamentalism, based on a study of the types of bias and the necessity of some prejudgment in order to construct anything. It also was interdisciplinary and based on the dichotomy that many investigators (like William James or Carl Jung) have seen in the patterns of men’s lives and that others see in the structure of the brain, which I believe incorporates two opposed methodologies (Fox: adaptable, linear, reductive vs. Hedgehog: steadfast, holistic, constructive or the Left vs. the Right cerebral hemisphere cf. Archilochus frg 103D) to order experience and solve problems. This leaves the thinking mortal in permanent quandary, but keeps the human species, if not the individual, from falling into an evolutionary dead-end. This hypothesis is in a perpetual process of re-examination and review, but it suggests that while each individual has a genetic slant or preference for either a linear reductionist methodology or a holistic intuitive methodology for handling decisions, each individual has both capabilities built in, and since the brain is plastic and self-modifying, each individual can modify his methodology over time. Moreover, some professional methodologies like the dialectical method or the scientific method involve both of the built-in methodologies (e.g. scientific method involves intuitive insight and deduction to come up with and frame a hypothesis or theory, and then a system of inductive observation to test it). Each methodology in turn generates its apposite points of view and then by consolidating those into a mindset or worldview. In simplistic terms these overall mindsets form two coherent poles of a continuum. Taking the three basic environments/philosophic bases (physical, social, mental / the basis of being, value, knowledge), I argue that one pole combines matter-pleasure-senses as the basis, while the other combines essence-duty-reason as the basis. Of course, this generalized view is simplistic and subject to re-wording and retro-fitting at the drop of a hat.

To return to the events, about the time I finished my five year term as the Coordinator of Academic Computing, I moved out of the dorms after twenty years of service. Because I was moved out a year before I had repeatedly noted that I would be retiring from dorm service, I decided that I would make sure that my time from 6 PM till 8 AM was my own, and so I became heavily involved in things outside the school for the first time in my career, two in particular, the Boston Computer Society and CANE or the Classical Association of New England. I also took a year sabbatical that year to move into our ‘new’ house and to fulfill my CANE duties as the President Elect. The following year we held the CANE Annual Meeting at PEA, while I was president. From then on I spent twelve continuous years on the CANE Executive Board, five of them as regular Executive Secretary and one as emergency Executive Secretary. They were full, interesting and sometimes anxious years. I had a number of friends who were involved and others who became involved; Phil Ambrose a friend from graduate school, those I had met teaching at the Bowdoin Summer Institute, John Ambrose, Reg Hannaford, and Alison Harvey, and others who I met through CANE, Matt Wiencke, David George, Phyllis Katz, Alison Barker, Ruth Breindel, Donna Lyons, Mark Davies, Vince Rosivach, and many others. And during this time I was a regular instructor at the Dartmouth Classics Summer Institute, teaching a course in ancient thought, a different one every summer. There I met and worked with Douglas Marshall and Edward Bradley among many others. The last Institute I taught in was in 2006.

A year or two after I finished my five year term as the Coordinator of Academic Computing, I was appointed as the Chair of the Classics Department. Perhaps the only or at least the most notable occurrence during that six-year tenure was the 10 year recertification of the school which coincided with the twenty-five year anniversary of coeducation. It also more or less coincided with the 50 year anniversary of the dropping of the Latin requirement for all students (in 1946). The department decided to have me write our report on that basis, and I did. Since the department kept meticulous records, I was able to document everything, and I did. The results indicated that the students were reading half as much, half as fast, and for grades essentially at least 3 steps higher (A for B-; B+ for C; C for D-; etc.). The department approved the report and instructed me to submit it, and I did. This, of course, raised the hackles of many, and particularly of all those who wanted the modern Academy to appear better than the old Academy. I was called an old curmudgeon, and from their point of view I should accept this title, and I did, but as a badge of honor, not of opprobrium.

About this time, when I became chair of the department, my wife and I separated, and she went to stay in the house in Maine where her parents used to live close to the farm house we had renovated as a summer home. I had hoped that the separation was temporary, but was not. Our separation was another of those swerves in events that came upon me and led to unexpected, unplanned paths. In this case it is still unclear, to me, how much was the result of my character, and how much occurred from external causes whether under my guidance or not within my control. Of course, ‘character’ is a loaded word nowadays and the subject of philosophic, religious, and political controversy. It is clear that character is not totally the result of nature nor totally the result of nurture, but I think that it is agreed that character is at least partially destiny for a man, though Heraclitus (frg. 119 DK) does not limit it so, but boldly claims that character is a man’s destiny. Plato seems to agree with him in the myth of Er (arete adespoton), but Aristotle has a different slant: while character may be destiny, a man does not choose/build his character as Plato suggests (Pol. 1.3-7 & NE 7). I would argue that there are many inputs that help form a person’s character, that one’s genetic code, born bent, general culture, family as a youth, socio-economic circumstances, formal education, and intentional mind-constructing or programming through conscious thought, patterns of decisions, and habituation all have partial input into the overall personality or character at any particular time. The amount and the effect of each input is regulated earlier on more by external influences and later on more by conscious deliberate inner influences.

In my case, I judge that all the above played a part, especially the drastic and dramatic change of circumstance when I was ten to eleven years old on the one hand (when my brother was killed and we moved to the farm) and then on the other hand when I, somewhat earlier, began to gain the ability, at first inchoately and then later consciously and deliberately, to influence the construction and placement of the furniture of the mind. I have always believed in inner free will, the ability to control the inner space; this is sort of a Stoic version of free will, though not necessarily with its predestination. Still I have never been able to overcome a character trait or flaw noted by others that surfaces as impatience and an irascibility or a sense of righteousness, but from the inside feels more like the need to kick against the pricks, those hindrances and obstructions to what I see as needful actions to survive, be it physically, psychologically, or morally. My first emotional reaction is that the hindrances or obstructions are intentional, whether from fate or nature, either of which seems at that moment willfully opposing me. I realize that at first blush I am emotionally an animist, beneath layers of sophisticated rationalization (in the various senses of this word, from reasoning’s provision of mental frameworks to self-justifying excuses). As Plotinus recognized and explained long ago, the individual human psyche can operate at many levels and within many contextual frameworks, conscious, subliminal, and unconscious. However all that may be, when we separated and then five years later divorced, I lost the farm that we had had in Western Maine in the foot hills of the White Mountains where we had both grown up.

After all this happened and about the time I ended my term as chair of the department, I met Ilene Douglas and entered a new chapter of my life, although I did not know that right off. I was still the Executive Secretary of CANE and so I was very busy with that. Also I was teaching a different course on ancient philosophy every summer at the CANE Summer Institute at Dartmouth, which kept me academically engaged in new research. Moreover, I was being asked to consider another term as Executive Secretary. At this point Ilene and I had known each other about a year and we decided in the late summer to take a trip down to Asheville, NC where she had lived for quite a while and to visit some of her old friends in the area. We stayed at a doublewide on an acre of land that her family had kept in the middle of a 2000 acre farm that they had given to Young Life for a summer camp for young people. I had a strange sort of quasi-religious experience there when I got out of Ilene’s Miata to open the gate for her when we were returning long after dark, and slipped in the mud and landed in a drainage ditch, just inches away from a sharp-pointed stake like a punji stick. Even though I missed it, I was cut up a bit. The next morning when I saw how close I had come to hitting the punji stick, I sat down and wrote up the event four times, each time in the style of the next of the four gospels retelling the same miracle in the different style of that Gospel. I then gave it to a ministerial couple at the camp who were close friends of Ilene’s family. This place was also the site of our first quarrel, a dispute over whether it was un-American not to have ketchup on a hot dog.

Being in the Blue Ridge mountains of NC made me realize how much I missed the mountains. At that point I had not spent my summers at the farm in the mountains for six or seven years, but I had always assumed that the ‘life of the mind’ could be happily lived anywhere that one had access to libraries and concert halls or their simulacra which the new electronic age has made fairly ubiquitous. However, on this trip I learned that I was quite wrong, so on our return to New Hampshire we started looking for a summer place in the northern mountains. We started looking in western Maine heading west. We almost bought a place in Errol close to Lake Umbagog and the Androscoggin River in the foot hills of the White Mountains. When that fell through, we kept moving west, and we were about to give up as October was turning into November when we found a place in Morgan, VT near a sizeable lake and with a stone porch that has a wonderful panoramic view to the West of the Green Mountains and to the East of the Seneca Range and through one gap in that a view of two of the White Mountains across the Connecticut River. The place was in need of considerable repair and lots of yard work. But we bought it and spent Thanksgiving there in 1997. We live there now, though I still own the house in Exeter to which I and my former wife moved when we left the dorm, a couple of years before we separated. And though I had never planned to retire in Northern New England, this continuing swerve of events led to this unintended consequence, and I have come to look forward to the quiet and semi-seclusion of the winters as a very productive and happy time for thinking, reading, writing and computing, among other things.

We continued to spend the summers in the North East Kingdom of Vermont in the hills with a splendid panoramic view of the mountains and also some weekends during the year until 2001-2 when I took a split term sabbatical, fall and spring. In the fall we took a southern tour to visit all the places that Ilene had lived: the plantation Cotton Hall in South Carolina, Erskine College at Due West in SC where she went to college, Dunedin, FL which her grandfather had settled and named, Ashville, NC again, and the two places around the vicinity of Raleigh, NC where she had lived. In the spring we took a trip to Greece and a cruise to the Greek isles (Erenos in Lesbos, Crete, and Santorini [Thera]), ending in Athens. That summer we had only an abbreviated period in Vermont before we left for a year in Viterbo, Italy as part of SYA Italy. I taught the two Latin AP courses and a Greek course at the ‘scuola’. We went with the school on day trips to Montefiascone, Orvieto, and Rome. On the weekends we traveled around Tuscany to Etruscan sites; Ilene had become quite interested in them. We went on most of the school trips or went on our own when the school went to Florence, or we went alone on our vacations; in this way we spent periods from three days to a week and a half going to Venice, Florence, and then in southern Italy, to Elea, Paestum, Metapontum, Tarentum, Sybaris, Thurii, and Croton. In the spring we went with the school to Sicily and then later to the classical sites in the bay of Naples, including Cumae and the island of Capri. Actually Ilene and I visited Cumae twice. Later we spent a week or so during spring break on the Golfo di Poeti. We also gained a great appreciation for the incredible variety in topography and local culture from region to region in Italy, as well as the vast amount of Medieval and Renaissance art there was all over the place. Since the school attracted students from all the premier private and public schools, the biggest insight I acquired from my teaching was how weak the teaching of the classical languages had become. The best of the lot seemed to be the Hill School in PA.

Upon my return I had a glorious time teaching in the autumn, and a good time in the winter, but Ilene wanted me to retire and she wanted to enlarge the place in Morgan so we could live there full time. By this time she had gotten back into horses and trail riding. She had been riding from April to October in Brownington from the summer of 1998 and in December 2000 she had bought a horse, Steele. She continued to stable them at Neal Perry’s farm in Brownington, but she hoped to bring Steele over when we were living in Morgan full time. We started adding a house onto the cottage in the spring of 2004, I retired on June 30, 2004 and the house was finished in February 200. It ended up looking sort of Italian with a tower and a balcony. I called it Villa Alba Longa which literally means ‘tall white country house’ but also carries some potent Classical allusions. The architecture of the house was mostly Ilene’s with approval and a few suggestions from me. She also paid for three quarters or more of it. It reflects her openness and welcoming nature; it is a very easy and comfortable house to live in. There are very few things we would do differently, if we had it to do over in more or less the same circumstances; there are a few things we might consider doing differently if we had been filthy rich, but not many. That summer (200) she had a stable row installed and brought over her two horses; she had bought Sophie so Steele would not be alone. During the next year came the paddock fence enclosing the upper field, and the hay barn.

Before I leave the employed portion of my life, I should return to an early topic in my search for a framework, that of the people I knew as a child and came to know, and say something about those whom I taught in the classroom, in the dorm, and in the gym, probably in that order of importance, though a teacher never really understands or knows whom he might influence or where. Movers and shakers have gone through my classrooms, my dorms, and even my ‘teams’. Most of them started with a leg up. I must admit that I was not much on lineage and more often depressed rather than impressed by some of the famous parentage. There was an advisee who was the son of a very famous actor who was more embarrassed by his father than the rest of us were; he never came out of his room and left a day or two after his father at the start of school. There was another whose father was the ambassador to Italy, very smooth but expecting that neither he nor his son, my advisee, had to follow the rules that the rest of the school did. There was another, a student, whose father was a leading US senator and who probably had had less contact with his father than the President(s) had had. He acted out by wearing all black with a stove pipe hat of civil war vintage, a hangman’s knot in place of a tie. He was a gifted cartoonist with a mordant wit whose work I liked, and therefore I had a blackboard with a new color cartoon every day. This son was the product of not so ‘benign neglect’. And there were many more parents like this.

However, there were some good parents where you least expected it. In the dorms we had a rule of thumb, known as Kesler’s rule. If the parents were divorced, caveat custos; if one parent was a medical doctor, caveat bis custos; if both parents were doctors, caveat ter; if one parent was a psychiatrist, caveat quater; but if both parents were psychiatrists, then caveat quinquies et quiescat morte (May the adviser be five times wary and find rest in death). So you can imagine my concern when I was informed that I had such an advisee whose parents were both psychiatrists in a prison in Maine. He turned out to be a wonderful boy, mature and well-balanced with delightful parents.

Then there were the many talented athletes, interesting advisees, and bright students with whom I was delighted to spend time. I had several quite outstanding divers whom I coached, and lots of surrogate sons in the dorm of whom I was justly proud. And of course, I was very lucky to have many very bright students over the years who pushed themselves, their classmates, and me to do our very best. One young man started in my first year Greek class as a ninth grader and within a month or so, I was informed that he was a tenth grader, though he was, of course, no older. Next year I happened to have him in the fall in second year Greek when he was an eleventh grader. He informed me that he would not be returning the next year. In my innocence I assumed that his family had fallen on hard times and suggested that we go over to the admissions office (where financial aid was located), that I was sure something could be worked out. No, he said, it wasn’t that; rather, he was going to college. He had been accepted at Princeton. He had run out of math classes at Exeter which had some very advanced college level courses. After his first year at college I happened to hear that he was no longer there; fearing the worst, I contacted various people, in particular his mother, with whom I had had considerable contact before, and learned that all was ‘ok;’ he was now at Princeton’s Graduate School in math. Truly, he was a beautiful mind, hopefully without the problems depicted in the movie.

There were quite a number of similar cases that crossed my thresholds one way or another, and went off to Harvard or MIT, and then to graduate school and then to successful careers. Some were advisees whom I did not have in class, but the majority were those whom I had had in class, sometimes, both in class and in the dorm. One became the assistant prosecutor (and Assistant Attorney General) for the US Department of Justice in the Iran-Contra case; another was a lead scientist in the computer deciphering of the human genome; another founded an computer company and became a billionaire before he was 26; two others, female students, are heads of private schools; another, male, is head of a well known private school in New York City; several others are classicists at various colleges and universities.

There are still several PEA faculty, active and retired, with whom I remain in contact, even though I am now happily removed from direct contact with the Academy. Even as the Academy tried to turn away from its past as the model of rigorous training in the tools of learning in order to convince a shrinking pool of applicants that it was a warm and fuzzy place, it remained a very strong academic institution, mainly because of the many excellent teachers who worked in departments dedicated to their various disciplines and freed from petty outside control. For these dedicated professionals “warm and fuzzy” came after “competent and skilled.” The goal remained training in the tools of learning but now with more of an interest in how these tools and disciplines fit into the bigger picture. I have already mentioned many of the faculty who made the Academy the Prima inter pares among its sister institutions. The structure of the Academy was departmentalized so that most of one’s faculty interaction was within one’s department, but often the most fruitful relationships developed outside the departments, as my friendship with Dudley Taft based on our common interest in computers, or something as unlikely as late-night duties. As Coordinator of Academic Computing I had to do a lot of my work, backing up, fixing, or checking the machine after hours when the mainframe was not being used. After I was done, I would go up to the Classics Department room, on the way to which I passed Andy Hertig’s history classroom. He often was there working late, and I would stop in and we would get talking about various things. And often such conversations would occur with colleagues from other departments at lunch or even more at dinner in the dining halls. These conversations outside the work places (department rooms, dorms, gym) were the important glue that held the whole academic community together, much more than the weekly faculty meetings.

As well as the happy and/or productive relationships (cf. p.10 and immediately above) that I had over the years, I should mention those that went sour. First of all was that with my first wife, which has already been covered. In the inter-regnum between wives and in 1994 at my 40th PEA reunion I met a classmate who had retired and moved to Exeter. He had been a four-year boy whom I had not known, though he claimed to know me. His name was Hans Wriedt, retired from the practice of law; he wanted to audit Latin to try to overcome his sense of not having done well in it as a student. I happened to be chair then so the decision was up to me. The reunion was in the Spring, and I assumed that he was just making conversation so I suggested that he contact me at the end of the summer, if he was still interested then. It turned out that he was and did. I was teaching a first year class and so I told him he could audit that class, which he faithfully did, taking all the quizzes and tests. He did very well; I did point out to him that the students had three other classes. We became running buddies, because he wanted to power walk and at over six feet his power walk easily kept pace with my gentle jog. We went three miles a day for most of that year, but later by common consent limited ourselves to 30 minutes.

Hans had an interesting family history. His father was head of a Baltic Sea fishing cooperative; because of that he fell into conflict with Hitler and ended up in prison. His father got his family and liquid assets out of Germany. Hans was born in England, where his father joined them, and they all then came to the US, and resided in Florida. His father could not get a job as a resident alien, so he invested through the stock market and did very well. Hans went to private schools in New England from grade school. He had a lady friend whom he married (his third marriage) and through whom I met Ilene. As two couples the friendship continued over several years, but slowly things changed. First he became upset with his two daughters for whom he had set up a trust fund (probably to keep the money from going to his first wife in that divorce), and then he broke the trust. He decided to manage the money and invest it in the stock market himself; he also loved to gamble, especially in Las Vegas. After a while he started cheating on his wife openly, though in our earlier days while he was still a bachelor he claimed that he never 'fooled around' when he was married, but was very much a ladies' man when unmarried. His behavior finally led to the parting of our ways, just about at the time that I retired and moved to Vermont.

Ilene and I had bought the property in Vermont as a summer place in 1997 (as already recorded on pages 10, 14-, & 31). Though we did not buy it from the Hatton family which had owned if for a long time, had only sold it about 4 or years earlier, and they still held the mortgage on it. Rather than pay off the mortgage when we bought it, we decided to continue paying it and became friends with Mary and Bill Hatton, Jr. who were about fifteen to twenty years senior to us. They had only one son, William Henry Hatton III whom we had not met in the first six years that we knew them. Ilene wrote Bill every month with the mortgage payment and he always wrote back, but Ilene and Mary had an even closer friendship, and when we made our tour of Ilene's places of residence in the South (in 2001) we stopped off to visit them in Florida in Deland not too far inland from the East Coast. We had a very cordial friendship with them, and during the summer we visited each other in our small farm house that they had owned and in their camp on Seymour Lake that our place overlooked. They offered us the run of their land which adjoined the parcel we owned on three sides; on two sides their land was fields that a neighbor farmer, Larry Morin, rented as pasture for his pregnant cows, and Ilene loved to watch for the calves and run down to tell Larry when one of the cows had calved. Just before we left for Italy Mary and Bill promised us that we could buy the barn and the field around it so Ilene could move her horse(s) over from Brownington.

At this point both Mary and Bill were elderly and not in good health; Bill seemed more frail and had serious heart problems. When we returned from Italy, however, Mary had fallen gravely ill, and their son had come north from Florida to take charge. At first it seemed that the deal about the barn was still on, though the terms seemed to have changed. Young Bill Third's interest seemed focused on resurrecting TipTop, a rather large 'hunting' camp about 10 yards from the NE boundary line of our property, from the second floor of which one had a fine view of the lake. At that time the building was in imminent collapse, and the electric utility poles were in bad shape. As time passed his mother got worse and Bill Third got our ok to have the Electric Company restore the poles across our land. He had a well drilled by TipTop and a septic system put in, and then that winter his mother died. In the spring we found that he had a surveyor not known for his character do a survey and put down markers on the basis of which he tried to claim a sizeable chunk of our land in front of the barn. He prevented people, including us from seeing his father. However, his father was still in charge enough to have their lawyer intercede with us to keep us from bringing charges against Bill III. As his father became more frail and sick, Bill III became more brazen in his attempts to harass us, always using intermediaries. When his father died about the same time that I retired and we moved to Morgan, the friendship and kindly feelings that we had had towards the Hatton family also expired.

Before retirement a person should consider his or her prospects carefully and realistically in respect to finances, possible regrets, locale, social life, hobbies and projects, and many other things. It is obviously a time to “examine one’s life,” especially one’s future prospects. Once that look forward has been done and one retires, then it is an appropriate time to look backward, and assess what you have done so far and whether there is more of that to finish, or whether it is time to undertake new projects. My retirement was what is called a phased retirement, but that was mostly a financial thing: five years at quarter salary without touching my PEA TIAA-CREF retirement funds. The Academy did somewhat illegally and certainly unethically break that contract, but that was par for its course. In actuality, however, I was done working at PEA on July 1, 2004. I was 68 and a half years old, and ready to move on after 36 straight years at PEA and 42 years teaching full time. My first eight months of retirement I spent in a very deliberate examination of my life while I sorted my books for moving to a smaller study at VAL (Villa Alba Longa) in Vermont; the remainder of my books would go into one of three levels of storage: short-term, mediate-term, and deep depending on the label on the carton and how close to the front of the storage unit the cartons would be stacked. Then I had to shrink 1 file cabinet from school and five at home to two file cabinets worth for VAL. This resulted in my deciding what areas and projects from my intellectual life I plan to keep active, or what else I needed to save. Then I also had the rest of the Exeter house to pack up for moving or for giving away or dumping. Much of my life-examining occurred during the many trips in my pickup ferrying books and stuff up to Vermont. Obviously one of my main projects was to start a full-time life in Morgan, VT. Along with that went a number of subsidiary projects planned there in Exeter during the end of 2004, and then there arose some other subsidiary projects when I had been in Morgan a while.

Retirement is a fitting time to put things in perspective, to weed out the unimportant, and to gather together and consolidate the important stuff. I had already had a test run for this time of reassessment in the early summer of 1991 when I was diagnosed with early onset prostate cancer. It was in the early days of aggressive cancer treatment. Exeter was on the border line between radiation to the south and surgery to the north. Once I was further tested to ascertain that the cancer had not metathesized outside the prostate, I opted for radiation, which occurred over the month of August, and then I started school. Having cancer tends to focus the mind and forces one to re-evaluate and change perspective; in my case, however, there were complicating factors. My wife and I were in the process of separating that fall, and were living in different states by the new year. Accordingly, the trial run was certainly scary and life-changing, but still quite different from this retirement and relocation. As soon as I retired, I knew that I would be moving out of my 10 Whitley Road home and going to Morgan, but since the house there was not yet finished, I had ample time to sort through all my stuff in Exeter and consolidate it for the move to VAL or a storage unit near to Morgan. This became the first major attempt to consolidate a lifetime of academic pursuits and winnow out what was important and worth still working on. I had all the books and papers from my classroom to go through as well as five file cabinets of materials and many boxes of materials as well as all my 24 x 6 feet of wall space of shelved professional books to go through as well as numerous bookcases of other books, as well as a whole cabinet of computer disks, But I had at least six months to do this; actually it became eight months, but I started trucking my books and papers to Morgan and the storage unit in Derby by mid-fall of 2004. I consolidated the books for my working study to a little over 16 feet of shelf space with eight shelves or about 130 feet of linear shelf space. This was the first sorting, organizing and consolidating. The process has continued over the intervening eight years in a two pronged approach. I have used websites and web programs to help with the consolidation. And I have consolidated in three major modalities: poems, stories, and essays. All three undertakings go back way before my retirement, but the gathering, comparing, and consolidating has mostly occurred since. More recently I have collected others of my poems in a page called Art, I have collected the stories of my youth that I wrote for my grandchildren into a series called the Weewonk stories and collected in a page Drama, and many of my major essays in a page called Wit; the whole is called ADW,- a memoir of my mental life, as it were.

After settling in at VAL (Villa Alba Longa in Morgan), I continued to work on some classical research projects on Vergil and Plato, and to do some writing for CANE. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of CANE in 2006, Phil Ambrose and I wrote the History of CANE for the anniversary. Phil did the records part listing all the officers year by year and the meeting places and various other basic statistics, while I wrote a general introduction and overall historical sketch. I gave a talk at the Anniversary meeting updating one of the talks given in 1906. At a later meeting I gave a paper on Plato at the 2008 meeting: “Crisis in the Crito,“ and then in 2011 I published a fairly long article in NECJ, “The Apology as Manifesto? Exploring the Unitarian Hypothesis”. There are more in the works, some almost completely written, if I wish to continue. I am writing poems to commemorate events, ideas, moods, and such. One series of poems on which I have been working for many years deals with what constitutes poetry; I have put these on line with links interconnecting them. I have also encased this series in self standing compiled editions written in different computer languages. I have another on-line series on the plethora of interpretive methodologies that have sprung up in recent times. I have written novel programs to display these poems in various ways. I have one that displays a free verse version which then turns into a formal poem with strict meter and rhyme.

As far as my lifestyle in retirement I have tried, though not very hard, to maintain the whole person by combining some physical activity with the intellectual. During the summers I had always done a considerable amount of the yard work as well as cutting paths around the boundary of our wood lot. I expanded this work starting in the spring and continuing into the fall. It helped to slow down the decrepitude that had been increasing during my last years at the Academy, and I enjoyed it. At the same time Ilene was working on the flower gardens and doing a vegetable garden. As time went on, we had a number of raised beds built and then we opened up a second vegetable garden behind the shed-row stables. And just recently (2012) Ilene added chickens and a very nice hen house on the end of the shed-row. Moreover a much bigger change than expected was getting a new English setter puppy, Lucy, in spring 2012, for Josie to train, since she was 10 and slowing down. During the winter I now do most of my exercise climbing stairs and walking on the treadmill in the cellar while listening to Teaching Company lectures.

While I was setting up my new office, I decided that I needed to upgrade my computer hardware; over the eight years that I have been at VAL (Villa Alba Longa) all my main machines have been replaced. I have four different machines for different uses but all using the same two monitors (sometimes in tandem, sometimes as a single continuous desktop) with a single keyboard and mouse. I call up any of the four to the screen, keyboard & mouse with a KVM system. I have a 64 bit Windows 7 Home machine which is set to boot up USBs, a dual boot up Gateway which automatically come up as Ubuntu 10, but can come up as a Vista, my basic workhorse machine which is a Windows 7 professional with 10 GB internal HD and 1 TB USB external hard drive, there is also another USB external HD for backing up websites. Finally, I have a kit-built machine with 3.0 GHz cpu, 4 GB RAM with 32 bit OS, a 60 GB SSD main drive, an internal 00GB HD divided into 4 drives and a USB3 external 1 TB HD divided into 3 drives. I also have my old workhorse computer on a separate table,- it is the only one with an internal floppy drive, although I do have a USB floppy drive and a USB optical drive (since the old machine’s optical drives have played out). Since writing this (ca. 2012) I have also added two 64 bit computers (most recently 2014 a Portatech with 128 GB SSD boot drive, 16 GB RAM, and two monitors etc.) and earlier a 3 TB network storage/backup drive. I also decided (200 or so) I needed broadband; I did not have this at home in Exeter, because I had it at school. First I had a rural wireless (radio) type of broadband, but it was relatively slow and had a lot of slow downs or stoppages from time-sharing loads. I switched as soon as possible to ADSL over the phone line and it has been much better; I am quite close to the switch. For a number of years before I retired, I had been writing web scripts and setting up websites, but now I did much more. At one point I had set up and was running at least nine web sites for other people or organizations and six or so sites of my own on four different webhosts with eight domain names. Now I am running only six websites for other people, having lost some and added at least one. Besides running and updating sites, I spend a lot of time coding in various languages and scripts, and I just finished a project to set up some of my main CAI DOS programs and system setups on bootable USBs running DOS operating systems with my assembly programming setups.

Since setting up websites was connected with several of my longtime pursuits and also led me into many other areas, I will record a short history of my involvement with websites. The original avenue that led me to setting up websites was the classics, both at PEA and CANE. Since PEA was long anti-computer, my first expansion was via CANE. In 1990 as president I set up a work group within CANE called Classical Computing, which led a few years later to a CANE website, which was first hosted by the University of New Hampshire, then by University of California at Irvine (1997) and then in 2000 as at Wellesley College. Sometime after 2008 I resigned as webmaster and the site became a WordPress blog. In 199 PEA went online with and I set up my department's site as A few years later I set up my first personal site, and thereafter many sites for others. In 2004 at the request of Richard Lafoe who was at the time head selectman of Morgan, I set up a site for the town which has included the minutes of the twice-monthly meetings of the select board since 200. Shortly thereafter I set up sites for the library that Morgan used in Derby and for the Morgan elementary school. In 2008 I set up a website for the Seymour Lake Association and from that became a director and a member of the board. I ran that site and was a director and then a director ex officio after I was elected to the Morgan select board in 2012. In 2010 Heike Bean, an equine mentor and friend of Ilene asked me to revise and manage her site, which I did, and I set up another site for another equine colleague of Ilene's, Tara Moulton Girard. Finally, when the Academy changed its website and took down the associated departmental websites, I created an independent website for the Classics Department. There is also a website for our church which I put up.

During retirement I continued to add to the storehouse of insights that came to me. I read about the increasing divide between the rich and the poor in one context and then in another I read about the dumbing down of America. There seemed to be an underlying connection. In both the “middle class” was dwindling. The increasing disparity between the experts and the ignorant left a vacuum of those in the middle who were not specialized experts and yet who could deal with the subjects in a knowledgeable fashion and were competent to make informed decisions on such matters, just as the middle class could not live a jet-setter life, but were moderately self-sufficient and economically independent of economic circumstances. In both cases the middle group was important, more important perhaps than the poles. I realized that I had lived through a similar development. At the beginning of personal computing those who became involved had to be knowledgeable about both hardware and software, but software savviness was mandatory because one had to program at some level just to use the machines, and the step from knowing enough to use the machine competently to straight-out programming was a much smaller step than it is now. Moreover, much of the operating system was open source thanks to IBM, and no thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple and later to Billy Gates and Microsoft. Moreover all computing was rudimentary enough so all who really wanted it had entry and access without years of training. This added another element to the looming insight: the middle groups flourished when the apparatus, be it social, financial, or technical, was not too complex. In “developed” economies until the later part of the twentieth century much of the middle class got into the middle class through manufacturing jobs which barely required a high school education. Of course, the middle class was not just blue collar, but the white collar portion was generally that group that accepted blue collar level salaries because they entered professions like the ministry or education or artistry where the rewards were not principally financial. Nowadays most of the blue collar jobs that do not require some sort of expert training have moved “off shore,” and those remaining do not pay as well relatively as those of a generation or two ago. The same has happened and is happening in computing and the internet.

When I first came up to stay permanently in Morgan in 2005, I had not been teaching for a year and I began to feel in need of doing some sort of teaching. I contacted the local junior college in Newport, CCV, to see if they needed some one to teach computer courses. They were covered there, but they did need someone to teach English, the basic course of English that all students had to take. They had just lost a teacher and desperately needed someone right away. I liked the ‘administrator-teacher’ and he seemed comfortable that I could teach it. I understood after I got involved why he said that. I knew that I could teach any level of grammar they needed, but I wondered about the rest. It was a very big learning experience, and it confirmed many of the pedagogical insights that I had garnered over the years. I was supposed to teach expository analytic writing leading up to a research paper. I was surprised to learn through various sources that the teacher I was replacing had only required narratives. I found out why. The students were marginally able to write short narratives or stories. The students had to get a C- or above to go on, and their writing had to demonstrate good grammar. I pointed out to my administrator friend that that requirement could be a game-breaker. Few of my students had the slightest knowledge of good grammar either in performance or in theory. Accordingly, while I had all the expository and research stuff to deal with, I also had to give weekly assignments on grammar and then weekly quizzes. There was no lack of examples of bad grammar or bad writing in the local newspaper which was very useful for quizzes. Of course, CCV had been tainted with the liberal need for tons of verbiage describing and explaining the students’ performance. The bureaucratic overhead was in itself a reason for competent teachers to shy far away from this type of teaching. I did a second semester repeat of the same course, in which I had things much better organized, but my results were not appreciably better. I tried other types of teaching that year too, a stint tutoring at the private Christian Academy in town and teaching a UVM course online. At the end of the year I had worn out my need to be useful in academia, and reaffirmed my previous insights.

Public education is a noble aspiration and made great sense in the time of our forefathers, when the human knowledge base was not beyond management and daily life was not so complex that an intelligent person with a mastery of the basic tools of learning could not through some effort understand enough of any matter to make an informed decision about it. Moreover, the cultural motivation for learning and a strong work ethic complemented the hopes for the success of public education. Today’s society and culture is much different, lacking as a whole the motivation, the respect for education, or the work ethic. Furthermore, the technological foundations on which society rests are very different and much more complex, more complex by many orders of magnitude. Now only highly specialized experts with years of training and experience are competent to manipulate and make decisions about the technological bases of advanced civilizations, and those highly specialized experts do not include in their numbers many politicians or other ‘decision-makers.’ That is the dilemma. And it is made worse, because the public and the ‘decision makers’ do not realize that education is not a democratic process, but an aristocratic one. When it comes to sport, not little league, but real sports, the general public seems to realize this fact, but somehow they lack the rational capacity or imagination to make the transfer. And not only the general public, but even many of the educators themselves seem unable to comprehend that sports and the rest of education are the same in being excellence-based and talent-hungry, that there are winners and losers, that as coaches the educators must reward success and not failure, and reward it publicly and functionally. They must use tracking and every other method to improve the talented on their track and at their rate of progress; then there should be other, less demanding tracks for the less gifted. In particular this must be so in public education which is there for the good of the whole as well as that of the individual. Coaches in serious competition play their best players and never penalize or hold back the good of the team or the ‘whole’ for the good of the individual.

There are many more insights that I found reaffirmed by my time at CCV. There is a reason for distribution requirements, and the worst possible approach is to expect educators to adapt the discipline to the student rather than vice-versa. There are levels that must be respected. The tools of learning must be mastered with definite proficiency; basic training must be complete before any education, which is the use of those tools to widen the view of the mind, is undertaken. And finally as to levels, education in the liberal arts must be completed before any professional training is undertaken. Every college graduate must have a passing, if moderate, expertise in the mindset of each major discipline or field of knowledge, and minimal competency expected in each of the distribution requirements before going to law school or medical school or graduate work in any of the various disciplines. And the most important part in the whole process is basic training; if a student can not do basic math working numbers or equations both with computers and without computers, or parse a complex English sentence and write a well structured paragraph, s/he should not be allowed to proceed.

A year or two later the same bug to be useful struck again but in a different arena, civic involvement. I already did the town website, had set up a website for the library used by Morganites, and was asked to set up a website for the local elementary school. I already had a foot in the stream, but that was not enough. I joined a town committee to work on finding and documenting the ancient roads in town; my interest in this was mainly historical, but it was a political issue. I was also asked to serve on a committee set up by the School Board to study again the question of whether the school should close, since the enrolment was dwindling. About that time I was also appointed to the Planning Commission, also called the Zoning Board. At some point in this period or perhaps a bit later I was asked to put a website for the lake association and then ‘elected’ to the Board of Directors. Over a year later I had pretty much worn out my need to be useful in civic activities, though I continued on the Seymour Lake Association board and on the Planning Commission.

After several years of comparative sabbatical from civic affairs, one thing led to another, and I ended up being elected a selectman for the town to fill out a term of someone else. I had constantly been puzzled about how the town government worked in Vermont, and even more how the state government worked. It seemed quite different from what I had seen as a boy in Maine, or as an adult in New Hampshire. I had many learning experiences in this undertaking, some worthwhile, some humorous or good basis for stories, some just a waste of time, and others in-between. One of the early big eye-openers was an episode I will call “Good Intentions at Cross Purposes.”


It all started long before my term when the Zoning Administrator, a friend of mine, found that the bylaw against unauthorized junkyards in town was not cutting it. There was one bona fide junkyard at the intersection of the town lines of Morgan, Holland, and Derby, which after pressure from the three towns and the state had finally cleaned itself up and became a respectable business collecting metal, but within the town there were at least four other places that were residences cluttered with piles of junk. The ZA asked the Select Board to pass an ordinance and levy fines on the offenders. This had been done and was beginning to yield some positive results, when a house close to the center of town on the main road through town, a state highway, became an egregious eyesore. I will not use the actual names to protect the guilty, but call this house a dump, or better said a Clutter Dump. It looked like they had thrown one of the occupants out with all his or her stuff. There were mattresses, broken furniture, clothes and such littering the front yard. I had just come on the Board and we were getting lots of complaints; a registered letter of warning had been sent to no effect, and so we escalated to the next step which was to send the maximum fine ($20) for one period to the owners of the Clutter Dump via a Sheriff’s Deputy. The only result that this had was that the rotting mattresses and junk was moved to the other side of the road, around and behind a small collapsing garage.

And then shortly thereafter there appeared on the front lawn an never-ending yard sale that grew over the weeks into a bazaar, called the Morgan Mall, perhaps because it mauled any regard for cleanly orderliness. It became a permanent on-going retail sale not of a resident’s personal possessions; on one occasion I saw five or six TV’s lined up for sale. The yard was more cluttered than ever before, and now we were getting many more complaints than before.

We on the Select Board had started out dealing with an infraction against the junkyard ordinance, and we believed we were doing something worthwhile, although as yet we were having no visible effect. In fact, things were getting worse, although the new problem flew under a different flag. It had metamorphed into a yard sale or a garage sale on the opposite side of the road from the garage which was still compacted with garbage. And we seemed to have no legal leg to stand on in our attempt to curtail it, since we had no Garage/Yard Sale bylaw or ordinance. And the yard sale just kept getting bigger. Where, we wondered, were they getting all this stuff. About this time of year (August) the Circle of Friends held their annual bazaar in the School Auditorium/Gymnasium. The Circle of Friends was a group of women who met weekly and engaged in good works and sponsored various programs to raise money to support these good works. In years past any stuff not sold in the bazaar was donated to the Abenaki Indians, but this year the leftovers were given to those running the Clutter Dump, and they were seen carting the stuff away. Now we knew where they were getting some of their stuff for the perpetual yard sale. More complaints poured in even as the town’s official do-gooders were abetting the problem. The Town was full of good intentions, the Select Board trying dutifully to respond to those with justifiable complaints, and the Circle of Friends trying to help the unfortunate Clutter Dumpers who were trying to pay their mortgage and get their electricity turned back on (although they seemed to have plenty of money to buy gas for their nightly treks to gather more fodder for their yard sale).

The Town officials had not given up, however. A bylaw limiting and governing yard sales was written by the Planning Commission and started its lengthy procedure to become operative and enforceable. The procedure to install bylaws gives you a hint of why government seems so slow. First you need to have a viable Town Plan, which requires updating and resubmission every five years to remain viable. This requires meetings of the Planning Commission to prepare it, then a Report to vouchsafe that it has been reviewed yet again by the Planning Commission; then all these documents have to be sent to all the adjoining towns and certain state offices, and a hearing warned in multiple places for 30 days hence. After the PC’s public hearing is held, then the PC turns the documents over to the SelectBoard which then studies the documents and then at its meeting warns its public hearing in multiple places for 30 days hence. After its public hearing then there may be a period of several weeks for comments, and then it must ve considered by a regional committee before the process is over. In the case of Morgan the Town Plan was due for renewal three years ago, so the Plan wass not viable or operative. Luckily we can do the Town Plan and the revised Bylaws at the same time; still the end of the process is 60 days plus from the time we start (providing all goes smoothly), and we haven’t started yet, though we are on the brink of beginning. It is clear that government in Vermont may make bad decisions but it never makes hasty decisions.

In the interim the Town officials are plugging forward nonetheless. The SelectBoard considered sending out new fines periodically on the Junk Yard Ordinance because the rotten mattresses are still there, so the total fine would be growing month by month. But somehow between the intention and the deed the synapse broke down. And the Zoning Administrator sent a receipt-required letter that the ClutterDumpers needed to get a conditional use permit for an on-going retail operation from the Board of Adjustment, since their house was in a Residential-Commercial Zone. And when they did not get or open their mail, he hand-delivered and explained the letter. They picked up the permit form and he helped them fill it out, but nothing further has happened since that time two weeks ago. At this point both the junkyard and the endless bazaar continue, the town officials’ ineffective dithering, and the townspeople’s outrage and sympathy continues in a great swirl of eddying emotion. This part of the memoir is an unfinished adventure. On Oct 1 the Morgan Mall had closed, but the junkyard was worse than ever. Sue Bechum, or Ms Stenta as she is called in the Chronicle where she is reported to be closing on a house in Charleston where she is moving her business. Also reported by word of mouth is the claim that she has hired the Road Commissioner to use a front loader to move all the debris, junk around the house, and garbage garage, so-called because the dilapidated garage is filled with garbage. At the end of November one selectman claims that they will leave once it gets cold; the electricity has been shut off; they have rented a generator that runs all the time now. A while later the temperature was in the single digits. I asked my colleague what temperature it must reach before they leave. And the select board continues to do nothing. I have learned the meaning of temporizing. This is Vermont at its most unique defining quality.

Now it is after Christmas; the Road Commissioner was never been called to remove the garage and the junk inside and out. It apparently has not gotten cold enough for them to move though the temperature has been in the single digits. They have rented a generator to keep the lights on; the first generator has been taken away, and they have rented a generator from someone else. People worry about the children, but apparently more than their mother or the live-in boyfriend is worrying. The Select Board is still expecting them to leave when it gets cold. This unending situation stands as a symbol for much of the conflicted nature of society: both sides of the community, those representing the desire for good order and those representing sympathetic outreach, are operating with good intentions which are at cross purposes at many levels from superficial to fundamental. The same conflict is also persists in the individual. Time passed and at the beginning of the next fall Sue Bechum aka Ms Stenta aka the ClutterDumper of the Morgan Mall and her live-in paramour finally gave up and moved out of town supposedly to a place in Essex County where Route 10 crosses the Connecticut River. The place has been empty ever since; just before they left, the front porch was mysteriously demolished. Not long after they left, the town health officer inspected the premises and 'condemned' it; that is, informed the bank which is agent for the federal mortgage agency that actually owns it, that the premises were rat and rodent-infested and had to be cleaned up. The rubbish filled garage was hauled away, some clean up was done, and a new front porch was built. So far no one has wanted to buy it.

Luckily the select board does not get stuck in this philosophic mode; for there is more than this on the town’s docket, and on its to-do list. The School Board still has not found out the cost of updating the school building in preparation for selling it, after seven months. No special town meeting has been called to decide the building’s future. The Select Board can not move forward with renovations to the Town Office until the town decides whether they want to take over the school building for a town office and other things. At least I was accomplishing my goal to learn how town government worked in Vermont. I learned that towns and town officials had very little ability to do anything major; they have very little power and yet are hemmed in by all sorts of ‘transparency’ rules, as if they did have power. It is a strange catch-twenty-two situation. The state reserves all power to itself, and uses the town officials as the lowest stewards on the totem pole who are there to carry out state mandates. In Vermont the state is bureaucratic, slow, and unwieldy. It seems that its main purpose is to slow everything down, both good things and bad. It accomplishes this moderating or slowing down through the many permits needed to do anything and the various boards that have approve any project; then there is the inevitable slowness of the bureaucracy which is under no compulsion to do anything with promptness, except those few things that those in power want to get done by officially bypassing the permitting process or the hindering boards, such as in the case of industrial wind turbines for instance. But no situation has made all this more manifest that the affair of the “public” beach. By long standing tradition, enshrined in five or six now unconstitutional ordinances that the past Morgan Selectboards have passed, the “public” beach is the waterfront in front of the parking lot by the lodge and the now vacant store on route 111 where it comes closest to the lake. This beach is used by all sorts of people from Morgan and surrounding towns including Newport. The town has tried to keep order there and provide basic services such as portable toilets and some police presence. We wanted to do more but upon inquiring we were told by arrogant state officials that 1) they own the parking land and the beach, 2) what we are doing now is illegal (paying for porta potties in the summer, etc.), 3) they will not pay any money nor take any responsibility, and 4) if we bother them any more about it, they will shut it all down and prohibit all from using it at all. The Morgan select board is seriously considering the fourth option. The state is of course sovereign, so not subject to the whims of the groups within it; however, certain unions have enormous power, such as NEA, the teachers’ union, which not even the sovereign state can control, and of course some businesses which are leaving the state.

The last year of my term on the select board had two interesting events, one small and one large. I was in charge of the small one and finished it more or less just before I left the board, though I had to tie a couple loose ends afterwards. We had wanted to lower our costs by changing over from sodium street lights to LEDs and then eliminate as many lights as we could. There were over 40 streetlights in town, of which 17 belonged to the town, or rather were charged to the town. We hoped to eliminate just over half, but at the end eliminated less than half, but the change over cost the town a small amount that was recouped quickly from the smaller electric bills. The large event was not so easy, relatively quick, or successful. After the town closed our elementary school and tuitioned the 30 K-6 students to a large school in Derby Line, the Morgan School Board took a year and a half to come up with a plan to sell the school property to the town for $1.00 with various conditions to be refitted as a community center. They then held a confused and divisive town meeting in which they tried to force the Select Board to accept their plan. The Select Board had explained our objections to their conditions at a meeting of the two boards before the Town meeting and again at that meeting. It took another year for the School Board and its lawyer to accept the fact that they could not force the Select Board to see the error of their way and offer an acceptable proposal which was worked out by the lawyers and accepted without the sound and fury of a Town Meeting at end of September 2014. An example of town politics at their worst. It was still unclear what would happen then.

A lot of other things happened in and since 2012. My son-in-law, Chris Cunningham, became the dean of faculty at Lawrenceville, where my daughter has taught since she graduated from Middlebury. I had not seen their new school-supplied house to which they had move a year or two earlier, the oldest house in Lawrenceville, dating back to the Revolution and called Old Brick. That fall I rode the train down to Trenton and stayed about a week with them and the grandchildren in Old Brick. That year Janet, wife of our friend Steve Matson died, Ilene attended the American Horse Council for the first time, my sister Liz retires from her job at MMC in Portland and moves to a new-built house above Worthley pond in Peru, Maine, our trip to see Lucy, Exeter, & Boston, we struggle to tame our new puppy Lucy, Ilene goes to Israel in Nov., and the siblings (the Blimp, Wimp, & Gimp) start their tradition of weekly (email) updates, which will lead two years later to a new tradition, Lunch in Lancaster. In the interval Dave is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Early on in the following year (2013) I hit a patch of black ice on the way home from town and totalled my Ford Ranger pickup; this became a sort of defining moment, though I was not severely injured, just banged up and bruised. I was very, very lucky, because the truck certainly did some fancy maneuvers and hit some trees, ending up in a field 10 feet above the road and facing it. I soon got a previously owned year-old Toyota Tacoma, and was driving again, cautiously to be sure. But in the post-accident physical some other things turned up, and so I had to reconsider the future. One major result was that at the end of my current term as selectman (March 2014), I did not run for re-election, and that automatically relieved me of my ex officio position on the Seymour Lake Association board. I had noticed over the years that I was gradually slowing down. The sure sign of this slow-down was how busy I found that I was; I always had things that I needed or wanted to do. A large measure of this busyness was the result of the fact that it was taking me longer to do everything. And I also became more hesitant to undertake new things such as I had done in the past without a thought or a worry. I definitely needed to re-examine my life and to try to reclaim the leisure that is supposed to be part of retirement. With that re-examination I return to one of the themes at the beginning.

The Antepenultimate Conclusion

After about a decade of retirement at about 78 years of age I have found that my point of view gradually has turned around. Instead seeking to look out of Plato’s cave and towards the future, I am looking back into the cave and into the past. I am undergoing another of those 180 degree revolutions that Plato urges us to make when we are in the cave. I think that in old age people tend to undergo a change of perspective in their inner consciousness that is exactly the reverse of that reversal of perspective that the human race took in its adolescence when it ceased to look backwards towards the Golden Age in the often distant past and look forwards to the promise of better times in the future. At least that is how most Americans have lived their inner lives, facing forward. Language proves that that was not always so. In Greek the word for ‘in front of,’ ‘to the front,’ or ‘forwards’ is prosthen, and the word for the past is ‘the before’ or to prosthen or to prin (prin is the preposition before), while ‘what is behind’ or to opisthen is the future. This is true also in English, although it is harder to discern for the English speaker. But in modern times we consciously think of the future as in front of us and the past as behind us. Our inner vision is so oriented, until, as I say, we reach the threshold of old age. Then it all slowly reverses. Interestingly to me from my professional standpoint, the Greeks seem to have completed their cultural revolution from facing the past to facing the future and believing that man has the opportunity to shape and mould his future just a generation or two before Plato wrote the analogy of the Cave in the Republic with its proclamation of the possibility and of the need for man to turn around and face the mouth of the cave and the real world outside the dark theater of illusion. And as he required his philosopher kings to return into the cave after seeing the truth in the wonderful Mediterranean sunlight, so generations of classicists have returned from their Italian and Greek trips to the clouded, overcast and dark-shortened days of winter in the northern climes to teach their students the truths they have learned (qua Goethe's Italienische Reise). And now it is time for me to re-enter that cave and ascertain the value of the time spent there and in the time spent in the world of the mind outside the cave, and the worth of the interaction between the two.

So here at the end I should relate my conclusions, and perhaps even coordinate them, as the meaning of my life, so to speak. As a prolegomenon to my conclusions I need to discuss several points to lay a foundation. The first is to realize despite my experience at CCV or on the Select Board dealing with the state, that the ‘empty room within’ is not really empty even in the case of some CCV students or state officials, just virtually vacant or littered at the walls with unused furniture. The second is to decide whether the ‘empty room within’ is Plato’s cave as the dark theater of illusions or whether it is that point in the cave when the prisoners have made the 180 degree revolution, see the light of truth pouring in the mouth of the cave, and are making their way to that exit, or maybe have just gotten outside. Whichever it is, I have made the suggestion before that each of us as individuals may have experienced it as the dark theater of illusions and as the crystal clear visions outside the cave in the sunlight, and as the many stages in between. Whichever it is, it is the seat of inner consciousness that we call the self, which modern neurology might call a module of the central nervous system involving the reticular activating system, parts of the limbic system, language centers, prefrontal motor strip, frontal lobe executive center, and changing web of other connections. In my case I hope that I am at the exit of the cave looking out, but I believe that the site of the inner consciousness or the empty room within depends on the psychic make up and situation of each individual, and that the site and perspective of the empty room varies not only from person to person but over time in each individual, just as the neurological constitution of the self varies over time from childhood to old age5. There is a continuing narrative that is held in memory that constitutes our personal identity which is anchored in a proper name and an internal self image and sense of familiarity based as much in remembered emotions and scraps of sensation as in anything else. This is the thing which drives all the rest. And yet from a dream I had recently which despite my normal state (cf. my description of my dream life ca. p. 5) I remembered quite vividly, I must concede that the mind is capable of projecting in dream and in cases of multiple personalities other 'selves' that feel like 'yourself' but share none of the circumstances or qualities or continuing narrative that identify yourself. This capability of the mind is highly developed in great actors and actresses and in criminal imposters.

The next item might be to consider the underpinning of the beliefs that this ‘self’ has about its environs, that is ‘the human condition’. First then what do I think about the nature of belief? Aside from the obvious that belief about our condition and circumstances comes as reports from our own senses and from the communications of others, are there any general cultural views that mould our patterns of belief as we grow up? Is there a reason that people at large had a different view of the world in the Middle Ages than they do now or than they had in fifth century Athens, or in Mayan times or in Confucian times? This seems to be different from and more than mob hysteria. It seems to be a cultural cast of mind, based on such things as the general judgment about the prevalence of the supernatural, the allowable limits of personal idiosyncrasy, the acceptance of a general systemic faith in such patterns of belief as the scientific method or divine revelation. In my lifetime I have witnessed a shift from a belief in self-reliance, individualism, the power of rational thought and the worth of science to skepticism about those and a growing acceptance of extra-sensory perception, intuitive modes of thought, cooperative interdependence, the need to limit outlier behavior to a politically correct code of conduct that is increasing tolerant of alternate systems of belief. As WB Yeats points out in The Second Coming, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Just as multiculturalism has eroded the melting pot English-speaking centre of American culture, so the evaporation of a technically literate middle group has eroded the supply of technically proficient workers in industry and so the shrinking of the economic middle class has eroded the financial center, and overall has raised the level of dependence in our society. In the days of my youth the point of a college education was to make a person intellectually independent and able to deal with most problems with a reasonable grasp of the situation. More and more individuals and institutions nowadays depend on expert help with a wide array of issues that they used to handle themselves. That may be an indicator of the growing real complexity of life to some extent, but it is also a reflection of a growing habit of dependence, fostered by the current cultural cast of conduct and belief.

Now we must assess the real worth of specialization which provides greater control of our environment and yet makes us proportionately increasingly dependent. And yet the urge or need to control and shape our environment is perhaps the primal drive of man, stronger even than the instinct to survive. Specialization versus self-reliance is not a novel concern; in sixth century BC Greece everyone was a Renaissance man to use an inverted anachronism; but by the time of Plato there was great concern about the downside of specialization, as well as a demand for more specialization, and the Hellenistic period demonstrated how the great brilliance of an intense local culture was compromised by dilution, ecumenicalism, and specialization. Sophocles was one of the all-around men of Greece, great poet, great musician, great dramatist, great statesman, great admiral, who was sent at the head of the fleet to bring Samos to heel in a battle against their fleet led by the great Eleatic philosopher Melissos. In this case poetry won out over philosophy (pace Plato!). There is no question that specialization at first extends human capability, but greater specialization ultimately requires a higher level of communal organization with more dependence. Yet when the organization reaches the level of mass production, then human capability increases again, but the product becomes so complex that the specialization needed to deal with it, manage or repair it must become institutionalized with an increasing bureaucracy and cultural overhead, and greatly increased societal vulnerability, not just from the loss of the infrastructure of power and communication as shown in great natural disasters, but also in the more insidious collapse of societal safety nets. There is a bell curve of civilization in which society picks a path and organizes itself into more and more complex and proficient communal and productive structures, and then over-reaches and subsides back into a pre-specialized state; this same bell curve is even more manifest in individual lives. The individual’s focused energy increases to a maximum point at full maturity and then gradually subsides as entropy takes over, the focus loosens, and the energy lessens and dissipates. The civilization continues to grow as long as the individual progress can be passed on to the succeeding generation before it is lost.

We come to the point at which we can consider the banks of the Androscoggin and the swerve which seems to bear us away from our native habitat, the environment that shaped us before we started shaping our environment. We all have lived near the banks of an Androscoggin, a context, an environment that at first seems self-contained, but later is found to be connected to the rest of the world in varying degrees of transparency. Most of us nowadays leave our first environment and spend our lives elsewhere, some do return, many others do not return, not even in some virtual fashion, depending on the ‘swerve’ or play of outer circumstances that affect their lives, which the evolutionists call ‘environmental challenges’ that require adaptation. Humans have the advantage of being able to develop and pass on cultural adaptations that allow us to handle more environments more quickly than other species. For us these adaptations are the inventions and technological advances that result generally from specialization and give us ever greater control of our environment. By definition we are an environment-changing animal. We have reversed the natural order of our grasp of our three environments; at maturity we change our mental environment which gives us greater purchase in changing our social environment which again gives us more power to change our physical environment in increasingly different and ingenious ways. But still somehow in individual lives the beginning is the end and the end becomes the beginning; in my case the blackboard is one symbol connecting beginning and end; the blackboard not only connected the place where I started and the place where I ended, but its essence as an engine of education defined my route between the two. We become what we are (to start with), as Pindar says (Pythian 2.72), and Aristotle reiterates this in a way when he names and describes the formal cause as “the being what it was”, a refrain echoed by Eliot6:

			What we call the beginning is often the end
			And to make an end is to make a beginning.
			The end is where we start from. ..

As I have written this memoir, I have noted how I have reached back to the time of my maturity for most of the philosophical constructs that undergird the various structural devices that I have tried to deploy to build a general conceptual framework for this story. Perhaps this is evidence of the final section of the bell curve of my life. At the start I relied upon my parents’ vision of life, and now I rely on the view I had at my prime. In summation I started from Chisholm School in Rumford, Maine, surrounded by blackboards such as Samuel Reed Hall had brought from Brownington in the NE Kingdom of Vermont where I ended. These blackboards, covered with writing in white chalk were the obverse of the white pages of books covered with the black-ink print of writings that would determine my environments for the rest of my life,- until I varied it with the computer’s multicolored text and background. My entrance into my favorite environment, my preferred haunt, began in the Rumford Library, and progressed from there to bigger and bigger libraries, and now is centered in my home library and the World Wide Web, the virtual mind of the world, from physical portal to virtual portal to the third environment.

Following the notion of reaching back in the last paragraph, if there was one long term project that has been close to me and involved many of my avocations (computer coding and the study of neurology) as well as the classics, it started with my course Greek Views which I began in 1972 and taught through 2004. As a propaedeutic to the study of philosophy for this course, I developed a set of computer programs to get students used to testing the validity and then the truth of their arguments and to seeing how separate ideas might fit together or not. Also since this course was a basic introduction to philosophy as well as the study of Plato's Apology and five or so dialogues, I set out first to help students develop a framework of the parameters of philosophic thought in order to be able to classify and interrelate separate philosophical notions and then to develop a map of philosophic positions in Western philosophy, but especially in classical philosophy, to enable students to have a chart or map on which to plot the various stances that they came across. In the process I developed two hypotheses: first that the basic philosophic positions could be mapped based from the three aspects of axiology, epistemology, and ontology (value, knowledge, being), and second that they mapped a continuum between two basic positions that recurred across centuries and cultures, because they were part of the human psyche. In October of 2014 I completed another attempt to explicate and expound my theory of the continuum of worldviews, expanding my use of modern notions from neurology, anthropology, and such to support the foundations of my theory. This became a program consisting of several articles (Starthere.php) hosted at, now (2018) at

But this was not the end of the project. The end came in the spring of 2015, which finally arrived after a very cold and snow-plagued winter. It was even worse for Ilene and me since in the fall of 2014 we started to have serious problems with the new addition to our house (VAL) which was only 10 years old. First there was a leaking pipe that ruined the kitchen so all the lower cabinets and inner wall had to be replaced. Then we found that the entire outer western wall of the kitchen was water damaged from different causes apparently and was beginning to disintegrate. Finally there was another leak in the pipes in the utility room and water stains appeared on the dining room ceiling. All of these were problems that needed immediate repair. It made for a miserable, worry-wrought winter. However, in the midst of these hard times, or perhaps because of them, I reached back again to try to bring my philosophical meditations to some closure. In the process I had several breakthroughs as a result of which I wrote my conclusions in a series of essays, continuing the consolidation, mentioned in the preceding paragraph, by revising a scholarly article that I had first written in 2011-2 and laid aside as other matters took precedence. At the same time I was working on my own philosophical efforts which had come to the fore again about 1972 when I started the Greek Views course. At that time I began to form an underlying philosophical position over the next twenty-five years or so, while actively teaching a philosophy course at least once a year.

Returning to this some ten years after retirement and trying to bring it all to some degree of closure, I gained a new insight into Plato and realized that all along he had been subconsciously influencing my thinking, and as a result I finally saw that he had come to the same conclusion to which I was tending, but which I had not clearly realized before, namely that mankind was destined never to solve the philosophic puzzle. Philosophy would always remain an open question, not in the way or sense that it was for Sceptics in that there was no reliable answer but in the sense that the answer would be different depending on the method one used, and that generally opposed methods of dealing with the questions of life and the cosmos were hardwired into the human psyche whether by evolution or by a creator. This inner 'schizophrenic' structure was the basis of human adaptability and success in dealing with its environment, although there was the downside of internal dissonance. The two most obvious methods were the senses on the one side and reason on the other, and though they could work together on occasion, they also open different worlds of experience, each valid in itself. Moreover, neurology and philosophy were continually finding more subtle and specialized methods inside and outside the purview and province of either or both sensation and reasoning that resulted in further varieties of opposition in approach and outlook. Versus the sceptics Plato (and I too) would certainly favor the method or methods leading to an acceptable outlook or world-view, while realizing that 1) there would always be at least one other 'acceptable' philosophical stance strongly integrated and based on strong evidence, and 2) that other stance might have more adherents supporting it. In other words, truth is based on the way you travel to your conclusion, and there are at least two different equipollent ways built into the human brain that have proven their long-term worth, which do, however, end in different, but equally convincing results,- at least to their adherents, based on the path they traveled and on the initial and mediate presuppositions they accepted. I wrote this all up in another series of connected articles which I presented in conjunction with an updated version of my previous consolidation in specially coded internet versions.

The Penultimate Conclusion

My Antepenultimate Conclusion was written in 2014, a year in which I was closing down my various civic and other outside obligations because of the specifically shortened life expectancy I had been given in the summer of 2013. I now needed to put my own affairs in order. Therefore as mentioned above in 2014 I embarked upon a new project, an attempt, after some sixty years of reading Plato, to finalize my understanding of him and his philosophical stance. Now four years older and almost 83, I have to add another 'chapter' to my memoirs and more entries to my timeline. In 2015 I started to write up the philosophical articles and essays to finalize my new insights into Plato mentioned above, and then decided that I had poems and stories that I also wanted to leave as a legacy. I decided to self-publish, found a viable publisher, and started to assemble the material. After much proofing, the book, Crumbs Cast upon the Current, was published in Nov. 2015, the alliterative title of which is my word play on Eccl. 11.1 "Cast thy bread upon the waters." Already in 2015 I was reworking one of the major essays that I had written for Crumbs, "Plato on the Future of Philosophy" to give as a talk at the next CANE (Classical Assoc. of New England) at Smith College in March, 2016, and so I did. I was hoping to do the same with another essay from Crumbs at the 2017 meeting of CANE at Phillips Exeter where I had graduated and taught for many years. When that did not work out, and when another publishing company wanted to republish Crumbs, I wrangled a deal in which they would also publish another book. This talk I had reworked so much that I did not feel the need to give a reference to its original in Crumbs, but it became the lead off in the first of the three quests in The Curmudgeon's Quests, published in June, 2017. This was a very different kind of book, a sort of quixotic tongue-in-cheek memoir of my career at Exeter. Though the three quest were serious enough underneath the persifalge, the intent was a sort of a mix of Socrates, Voltaire, and Rabelais. Indeed Plato has Socrates characterize his own efforts at examining life as an exercise in "serious playfulness" or irony as it is defined by Cicero, De Oratore, II, 270f. At this juncture I decided I had had enough of book writing and would confine myself to separate, independent excursions into the hills and valleys of rumination. With this in mind I decided to join two of my main passions or hobbies to allow me to have spiritual day-trips, so I coded the infra-structure for a blog to host essays. Each essay requires a coded suit to wear in order to appear at the website dance, should anyone ask for a dance. This is the sort of serious play that now fills my free time, especially now that I have resigned a forgotten office I still held on the Town Planning Commission. This obligation has this year consumed a considerable amount of time. As I approach 83, Idecided that I should try to free myself from all external obligations, especially as my mental powers wane.

Indeed, my body has preceded my mind in waning. In 2015 I was still in fair shape; I remember lying in bed at 79 and wondering why everyone said that getting old was miserable. Although I was slower, weaker, and so forth than in my 'prime', as I lay there, I was not in pain and during the day likewise I was generally pain-free. Of course, I was careful not to overdo. Nonetheless, several events during my eightieth year made me revise my notion of aging. As a result of a fall in the spring my left rotator cuff was brutally torn, and my doctor did not offer any hope for repair, nor did the orthopedic surgeon that I a year later consulted for a second opinion. During that summer my back began to bother me and then I developed sciatica in my left leg. Finally, during the autumn my right rotator cuff which had been repaired 15 years earlier gave way. Whether these events were the result of cancer directly or of the continuous dose of prednisone that helped allay the fatigue from chemo for the cancer or were the result of old age or events that had been rough on my physique or something else all together I do not know. I have worked to minimize the affect of these disabilities on my life, more or less successfully because my preference is for a quiet life. However, I now understood the complaint against old age, and Solon's advice in Herodotus never to count one or oneself happy until the end. This thought led me to review this memoir once again, or to follow another theme of this 'diary' to examine my life again. I noted in the early part the recurent theme of my boredom as a child and young adolescence, coupled with a rich dream life and the conscious discovery of the empty room within. I realized in retrospect that when that changed in my metamorphosis at age ten to eleven, two things disappeared or faded a great deal, my boredom and my 'rich' dream life. The 'empty room' remained, but from that time on I was always short on time, did not seem to dream much (or did not remember the dreams [REM sleep] that I had), and this constant engagement continued even in retirement, or increased in retirement, even though my slogan was upon moving to Morgan in 2005: "Even if I do nothing at all today, I will have done more than I need to do." This slogan was kept alive by never being spent, like capital in a bank. Now as I see so many of my acquaintances whose retirement is a slough of boredom, I wonder if their youth was busy, full, and packed with exciting adventure, and whether this is a kind of Emersonian balance in life. And what about the empty room within?

The Perennial Conclusion

And now at the end of this memoir let me circle back to the first paragraph. The “life” here examined has had many nooks and crannies within its three environments, but its main burden was also mentioned there as the desire to teach, along with the popular caveat that those who can not do something productive end up teaching especially the so-called liberal arts. Though once revered, the “liberal arts” are now often scorned and have been since the 1960’s as being far from and unhelpful in “real” life. In my case that is a particularly acute concern. What can a classicist do except teach classics; the study of the classics does not equip one with a marketable manual or mental skill. Moreover, by profession a classicist is by definition a conservative, dedicated to saving and understanding the past,- not a very forward-looking profession, especially for one teaching the supposedly “liberal” arts which should liberate one from deadening tradition and generate an inventive forward-looking spirit. Although I would hope that this memoir is an implicit demonstration that the study of the classics is in fact the best preparation for a worthwhile life, experience has taught me that such implicit demonstrations generally need explicit clarification. Much of this memoir is about teaching and learning; as a classicist I am by nature a conservative who looks to the past and wants to conserve what is best from past human experience. As such I might subscribe to the premise that human nature and the mind remain the same through the ages, and so classics has pointed pertinence to human life today. And in part I do subscribe to that, and so far I am and will remain a proud and steadfast curmudgeon. However, I have also been heavily involved in the avant garde of modernity, the creation of digital prosthetics to increase the reach and power of the human mind. Moreover, my study of GraecoRoman philology and intellectual history has convinced me that the human mind has developed and changed over the millenia and its highest forms of activity are now greater than even in classical Athens. That is, individual minds now are able to perform at higher levels than in times past, though the average mental capacity may be no greater. I have argued extensively on behalf of this premise elsewhere. Here I only want to say that while I do believe that human nature may in fact remain the same in general across the ages, the human mind has not but its capacity has ebbed and flowed, but over the course of history has attained higher levels of capacity; this has not been a genetic evolution, but a culture-transmitted growth based on teaching and learning.

As a summation then of my beliefs on the importance and process of teaching and learning, I return to this kernel of belief. There is an indispensable condition for teaching and learning; it must be communal at least at the start, since the important disciplines that physically shape and imprint the brain are carried from generation to generation by the culture of the society that supports them. But there is a second condition for the growth of any discipline, and that is individual insight. New insights can be fostered and nurtured in and by groups of individuals, but each individual insight is born of a single parent mind, often a mind inspired and impregnated by other minds. Therefore, it is very important for learners to become self-sufficient to a degree. In the classics the goal is for a student to be able to read Latin or Greek for and by him/herself. And ultimately a student reaches the point where s/he gets a PhD, and is thereby certified as an independent scholar, or an MD and thereby is certified as an independent practitioner of medicine, or so on through the professions and disciplines. And that is why, by the way, I found it so ludicrous for Phillips Exeter Academy to subject its faculty, many of whom had PhDs, to sessions of teacher training, often by people who were not academically so certified. Perhaps it was because most of the administrators were not likewise so certified, or perhaps they wanted to extend the teaching to non-academic areas, outside the recognized disciplines and professions. Personally, and after all this is a personal memoir, I generally started off my learning in a communal setting, particularly in the classics. But even before I started my dissertation and got a PhD, I was doing independent study, and then most of the time from when I started teaching. When one does independent study, one is really an autodidact, teaching oneself.

In my avocation as I described above, my start was not communal. My tutor, Dudley Taft, showed me how to work a terminal and so on for 15 minutes, gave me a book, and told me I could come back with questions if I had any. Having been a student at Exeter, I understood that the last offer meant, that I must be in extremis mentis, and have a very well thought out and phrased question before I dared to come back. Luckily, coding came easily to me; I found that I enjoyed it, and the process was self-grading. If the program that you coded worked and did what you expected, then you had learned what you needed to know; if the program would not run or produced unexpected results you needed to go back and review. The computer (or more specifically, the computer language and the compiler) was the teacher, not warm and fuzzy, but always helpful. This made self teaching a distinct possibility; all you needed was a code book and a computer. Later on in my career as a coder and a teacher of coding computer programs and web scripts I did take a few formal courses and got some certificates, but by and large in this career I was self-taught. In both the classics and coding I learned a great deal about the relationship of specialization and its propagation. I have noticed how different conversations between colleagues and friends are. By colleagues I mean those in the same specialty, because those in the same profession may be in mutually incomprehensible specialties. More particularly, I notice that in retirement there are not many colleagues around with whom to converse, and so mostly I am alone or with groups of friends. In the later situation I rarely talk seriously about my own professional interests, but rather about matters of common interest or knowledge,- insofar as I may have interest or knowledge of such. That was also true to quite an extent when I was teaching at the Academy, although there general school matters and departmental concerns were matters of common interest and often all consuming. Then and now I rarely talk about ancient philosophy in general, Plato or Plotinus in particular, Vergil, my poems, specific computer program code or web scripts, or my personal websites. I suppose my reticence about my real interests added, especially at the Academy, to some extent to my reputation as a curmudgeon, though my persistent resistance to lowering standards probably was the major cause.

To return to an explicit clarification, if not a demonstration of why the study of the classics is in fact the best preparation for a worthwhile life, first I will start with a generalization about the classics. In academics classics is a throw-back in more than one way, and for that reason it has retained a very crucial aspect that explains its success as an educational regime and justifies its medieval title as the regina artium. It is the only discipline in today’s panoply of disciplines or fields of study that constitutes the study of a whole culture, and is not specialized in one part of it as just the literature, or just the art, or just history, or just the language, and so on. A Hellenist is responsible for understanding the entirety of ancient Greek culture and how all the parts fit together; likewise a Latinist for all of Roman culture. And then further, a full classicist is both a Hellenist and a Latinist, and so is not responsible for just one culture, but for two very different cultures with two different languages and two different approaches to life. I believe that the key element in a “liberal” education is to become aware of how different groups of humans can find very different things such as their different languages and customs to be natural, familiar and right, and then for the student as an outsider to become so immersed and enmeshed in a different culture to begin to find its language and customs natural, familiar, and right. To find that the alien can be good, fit, and useful is a great lesson. To go back to a great grandparent’s or even a grandparent’s way of life is to start to enter a different world, especially if it involves a different language. To go back two millennia is certainly a greater mental challenge than to learn a contemporary foreign language and culture, but a classicist doubles that and goes back two millennia and a half for Greek civilization and then back two millennia for Roman civilization, and there s/he comes into direct contact with the roots of so much that we take for granted and assume that we understand today. But we understand it less than we understand how our great grandparents or their parents lived before airlines, telecommunication, computers, refrigeration, automobiles, or electricity. Such an education does not prepare you for a specific money-earning job, but it does provide a stronger infrastructure for humanity.

Finally, if the strongest instinct of human beings is not to survive, but to change or ‘improve’ and so control their environment, then the highest expression of that is to improve the highest environment, the mental environment which controls and promotes cultural evolution. Moreover, that improvement is called teaching; for it passes on the best discoveries and inventions and specialized knowledge from one generation to the next. And this teaching is not just money-making skills or the theoretical knowledge of electricity. Those skills are like the cerebral motor neurons and some cerebral sensory neurons, which are useless without the ganglia of neurons in the association areas and limbic areas and the glial cells and so on that provide the context in which the motor and sensory neurons can do their more obvious things. The association areas, the limbic areas, the glial cells and so on are the brain’s liberal arts that provide the glue, foundation, and contextual framework for the whole operation; they define who we are in ourselves. If indeed mankind is genetically destined to teach, and that is how civilization survives, then I have lived my life as a microcosmic exemplar and twofold propagator of my species, a veritable homunculus. Granted that each individual is not destined to teach the liberal arts or to do anything so specific, still Plato has Protagoras argue, in his dialogue of the same name, that the community as a whole and particularly as parents teaches the customs of the society just as it teaches the native language to all the children, and these (the language and customs of the group) surely are the bases of the liberal arts. Accordingly, if there were some innate or perverse atomic swerve in the events and circumstances of my life, apparently that swerve approximated in some fashion the communal instinct and the evolutionary destiny of mankind, or seemed to be fulfilling some Platonic purpose rather than exemplifying Epicurean randomness.


I append here a brief ‘chronology’ of the chief landmarks of my time to date. Note that I use not only the year dates (more about which later), but also the regnal dates as was done in antiquity. I use these regnal dates to indicate my willingness to be independent of an politically odious and contaminated system of time-telling. The regnal spans or presidential periods are followed by the so-called year dates, to allow coordination with the solar annual dates listed to the far right. These annual solar year dates are really epochal dates based on the supposed date of the birth of Christ and so called B.C. or A.D. in chiastic irony, since we use English (Before Christ) for the time when English did not exist and Latin (Ante Dominum) for the time when Rome was imperial and then declining and then gone and English was rising. Of course it is not politically correct now to use the ‘Christian’ dating, based on Christ, but it is OK and PC to use a dating called the Common Era based on Christ’s supposed and supposedly erroneous birth date. The seems even more Western-Centralistically biased (if such a linguistic horror can exist, let alone such bigoted blindness) than just the plain historically based epoch. After all it does strongly and sternly imply that the World’s Common Era has nothing to do with Confucius (551-479), Gautama Buddha (563-483 /490-411), Mohammed (570-633), Genghis Kahn (1162?-1227), Attila the Hun (434-453), Kublai Kahn (1215-1294), Timur the Lame (Tamerlane 1336-1405), King Yu of Xia dynasty (ca. 2200-100 BC), King Tang of Shang (c. 1675-1646), King Wu of Zhou (1046-43), Emperor Gaozu = Liu B/Pang of the Han dynasty reigning 206/2-195BC, Emperor Hong-Wu of Ming (1368-98 AD), Pharaoh Narmer (3100 BC), Pharaoh Djoser 1st of 4th dynasty (2570-2544); Old Kingdom (3rd- 6th dynasties: 2686-2181), Middle Kingdom (11th-13th dyn: 2181-2055), New Kingdom (18th-20th dyn: 1550-1069). Just we are not sure of all the dates listed for the alternate epochal dating systems, likewise I am not 100% sure of all the annual dates listed below. Some are based on memory alone.


1936 born; father buys farm from Childs family					Roosevelt 1933-45

1944 Dave born, Ilene born
1947 Johnnie killed Feb 20; born Aug 3, 1938  					Truman 1945-53
1947 Oct the Great Maine Fire (Bar Harbor & Portland-Wells)
1948 enter W. Peru in 7th grade
1949 Liz born
1950 graduate from W. Peru, enter Stephens High
1954 graduate PEA,								Eisenhower 1953-61
1958 BA Bowdoin
1960 Father dies July 20 (born May 14, 1907) and leave for Germany 
1961 in Germany till summer 1961; trip to Italy-Greece spring 1961   	        Kennedy 1961-3
1962 Dave graduates PEA, enters Colby
1962 PhD Princeton, start at Duke 1962-67, Gould 1967-8
										Johnson 1963-9
1966 Feb10 Helena born
1967 leave Duke for Gould
1968 Susie born; leave Gould for PEA 1968-2004 (36yrs)				Nixon 1969-74
1972 summer first runs of Myth & Gk Views
1973 Classics 12
1974 Classics 31 (Gk Views)							Ford  1974-77
1977 spring sabbatical & trip to Europe w/ family				Carter 1977-81
1979 summer Words & SAT Vocab Prep
1984 spring Helena graduate PEA; Nov 20 Haggie dies (Jun5, 1907)		Reagan 1981-89
1985 farm sold; 85-89 teaching Comp Sci programming
1988 Classics 31 > 401
1988 Helena graduate Middlebury, Bowdoin summer Institute
1988-9 year sabbatical, Pres Elect CANE  Helena at L'ville			Bush I 1989-93
1990 pres CANE; CANE at PEA; Cilley Professorship
1991 cancer, dept chair (til 1997), separation
1993 ExecSec CANE –1999, summer Helena marries Chris Cunningham			Clinton 1993-2001
1995 Sept 12 divorced 
1996 Feb 4 Elizabeth Margaret Cunningham born
1999 Jan 2 Ilene and I get married in Morgan & at lake Willoughby					    
1999 May David retires
2000 Jan 24 Benjamin Welch Cunningham is born
2001 fall Southern tour								Bush II 2001-2009
2002 spring Greek isles, Aug to Italy
2002 Aug leave for Viterbo, Italy, visit Venice, Florence, Rome, S.Italy
2003 visit Sicily, Naples, Vatican, July return from Viterbo, Italy 
         Chris & Helena buy camp on Worthley	
2004 retire 6/30 start packing up Whitley 10; VAL enlarged
2005 Mar 1 I move to VAL in VT., April stay at Frontenac.
2005-6 fall2005-2006spring: CCV & UVM online
2006  Nov become Plymouth Church clerk
2007  on Hospital Ethics Committee
2008  start SLA website; SLA director & board member
2008-9 year of civil involvement School Comm, ancient roads					
2009  winter bible study, Apr Richard Miller's memorial			       	Obama 2009-2017
2009  Ancient Roads Comm, & Zoning/Town Plan
2010 Aug. Fuller's Pig Roast	
2010 winter Bible Study										
2011 Oct Larry and Rosita get married
2012 Feb Ilene goes to James' funeral
2012 Mar - elected to select board
2012 spring trip to see Lucy, PEA re Zuckerberg, and service for Janet
2012 June Ilene's 1st trip to DC for AmerHorseCouncil
2012 July Chris becomes Dean of Faculty
2012 Aug. Liz leaves MMC
2012 Sept  I take train down to L'ville to see Old Brick
2012 Fall Liz moves to Peru & sells Gorham house.
2012 Ilene goes to Israel,  Sept 1st siblings' weekend reports
2013 Fabulae Graecae Revised, Pearson Pub.: Lawall, Iverson, & Wooley
2013 Feb. 12 I hit a patch of ice & total my Ford truck
2013 Mar/Apr tests show that cancer has metastasized, meet Devitskiy
2013 June Ilene's second trip to DC for AHC
2014 Mar. resign from select board and SLA board
2014 spring Fences publishes an article on Ilene & KEC
2014 spring Ilene is VHS Horse Person of the Year,  Apr. lst siblings' LL
2014 June Ilene adds 'racetrack' to paddock so horses can't eat grass.
2014 Oct Ilene gets new car- Mercedes; VAL needs major repairs.
2014 end Dec start Zytiga.
2015 Crumbs Cast Upon the Current, published Nov. 2015
2016 Feb Sara comes for 2 wks, Ilene sick, Josie dies at vet's
2016 Feb resign at Plymouth Church clerk, Go to Barton United Church
2016 Sep attend Convocation (MacFarlane) / 2017 Chris asst Headmaster
2017 (Mar) attended CANE annual meeting at Phillips Exeter Academy		Trump 2017-	
2017 June Liz retires, becomes full member of LL
2017 The Curmudgeon's Quests, published Jun. 2017, Aug. start my blog
2018 Town Plan Commission, Jan. Steele dies, May Vinnie, Oct. Sophie hosp.
2018 Sep attend Convocation (Rawson), Ilene to GA re Bruce


1. Plato, Apology 38a, o( de\ a)nece/tastoj bi/oj ou) biwto\j a)nqrw/pw|: The unexamined life is not worth living. In Herodotus' Histories Bk.1.30-33 Solon tells Croesus that one must see the end of a man's life before calling him 'happy'. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I.10.1-16 comments on this axiom of Solon and waffles somewhat proclaiming at 13 (1100b30 ff.) that virtue provides the only stable happiness and so a noble man has happiness and can not become miserable, unless (1101a10 ff.) he is beset by frequent and severe disasters involving great loss of external goods (health, wealth, friends), but even then he will act nobly; for his character will not change. And the examination of my life seems ultimately to show that it is part of human destiny to teach the young and each other, and my final definition of the swerve, which seems so anti-Platonic and pro-Epicurean, is in fact not a materialistic free-fall of atoms, but part of my strange sense of humor; see here.

2 Sophist 263e-4a, Theaetetus 189e ff. Thinking is the soul’s dialogue with itself.

3 Aeneid 1.203: “Perhaps at some future time it will be pleasing to remember these things.”

The cortex is neo-mammalian; the limbic system (mid-brain) is paleo-mammalian; the brain stem is reptilian.

5 I am not unaware that I am suggesting that my vision of how the neurology works seems to be analogous to Plotinus’ notion of the self (or the soul) and its relative position to the vehicle, Soul, and Being. What to Plotinus are hypostases or ontological states are to the neurologist brain-based psychic modules to which are more or less strongly connected the prefrontal structures which the neurologist identifies as the center of self. As the neurologist, so Plotinus saw it as within the power of the person to change the position of his self; the neurologist sees the brain as self-modifiable, and Plotinus saw the human self as able to navigate psychically, and in this he followed Plato, for example in the myth of Er in which the prophet of Lachesis proclaims that human goodness is free, has no master.

6 Cf. Pindar Pyth. 2.72 (cf. my poem “Identity”), Aristotle, Metaphysics 5.2.7, 1013b23. TS Eliot, “East Coker” beginning & end; “Little Gidding” V.