Letter Box: March 2010

One “Boss” Article

Ed’s note: These letters were received in response to an online-only article that detailed a First Seminar Program class in which students analyze the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen songs.

I [thoroughly] enjoyed your piece regarding Bruce Springsteen. Students should be clamoring to enroll in that class. While living in New Jersey, and later Indiana and the western suburbs of Chicago, I never missed a Bruce concert—from his breakthrough Greetings from Asbury Park until the late ’90s. I retired [to] Northwest Florida, where the Boss never tours. But holy cow…the stories I could tell you about how I [used to] score tickets—like to the Born in the USA tour. Just being in the right place at the right time—what a blast! At outdoor concerts, I used to be one of the first fans to start moaning “Bruce,” calling him to appear on stage. One night after multiple encores he told everyone to go home. It was way past midnight. He and the E Street Band were exhausted. Good job on the article.

Karen E. Brennan ’72

I think TCNJ is well intentioned to hold a class analyzing Springsteen, but his body of work (especially lyrically) cannot hold a candle to Bob Dylan. I would think that studying Bob Dylan would be a terrific exercise in American literature. Yes, I am a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, but the span and depth of Dylan’s lyrics is just too great a resource not to expose the students to.

Lenny Schwartz

Responses to November’s “Looking back” photo

I was a senior when the [Meningitis] outbreak hit, and I remember it well. I was walking along Quimby’s Prairie when a reporter from a Philadelphia TV station stopped us and asked what we thought about the outbreak. That was the first we had heard about it, and were speechless. Obviously this was before cell phones, BlackBerrys, etc. Most of our information came from postings around campus and word of mouth and articles in The Signal. We all got our shots before we left for Thanksgiving recess, as they were afraid we would spread it around. As it turned out, it was mostly confined to The Pub and its employees, but just like now, better safe than sorry.

Kris Spindler ’75

[The event] was a big thing. Mostly the “girls” were scared; I think the “guys” got the shots because mom called all worried and such. I didn’t get the shot, forget why, but I know I didn’t wait in that line. I wasn’t too trustworthy of “government” shots at the time. I was working as a photo editor [at the time for] The Signal or Seal and [the incident] did make for interesting photos that week—people waiting for hours, news cameras were all around.

Mike Butkus ’76

As I recall…there was never a state of panic, and there were plenty of times available for the vaccine. At most I recall waiting in line maybe one half hour. The cool thing was they used these neat vaccine “guns” to inject the vaccine rather than individual needles. I believe they were air powered [and] shot the vaccine through the skin. This made the process go quickly, so you were in and out in no time, and it was totally painless, too. There was a rush to get everyone inoculated prior to going home for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was handled well, and everyone pulled together and got it done.

Tom Szczepanski ’76

I clearly remember this weekend in ’74 when we stayed at the College and stood in a forever-winding line to get our meningitis vaccine. I believe every seventh or ninth person in line got a throat culture (I didn’t). I was in the nursing program, but since I was only in my second year, I wasn’t that familiar with vaccines and how deadly meningitis is…. The funny thing is that I have been a nurse for 32 years, and next month I will be running an H1N1 clinic at our high school, so I will get to see long lines once again.

Pat (Knast) Snyder ’77

I was a junior during the fall of 1974. Those of us who lived off campus were honoring the picket line for the New Jersey state college teachers strike, staying away from the campus. When the news broke about the meningitis outbreak, we had to decide whether to cross the line to get our shots. I stood in line for what seemed like hours to get the shot. I recall that the strike ended about that time, possibly aided by the necessity of our crossing the picket line.

Anne Lyon ’76, MEd ’88

I was a senior at the time of the outbreak. It is one of those memories from TCNJ one doesn’t forget. I was at home that quarter, doing my student teaching in Woodbridge Township Schools; however, even though some of my friends and I were not on campus, we were still called back to TCNJ to receive the vaccine. Apparently we were on campus during the time of possible exposure…. We actually got an extended Thanksgiving break from student teaching. We were told to stop teaching immediately, come back to TCNJ for the vaccine, and get a throat culture. I remember it was quite cold waiting in line for hours. I vaguely recall someone handing out doughnuts and coffee. I also remember there was a strike…occurring on campus and we were nervous about returning for the vaccine and the possibility that we would have to cross a picket line. Not every student was cultured that day, so some of us had to find a lab at home to handle it. We then had to wait for a negative result from the throat culture before we were allowed to resume student teaching. Every time I hear in the news of a meningitis outbreak on a college campus somewhere, I think of TCNJ in November 1974 and bore my family with the story again!

Winnie Usiak Petronis ’75

I remember that students were held on campus and asked not to leave that weekend. It was difficult for those of us who had part-time jobs. Your article
brought back an event that I have spoken about frequently since the H1N1 problem has come up. Thanks for the memory.

Anthony Villane ’76, ’80

“Solidarity” is needed to confront environmental degradation

In response to the article “Sisterhood and Solidarity,” I want to say that we can no longer compartmentalize social issues and environmental issues. We have appalling mounds of trash in this country as well. While people may not live in landfills here, many [landfills] are covered over and turned into parks. Many people are also marginalized by our system of allowing corporations and city trash dumps to exploit areas where disadvantaged people live and ruin the local air, ground, water, and even sound (noise pollution.) The real social crisis of our time is environmental degradation. It creates tensions. It affects us all in many ways and will continue to get worse unless we work toward population control and zero waste. Both are attainable. We can help each other by speaking up for source reduction when we see things with too much packaging, learning to compost, by continuing to press for public transportation, renewable energy, and more. It goes way beyond recycling. If we can live in a sustainable manner we can help others to live that way too. We can learn much from countries with less consumerism and we can all live with dignity. I hope these Women in Learning and Leadership can promote these ideals wherever they go.

Lynn Wade ’81

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