Published: Sept. 1, 2012

Band the astronauts

Rock ’n’ roll

I was delighted to read the reference to Jax Snax (your article referred to it as Jack’s Snacks) in the article about the Astronauts and other 1960s Hall of Fame bands [“Flash Cadillac, Sugarloaf and the Astronauts,” pages 36-39, June 2012 edition]. Jax Snax was a popular 3.2 beer bar in Estes Park, Colo., the place to go for 18-21 year olds spending the summer working or visiting in the tourist town. It was a rowdy place, constantly in trouble for noise violations, and it was eventually closed down. Thanks for a walk down memory lane.

Susan Harris,
Estes Park, Colo.

Name that building

The picture of the building on page 42 of the June 2012 Coloradan depicts Royce Hall at the University of California, Los Angeles campus. Royce Hall was built in Italian Romanesque Revival architectural style with construction starting on 1926 and completed in 1929.

The caption on the picture of Royce Hall incorrectly refers to the University of Southern California. A similar building built on the USC campus in 1921 is Bovard Hall.

Steven Camden (Bus ex’00)
Albuquerque, N.M.

[Editor’s note: We heard from several alums who noticed we misidentified the building on page 42. We apologize and thank our readers for setting us straight!]

Coloradan beats paying bills

It is Saturday afternoon in sunny South Florida and while my friends are tanning on boats or sipping daiquiris at the Lauderdale Yacht Club, I’m stuck inside catching up on bills and other items on life’s to-do list. But to my surprise, the mundane task was pleasantly disrupted when I started leafing through the March edition of the Coloradan.

Bravo on a fantastic publication; the clean layout, thorough reporting, varied subjects and sharp photography piqued my interest throughout the pages. Your heartfelt and inspiring Editor’s Note was beautiful; my condolences about your losses and recent biopsy, but I have no doubt that with your attitude you’ll be able to supersede the nasty disease that has found a home in our genes for so many years.

Congratulations on a job well done with the magazine. Keep up the great work!

Meredith Clements (Phil’07)
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Secret to a happy child

Thanks for making a great Coloradan magazine! As a first-time father, I really appreciated “The secret to a happy child” article [pages 22-25] from the March 2012 issue.

Ramon Padilla (Ling’04)
Toronto, Ontario

GIs set standard for team

I should have written sooner to say how much I appreciate and enjoy reading the Coloradan, but it isn’t until you see a little something that triggers a note. So please know that your publication is carefully read and shared with others.

The “trigger,” which brings this letter, is a tiny update in Class Notes on page 54. I was touched by your coverage of Stan Hendrickson (Econ’47) as I had the good fortune to play with Stan after he’d returned from service in the South Pacific.

Stan and others, such as Bob Spicer (Jour’50), still had the desire to play for CU, even though they’d both been very badly wounded. In addition to Stan’s earlier years of 1941-42, he was an end on the 1947 Buffaloes. I have a United Airlines photo of the CU football team boarding one of their first flights to an away game on Oct. 2, 1947. Their flight was to New York where they played Army at West Point. I won’t go into the score, which was lopsided in favor of West Point.

In this traveling squad probably half the team members were returning GIs. CU’s win-loss record that year wasn’t all that great, but the camaraderie amongst the team members was strong. Those players, like Stan and Bob, set a lasting example for the rest of us.

Doug Nelson (Geog’50)
Dixon, N.M.

buffalo in a fieldHow did Ralphie get her name?

Ralphie was named after the third son of the Rev. A. Balfour Patterson, the Episcopal chaplain known to thousands of 1950s and 1960s students as Father Pat. Father Pat was the stadium announcer through most of the ’50s and into the ’60s.

He also usually sang the bass part in the annual spring production of the Messiah on campus and regularly sang with the community Gilbert and Sullivan Company. He was, at the time, so loved and respected by both students and faculty alike that Ralphie was named in honor of his young son.

C. Mark Brown (A&S’61)
Freeland, Wash.

These are my comments on CU Around, page 40 [June 2012 issue] regarding “Ralphie facts.” I have been around the university only 50 years and I do not recall any reference to “Rraalph” since the first Ralph was commissioned in 1966. This was prior to the Super Bowl and before the two football leagues merged into one NFL, before the escalation of the Vietnam War and an era of “good times.”

What I do remember is the TV show The Honeymooners was in full force with afternoon reruns (when most of the student body spent their lazy afternoons watching TV). The U.S. was aiming for the moon under JFK’s directive of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade, which made Ralph Kramden’s (played by Jackie Gleason) continuing threat to Alice as he shook his fist, “Alice, one of these days, to the moon,” fit the mood of the country.

Ed Norton (played by Art Carney), was Ralph’s best friend. Joyce Randolph played Ed’s wife Trixie who was best friends with Ralph’s wife, Alice Kramden (played by both Audrey Meadows and Shelia McRae).

The strong connection to CU football was the fact that Audrey Meadows was married to Robert (Bob) Six. Bob was the founder of Continental Airlines, booster for the University of Colorado and a very good friend of Coach Eddie Crowder. I remember seeing him in the old “team house” after some of the home games.

So in honor of Ralph Kramden, one of the game themes was “What’s it all about Ralph?” And you are correct, when a fan noticed Ralph was a girl, the name changed to “Ralphie,” which has stuck.

J. E. H. Knutson (Bus’69)

[Associate athletic director Dave Plati (Jour’82) responds: The official story is based on what was told to us by the original Ralphie handlers. In 1966 John Lowery, the father of a CU freshman from Lubbock, Texas, donated a six-month old buffalo calf. For a while, she was billed as “Rraalph,” the name given by the student body after sounds she allegedly made while running and snorting (original handlers will tell you something else). When a fan discovered the buffalo was a female, the name became Ralphie.]

Celebrating 50 years

Thank you, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, for “A call for courage” [page 60, June 2012 Coloradan]. It was in recognition of our class of 1962.

DiStefano writes of developments in 1962, such as the beginning of the Space Age, publication of the books To Kill a Mockingbird and Silent Spring, integration and Peace Corps involvement. That year, in my opinion, also was the last year before the “Age of American Assassinations.”

My attendance in cap and gown at the 50th reunion [during commencement] brought memories and produced an assessment. I summarized my past 50 years as a series of mistakes, bad decisions and wrong turns. Yet, by some miracle, I came out on top. A life of this sort therefore should not discourage new graduates. Life, or at least a big part of it, is unpredictable. It takes courage to
be realistic.

If indeed there is a “spirit of ’62,” as DiStefano writes, I found its 50-year progeny well and thriving in Boulder during our reunion. It is, after all, part of the spirit of CU, an ever-growing wonder.

The graduates of 2012 displayed it in all its glory. And they did this despite an economy that we in 1962 only read of in the history of the Great Depression. Hence, they are launched into a far stronger headwind and face personal challenges with student debt unknown in our era. Courage, a double dose, is called for.

Risto K. Martinnen (Hist’62)
Lexington, Ky.