The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Sight for sad eyes

I flew into Paris on the night of November 13–14 and was over the Atlantic when the terrorist attacks took place. Last year, I wrote a biography of the famous Ohio State surgeon Robert M. Zollinger, who is very highly regarded in France. He served there in World War II as chief consultant in general surgery for the European Theater of Operations, then supported French surgery as it got back on its feet after the war. French surgeons remember him well, and I was invited to give a lecture on his life at the French National Academy of Surgery in Paris.

While still two hours out from the Charles De Gaulle airport, the pilot notified us that Paris had been attacked. The national borders were closed, although the airport remained open. No further details were given. It was only after I made it into the city, which was desolate despite unseasonably mild weather, and then to the hotel that I was finally informed of the sad and shocking news.

Clearly no surgical conferences would be going forward: Paris surgeons were attending to more important duties. I arranged to return to the States as soon as possible, which was the following morning. My family back in the United States was frantically trying to contact me. I was able to call my wife at 4 a.m. EST to tell her I was OK. Guests of the hotel were advised to remain inside.

By late afternoon a few people began to appear on the streets, and some cafes opened. People seemed determined to live their lives as they always had. I was reminded of our own response here after 9/11.

As night fell, I decided to take a walk along the very lonely left bank of the Seine across from the Île de la Cité. The spires of Notre Dame towered above. I crossed the Rue Dauphine and soon the ancient walls of the Louvre loomed across the river. I thought about the rich history of this city and the magnitude of the events of the day. I suppose I sought some solace from this new and threatening history.

I became aware of voices coming from an open door on a side street and realized it was a Scottish-style pub. Hearing the welcoming sound of English being spoken, I stepped inside. As my eyes grew accustomed to the dim light, I focused on the TV in the corner and, to my complete astonishment, instantly recognized that the broadcast was the Ohio State-Illinois football game, taking place live in the bright noonday sun due to a six-hour time difference.

I settled into a seat and silently watched the entire game, feeling strangely at peace, and even at home, amid the empty streets and claxon sirens of a foreign capital under threat, reminded again of the enormous reach of this remarkable university.

Craig Miller ’91 MD
Noblesville, Indiana

Warm Buckeye welcome

We are Penn State alumni and recently went to the Ohio State-Penn State football game in Columbus. We have a very close friend who is an Ohio State fanatic, and it was her dream to see the game. We wanted her to experience the game, but we were hesitant about our reception.

We were thrilled. Everyone was so polite and friendly to us. It was the experience of a lifetime for our friend, and we had a great time. Thank you to all the Ohio State fans for their courtesy and friendliness!

Wendy and Bill Hudson
Colts Neck, New Jersey

Consensus on Woody

I read Glenn Hollern’s letter on Woody Hayes with great interest. Although I did not know Woody personally, I remember him from the time he arrived at Ohio State until he passed on. Having grown up just southwest of Columbus, Woody and the Buckeyes were legends to us all. I have a personally autographed copy of “You Win With People,” which exemplifies the memories shared by Mr. Hollern. I have known several men who played for Woody, and each in his own way praises him highly. Too bad we have so few Woodys around these days.

Jim Newbrey ’64 MBA
Savannah, Georgia

I very much enjoyed the story about Woody by Glenn Hollern. It reminded me of the time (in the fall of 1973, I think) when we Baker Hall buddies were playing touch football out on the lawn behind the Ohio Union. One friend spied Woody crossing at a distance and requested a pass in that direction. He went long and made a diving catch, rolling across the sidewalk near Woody, who quickly stepped over to give him a hand up, a pat on the back and a “good catch, son!” What a great moment.

Jim Rigby ’76 (LM)
Brentwood, Tennessee

‘Sloopy’ flashback

Cherry Holmes Ellison

I so enjoyed reading the recent article on the 50th anniversary of “Hang on Sloopy.” Since I was born and raised in Columbus, the Buckeyes were always a big part of our family football Saturdays. I realized that I never would be in the Horseshoe playing football, but I always hoped that someday I would be on the field as a cheerleader.

As an Ohio State sophomore, I tried out with my pom-pom routine in 1968 to the McCoys’ “Hang on Sloopy” and a dream came true: I made the cheerleading squad! The squad worked with Charlie Spohn and the marching band to coordinate their arrangements to our many routines. In 1968, the football team went undefeated, beating USC in the Rose Bowl to earn the national championship.

When the Buckeyes went to the Rose Bowl to play Oregon in 2010, I brought my family to Pasadena for the game and pregame festivities. It was the first time I had been back to the Rose Bowl since Jan. 1, 1969. We also went to the pregame Buckeye Bash by the Beach in Santa Monica, where I was able to meet the Buckeye cheerleading squad and their coach. What a thrill for my family and me!

As I watched the cheerleaders doing the “Hang on Sloopy” routine during the game, I noticed that some of my original moves were still being used. So many years of that spirit-inspiring song, and I am very proud to have been a part of the original routine coordinated with the Ohio State Marching Band arrangement.

Cherry Holmes Ellison (LM)
Santa Rosa, California