Prof. Patrick Kimball

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Children's Names

As a follow-up to my screed on "My First Name," I thought I should broadcast what I
remember about how we chose names for our four children.  It is certainly true that
parents can damage their offspring for life by poor choices.  I learned later how to
deflect the stage-Irish image of my name by saying that I was an English Patrick.
Whether anyone believed me or not, it stopped conversation dead on March 17th.

In effect, your mother named the first two, with practically no input from me.  I don't
remember how she came up with David, but it does reflect the Welsh origin of the
Kimball name.  The Stuart middle name comes directly from Grandmom's mother, who
was from that clan in Scotland.  We were told they were the royal Stuarts, of course.
The tie that I gave Devin is a Stuart plaid from the Wee Scot's House at Rockefeller
Center.

Now the next in line was expected to be a girl, for no other reason than that's what Mom
wanted.  When I saw her after she came out of the anesthetic, she wailed, "It's another
boy!"  "That's wonderful, I said."  And it was, and it is.  She decided on Steven as a
first name.  She didn't like Stephen, for some reason.  The Scott reflects both her
Scottish heritage, and the maiden name of Ursula Scott, the wife of Richard Kimball
who brought us to the New World.  We expected to call him Scott, but somehow that
never materialized, so he has always been "Steven, with a V".

You have already heard the genesis of Jean Darcy, which was supposed to be my name
if I had been born a girl.  My mother was greatly assuaged for that loss by our girl.
My mother had been christened Eugenie Marie, for the empress of France, and for Eugene
and Mary, her parents.  As soon as she could walk and talk, she became Jean.  Darcy
was her grandmother's last name.  Ellen Darcy married Patrick Costello.  She was
called "Nellie" and had six children, only one of whom married.  I know absolutely
nothing about the Irish families, except that they came from County Mayo.

You also know that Amy was no accident.  Mom and other women in Winnetka wanted
another child at age 34, before they had to fly up to the Senior Women's Club.  No
kidding, that's a fact.  The baby boom was still in full swing, and a whole lot of fourth,
fifth, and sixth children were added to families.  I was for calling our baby, Caroline
Howe, after my indomitable grandmother from Maine, who was the first principal of
the high school in Oshkosh.  Unfortunately, Caroline Kennedy was in the White House,
so we didn't want people to think our child would be named for her.  That's the kind of
tortured reasoning parents face in naming a child.  We liked the name, Amy, meaning
beloved, but for no good reason, kept the Howe as her middle name.  Amy liked the
name, except she couldn't stand the song, "Once in Love With Amy."

Now I have four grandchildren:  Hilary Ann, Devin Stuart, Emily Suzanne, Timothy
John, Jr., Lydia Dean, Charles Morton, and Nancy Howe.  If, as, and when I ever see
great-grandchildren, I wonder what their names will be!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Hub Visit

We needed a little break from winter gloom,
so we hied up to The Hub for a weekend.
Unfortunately, it was mostly bitter cold
and windy, but we persevered in our outings.

About half the aim of the trip was to
eat our way through the fine restaurants,
and that succeeded inestimably, for most
were within walking distance of the hotel.

Which was the Boston Park Place Plaza,
a great old barn just a short block south
of the Public Gardens and the soul
of the city at the Boston Common.

The establishments were Legal Sea Food,
well-known throughout the commonwealth,
Maggiano's Little Italy, thus saving us from
having to make an expedition to the North End.

Fleming's Steakhouse features fifty dollar
steaks, but they are so big that it is wise
to share; one father we saw meted out
slices to members of his family.

Smith and Wollensky now occupies a
stone triangular former armory
completely refurbished on the inside,
also requiring sharing pricey items.

Being members of the Museum of Fine Arts,
we had to visit again, this time concentrating
on small exhibitions of jewelry and costumes.
Lunch in the vast new atrium in the wing.

Walked over to the Gardner Museum
at the edge of The Fens to see their addition
and tour again Isabella's collection and
admire the Italian courtyard in bloom.

Attended Morning Prayer at Trinity Church,
a throwback to the glorious days of clergy
and choir in full kit, psalms and canticles,
processional led up the aisle by the verger.

At the Huntington Theater, a play entitled
"Venus in Fur," two people in the
Battle of the Sexes for an hour and a half.
James Thurber did that much better.

Beware of a small room on the air shaft,
facing a circular fan vent that howled.
We complained, were moved to a
better room, and received a free breakfast.

We wanted to make a pilgrimage to the
finish line of the Boston Marathon, but
the icy wind was too much to resist,
so we will come back in better weather.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Not Being a Veteran

My son, the lawyer sent me a salute for Veterans' Day, enclosing
Kipling's famous poem about Tommy Atkins, the British regular.
Herewith, my reply:

"For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;"

That is a refrain that I memorized a long time ago.  Funny, I don't consider
myself a real veteran.  I was never in combat, serving on border duty in
Germany during the Korean War.  Twenty-nine of my classmates died in
Korea.  And one who was a BG had a mortar round fall on him in Viet Nam.
Four others died in the air in that war.

Otherwise, the rest of us had our harrowing experiences in training.  Quite
a few hot pilots were lost in training accidents, including our top scholar.  I
survived a jeep rollover, which I never told your mother about.  Once
a rolling artillery barrage fell short.  I shouted, "Hit the deck!" only to see
that I was the only one still standing.

An incident that I will never forget is when I had to pull a tank out of a
stream with my tank retriever. I had everyone button up while we slowly
winched the tank up the bank.  I stood outside guiding the operation.  If
the cable had snapped, which sometimes happens, I wouldn't be here.
Thereafter, I was afraid of nothing, and scaled mountains hand over hand
with reckless abandon!  If your number is up; it's up.  If not, carry on.

Every now and then, I find myself treated with respect, which I don't
deserve.  "Thank you for your service," I have heard.  Still, I salute when
Taps is played, indoors or out.  And at ball games, I leave my cap on and
salute during the national anthem.  No one says a word.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ode to Joy

Gloom pervades the nation.
The health care plan is failing.
NSA is reading our email.
Congress faces another impasse.

Lack of employment continues.
Cities and states go broke.
Roads and bridges collapse.
Innocent people are gunned down.

Is there no end to this madness?
Are we doomed to a dour destiny?
Shall calumny and ignominy
Be the country's zeitgeist?

Ah, but somewhere in
This besieged nation,
Joy reigns supreme.
Citizens are happy!

For on the sainted sod
Of Fenway Park, the Red Sox
Became champions again for
The third time in this dismal century.

People came to work today
With goofy grins on their faces,
Wishing, "Have a nice day!"
And really meaning it.

A million New Englanders
Crowded Boston streets
To photograph their heroes,
While they took pictures of us.

We celebrate the fact that
Our ballplayers act like
Working people, not
Whiny, sullen, prima donnas.

There was no "I" on the Boston team,
Just a bunch from everywhere
Who wanted to win for us.
They did; we can too.

Like them, we can solve our problems,
Manage successfully, get the job done,
Be a credit to ourselves and our country,
And never give up!

Monday, July 8, 2013

George Arthur Lincoln

The curriculum at West Point
Is almost unrecognizable to its old grads.
See the article in the current issue
Of "West Point," a publication for graduates.

Entitled "Interdisciplinary Curriculum =
Intellectual Capital," projects are described
That require research and innovation by
Cadets toward solving defense related issues.

Whereas the academy was once the first
And for a time the only U.S. engineering school;
A plethora of majors in diverse fields at West Point
Now resembles the traditional liberal arts college.

The difference, of course, is that cadets
Graduate to service with a single employer,
Therefore everything has to be aimed at
The utility of their education to the U.S. Army.

How did this radical change in academics occur?
One clue is the career of George A. Lincoln.
If you search his name on the internet,
Two references bring up a lengthy description.

The first is "The Lincoln Brigade --
One Story of the Faculty of the
USMA Department of Social Sciences"
By CPT Martha S. H. VanDriel

The second is Chapter One of the book:
"The Insurgents: David Petraeus and
The Plot to Change the American Way of War"
 By Fred Kaplan, Simon & Schuster, 2013.

Judging from what these authors state,
Colonel Lincoln was the primary mover in
The change of emphasis in the curriculum
At the U.S. Military Academy.

Colonel Lincoln was an impressive individual.
I remember that he gave some lectures to
Our classes in Military History, although
I don't recall the specific subject.

There is a parallel in what he did at West Point
And my much more modest accomplishments
In starting a new academic department and
Curriculum in Management at Pace University.

Monday, July 1, 2013

1949 Class Notes

Members of the Class of 1949
At the West Point Military Academy
(Formerly known as the U.S.Military Academy)
Will be between 85 and 90 this year, 2013.

That is quite a spread in age,
Entirely due to wartime conditions in 1945.
Many were already in the army,
Looking for a college education.

When the West Shore train stopped
At West Point that July, those who
Trooped up the hill looked like a mixture
Of draftees and those already enlisted.

Many of the World War Two veterans
In the crowd departed the first week.
They did not expect nor would they countenance
The juvenile hazing that greeted new cadets.

They went on to the G.I. bill for education
Leaving a depleted collection of plebes at West Point
Consisting largely of sons of graduates
And youngsters not yet drafted, like me.

Often when we get together for a reunion,
We marvel that such a disparate group
Came together as a class and were able to
Maintain that spirit down through the years.

Some of us drifted  away from military careers
After we had served the requisite period of service.
But we all agree that the privilege of attending
West Point was a singular preparation for life.

So here's to those who turn ninety this year
From your young comrades of eighty-five.
May you all be present at next year's
65th celebration of our graduation!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Maine Coast

Follow the photos at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/116843928190236062311/20130615Maine

The genesis of our drive up the Maine Coast was Hurricane Irene in 2011,
which blew our cruise ship out to sea, preventing a call to Bar Harbor.
We decided to begin the drive in Portland, staying with Deloris, a great
friend of Barbara, who had moved there from the Cape.  Then we would
go on to Camden, Bar Harbor, and Waterville where granddaughter Emily
is a coach of track and field at Colby College.

You see, first, scenes of the waterfront in Portland, which is about all that
we were able to do, as a downtown celebration would take over the next
day.  The buildings along the waterfront once functioned as chandlers,
coopers, victualers, and rope walks for the many sailing ships of earlier
centuries.  Good dinner there, too, at the Farmer's Table.

After church on Sunday at St. Mary's in Falmouth, Maine, to Freeport for
the obligatory pilgrimage to the L.L. Bean campus.  In addition, Beane
had a weekend exhibition of water sports, to try out and perhaps buy
kayaks and paddle boards.  B and Deloris had to be outfitted with PFDs,
although they had no intention of getting their feet wet.  I scoped out the
kayaks, which would be good for launching from our place on the Cape.

On to Camden, a picture perfect coastal village, just in time to miss the
hordes who descend upon it in the summer.  Stayed at the Whitehall Inn,
old and historical.  Up Mt. Battie, a hill in a state park, overlooking the
harbor and coastline.  Splendid views.  On the next day, the deluge started
that lasted for almost three days.  Undaunted, we drove south to Rockland
to tour the Farnsworth Museum, then turned around for a difficult trek on
old Route 1 to Bar Harbor.

We had planned and reserved a carriage ride in Acadia National Park,
that we should have done from the cruise ship.  Alas, the rain forced us
to cancel, but we were able to do a long tour around the park in a bus in
the afternoon.  That morning, I drove all around the southern tip of the
park, in heavy rain, to see an establishment in Northeast Harbor called
The Kimball House.

That was a welcome surprise.  Sitting opposite Kimball Lane, and down
from Kimball Road, it is a large, well-staffed emporium containing all
manner of "home" items, designed to appeal to a discriminating clientele.
The propietor, Nancy Kimball, was not present, so I was unable to question
the local history of a Kimball family.  Our branch left Topsham, Maine,
in the 1850s, for better lumbering prospects in Wisconsin.

My camera went kaput, so the photos of the Kimball House, and succeeding
shots are from Barbara's collection.  I missed filming the Great Maine
Breakfast on Cottage Street in Bar Harbor.  Over one hundred stops by
cruise ships are made in Bar Harbor each year, so the downtown area
is awash in souvenir stores.  Even found gelato at an ice cream parlor.

On to Waterville, where Emily gave us a comprehensive tour of the
athletic facilities from her professional viewpoint.  She said she doesn't
do pickup sports anymore, thank heavens, after tearing her Achlles tendon.
My dining room table and chairs sit in tight quarters that she and Derek
occupy.  They are both into outdoor sports, hiking and canoeing.  Took
them to a very fine dinner at 18 Below in Waterville.

Back home, after three trips in three months.  No immediate plans, although
a short stay in NYC might materialize in the Fall.  We have looked into
a Collette tour of London and Paris, including riding the train through the
Chunnel.  Then my 65th reunion at West Point in May, 2014, God willing.