Letters to the Editor Winter 2012

Readers Quack Back

Absolutely fabulous article on The Duck! ["The Duck Abides," Autumn 2012] I have only two comments: On page 37 Alice Tallmadge writes, "However he made it, today the Duck is close to the top of the college mascot heap..." First, he should properly be identified as The Duck, and he IS the top of the heap; he looks down on the other mascots! GO DUCKS!

Tom Beltram '67
Rancho Cucamonga, California

May I add some information to the local history of the UO Duck? While working as art director for "Oh Shirt!," I was the first (and at the time, only) artist licensed by Disney to draw Donald Duck for UO T-shirts. I was also the first to copyright a T-shirt with a mascot. I created the "Hugga Duck" in 1982, which I noticed is still selling as a keychain design. I also created the first "Quack Attack" and "Duck Fan" designs for T-shirts, selling them to the UO bookstore. We were the first to have the mascots actually doing something on the shirts, then the first to use the long sleeve to show a design, and the first to print on the back. As an alumna of the UO, I thoroughly enjoyed designing for the Ducks.

Claudine Lundgren '67

I thought it was a bit ironic that you featured Bill Bowerman's picture in "The Duck Abides" article. Having been one of Bill's Men of Oregon ('69–'72), I recall that Bill really didn't have much love for the Oregon Duck. At the time Oregon was known as the Fighting Ducks, and Bill would let us know that he had never seen a fighting duck. He would insist that the track team members be referred to as the Men of Oregon.

I also recall a story that there was actually a mallard duck that would be brought out to events to represent the Ducks. Seems this particular duck would chase the cheerleaders around the field, to the delight of the fans. This otherwise tame duck would spend the summers in the care of one of the coaches. When it was Bill's turn, Bill introduced the duck to his pet raccoon. The career (and life) of the duck ended that day and I guess Bill proved his point.

Gary Wolf  '72, MBA '74
Saratoga, California

As the coconspirator, with John English, behind the Retain Class in Your Bird (RCYB) committee—the 1978 "Save Donald" group—it's always amused me that histories of the Duck misinterpret what that election was about. It was a joke.

The Emerald was running a series of house ads promoting its editorial duck—Steve Sandstrom's Mallard Drake—as mascot. John and I, both freshmen that spring, didn't really care about Donald's honor. We just wanted in on the gag. So we created our RCYB (riffing on the acronym of a campus protest group), stapled photocopied posters across campus, held an "upper-class sit-in" at the Emerald, and otherwise made merry with the campaign—which led to that 2–1 vote that outpolled the ASUO presidential race on the same ballot.

Best part of the joke? The referendum itself had nothing to do with Donald. It was merely whether to approve Mallard. But it's been regarded as a Donald confirmation ever since.

Mike Lee '81, MA '91
San Diego, California

My boyfriend is a huge Ducks fan, and although we live in Orlando, he makes it up to see a Ducks football game almost every season. In addition to the Ducks, his other great passion is Disney. We're both cast members in Orlando, and he almost fell out of his chair with excitement to show me the Puddles article in the Autumn issue of Oregon Quarterly. Go Ducks!

Christina Boncela
Orlando, Florida

In the picture of Walt Disney and Leo Harris that accompanies the Autumn 2012 Oregon Quarterly article "The Duck Abides," is that singer Phil Harris next to Leo Harris? What was the occasion of this picture being taken?

Patrick Holleran
via e-mail

Editor: John Bauguess, whose photographs frequent our pages, also wondered if that was Phil Harris in the photo. The photo was taken in Los Angeles, and Phil Harris worked with Disney, so it's likely him in the picture. We’re unsure of the occasion being photographed, but do know that it was successfully used as evidence of Disney's agreement with the UO involving the use of the duck mascot.

Water Is Everything

Kudos for the article "Watershed Moment" in your Autumn 2012 issue. As a youngster I waterskied on algae-filled Upper Klamath Lake, and lived on the arid hills above Lower Klamath Lake, now a drained peat farmland. I know in my bones that water is a precious resource. While our current wars might relate to oil, it is commonly accepted that future conflicts will be for water. Even now, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has as much to do with the control of scarce water sources as with the control of land.

The drama Salmon Is Everything, mentioned in the article, gave me hope that before again resorting to violence, we could use the arts as another way to come together, to explore the issues, and to develop constructive solutions.

Mary (Andrieu) Ryan-Hotchkiss

Go Gottfredson!

I congratulate and welcome Michael Gottfredson to the huge task and job known as the president ["Michael Gottfredson Appointed President," Autumn 2012]. That said, the easiest steps have been taken. Michael now needs to prove that he can be the advocate that the university requires to move forward. With the current governor, OUS board, and chancellor, his is a gargantuan task indeed. They have proven that they require a person who will toe their line, a person who will get along with the group, and not a person who will look out for the best interests of the UO.

I hope that Michael is smarter, more devious, a better politician, and a better communicator than most of the rest of us. I will be rooting for him, and worrying about the University of Oregon.

Steve Jacobson '73
Shelton, Washington


In "The Hardest Working Band in (Halftime) Show Business" [Autumn 2012], Paul Roth was incorrect in stating, "In 1970, though, the OMB was dead." As a senior that year I can attest and affirm the existence of the Official University of Oregon Marching Kazoo Band.

Immediately following the end of funding for the original, official Oregon Marching Band, a small group of happy jesters and musicians formed what became the most anticipated distraction to the travails of our mighty Ducks football team (led by the inimitable Dan Fouts). Each home game this merry band (possibly influenced by Ken Kesey or other interests) took to the Autzen turf, marching up and down the field in their own imitation of the more traditional musical halftime entertainment. Their ragtag presence not only livened up the game, but possibly served as the impetus to bring back the OMB!

John La Londe '71, MEd '72
San Rafael, California

Successful Generations

We now have our oldest grandchild (26-year-old Erin) living with us after completing eight years in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is working, but decided after returning from her last deployment in Kuwait that she also wanted to go to college. She's enrolled at Centralia College. Yesterday, after she had returned from a college orientation session, I let her read your "Success" piece ["Editor's Note," Autumn 2012]. She was emotionally moved (as I was when I first read it) by Kari Sommers's quote about education. As college-educated grandparents, we're so proud that Erin's making the "journey." She's doing it!

Craig Weckesser '64
Rochester, Washington

Remembering a Mentor

Sitting in Manhattan on a Sunday morning, I picked up the latest Oregon Quarterly I'd tossed in my bag to read on the plane, and read about the recent death of Jim Davies ["In Memoriam," Autumn 2012]. Professor Davies was my faculty advisor when I was a poli sci major at the UO back in the '60s. His advice and insight was valuable to me as a student, a veteran coming back into the academic community, and as newly married. While I did not see Professor Davies after my graduation, I thought of him often. I have recalled his personal therapy of apprenticing as a watchmaker and even considered that myself, but never did. I will miss him now that he is no longer with us.    

Tom Underhill '69 
Placentia, California

Fair-weather Fans?

The beginning of fall coincides with the start-up of the professional and college football season. The UO team is of intense interest to me (Duck sports keep my memory of the happy time on the campus alive). Consequently, I first look in the just-arrived issue of Oregon Quarterly for mention, however meager, about the current football team. Unfortunately, one has to wait until after a bowl game. But what will happen if the Ducks don't play well enough to earn a bowl berth? There will be nothing in the Quarterly, I suspect.

John Vazbys '57
Mahwah, New Jersey