Comprehending loss
I read with fascination your article “Hope Against Hope” [winter 2006] about the Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland. The details of how these people cope with the incredibly high AIDS death rate were moving, but I couldn’t relate what it feels like to have so many of one’s friends and family die. I wondered briefly about it, and turned the page to peruse the rest of the issue.

Then my eye fell on the obituary for Dan Johnson. A strong sense of loss and sorrow overwhelmed me as I remembered Dan’s quick smile, easygoing personality, and friendliness. I haven’t heard from Dan since we both graduated in 1981, and yet the sense of loss stayed with me for days. It gave me just a taste, just a smidgen, of the feelings the people in Swaziland must cope with every day.

Lisa Gonder Chambers ’81
Chico, California

The building served as the conservatory of music during the years that I attended the College of Puget Sound. It was built in 1908 by my maternal grandfather, Norton Lonstreth Taylor. He was city engineer of Tacoma at that time. I was born in this house since my father was serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. One time, Dr. Sinclaire asked me where I was born, and when I told him “the conservatory of music,” he looked a little taken aback until explanations were forthcoming.

Donald H. Raleigh ’40
Edmonds, Washington

Having grown up only a few blocks from Engine House Number 9, your article on it [winter 2006] brought back many memories.

As kids, we harvested horse chestnuts from the trees in front of the station and took little notice of the firemen suggesting we not throw them at each other. What else would you do with such good weapons?

Is the pole still in building? I had my one and only ride on the slide-pole when visiting the fire station with a Brownie group of girls. While the fireman explained what the pole was for, I was amazed to find his arms around me and down I went, scared to death!

Thanks for the article.

Beverly Hansen Raines ’52
Palm Desert, California

We checked; the fire pole is still there. – Ed.