From Our Readers


High-Heel Neil

I loved Ridley Wills’ story about Neil Cargile [Fall 2011, Southern Journal, “High Flyer”]. Neil and I were Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers at Vanderbilt. As far as I know, neither I nor any other SAE member was crazy enough to fly with him. But he could dance even better than he could fly. One of the few coeds who could keep up with him was a Nashville girl named Irene Potter, BA’52. When they jitterbugged, the floor would clear and a circle would form to watch the action. Irene (aka Kip) and I have been married for 57 years and have three children and eight grandchildren. And she can still jitterbug up a storm.

After graduation, Neil and I lost touch. About 15 years later, out of the blue, my Washington law office phone rang. It was Neil. “Steve, I’ve been sued up there, and I want you to represent me,” he said. A competitor alleged that Neil had violated his dredge patent. At trial, Neil was a knowledgeable and credible witness. His testimony was decisive in winning the case.

A few years later Neil called again. He had purchased, at auction for about $75,000, a surplus jet trainer that was not certificated for civilian use. I checked with the FAA and learned it would cost about $250,000 to get it done. He said that was just too much. I asked Neil to give me a list of countries where he had dredged.

Malta was one of them. I confirmed that Malta was a signatory to the International Air Navigation Treaty. Malta agreed to process our request for certification, but the aircraft had to be inspected in Malta. Neil flew the jet trainer across the North Atlantic and down through Europe to Malta. It passed—total cost about $25,000. Neil enjoyed his toy for many years.

Stephen Potts, BA’52, LLB’54
Chevy Chase, Md.



Top Brass

We found the article about Rear Adm. Nora Tyson [Fall 2010, “Not Self, But Country”] very interesting, especially because we’ve had the pleasure of knowing this talented naval officer. However, there was a glaring omission in mentioning other alumni who have reached the rank of admiral. I’m certain of this fact because my husband, John Mazach, BA’66, retired from the Navy as a vice admiral. If I’m not mistaken, that is the highest rank an alumnus has achieved in some time. His last job in the Navy was commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, retiring in 1998. He has continued his ties to Vanderbilt as an adviser to the Vanderbilt NROTC unit. Just thought you’d like to know.

Pat Waggoner Mazach, BA’66
Virginia Beach, Va.


The fall edition of Vanderbilt Magazine is spectacular and full of great information. The Nora Tyson story, Christine Kreyling’s story about the library [“Open House”] and others—artwork and photos were superb—Vanderbilt come to life! Congratulations, and keep it up.

Judson Randolph, ’49, MD’53



One Vote for the Polk–Skinner Arena

I was so sorry to read about Roy Skinner’s passing [Fall 2010, The Campus]. When I graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1959, I asked Coach Bob Polk if he would like me to keep an eye open for basketball players in the greater Chicago area, where I planned to work. Coach Polk replied yes, by all means, and sent Assistant Coach Skinner to Chicago to scout players I recommended as Vanderbilt material academically and athletically.

Roy and I drove all over the northern and western suburban areas together on numerous occasions watching high school basketball games. This routine lasted until he became the head coach. From those days back in the early ’60s, Roy and I formed a fast friendship that, unfortunately, drifted apart after I moved to Georgia and North Carolina and he became head coach. Subsequently, NCAA rules were enacted that prohibited recruiting by alumni.

It has always been a mystery to me why the Memorial Gymnasium hasn’t been renamed the Polk–Skinner Arena because it was Bob Polk and Roy Skinner who brought Vandy basketball literally from the depths to where it is today.

Bob Youngerman, BA’54, JD’59
Brevard, N.C.


A Mile in Their Shoes

All articles in the last issue were very interesting, but the one by Dr. Otis Rickman [Fall 2010, VJournal, “Role Reversal”] was especially unusual. We have grown accustomed to Vandy grads excelling—such as Rear Adm. Nora Tyson—but few agree to be put to risk in such an unusual way as Dr. Rickman.

James L. Avritt Jr.
Lebanon, Ky.


I read with great interest the article by Dr. Otis Rickman regarding his willingness to undergo a bronchoscopy to further his understanding of what his patients experience. I recently had to have my aortic heart valve replaced and can unequivocally state that I had excellent care. I also experienced atrial fibrillation, which carries a high risk of stroke. The fix is typically medication (amiodarone), and if that’s not successful, a procedure known as cardioverting is done to get the heart back into normal sinus rhythm.

Of all the procedures I had done to me in the course of my pre- and postoperative care, nothing worried me as much as the potential for this one, as I knew it involved electric shock. What nobody told me was that I would be sedated and therefore would not feel or remember anything. My assumptions were based mostly on television dramas, which often are very different from actual procedures. Dr. Rickman’s article points out the continuing need for clear, concise communication between patients and physicians and their advocates so as to lessen anxiety and worry.

John Crehore, BA’85
Charlotte, N.C.


When I saw the topic of this article, I knew I wanted to read it. Finally, someone took the time to find out what a patient goes through. It is a great thing for people to have compassion and care for [patients], who I believe are in the most vulnerable state of their lives—but it is another thing for them to really know what someone is going through. I was brought up on the old saying, “Do not pretend to understand me until you have walked a mile in my shoes,” and I believe we would all be a lot better off if we learned to live by this. Know that while you are doing your best to understand, if you have not experienced what I am going through, you do not know what I am feeling.

I hope and pray that I do not ever have to have this procedure done, but if it happened, I would want Dr. Rickman to perform it. Kudos to you, sir, for caring enough for your patients to put yourself in their shoes.

Kathy Rhodes
Joelton, Tenn.



Where’s Norman?

In your Fall 2010 “Letters from the Reader,” you asked if you had missed any Vanderbilt sports writers [in the Summer 2010 article “Shooting from the Lip”]. Yes, you did—one of the best. Norman Frauenheim, BA’71, was the sports editor for Versus while in school, and has spent his entire career honing his craft. After graduation he first worked in the sports department for the largest paper in Jacksonville, Fla., and later became a senior sports writer for the Arizona Republic, the largest paper in Arizona. He is best known for his boxing articles.

Norman had a fascination for boxing even as a Vanderbilt student. I remember when we were in school and the two of us went to Tennessee State University to watch a heavyweight title fight on a large projection screen in the gym. It was the only way to see a heavyweight title fight at that time. I believe the fight we saw was in 1971 and billed as the Fight of the Century. We saw Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali in 15 rounds. It was quite a thrilling experience, to say the least. We were the only two white people in the whole place. In 1973, I visited Norman in Jacksonville, and we went to see George Foreman knock out Joe Frazier in two rounds. We hardly got our money’s worth on that one. Again, we had to watch it on a big screen in a large venue.

Please give Norman his due. He was a talented swimmer, too, and swam all four years at Vanderbilt, setting many butterfly records throughout his career.

Frank Lorge, BE’72, JD’80, MS’82
2010 Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame (swimming, 1968–1972)
North Little Rock, Ark.


I am writing in response to the invitation to let you know about alumni who made careers in sports writing who were not previously mentioned. Last year I nominated one such alumnus, Norm Frauenheim, BA’71, for the Vanderbilt Media Hall of Fame. In 2008, Norm was recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism. This award comes from the Boxing Writers Association of America, and only previous winners are allowed to vote on the award. Norm has received numerous other writing awards from the BWAA through the years. In addition, he has been the beat writer for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, and covered boxing, swimming and wrestling during the 2008 summer Olympics.

Bill Colvin, BA’73
Chattanooga, Tenn.


God Is Omnipresent? Not at VDS

I don’t understand why Vanderbilt Divinity School is called the “divinity school” [Fall 2010, “Acts of Faith”]. The engineering school teaches engineering, the medical school teaches medicine. The divinity school teaches … what? About divinity? Late, very late, in the fascinating article it mentions helping people “through the good news of the gospel, and through creative brokering of relationships, to imagine realities beyond those that are immediately present, to facilitate the expanding of constricted imagination.”

God must be terribly, terribly impressed. What good news? What gospel?

Manning Kirby, ’52
Knoxville, Tenn.


No Time Like the Present

How the world has changed [Fall 2010, “Open House”]! When I was an undergraduate around 1950, Ron Rouse, BA’50, PhD’58, Frank Schulman, ’50, and I founded the Vanderbilt Unitarian Fellowship, which has grown into the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. At that time, black students were not allowed into the JUL [Joint University Library], as it was called. The School of Religion [which became Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1956] had a checkout desk in the basement of the building, and they would get books for students from Fisk or Meharry colleges, and check the books out to black students from their desk. I think this is one of the finest examples of social responsibility shown by any religious organization.

Ron, Frank and I selected a social action project for our newly founded fellowship. We did not think that the exclusion of blacks from the JUL was appropriate and felt that black students should have full access. We got appointments with the members of the JUL board and visited them all, asking that the no-blacks policy be changed. In every case we were turned down, sometimes with the feeble explanation that it was not yet time. The time has long since come. I have never felt so proud of a project that was a total failure.

E. Allan Blair, BA’52
Flagstaff, Ariz.

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