Alter egos surprising
was a great pleasure and surprise to see the photo of Dennis Modracek
and his cornet on the cover of the spring 2002 issue and to read
his story and the other features about the alter egos of Cornell's
staff and faculty.
I met Dennis in April 2002 in Cincinnati at the North American
Brass Band Association Competition. At the time, I played tuba with
Prairie Brass Band and, as your article states, Dennis plays cornet
with the Eastern Iowa Brass Band. At a post-concert party, Dennis
politely and sincerely said that he would look after my son
who was a freshman at Cornell. What a testament to the fine quality
of people on campus!
On May 3 , I came to Cornell to help my son, Jon, pack up his
dorm room. That evening, I took my tuba over to Mount Vernon High
School and sat in a rehearsal with the Eastern Iowa Brass Band.
One of the pieces featured Dennis in a beautiful solo. What a sweet
tone he has on his cornet!
I look forward to seeing Dennis again when I return my son to campus
for his sophomore year. Thanks for the heartwarming story. It's
just part of the positive experience for a parent of a Cornell student.
What a wonderful story about the Mansfield couple getting together
after 50 years! It's a stark reminder of how time flies. When you
look at the two pictures, you can imagine in the one as students
the thoughts in their minds standing in their overcoats. He'd be
thinking, If only I didn't have to go to my wrestling practice,
and she's thinking, Oops, I better hurry after this to my
poetry reading with Dr. Isaacs.
Shervin Mellegard 84
I really enjoyed the Dynasties issue [summer 2001] and the sub-sequent
information prompted by that issueespecially since I have
known many of those families.
My niece, Christa Foster Niver 70, was the 234th member
of our family (which is connected to the Moores and Rigbys through
my brother, Rev. Dr. William F. Foster 47, and his
wife, Esther Swords Foster 49, whose brother, the Rev.
John E. Swords 49, married Alison Moore Swords 35,
granddaughter of Alice Fellows Rigby) to enroll at Cornell and the
40th direct descendant of her great-great-grandfather, Joseph G.
Wheat, to attend Cornell. Dr. Wheat retired from his medical practice
in 1896 when he moved his family to Mount Vernon, where some of
his nine children were already attending and others later enrolled.
Dr. Wheat oil painted with Cornell art professor Henry Mills.
My Bair/Lindsey grandparents also moved to Mount Vernon for the
primary purpose of having their children attend Cornell, which three
of the five did. My mother [May Bair Foster Starry 21]
even had to re-enroll and go through most of high school again in
order to be accepted at Cornell, as her small-town high school was
not accredited. That took nerve and persistence. She attended 2
1/2 years before my father [William Floyd Foster, Cornell
Academy] returned from World War I Navy duty and they were married.
In the 1920s, my grandparents Bair rented a couple of rooms to Cornell
men, and years later, the Deans rented most of the bedrooms to Cornell
men during World War II while renting (later buying) the home from
my grandfather Bair.
Lorrie Foster Henderson 46
I would like to add to the Putnam dynasty provided by my cousin
Merle Irish Biggs 38. Our mother's family's contacts
with Mount Vernon began in the late 1880s. Her uncles, George
Hogle 1889 and Isaac Hogle [date unknown], were at Cornell
at that time. George became an M.D. and settled in Mount Vernon,
while brother Isaac became a druggist there. The Hogles bought a
big house and rented rooms to Cornell students.
George Hogle married Dr. Kate Mason and they practiced in Mount
Vernon together for many years. They were married in London, since
Dr. Kate was doing graduate work there. Dr. George and Dr. Kate
bought the big house and remodeled it into a sanitarium where students
worked for their room and board.
Our mother, Lulu Botts Putnam 06, lived for a while
with Dr. George and Dr. Kate. She was a classmate of the Putnam
boys from Bedford, Iowa: Irving Putnam 05, Charles
Putnam 07, Clyde Putnam 07, and Leslie
Putnam 10. She married Charles after graduation and mothered
Philip Putnam 34, Pearl Putnam 37, Paul
Putnam 38, and Phyllis Putnam Minard 46.
In 1904, she was joined at Cornell by her sister, Elsie Botts,
who finished one year there. Her brother, Ellery Botts 15,
became a company doctor for Boeing in Washington state.
Paul M. Putnam 38