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Alter Egos: Ann Logan/Jim Brown

  Cover Story  

Ann Logan, medical secretary/receptionist
For 12 years I helped my kids show their horses and collect their trophies, awards, and championship belt buckles. I got a tremendous sense of pride helping them achieve their goals, but now I felt that it was time for me to see what I could accomplish in the arena.

Last year I started showing my buckskin mare, Cody's "Kit" Carson. Prepping Kit includes the proper feeding of supplements and vitamins that will ensure a shiny and healthy-looking coat, keeping her shaded from the fading rays of the sun, and brushing and braiding her tail. She must be ridden and exercised regularly to keep her toned. We practice our groundwork daily so that Kit and I move in rhythm. Aside fromthis, our nine horses require regular vaccinations, parasite control, dental care, grooming, and hoof care-not to mention daily chores and stall cleaning!

Last summer Kit and I were named the Cedar Rapids Horseman's Club High Point Halter Champion.

Jim Brown, associate dean of the college and associate professor of psychology
I build props for Riverside Theatre, a professional theater in Iowa City. These run from the simple (4-foot notes cut out of thin plywood to hang as part of the decor in "Lady Day at the Emerson Grill") through the average (a sea chest holding Viola's stuff rescued from the opening shipwreck in "Twelfth Night") to the more complicated (the wardrobe in "Memory of Water," which holds a dead mother's things and through which she enters the stage to become part of the play). I've copied Elizabethan chairs, built a fainting couch, produced a big steamer trunk, and created a few other assorted bits and pieces.

Both my wife and I love theater and have been supporters of theater wherever we have lived. Riverside Theatre happens to combine high quality, interesting productions with accessibility and community involvement. I started my involvement there helping to build, paint, and strike sets when my schedule permitted. But my schedule didn't permit very often, which was disappointing. I am also a low-level woodworker, an activity that is highly adaptive to anyone married to a historian, folks who are chronically short of bookshelf space. So a few years ago Riverside's technical director, when short of time, asked if I could produce a couple of props. This work is ideal for me: theater props only have to look like what they are supposed to be, and this appearance is from some distance and with creative lighting. They must survive for a few weeks with limited use, instead of surviving heavy daily use. And since the insides of things rarely show, one can frequently use convenient construction techniques (screws, glue, duct tape), which a real craftsperson would scorn to use.

Like many folks, I get satisfaction out of what could be considered artistic output of a sort. Nothing fancy or particularly talented here, but creative nonetheless. I've found I like contributing to my community, and the Riverside is definitely community. And I have to admit to liking my recreations being productive, to learning something while doing them, to having things to show for them. But mostly, it's simply fun, and I've always liked having fun.

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