Your Letters – Fall 2016

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The summer music-themed Norwich Record is indeed well done. I have always felt that a well-rounded person should have academics, athletics, music, and a good sense of humor. I came home from service in World War II in November of 1945. I received a letter from Norwich asking if I would consider attending on the G.I. Bill and play on the football team. After almost three years in the service, I did not really know if I could still play, but decided to try. My trying did not help: I was a bit too small, so I headed in other directions. Some of the cadets who had served in WWII wanted to resurrect the Grenadiers jazz band (which had formed prior to the war). A group of veterans and some cadets came together and started rehearsing. Tommy Boggs ’42 was the leader and he, along with the rest of us, wanted to keep the name Norwich Grenadiers, but did not want the university involved in the business end of things. The school accepted our request on the condition that we wear uniforms. We agreed and used the old woolen regimental uniforms. Not good! They were too warm to play in, so we bought Eisenhower jackets, white, and wore officer pink pants with white shirts and ties, which worked out well. This was a great group of musicians. We all got along well together and enjoyed playing. We rehearsed in Marsilius Hall. We played at Norwich, Northfield, UVM, Middlebury, and other places, always representing Norwich University. I must say that I played big band and small band, in high school, in the Air Force, and a lot after the war, but this group was always the best.
Richard W. (Bill) Pemberton ’49
Northfield, Vermont

Grenadiers Dance Band, circa 1940. Photo by R. J. Dwyer ‘41, courtesy of NU Archives.

Grenadiers Dance Band, circa 1940. Photo by R. J. Dwyer ‘41, courtesy of NU Archives.

I enjoyed the “Let the Music Speak” article in the [Summer 2016] Record. Music was a big part of my husband’s life, and he told me about playing trumpet with the band and the Grenadiers at Norwich. He graduated in 1942, so I realized that the Grenadiers were formed long before the 1946 date indicated at the bottom of page 21. I checked out the 1940 (page 141) and 1941 (page 131) War Whoops and found that the University Orchestra was reorganized under the name Grenadiers in 1940. And, that it was a popular dance band at Norwich, UVM, and throughout the state. Probably not many people would notice this discrepancy, or care. My husband would have been 98 years old on June 25.
Dorothy (Mrs. Herbert A.) Zickler W ’42
Vergennes, Vermont

On October 24, my husband (Dr. Robert Crandall) and I went to J. Morgan’s Steakhouse in Montpelier to celebrate our anniversary. Since the restaurant had no seating available except at the bar, we decided to brave it and perched on bar stools. Quite a feat for 95 and 87.

The gentleman sitting next to me was a graduate of the NU Class of 1963. We started a conversation and discovered we had a lot in common. My first husband, MSgt John C. Richardson, was stationed at Norwich from 1948 until his retirement in 1961, except for a year’s tour of duty in Iceland. He passed away in 1971. I worked at Norwich from 1961 through 1979 as an academic secretary, and have a great admiration for the university. We talked and talked, and almost broke out in singing “Norwich Forever.” When my husband and I were ready to pay our bill, we found it had been taken care of by the gentleman from NU. What a pleasant surprise! We are grateful for, thank, and salute the gentleman from the Class of ’63.

Elfriede Richardson Crandall
Montpelier, Vermont

During my time at Norwich from 1968 to 1972, I participated in both track and field and fencing. At that time, both teams were coached by Doctor Wally Baines. In early 1972, the fencing team went down to compete against Worcester Poly Tech (WPI). The fencing team had nine swordsmen, a team manager, and our coach. In those days, we all piled into an old, faded maroon station wagon that was sort of like a minivan. Coach Baines drove and off we went. After defeating WPI on that Saturday, we stopped somewhere for something to eat. Our “travel uniform” was a pair of khaki pants and a maroon sport coat, so we all looked alike. The restaurant was crowded, but we managed to put several tables together and eat as one big group. After we finished, the waitress bought the checks to the table. Doctor Baines told the waitress that he would be paying for all of us. (I hope it was on the university expense account.) Anyway, several of us looked at Doctor Baines, then at each other, and said, “Thanks Dad!” That got quite a big reaction from the other customers! He just smiled, paid the bill, and back to Norwich we went.

It was a funny moment, but in reality, he was very much a father figure to many of his players. We traveled throughout New England and Canada, competing and usually winning under his leader-ship. He was always encouraging, quiet, calm, and never too busy to listen to any of his players, whether it was about sports or life. He was an excellent role model for hundreds of young men at Norwich. I coached at many levels throughout my years as a teacher and parent, and I tried to remember Doctor Baines’ coaching style. I tried to be encouraging and willing to always listen, but I never was quiet and calm! Doctor Baines, you will never be forgotten!
Mark Brownell ’72
Castleton, Vermont

While at Norwich in the early 60s, I was on the basketball team. In those days, freshman were ineligible to play varsity sports, and by my sophomore year the team had a new coach, Bob Brannum—the original “enforcer” (he hated that moniker) of Boston Celtics fame. Bob had recently retired, and this was to be his first coaching job, so we were all learning as we went along. While his reputation of being a tough guy preceded him, he was just the opposite with us: always ready to listen and help both on and off the court. Many times he’d pull guys aside to make sure things were okay academically, with the military, and otherwise. As we didn’t have an athletic trainer per se, he would tape up whoever needed it. What I remember most about that experience was the size of his fingers—they were so huge I often wondered how the skin got all the way around.

In mid-season we had just played the University of Hartford at home and were on our way to the Boston area to play Merrimac. During the Hartford game, I had taken a knee to the head while diving for a loose ball, snapped my head back, and got cut over the eye. Thus, as I rode the bus to the Merrimac game, I was in a neck brace with a black eye and feeling lousy. Seeing this, Coach walked back to where I was sitting, sat down next to me and said, “Tommy, I don’t want you to worry about anything; just keep playing as aggressively as you have been—the school has plenty of medical insurance,” and he was serious. I kept in touch with Bob as he moved from Norwich to Kenyon to his last coaching job at Brandeis, and was there at his funeral, as were some of my teammates, which says a lot about the man.
Tom Rogan ’65
Moretown, Vermont

This “music” number was awesome! As an NU fan, I have one timeline addition: In 2012, my wife and I chaired Vermont Symphony Waltz Night, with strong assist from your fabulous president and past VSO board member, [Richard Schneider]! A dozen cadets attended the gala. There was a dance competition to Strauss music, and three couples “waltzed away” with first, second, and third prizes!
Richard Nair
Lincoln, Vermont

I was delighted to read the most recent issue of the Record. I find that I now look forward to reading it when it arrives each month. Whatever you are doing there, I hope you keep it up. The articles concerning the band were fun to read. I was not a Zoobie, but rather a part of CAV and Provisional Battalion. My freshman year was the first year CAV was [reintroduced as] a company, and several of my cadre were Zoobies. For whatever reason there seemed to be an overlap between Band and CAV, and I counted many in the Regimental Band as friends. I was also a member of the Regimental Men’s Chorus for all of my time at NU. I remember the trip we took to Belgium and the incident described by Colonel Bennett. I will never forget that trip and the good times we had. In my first year, chorus was one of the things I looked forward to most every day, and as an upper classman, I found my fulfillment there and while taking riding lessons at the barn. It did my heart good to remember those things. It all seems like forever ago, but they are special memories to me. Thanks to all who shared.
Joel Wiggin ’08
Searsport, Maine

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