It is becoming more of a challenge, but I continue to live a geographer's dream. Since my piece in the last departmental newsletter, I have roamed the latitudes from Spitzbergen at almost 80 N to Cape Horn at 56 S. In addition to my usual haunts in the Caribbean and Latin America, I set foot in Greenland, Iceland, Labrador, Quebec and Montreal; all of the Baltic capitals, including St. Petersburg and Tallinn; the Isle of Wight, the Hebrides, Skye Island, Guernsey, Dublin, Londonderry, Cork, Edinburgh, the Faroe Islands, Magdalenefjorden, Longayarbyen, Bergen, Fowey (Cornwall), Penzance and Invergordon. I also kissed the Blarney Stone (yes, I did it on my back after climbing all the castle steps with the use of a cane). Other memorable moments are the Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle and passing through the Barents Sea, the Corinth and Panama Canals and the Dardenelles.
In retrospect, I spent slightly more time lecturing on cruise ships than I did enjoying Florida. But this was my penultimate hurrah. Next year (2004), I have committed myself to lecturing on only four cruises. Walking with a cane and pushing my 83rd birthday have put something of a crimp in my wanderlust.
I have not returned to visit KU or Lawrence for longer than I care to remember, but my son Bob, who resides in Lawrence and is an adjunct professor in the KU Business School, keeps me abreast of some of the changes taking place. God bless.
- John Augelli
Comments from Walter M. Kollmorgen
Walter Kollmorgen, still alert and involved with the world at age 95, had just written down his annual thoughts for the newsletter when his typist sister came down with the influenza. To meet the publication deadline he decided to relay his reflections to me by telephone. What follows is my synopsis.
- Pete Shortridge
I used to be an optimist about the world, but a close following of events over the past decade has turned me into a pessimist. The biggest single problem is human overpopulation. The fact that total numbers continue to rise is reason enough for fear, but when this growth is accompanied by an increasingly uneven distribution of wealth, we have a recipe for disaster. Jealousies are inevitable, so are desires to move from poorer economies to richer ones. Ultimately, the world's overall standards of living will suffer.
On a smaller scale from the population issue, but still contributing to my general stance of pessimism, is what I observe of the foreign policy of President Bush and of water use in arid regions. George Bush thinks he can make the world safe by establishing democratic governments in Asia. What he does not realize is that democracies can be warmongers nearly as easily as can other forms of government. The United States is a prime example. As for water, my concern is with our failure to see this resource as finite. Levels of water in all major aquifers continue to decline, but policies for control remain woefully inadequate. Dams also are not seen clearly for what they are. None of these structures will last more than a few decades, yet we plan on the assumption that their water will always be available. Such impoundments often are salty as well. This means a poisoned soil when we irrigate, but people ignore the problem by flushing out old deposits with even saltier new flowage. Why the world's people do not understand basic limits to growth is a mystery to me. Greed clearly overrides responsibility. Geographers face an educational challenge of epic proportions with all of this. I wish the younger generation well, but have lost faith myself.
- Walter Kollmorgen
Well, it has been a year since my formal retirement and it has been a good one. I honestly cannot say I miss the formal academic world. I continue to spend time in Costa Rica and have begun to photographically document its many unique churches. Terry is doing a great job as Chair, and I have had even more time to travel and write. My wife and I had an excellent trip to Turkey last April. We concentrated on the Cappadocia area and then went along the coast in a small boat that Turks call a Gulet. It was not yet very warm and there still was snow on the mountains, which made for some special photographs. I now understand the nature of the marine architects as well as early trade and why Ephesus disappeared. It was fun as well as informative.
At the end of October, after a special two days in Barcelona photographing some of its unique architecture, we cruised the Western Mediterranean, especially southern France (Nice, Marseilles, Sete, Carcassonne) and Spain (Malaga, Grenada, Cadiz, Seville). We also stopped in Gibraltar and revisited the Canary Islands (whose name is derived from Canine and not the bird). It was Fall and the colors of different grape vines and the aspens gave a sense and texture to the landscape we had never seen before. In addition, with the leaves off the trees, we could actually see villages, wineries and homes that normally would have been obscured. The result was lots of new ideas and information and a much deeper appreciation for the uniqueness of the Mediterranean. This has been a long-time fascination and now I have been asked to join a special society for Mediterranean Studies (never even knew they existed).
Finally, just to be sure I do not lose my academic edge, I agreed to be General Editor for an Encyclopedia of Geography to be published next year by Facts on File. It is a massive job, as it will only be three volumes. Lots will have to be left out, but it
is a great opportunity to present Geography in its most relevant and exciting form. Anyone interested in writing a short entry can contact me via email - but hurry as topics are rapidly disappearing.
- Robert McColl
Going into the third year of full retirement I celebrate the last two years as the best two years of my life. Life really does begin at 70, although in another seven years and three months I may conclude that it begins at 80. My food is still my only daily medication and I still spend from 3:30 to 6:30 every morning with my morning meditation, yoga, classical guitar routine that I have followed for the last four decades. Ann then joins me for a sauna and hot tub, breakfast, chores (we still have two horses) and getting to the e-mail by 8:30 unless we decide to go riding. We leave the work area by 6:00 p.m. and have an hour of physical exercise, with a short nap towards the end some days. 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. is a time for the three M's--meetings, music, musings. And they are normally amusing, indeed. Check out www.hugs-edu.org and www.innercounsleor.com if you would like to catch up on our retirement projects. I still see students at KU every Wednesday afternoon and evening, and by appointment at the farm other days occasionally. My associate Berrney Williams is there in the KU office almost every day. He also teaches the extension division geography courses. After avoiding full-time administrative work for 45 years, I am now doing essentially that for HUGS. We also have an off-campus Center for Environmental Energy Medicine Studies that is now officially a 501.C-3 Not for Profit Corporation in the state of Kansas. We hope to tie it into KU next year. It is primarily a research organization which we hope will generate some overhead revenue for the department. Every full moon still brings monthly reports. One of the upcoming full moons why not tell me what you are doing beyond what you put in the annual news letter. I promise to respond. There is life in abundance after retirement. Wake Dort has been retired more than twice as long as I, and he still buzzes around Lindley Hall like a spring chicken.
- Bob Nunley