Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 13, 2015

Winterton Curtis, a wise old owl

I hope you guys are racking your heads for memories of wise old people who had a positive influence in your lives, to brighten our Aging discussions. I thought of one: my first landlord, Winterton Curtis. He was a distinguished zoologist, one of the "Scopes 7" called to Dayton, Tennessee in July 1925 as an expert witness for the defense of John Scopes in the infamous "Monkey Trial". They weren't allowed to testify, but his written impressions were fascinating. I met him when he visited our home, when I was an impressionable little boy. He pulled dollars out of my ear. 

Late in his life he penned and published a series of recollections in the newspaper, recounting his experiences as a Damned Yankee (he was a native of Maine and Massachusetts) in Little Dixie (which is how Columbia MO still thought of itself in those days).

The house at 210 Westmount in Columbia was my first “brick and mortal” abode. I coulda done a lot worse. Dr. Curtis:210 Westmount

It is a thing to make life worthwhile to have lived so long in a home that one planned and built in part with his own hands on a street freshly cut from a cornfield, to have planted the trees and watched their growth until they arch the street, and above all to have lived in a university community.
I think the best life in America is to be had in university and college towns such as Columbia.
Some other wise elder statesmen I've looked to for inspiration and example: Vandy Profs John Lachs and the late John Compton, the late Tennessean publisher and 1st amendment champion John Seigenthaler, and of course my late father James C. Oliver.

1 comment:

  1. FQs

    1. Your chances of avoiding the nursing home are directly related to the number of ____(p. 79)
    Ans: children

    2. Living is a kind of ______(p. 95)
    Ans: skill

    DQ: Why can't one's own happiness take priority til the end of life? Does safety have to take priority?