“Then as now, many of us were to major, or double major, in mathematics.” —Bruce Moskowitz ’80
Memories of Mathematics
During our four semesters together, we students formed strong friendships with each other that were to continue well past graduation. Just as important, our prolonged contact with the same professor—Norman Alling in my year —gave us a deeper appreciation of the mindset of a professional mathematician.
Then as now, many of us were motivated to major, or double major, in mathematics.
I am pleased to see that, after all these years, the department and the University continue to value this unique program and strive to improve it.
Bruce Moskowitz ’80
It was during Freshman Week in the fall of 1958 that the faculty hosted the incoming freshmen at the Women’s Center dining facility. After the dinner, faculty took turns at providing the entertainment. The presentations leaned strongly toward the classical, with readings from great literature, singing, and instrumental renditions of great composers, and bits of serious drama.
Then came Speed Speegle’s turn.
I recall a slender moustached man reaching under his table as he stood up, retrieving a rather well-used Martin guitar. With his very unacademic drawl, he allowed as how he had prepared a somewhat less formal piece for our enjoyment.
He than sang a straight-faced rendition of “Rex, the Piddling Pup.”
We sat dumbfounded until the last stanza: “And all this time this country dog did never wink or grin / But piddled blithely out of town as he had piddled in. / The city dogs conventions held to ask, ‘What did defeat us?’ / But no one ever put them wise that Rex had diabetes.”
It brought the house down.
I’m sure that for most of the audience, it’s the only thing we still recall.
Speed Speegle was indeed one of a kind.
Robert Mead ’62
A Classics Correction
I would like to make one small correction. I was a classics, i.e., classical languages, major, not a music major as stated.
Harrington (Kit) Crissey Jr. ’66
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
A Fan’s Note
The magazine is fresher, brighter, and more appealing in every respect; I salute you on your accomplishments, and I’ll be cheering for you to do as well or better in future issues.
George Dischinger ’49, ’70W (Mas)
Fort Collins, Colorado
Casting a Call for Volunteers
Over the years, I have taken it upon myself to try to introduce my students to people who exemplify the sort of joy and discipline I want them to have. I have been fortunate that a number of well-known people have responded to my calls. These include Pete Seeger, Wynton Marsalis, G. E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band, and, most recently, famed clown, performance artist, and Rochester alumnus Bob Berky ’70.
I can assure you that such encounters are rare for these students and can be life changing.
Thank you for consideration.
Marc Pekowsky ’86
Mahopac, New York
Interested alumni can write to Pekowsky at 43 Benjamin Road, Mahopac, NY 10541; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (845) 628-8330—Editor.
I learned early that Zenon was a Ukrainian native who had spent four years, from 1945 to 1949, at a displaced persons camp in Mittenwald, Germany, before emigrating with his family to the United States at the age of 15.
He was a dashing redhead, all of 5 feet, 7 inches tall, but with the speed, quickness, skill, savvy, teamwork, and determination that made him a truly exceptional and feared competitor.
High school opponents would fill the air with “Watch Red,” “Get Red,” and “Stop Red”—cries that were most notable for their failures. As for me, I particularly enjoyed watching him hit corner kicks, where the ball would curve out 12 to 14 yards onto the field before spinning back with surprise twists to torment goalies’ attempts to prevent scores.
A star forward at the University, Zenon was chosen All-American (’53 and ’54) and, after graduation, he was named to three U.S.Olympic teams (’56, ’60, and ’64; captain of the ’56 and ’60 squads). In all, he represented the United States in 92 international matches, including Pan American Games and World Cup tournaments.
As a former Rochester teammate and coach Gene Chyzowych put it, “He was the most intelligent tactician I ever played with. . . . Zenon had no size or strength, but skills and speed of thought would compensate for duels and tackles other players would get into.”
I have no doubt that Zenon’s childhood soccer training in Ukraine and Germany gave him an advantage over his American counterparts. Still, how many star athletes lived in a displaced persons camp for four years while growing up?
Zenon’s natural ability, together with his grit and competitive sprit, enabled him to overcome the handicaps imposed by an interrupted childhood. He and his family escaped the hated Communists only to discover that the Nazi invaders of his homeland had substantially the same evil designs toward him and his oppressed countrymen.
In 1955, Zenon became a U.S. citizen. Three years later he earned an M.A. at the University of Chicago and then taught political science at McGill University in Montreal in 1959–60.
He became editor of The Ukrainian Weekly (Jersey City) in 1962, and from 1980 until 1998, when he retired, he was editor-in-chief of Svoboda, a daily publication that fought zealously to advance and protect Ukrainian interests both here and in Ukraine. (During the Chernobyl disaster the paper earned praise from the Associated Press for its investigations.)
Zenon met with President Ford at the White House in 1975 to discuss the president’s comment that Poland was “free” when it remained under Soviet domination. A patriotic Ukrainian and a patriotic American, Zenon was not conflicted about his loyalties; he saw both countries on the same side in the fight for human freedom and dignity.
In 1992, after having lived and worked in New York for 34 years, I moved over the George Washington Bridge to live in Englewood, New Jersey, and shortly thereafter, I appreciated that Zenon and I lived in the same state.
When I last saw Zenon in June 2000—after a 45-year hiatus during which our different venues, interests, and work had the unfortunate effect of keeping us apart—he made a point of telling me how important our conversations on the soccer field at Franklin had been to him. Imagine my reaction to learn that my friendship and sports reporting and commentary had made him, a recent emigre, feel secure and appreciated at a time when he felt so lost.
Zenon died on January 21, 2002, in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, leaving behind his wife, Yara, and their daughter, Christina, who earned her master’s degree in art administration from New York University and is now a travel business proprietor emphasizing art tours.
Zenon, alas, did not die a rich man. His playing days ended long before the market in this country was ready to reward him financially for his large talent. Still, he was a man rich in spirit and rich in seeking the blessings of liberty and democracy for everyone.
He was my hero as I was growing up and remained so throughout all the intervening years. He was a remarkable person who led a remarkable life.
A final goodbye, my old friend. Pax vobiscum.
Erwin Cherovsky ’55
Englewood, New Jersey
Cherovsky is a lawyer, author, and literary agent.—Editor.
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