Monday, October 09, 2006

Dr Donald Ellis reports from retirement in Oklahoma City

Dr Donald Ellis taught German history and world civilizations in the Department of History at The University of Memphis before his retirement. Since retiring. he has alternated in living between Oklahoma City and England. A long-time student of technology in general, he has only recently become active as a computer user. He invites email at The following is extracted from a recent email message to the Webmaster:

I am still a volunteer at the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City. There is a new purpose-built building for this and my work space is very nice indeed. I am working with the Barney Hillerman Collection of Oklahoma City photographs. When this brother of Tony died he left a gigantic collection of mostly 8x10 negatives from the best known OKC photgrapher who worked here from about 1926 until 1962. The problem with it is that these negatives are catalogued as by who paid the bill and since no one is a born Oklahoma Citian and aged to boot my work is cut out for me identifying what is in the photo. Armed with a heap of Oklahoma City phone directories and Polk street directories and a light table I work at this a couple of hours per day.

Having just been converted to belief in electrons I also enjoy e-mail and get off an occasional letter to the editor of the local rag (which the Columbia school of journalism has voted the worst newspaper in the continental United States). I keep warning myself that becoming a writer of letters to the editor is a bad career move . But it is irresistable given the climate of opinion which prevails here. I call Oklahoma the Lower Frankonia of the United States. Those familiar with German political (electoral) history will know what I mean.

My new bumper sticker reads "avoid your share of collective guilt! Emigrate now!" This probably gives you an idea of my drift in letters to the editor. People here who are likely to read bumpers have no concept of irony, no idea of history and the conscience of a Tasmanian Devil, which makes my bumper stickers as useless as my letters.

With the zeal of a convert I can be counted on to answer e-mails (hint, hint). Students used to explain the almost total lack of epistolary writing among the modern generation as the convenience of e-mail. I can tell you, however that most go off into the great poste restante in the sky.


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