Tales 3
       
Ruth Classen

Set 11

"WE DID IT! WE RAISED SIX KIDS"
Sigmund "Sig" Hoffman BS Agr '44. MFS ‘48

Everything since ‘44 has been a high point, but for the sake of brevity I will say that the raising of six kids with Serena '47 has been the high point and we have a wonderful family. Amy, the oldest lives in Boston and is a Brandeis graduate with a master in creative writing from U Mass. She is managing editor of the "World" the Unitarian Church's bimonthly magazine. David - Cornell '76 is a producer with CBS and working with Bryant Gumbel as well as CBS sports. Judy—U of Ill Chicago is a Product Dev. Mgr. for Excite in London. Priscilla - SF State is a homemaker and is raising three of our grandkids in Ridgefield, Conn. Becky - Boston U. '83 has an information services business in NYC called Knowledge = Power and Joshua - UCONN '87 is a producer with ESPN. Serena still works at Prentice-Hall producing college texts, and I am still working selling specialty chemicals to the fragrance and flavor industries. We enjoy a summer home in the Berkshires on Lake Buel and we do considerable traveling. We enjoyed trips with Club 44 and Cornell Adult U. We will be with CAU in Idaho this summer and with them in Charlottesville, VA in October.

 

"A CORNER OF THE CATSKILLS"
Joyce "Jo" (Cook) Wilson, Wayland MA

Lured by a fairytale in Gourmet Magazine touting the joys of the Catskills. we decided to make a mini-trip for my husband's birthday following the author's suggestions. Perhaps we should have expected things to go awry when we called the highly recommended Beaverkill Valley Inn to find that the cost rivals the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton. We settled for the less prohibitive Onteora Mountain House.

We set off from Wayland. Mass on a Monday for a beautiful drive to Saugerties NY anticipating a mouth-watering lunch at Cafe Tamay's with its special mushroom bruschette. "Closed Mondays & Tuesdays." Undaunted, we headed for the "delightful" Blue Mountain Bistro in Woodstock. Vacant parking lot! Onto Bearsville to dine in style at the Bear Cafe. Couldn't find it but an informant at the post office gave us directions adding "Wonderful - wish I were going there!" Closed!

We were famished! A pleasant lady told us that a Chinese place called the Little Bear was always open - she didn't like Chinese much and it wasn't on the recommended list. We went - not a "write home" but an added fillup was a good amateur sax player we could hear practicing across the stream.

Before checking in to the Onteora. we scoured the area to find Sun frost farms, our target for lunch the next day, but though Woodstock is a small village, it was nowhere to be seen. At least we had a lovely day casing the village and appreciating the scenery. On to the Inn near Boisville.

Locked! Dirty dishes and bedraggled ribbons from a wedding party piled in the entranceway. But a magnificent setting for Mr. Hellmann's vacation home with a discreet notice at the entrance asking us to honor the owner’s privacy. In other words, "turn around!"

We finally cornered the owner who greeted us in bare feet, offering to show us his goldfish pool and serving a glass of cider. No food service but he called the Bear Cafe (no room phones) for dinner reservations. Food and service were adequate. All seemed to know each other but the haunted live blues entertainment supposed to begin at 10:30 was just a cacophony of wiring, arranging and testing of mikes, raucous chords from a very loud electric guitar. We fled for our mountain top beds. Unkempt place.

Sign said. "Breakfast at 8:30. Check out noon." "My you are early birds!" Unbrowned turkey sausage, scrambled eggs aux herbs, corn fritter with hot-pepper pink cream sauce. "Be sure to visit the monasteries." So we set forth for some Zen and a wondrous, treacherous one-lane car path led to Japanese-inspired building with a chained entrance. "The monks are on retreat for two weeks."

One more enticing place in South Fallsburg announced their grand opening would be a week thence. At least the old reliable borscht circuit Concord produces a greasy reuben after an interminable wait.

Home again, wiser, ready for good home cooking and a familiar bed with no views. Happy Birthday, dear, over-driven husband. 775 miles for a not-to-be-believed frustrating adventure.

FD: The Wilson's still subscribe to Gourmet.

 

"FROM VACUUM TUBES TO VERY LARGE SCALE INTEGRATION"
Joseph C. "Joe" Logue BEE '44 MEE'49,
Poughkeepsie, NY

We have purloined bits of Joe's 15 page memoir, requested and appearing in IEE Annals of the History of Computing in 1998, finding them fascinating as an example of humble beginnings blossoming into a great career. As one of his IBM managers said, "There is no question that Joe is one of the most technically perceptive minds in the last half of the 20th Century.".


Excepts from Joe Logue's memoir

Neither parent went to college and his father, gaurdmaster for Reading Railroad in Philadelphia, died when Joe was 15. There followed a move to Brooklyn. A scoutmaster, seeing Joe's potential went beyond manual and technical proficiency, influenced him to attend an academic high school (Erasmus Hall, a font of talent) and he entered Cornell in 1940 intending to be an electric power engineer. Soon, he leaned toward electronics and engineering physics not yet recognized as a course of study at Cornell.

At Cornell, in his sophomore year he found Jeanne Neubecker roller skating with a guy he didn't know. She had also attended Erasmus Hall but Joe had not worked up the courage to meet her. He cut in, set up a date and after many discussions convinced her to marry him raise a family and have a veterinary practice. They married in March '43 and their first son, Raymond, was born in June ‘44. A daughter and another son followed in 1950 and 1954.

That summer he got a job at York PA Safe and Lock. Though hired as an electrician, he was first assigned to shoveling coal until made an electrician's helper fixing machines in the huge shop. His boss a short time later asked Joe to look into a problem with noise in the phone system which two electricians had been working on for seven or eight weeks and were proposing that all underground wires be replaced. They were not at all cooperative and refused Joe's suggestion that microphone elements were probably the problem. He told them his only option was to report his hunch to the boss, who was not convinced and asked if Joe could provide proof. Joe decided to dazzle him and made a bench set up with borrowed phones, power supply and oscilloscope. It worked!

When York would not raise Joe's puny rate of 75 cents an hour when he thought he should he paid the going electrician rate of $2.25, he decided to quit and no end of promises by York changed his mind. Lifetime lesson: Never take a job without prior agreement on salary.

Back at Cornell a senior in EE told Joe of time wasted on rote requirements in the mech lab. So Joe proposed to his class members that they keep records of time spent and he and two others presented their case to the EE faculty committee who said they did not dare try to convince the ME School to adopt change that year. But the lab courses were changed the following year.

During his junior year Joe and Jeanne decided it would be better for him to enlist than be drafted, but his attempt to join the Army Air Corp led to a 4F due to a hernia.

By his senior year Joe concluded that the Rotating Machinery course would not prepare him for the future importance of electronics. He petitioned the EE school to substitute a course in physics but was turned down by the professor who sat on the faculty committee and also headed the Rotating Machinery Department. Ironically, just before graduation the same professor offered Joe an instructorship in his rotating machinery lab. He accepted for one reason: it would allow him to work for a Masters Degree. When another professor heard of this he suggested that Joe enroll in his lab course and build a cavity magnetron as his semester project. A problem with the magnetic amplifier had been worked on with little success by Bell Labs, but Joe, using a mechanical analog, was able to solve it: his professor was ecstatic! Cornell applied for a patent but was turned down because someone else had anticipated the invention.

Regardless, the construction of the cavity magnetron proceeded until Professor Gibbs, chairman of the Physics Dept., demanded a stop. Cavity magnetrons were considered highly secret by the government, being used in radar systems. Gibbs didn't want it known that Cornell was experimenting and might leak information. Actually by that lime the Germans had shot down enough airborne radars to have learned the secrets.

Joe found that teaching, unlike engineering or research, gave immediate gratification in that you can tell whether your presentations are getting across to your students. If they fidget, look puzzled, didn't ask questions - try again. Once in a while you have the great pleasure of being asked penetrating questions or even describing an approach you had not considered.

When in 1949 Joe completed his graduate work he was elevated to assistant professor. By this time, Jeanne had gotten a job with the ASPCA hospital in New York City and moved with their oldest son Raymond to Amityville, LI. Cornell would not allow assistant professors to work simultaneously on a Ph.D. Lacking funds permitting him to do graduate work at another university, Joe requested a temporary assignment at sophisticated Brookhaven (LI) National Laboratory, allowing the family to be together and avoiding the cultural shock of going from academia directly to industry.

During two years at Brookhaven, Joe worked on developing the Cosmotron. Calculations involving many hours on a mechanical calculator convinced him it was time to join a company committed to developing computers. A very attractive offer came from Boeing in Seattle and Jeanne was keen about moving there. But one day Joe stumbled across Jerry Haddad, who held a scholarship from IBM at Cornell. He introduced Joe to Ralph Palmer of IBM who promptly asked Joe to visit Poughkeepsie. Joe asked where that was and what was there. Joe's reaction was "Oh." since he had heard rumors of IBM paternalism and wanted no pan of it. But he was too polite to say no, drove there and encountered the personnel manager who convinced Joe the rumors were groundless. His Boeing offer was matched and even increased - (Haddad had put in a good word) - and he joined IBM in May of 1951.

Joe immediately plunged into highly technical work on developing the IBM 701.

Near the end of 1952. Joe was asked to join a group of 5 young engineers who were developing transistor circuits. Over the next several years Joe's groups were able to design all the circuits and card design in time for the 1954 dedication of the IBM 701 building in Poughkeepsie. The system consumed 5% of the power and occupied 50% of the volume of the predecessor 604.

Joe was asked in 1953 to set up an education program for 28 engineers selected from 2 IBM labs. The 3 weeks of classroom work and 6 weeks of lab work became known as "Logue's College of Digital Knowledge" - a twist on Kay Kyser's "College of Musical Knowledge."

Joe's mother died at 85 in 1958. She had used her savings to send Joe to Cornell. Jeanne and Joe continued to support her all her life.

The rest of his memoir recounts continuing technical achievements Joe and his colleagues, with some incidents of bureaucratic stonewalling and resistance to better and new technologies. Ultimately Joe in 1966 became staff director of the Corporate Technical Committee, which evaluated technical strategies for the many divisions of IBM, meeting monthly and reporting directly to Dr. Piore, vice president and chief scientist. In 1971, IBM made Joe a fellow, meaning he could pursue any activity he chose. He feels a great deal of his success emanated from his Cornell days.

Incidentally. Joe has been an avid flier and owner of a twin engine Air Commander 680. But an attempt to convince management that display screens in commercial aircraft cockpits would ultimately be profitable did not then "fly" It has since.

At one time Joe took a census of IBM fellows and found that 14% of them had worked in groups he managed. It is especially remarkable that until he retired in 1986 from IBM after 35 years, he remembered countless colleagues and associates by name and never seems to have harbored grudges or sustained hostilities. Anyone with the technical knowledge and interests really should read the full memoir which is available at IEE Annals if the History of Computing. Vol. 20#3. 1998.


Joseph C. Logue is chairman of the board of Lorex Industries, INC, which contracts hi-tech development for many large corporations. Son Ray Logue is President.

 

"A CLAASSEN SAGA"
Ruth (Leonard) Classen BS HE ‘44, Richard S. "Dick" Claassen AB '43
Danville, CA

Many families have an activity which binds them in interest and enjoyment. Our family found "togetherness" in skiing. It all began with my husband, Dick Claassen '44, who got his first pair of dinky skiis when about 6 years old. He honed his skill on the snow-covered gentle undulations of the Ithaca Country Club golf course. Both he and his ski equipment improved through high school and college years thus enabling him to join the Cornell Ski Team in 1942-43. The highpoint of that year was a college meet at Lake Placid, New York. Then the ski team petered out with the melting snow as World War II intensified on Campus.

A gift of skiis to me in 1943 initialed my start. Dick dragged me along with the ski team members one fine winter day to TAR YOUNG HILL east of Ithaca. After several awkward and aborted tries. I got up the rope tow to the terrifying top of the hill. I'll never forget my panic as Dick blithely took off with a "gotta join the team now." leaving me to figure out my descent of the perilous slope! (My change in perspective occurred years later when we were visiting Dick's Mother in Ithaca. I suggested driving out toward Dryden to see this precipice that had so frightened me on my first ski outing. Nowhere on the gentle hillside could we spot the sleep slope that had persisted in memory!)

In 1951. we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where the southern end of the Rocky Mountain cordillera featured a small ski area just 25 miles east of town. Our skiing erupted in earnest. Through the 1950 decade, three little Claassens came along and were all on skiis before their 5th birthdays. We skied locally and also Sante Fe, Taos from its first opening. Aspen and Alta. By the I960 decade we all schussed the slopes und enjoyed wonderful holiday trips to ski areas in nearby Colorado. Dick had passed certification in the Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Assoc. and was teaching on weekends at our local area. I, too, soon joined the instructor staff, specializing in the children alpine program. Our offspring as they reached the teens were participating in junior ski racing. This necessitated occasional weekend trips for competition at other areas, plus plenty of cold snowy gate-keeping on steep slopes by the parents.

The 1970 decade were prime years. Dick and I had taught skiing for over 10 years. We had enjoyed the slopes of most top Colorado and Utah resorts. We felt ready to take on the Alps in Europe. In 1978, we spent 3 wonderful weeks in area from Chamonix. France. Switzerland, to St. Anton, Austria.

A career promotion for Dick in 1982 moved us to the San Francisco Bay area. Come snow time in the Sierras, we headed for the Lake Tahoe basin. We had brought along our Rocky Mountain snobbery that we would never see light powder, only hard-packed, heavy snow. How delightful to have that notion dispelled! The powder might not be as deep and Huffy as Rocky Mountain but it was still delicious, as were the expansive slopes of the Sierra resorts.

Through many skiing years one dream was left unfulfilled. Back in 1952, Dick was invited by 2 ski friends to spend a week at Sun Valley, Idaho. I had given birth to our first-born 3 weeks earlier so I stayed home. On return, Dick was so elated with his super week that he pronounced we would eventually vacation there. The "eventually" was now 45 years along and we were pushing mid-seventy age. March 1997 marked the return to Sun Valley. It was all we could hope for -enlarged ski terrain lodges at top and bottom of the mountain. We stayed at the lovely Sun Valley Inn (much too pricey for Dick in '52) and reveled in the luxury of First-class skiing and accommodations.

It has been some years since we could keep up with our adult children for a day of skiing. The granddaughters are switching to snowboards. Frankly. I cringe at the ever-increasing snowboards careening down the slopes upon me.

Now, Dick is suggesting we put our ski equipment in the local high school ski swap. Will anyone want our outmoded long skiis when the newer parabolics turn so effortlessly? Guess the time has come for us oldsters to "hang it up." Skiing has been a marvelous. healthy, revivifying outlet and had left us with wonderful memories. AND IT ALL BEGAN IN ITHACA!

Epilogue:

A pleasant occasion was a lunch reunion with George Peer '44 in Redding, CA, in July 1998. George had been an active member of the Cornell Ski Team in the early 1940's. Dick and he shared reminiscences but neither could recall all the names in the ski team photo we had brought along.

 

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