"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Back in 1991....

I started looking at those UCO graduation plaques today, and seeing many of the names made me feel really old. It's been 20 years since I started teaching at UCO. Some of those first students are middle aged now, and probably grandparents. But it's not depressing, at least not yet.

I know I'm going to leave off more names, but here are ones who I remember clearly, both from class and/or because of what they're doing now. Some I've lost track of, but still remember.

Those I clearly remember: Class of 1991: Heidi Naconezney, Keith Purtell.
1992--Marie Bigger, David Lobaugh, Linda Morgan, Judy LeBlanc, Justin Seymour, Marie Knupke, Chuck Dozier, Brent Remeroski.
1993--Will Andrews, Dustin Jones, Misty Pace, Tom Searles, Joe Pyndenkosky.
1994--Marcia Benedict, Heidi Brandeis, Joey Niebruggee.
1995--Hal Adamson, Joyce Kirkly, Mike Simons, Janet Runge, Susan Reger.
1996--Jaconna Aguiree, Kelly Beard, Julie Dyer, Cynthia Chung, Jennifer Palmer, Heather Sala, Anthony Thompkins, Travis Voth, David McNeese.
1997--Heidi Centralla, Gayleen Langthorne, Jill Massey, Mo Garth, Shirley Taylor.
1998--Jessica Halliburton, Penny Hubbard, Meredith Jordan, Robin Little, Scott O'Daniel, Rebecca Rutledge, Dan Threlkeld, David Hanniger, Joanna Clauston.
1999--Dale Archer, Bill Bootz, Kevin Boudreau, Suzette Dyer, Joanna Hefley, Jim Hulsey, Amy Kelly, Susan Reger, Negeen Sobhani, Bill Wiseman, Ann Phillip, Dwayne Smoot.
2000--Lacy Amen, Stephanie Eggeling, Jay Gourley, Julie Jordan, Justin Villines, Wendy Werber.
2001--Chad Anderson, Kimberly Hawes, Michael Tortorelli, Lauren Vargas, Sara Morrell.
2002 Karla Bradshaw, Emily Bullard, Sheri Guyse, Leslie McKay, Sharon Rowan, Mary Perkins, John Reagor.

The list gets longer the closer in time it gets, because I can remember more, but it balances out, because I taught fewer students and administrative duties increased, and my memory got clogged up. Some I remember I can't find their names, and some are married and have different last names now.

I didn't repeat those I mentioned yesterday. As you can tell, some years were richer than others, but it was always fluid. I know I've missed some, and I'll amend it later.

The rest of list tomorrow.

Now you understand my poem, published earlier. Susan says it's sensual. I suppose it is, but it's also true:

My students
flow through my life
like the grains of sand
along the north bank
of the Red River.

Swept by the current,
the grains are sculpted
into sand bars
or drifts snagged
against old trees.
The muddy water
submerges most
of the sand,
or dissolves it,
carrying it downstream.
But in the sand bars
on the north bank,
the sun glistens off
the crystals in individual grains.
The students attract attention,
and bring vivid
relief and color
to a monochrome prairie.
The sparkling grains
stand out like memories,
before time carries
them down river.
I must go there soon
before the river rises again.


  1. I graduated in December 1996, but I had a journalism minor. My major was political science. I just wanted to add my name to the mix!

    As a side note, I still use so many things in my writing that I learned in your classes so many years ago.

    Holley Mangham

  2. Old? Never. Wise, yes! Thank you for including me on this list. you are certainly on my list of those people who have molded me into the person and professional I am today.

    Thank you,

    Lauren Vargas


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