Dr. Seuss is to his alma mater, Dartmouth...


October 05, 1991

THE LATE Dr. Seuss is to his alma mater, Dartmouth College, what Lewis Carroll is to Oxford University, its officially cherished children's author and possibly the best writer the institution ever produced.

Before Dr. Seuss' death, Dartmouth freshmen taking pre-orientation wilderness trips converged on a university lodge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to be greeted by a hearty breakfast of green eggs and ham.

At a time of community breakdown at many campuses -- PC vs. anti-PC, Western vs. non-Western -- Dr. Seuss is the unifying cultural link. Half the Dartmouth students are Dr. Spock babies; all of them are Dr. Seuss babies.

This is true elsewhere, of course, but only Dartmouth claims the artist for its own. (He went to Oxford, too, but Oxford already has Lewis Carroll and J. R R. Tolkien, and less need of Seuss.)

Upon the great man's death, the college went into campus-wide memoriam. Services were held. A 24-hour, uninterrupted public reading (and re-reading) of his collected works was held. College President James O. Freedman kicked it off with "Green Eggs," and then everyone got in the act. Freshmen were assigned the pre-dawn hours, which is when they're up, anyway.

That's a lot of "Cat in the Hat" for any baby. Who says all they do up there is throw snowballs?

* * *

COLORADO IS at its golden best right now. Aspen trees on majestic mountain slopes have turned a bright yellow that contrasts with the dark evergreen of pine forests. The state is a stunning patchwork of yellow and green, yellow and green, yellow and green, adding beauty to some of the most beautiful landscapes on this globe.

Yet this department is well-acquainted with a New Englander, born and bred, who moved to Colorado nine years ago, loves the place and still misses an East Coast autumn. What she misses are the reds and oranges and browns (and yellows) of maples, oaks and elms. Right now they are putting on their annual multi-color show from Tennessee to Maine.

Marylanders, enjoy!

* * *

IF OUR governor seeks more areas ripe for budgetary pruning, Gallimaufry has a suggestion. Terminate the p.r. honchos responsible for the "Maryland's Best Amateur Demographer" contest, a game for school kids to predict the state's population (answer: 4,781,468).

Imagine the man-hours (and woman-hours) wasted on finding the winners in each county and town. And imagine the public dollars spent promoting this contest -- and the hundreds of press releases mailed to journalists announcing the winner (Rachel Hawkins of Hyattsville, who missed by just 468 people). All, of course, on taxpayers' dollars.

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