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CONTINUING EDUCATION While I am often educated and delighted by Tufts Magazine, the Spring 2009 issue was a triumph. Everything in it seemed timely and relevant. My sister and I, no doubt each employing elements from “The Toolbox of Self-Deception,” recently and ruthlessly debated the finer attributes of our college mascots. Mine wins, hands down, as “The Secret Lives of Elephants” proves. Her mascot was a squirrel. “Mr. Electric” intrigued, as a friend recently underwent a leg amputation. Another friend and I have spent years in front of America’s Test Kitchen, and together and apart, have destroyed more than a few kitchens (let’s not even discuss the food) in our pursuit of cooking excellence. Then there was Sol (“The Fuse That Lit the Fire”). Wherever his classroom, I want to be in it. And what a fabulous photo from West Side Story.

James Blockwood, A04, said it best in the article “Recession Fighters”: “Tufts defined who I am and gave me every opportunity to do the things I want to do in life.” Better still, Tufts made me curious. Inadvertently, it made me a good economist. Through Tufts Magazine, my tuition dollars continue to bring a world-class education to my door. Not even our P.T. Barnum would have claimed he could deliver so much.

SATISFIED CUSTOMERS Each time I receive a new issue of Tufts Magazine, I’m impressed by the quality of the writing and the interesting selection of topics. Keep them coming.

Congratulations on the Spring 2009 issue of Tufts Magazine. I have read it pretty much cover to cover, and I think it is terrific. I am not speaking only of the pieces by friends (Sol Gittleman’s column on Jackie Robinson and Hugh Howard’s thoughts on portraits of George Washington). I enjoyed the range of material, even the fascinating piece about cats (“Cat Tricks”), although, as Sol can tell you, I am a dog person. The university is producing a magazine that we can all be proud of.

ELECTRIFYING research Wow! Thank you for your fascinating article, “Mr. Electric” (Spring 2009), about Michael Levin’s research on the switches that control how body parts form, heal, and regenerate. Last year, at age thirty-two, I was diagnosed with acral melanoma and lost my toe to this rare cancer. I am hopeful for continued breakthroughs in the field and am grateful a Tufts alum is hard at work solving this mystery. The alumni magazine has been full of great reads in the last couple of years.

STILL SWIMMING This letter is about how I learned to swim at Tufts. I was a nonswimmer until about 1952, but Tufts had a policy at the time requiring all students to be able to swim two laps in the pool prior to graduation. I had a fear of the water ever since I was swept up by a large ocean wave in Florida when I was about five years old.

The Tufts swim coaches created a class for about ten of us who did not know how to swim. We were taught the art of breathing in and then exhaling with our faces slightly under water. That was the main skill I needed to overcome my fear. Another coach showed me how I could still breathe with some water in my mouth. I swam the required laps and was off to the races.

Now that I’m retired—after receiving a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1956 and a master’s in 1958 from Northeastern, then working in circuit and logic design—I enjoy swimming regularly at my local YMCA. I think many New Englanders don’t learn to swim because the water up here is too cold (I’m all for global warming).

I thank all those Tufts coaches who helped me conquer my fear.

FAMILY TIES I am pleased that Tufts continues to send me Tufts Magazine since the death of my husband in February 2007. The Spring 2009 issue is one you can be proud of. It is by far the most interesting one I have read. Keep up the good work.

I thought you might be interested in our family’s involvement with Tufts. My husband, Whitman Garrick Stephens (known to his friends as Garry), graduated in 1953 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. My daughter, Sheryl Lee Stephens Schuster, graduated with honors in 1980 with a double major in German and civil engineering. My grandson, Jeffrey Michael Prevost, has completed a very successful first year at Tufts.

Perhaps sometime in the future there will be a fourth generation attending this school that has been so good for our family.

Jim kaufman, for real In our “Doers’ Profiles” piece on James A. Kaufman, A65 (Spring 2009), we misidentified the doer—a leading expert on laboratory safety—as Dave Kaufman. Apologies to Jim and to our readers, as well as to John Soares, the photographer, whose work we mistakenly attributed to someone else. Guess we should have worn appropriate eyeware (like a good pair of reading glasses!). —EDITOR

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