In our weekly columnists mailbag, Erin Grace, Matthew Hansen and Michael Kelly answer reader questions about past columns. Want to get your two-bits' worth in? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Erin Grace's column on Talk Like Shakespeare Day drew this letter and photo from a Creighton Prep English teacher.
I had fun with my 9th grade class and Talk Like Shakespeare Day. They cut out the masks, and I sent pic to NE Shakespeare and received a nice response.
Glad to see this tech-savvy generation putting their hands (and faces) on actual print journalism, if only to cut out the mask!
Please tell your colleague Mary Kassmeier I think I still remember the soliloquoy from “Macbeth” that she made us memorize in high school. Back in the old days when she taught Brit Lit at Marian High.
Let me try it now to see if I can nail it:
“She should have died hereafter. There would have been time for such a word. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted paths the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle. Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player strutting and fretting his hours upon the stage until he's heard no more...”
I can't remember the rest. I choked! So, thanks to Google, here is the ending: “It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Um, out of context, that last line is a real doozy for me. Hoping it doesn't portend my next column!
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In the electronic age it was a pleasure to get an actual letter from a reader who after reading a column on Latin education had to tell Erin Grace what HER Latin classmates did in 1963.
You might want to look up a World-Herald article by Patricia Wolfe in Section E of the May 26, 1963, edition featuring a mosaic of Diocletian's Palace created by two of my classmates at Notre Dame Academy that won first prize at JCL.
All the best,
Mary Larkin, Kimball, Neb.
I put our librarian Jeanne Hauser on the case and by Zeus she found it! A story in the old “Women's News” section of May 26, 1963, edition of The World-Herald tells of a project so time-consuming and intricate it makes Latin declensions look easy. Two high school seniors — Dorothy Hanus and Alice Pleskac — spent 1,050 ads over 87 days cleaning, dying, painting, cracking and, with tweezers and razor blades, meticulously gluing pieces into place to form the mosaic. Notre Dame closed its school five years later, in 1968. I'd love to know where that mosaic is today. Readers?
Thanks for writing, Mary.
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Matthew Hansen's column on Bill Medcalf, the only daily bike commuter on Highway 370, prompted a dozen emails from fellow Omaha bike commuters.
Just read the article in Sunday's paper regarding bike commuting, very well done. As a fellow commuter I think the city has come a long way to being more bike friendly but IMO still has a ways to go. Your article gave a great view into the cyclist perspective that too often is forgotten as motorists speed by. Thanks again.
Thanks, Mark. I tried to feel Bill's journey as much as I could without actually cycling next to him. I'm not hardcore enough to ride Highway 370 on a bike. Instead, I drove my Jetta right behind him for as long as I could without holding up too much traffic. I also rolled the window down so I could hear some of what he hears.
Even that limited insight into what it's like to ride a bike 20 mph — ride on the shoulder as cars whiz by an arm's length away — really filled me with both terror and also an admiration for cyclists who commute in tough conditions.
I'll likely write about bike commuting again, this time focusing on a more normal ride. I doubt few bike commutes in Omaha are as diabolical as Bill Medcalf's.
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Mike Kelly's column on the mostly ignored 200th birthday of Douglas County's namesake drew an appreciative response.
Saturday's column on Stephen A. Douglas is an excellent example of why newspapers are a valuable resource. In several hundred words, you identified the milestones of the man's career. I also learned something new: the source of Douglas County's name.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act? How often is that ever heard of in this day and age? It was one of the worst pieces of legislation of the 19th century. I'm not sure when I learned of the act (superficial as the “learning” may have been) but I'm willing to guess that it was in the 5th or 6th grade.
Jerry, I learned (re-learned?) some things, too, while researching Douglas for the column. One is that he thought of himself as a moderate and a compromiser. But that legislation (allowing territories to decide whether to allow slavery) resulted in violence that was a precursor to the horror of the Civil War. And, as you know, the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates — even though Douglas retained his U.S. Senate seat in 1858 — made Lincoln a national figure and led to his election to the presidency two years later.