John Hickey ’69

My Wesleyan experience was wonderful, starting with my Freshman English class with Richard Greene, where each class began with a discussion of grammatical errors in the lead story from the Hartford Courant. Professor Greene, who had lost his wife and child, commented that Samuel Beckett's play Endgame was a "nihilistic drama," and he preferred writing by authors of conscience and belief such as Samuel Johnson. I was inspired because of him to read many years later Boswell's Life of Johnson, Boswell's London journals, and the account of their joint trip to the Hebrides.

Richard Winslow and Jon Barlow were sources of inspiration in studying the history of music and participating in chapel choir and the Glee Club. At our 25th reunion Barry Macy, Bruce Hartman, and I agreed that the requirement that all freshman were required to take the English and Humanities class as a mandatory part of the curriculum was very enlightened. It "equalized" the playing field, making all students feel a sense of communality, and also provided a great framework for reading the "great books."

Carl Vigianni was a great adviser and it was wonderful to sit in his classes with three other students and discuss French Literature. Sadly we lost John Goldkamp two years ago, who was my fellow French major from the Class of 1969. He distinguished himself as an expert on sentencing procedures for non-violent crimes. We also lost the brilliant James Gilmore who managed to incorporate his strong political beliefs into an expression of artistic freedom as he drove around campus on his motorcycle and yellow and black African shirt. Thus attired he arrived on his motorcycle at a Glee Club concert scheduled at a quaint congregational church in Western Massachusetts and "wowed" the congregation with an organ solo of a difficult Bach Cantata.

On my return from a year with the Institute of European Studies in Paris I resumed my life at Wesleyan during the year of the Moratorium against the War.

At the time of the Nixon lottery I had become a member of the Class of 1970 and was living in the French House. I had a low number and left Wesleyan in the late fall of 1970. I ended up doing a form of alternative service at the DePaul Settlement House in Chicago for 2 years and never completed my bachelor's degree at Wesleyan, but friends have insisted I come to reunions. I’ve carried my wonderful experiences with me.