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Jennie Acrivos remembers fondly the Thanksgiving Dinners at the first expectant parents’ apartment in the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, when she first started dating Andy Acrivos. Mary Ethel and Tex, as we called them, were very supportive of their two dazzled foreign student friends as the latter faced what seemed then insurmountable barriers, she being a Roman Catholic, hea Greek Orthodox. I believe theS checters were in part responsible for showing us the way to celebrating our 58th anniversary this year. Thanks Tex and Mary Ethel. —Andy and Jennie Acrivos
One Saturday we decided to go duck hunting and drove out to the lake where I had an old canoe. After a day of hunting, Bob remained in the canoe while I pushed the boat into the rushes. My back was turned when I heard a splash and turned around to see Bob sitting up to his armpits in cold muddy marsh water. Unfortunately, my gun was also in the water, but after a short search we located it, were able to get into the canoe, and paddled back to the car. By then it was dark and getting cold. Bob removed his wet clothes and returned to Minneapolis wrapped in a light blanket that happened to be in the car. Mary Ethyl was quite surprised when I knocked on their apartment door and asked for a pair of pants so that Bob could get from the car to their apartment without being arrested.
Bob, Jim Brock, and I played handball in Gregory gym, and on August 1, 1966, we walked over to the gym to reserve a locker for the year. We usually went to the Union for lunch, but because it was just noon, we decided to go back to our offices and wait for the crowd to clear. Professor Van Winkle usually listened to his radio while eating lunch in his office and promptly informed us that someone, who turned out to be Charles Whitman, was on the observation deck of the Tower shooting people on the ground around the Main building. He shot 43, killing 13. After we became aware of what was happening, we could hear the rifle shots. A lab on the second floor of the old Chem E building on Speedway provided a good view of the Tower, and before it was all over, Austin policemen tried to get a shot at Whitman from behind heavy, overturned lab tables they used for cover, but that was a futile effort. If we had followed our original plans and gone to the Union for lunch, we would have walked up the steps leading to the Main building, and I hate to think what might have happened.—Gene Wissler, Henry Beckman Professor Emeritus in Chemical Engineering