Forum: November-December 2005

November 30, 2005

Thanks for the Memories

Just this afternoon, I found time to begin reading the September-October issue of Duke Magazine. On page 25, my heart stopped, for there in Campus Observer, with the article "Make Me a Match," was a picture of part of my family. I couldn't believe it!

Just in case you don't know who they are, I'll pass along this background. The photograph was taken in late summer/early fall of 1956, upon matriculation to Duke. The student on the right was my older brother Joseph Temple "Jody" Shackford Jr., a freshman at Duke that year. Jody did not graduate; he was accidentally killed in an industrial accident in the summer of 1958 in Oklahoma City. (If I recall, the yearbook for the following year had a special dedication page to him, for which I'd like to thank whoever made that decision.)

The proud father is Joseph Temple Shackford '34, at the time a Methodist minister in the North Carolina Conference serving the community of Walkertown, near Winston-Salem. Dad died in 1996.

The proud young sister, Virginia Pauline "Ginger" Shackford Friedlein '68, later married David Friedlein '63, and they still reside in Durham.

I do not know with whom Jody is shaking hands. This is one of the few pictures that exists of Jody. I remember seeing it years ago, but mom, Katherine Virginia Johnson Shackford '36, recently died and I do not recall seeing it among her life's treasures. In any event, it will forever hold a place deep in my heart. Thank you for your decision to run that picture, and thanks for the memories!

J. Hilliard Shackford '66
Davison, Michigan


Other Voices

Thank you for "A Life in Gaza" [September-October 2005] by Fulbright Scholar William Feldman. This article, fairly free as it is from political comment and with a descriptive style, helps in understanding the Zionist commitment and mission.

Essential to comprehending what happens "on the ground" in that part of the world would be a similar article about a Palestinian family, perhaps a Christian one, whose home has been demolished by an Israeli bulldozer.

It is not that there are "two sides to the story." There are many sides, voices, and stories in the land called Holy by three of the world's major religions. Duke Magazine needs to give voice to the other experiences. Reconciliation begins with understanding and appreciation for another's story.

Robert Bacher
Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Gene Scene

In "Unraveling the Human Genome" [July-August 2005], Dennis Meredith writes "X denotes Willard's research on the X chromosome--the sex-determining chromosome that occurs in two in women, but is paired with a Y-sex chromosome in men." This statement is inaccurate.

In most embryos, it is the presence or absence of the Y chromosome that determines whether the gonads will develop as testes or as ovaries. The default for gonadal development is female except for the presence of genes from the Y-chromosome. The SRY (sex-determining region Y) gene on the Y-chromosome has been determined to be the testis-determining factor. There are rare cases of XX male sex reversal due to the presence of the SRY gene on one of the X chromosomes as a result of crossing over between the pseudoautosomal regions of the X and Y chromosomes during prophase I of meiosis in male gametogenesis.

Richard Morris M.D.,
B.S.E. '94
Chillicothe, Ohio

Huntington Willard responds:The reader is correct. The Y chromosome is what actually determines the sex of an individual. But the X and the Y chromosomes are considered "sex chromosomes" and the X chromosome (more specifically, the number of X chromosomes) clearly distinguishes typical females from typical males. So, in that sense, it, too, is involved in sex.


Continuing Conflict

In his letter to the editor [July-August 2005], Ray Gordon complains that "we seldom are allowed to hear the Palestinian side" of the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict." On the contrary, we have heard it for years with the screams of the civilian victims of suicide bombings and plane hijackings. Remember that the "atrocities" of the Israel Defense Forces were the excuse for terrorism before it was more timely and politically correct to blame our struggles to rebuild the Iraqi ruins left behind by Saddam Hussein.

Gordon mentions the relevant comments of the late Pope John Paul II, a man for whom I had much respect. However, the Catholic Church has a less than admirable record when it comes to identifying or protecting victims of oppression, whether it was heretics during the Inquisition, Jews/

Gypsies/homosexuals during World War II, or choir boys in contemporary America.

Until the Palestinians (an ethnicity that did not exist even forty years ago) realize that mass murder makes headlines and makes people afraid, but does not advance sympathy for their cause, and until they take responsibility for their own evolution, using their supportive neighbors' great wealth to build schools instead of bombing subways, then laudable dialogues such as those sponsored recently by Duke will be merely exercises in academic futility.

Manfred S. Rothstein M.D. '74
Fayetteville,
North Carolina


Semper Fi

A few days ago I was at the local vet waiting to pick up my pet when I came across the May-June copy of Duke Magazine. Browsing through it, I came to your article "The Warriors," and I was truly impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of several Duke grads and their service to our country. You are to be commended for telling their story so well.

It is a shame that the great universities no longer encourage service to the country. With the explosion of super-liberal faculties, students are now mostly taught to criticize and protest but to offer no valid solutions or contributions, lest they haunt them at a later date.

Sadly my university, Yale, is an example of how low a once proud institution can go. In my class, 1957, fifteen of us joined the Marine Corps. True, the draft was on, but there were ways of avoiding it, as many did. I've attended only one reunion, my 25th. For three days, the majority of the jokes and stories revolved around personal experiences in the military. CEOs, judges, ambassadors, professors, and community leaders from that class relished their leadership experiences and challenges during their time in the military, to which many attributed their success. It was easy to see that several, who were very successful but had not served, missed out on the camaraderie enjoyed by the vets.

I sincerely hope that your "warriors" experience the great satisfaction that we so warmly recall and that they enjoy the degree of success that I and my Yalie classmates have had.

Col. Charlie Goode Jr. (ret.)
Durham, North Carolina


Rape Response

Thanks to Bridget Booher for discussing the importance of Duke's continued involvement in sexual assault support services and sexual assault prevention ["The Silent Epidemic," March-April 2005].

I learned many things at Duke. One of the most important occurred during a "rape response" training session we had. Three years after I graduated from Duke, I was attacked on my way home from work. A one-session training I was given at Duke played right through my head, kept me calm and partially in control, and helped me through what might have been an even worse ordeal.

As I began talking about my ordeal, I was amazed at what a high percentage of my female friends and co-workers had been through similar, if not as intense, experiences.

Thank you, Duke, for taking on these issues and giving Duke students the education they need to succeed in the world.

Paula G. Best '80
Metuchen, New Jersey


If the portrait of Ms. Colaianni on the cover of the March-April issue is representative of the present-day student body of Duke, I am doubly thankful to the Good Lord that I was there when I was. I am almost ashamed to be associated with such. You must not want to attract the same type of students who were my classmates by running this picture. I can assure you that none of my progeny will ever attend Duke.

Jane Thomson
Omohundro '42
Crowley, Louisiana