As a Development Officer, I am fortunate to visit with UW-Eau Claire alums as my job. I leave these wonderful people and think, “I need to share this person’s story because that was amazing!” This blog will be dedicated to alumni I meet who have a fun, unique, successful story or just something to share with others. Through this platform, I am hoping to share a few of the amazing stories I get to hear on a regular basis. Why keep them all to myself? I hope you enjoy my tales of the road!
Sandy Lindow is a 1971 alum who majored in English and continued for her master's degree in English immediately after, graduating from UW-Eau Claire again in 1974. Sandy came to visit me on campus last month after I first met her just one year ago. I picked Sandy for my next feature because our visit together left me wanting to write. Maybe it was the warm spring sun, maybe it was Sandy and her English wisdom, or maybe it was the scenery we experienced together; whatever it was, I felt inspired.
If you know me, you may know words are not always my strong suit. Recently, I was chatting with a coworker and I was using the word chunky instead of clunky. It left us both confused at what word I was trying to say. This is how my brain works, hence the reason English has never been my favorite subject. I envy people like Sandy: those whose words come to them gracefully. Those who spent their career teaching others how to read and write. Sandy shared a story with me that she recently came up with an impromptu haiku at a conference using a fortune cookie fortune as the theme. It turned out that her haiku was a crowd favorite. I was quickly reminded that Sandy is among those who have a gift and knack for words.
We headed to The Cabin to grab an afternoon tea. Sandy made a quick joke about “necking.” I laughed and questioned her comment. She explained The Cabin used to be a place that she would frequent with an old college boyfriend. Memories and stories like these are the reason I love my job.
After catching up, we took a walk along the new Garfield Ave pathway to Putnam Park. We discussed how Putnam Rock was called Minnie Creek when she was a student, and Sandy began to describe recent dreams she has had of sitting on Putnam Rock like she did when she was a student. As we approached the rock, she took in the scenery and said this was the place that was in her dreams, a little different, but the place. How wonderful is it to have dreams of the peaceful Putnam Rock? Especially to be having those dreams 45 years after graduating. We shared stories about times coming to this spot as students. Even though there are generations between us, we have this spot in common. Sandy admitted she did a lot of thinking at Putnam Rock. As we talked about stressors during college, I couldn’t help but think, what if this rock could talk? I am sure this spot has helped many Blugolds find peace and clarity over the years.
To bring my story full circle, I emailed Sandy after our visit asking her for a poem or haiku on campus or our visit together. Below is the response I received. Please enjoy an original by Sandra Lindow.
Terpsicore take the University
Terpsicore, happy, rises like Esther Williams
out of a sparkle in the Chippewa River,
boot scoots a line of spangled carp
under the foot bridge at UW-Eau Claire,
bunny hops ashore at Minnie Creek.
It is the event of the millennium,
a one woman extravaganza celebration
of summer, booked ages ago for this day.
She tangos uphill to Towers Dorm,
stripteasing on the sundeck,
tossing radiant clothing to the wind.
I am agog; she is superb, sunny arms and legs
undulating in elegant and perfect abandon.
A sky blue waltz around Upper Campus,
a wild fandango over East Clairemont,
then a windy swing down State Street Hill.
Dancing full circle, she moshes a sparrow flock
in front of Hibbard Hall. See her sizzle the sidewalk.
Surely she’s not a trick of the light.
Isn’t that the flamenco?
Goddess, it’s good to be in college again!
-Sandra J. Lindow
To read more stories of alumni, follow Rachel LaPorte on her blog.