Dear PC/CDP Partners,
I've changed my salutation to you because it is as accurate a description of "aluminaries" and because it reiterates and reemphasizes a relationship I recognized early on in my message to you in the training syllabus entitled "no silent partners." The PC/CDP was a true partnership not only between Peace Corps Washington and Brockport but you and the staff and you and the persons of the host countries. It was not a multi-national corporation operating on political and economic power but a multi-national partnership operating on the power of love and good will. We have been bound together and bonded by the Peace Corps spirit and ideal. Your outpouring of support for yours truly in the present situation is striking evidence that those bonds still persist and exist!
It would be a real understatement to say that I missed being with you at the Silver Anniversary Reunion. Yet, in a profound spiritual sense, I really didn't miss it because you wouldn't let me. Your phone call, the collective card, the many individual cards and letters, the visits in the hospital of Hugh Pickens and Dick Turner made me feel that I was still with you and you with me. Marge Brown, President Brown's wife, covered the Banquet with her camcorder and we have a video tape of that wonderful occasion. It confirmed all of the individual reports that the Reunion was a resounding success.
As I watched the festivities on our VCR my most vivid impression was that the Peace Corps spirit still prevailed and I felt enveloped, lifted up, buoyed up (or is that a sexist expression?) in the camaraderie and the outpouring of affection. Another visual impression: you all looked so young! I guess I forgot the difference in our ages. But still you looked remarkably good after all of the challenges you have faced and met including the rigors of the fifteen month PC/CDP which undeniably was the most rigorous and rough. It was easy for me to write and talk about bringing together a number of disparate elements - language training, the academic major program, psychological testing, cross-cultural studies, professional preparation, etc. into an integrated program but you had to do it! You had to perform the herculean task of integrating those different ingredients and to emerge as competent degree-bearing, bilingual professionals ready for a challenging overseas assignment which you performed with distinction.
You proved to be sturdy exponents of flexibility and persistent practitioners of perseverance. You have continued to exemplify those virtues in your various post-Peace Corps careers. I am so proud of you!
In at least one respect I was lucky in not being able to attend the banquet because I was scheduled to "speechify" still suffering from the dubious reputation of being an addict of an ancient aberration in articulation known as alliteration. However, I had tried to deal with the problem and herewith is an excerpt from my proposed opening remarks.
"I hereby avow and affirm that I will assiduously avoid any arrangement, audible, or alphabetical, of adjectives or adverbs, which might a-liminate me from an assignment I have so avidly and avariously anticipated."
But I probably wouldn't have been able to have lived up to that pledge and my polysyllabic phrases and sesequipedalian sentences would have had a pathetic bloated quality alongside the straightforward eloquence of those who did speak - Herb, President Brown, Lorenzo, Juana, Jaime, and Kathy.
Now I'm able to report that after twelve days in the hospital with transfusions, surgery and numerous medication, followed by a rather extended period of convalescence, I am "on the mend." I believe that your communications of good wishes and prayerful support have been a positive factor in that process.
So I wind up this communique where it began with a salute to my peerless PC/CDP partners and the Peace Corps spirit plus an expression of profound gratitude for your continuing support and a fervent wish that there will be another reunion in the future.
Peace and God Bless,
Overlook Terrace, Bemus Point, NY
August 31, 1994
Message to Dr. Crandall from a returned volunteer
Pride. You were proud of the Peace Corps, of the program you designed and implemented and of the young people you selected to join it. The Program that you considered your highest administrative achievement was both academic and experiential. It combined a major in science with language, cross-cultural training, teaching experience, and international service. The Program produced highly motivated, resourceful teachers equipped for assignment in an overseas setting - it produced us - the members of Grupos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. I was a member of your Peace Corps/College Degree Program (PC/CDP) - you accepted me into Grupo Tres in 1969 and you affected my life during the following twenty-five years; first as the Director of the program, as my teacher in your graduate course on "The History of American Ideas," through our correspondence and in our conversations. When we met the last time, I was proud and honored that you asked me to read your memoirs and see to their publication. The words that ended our final conversation were "I love you" and the reply "I love you too."
Commitment. You asked us to commit to the values "of the free and sacred individual, equality before the law, and the human brotherhood of ideals, justice, integrity, and good-will." You asked us to commit to the Peace Corps as both "pluralistic and universal in outlook and committed to the essential dignity and equality of all people." And you committed to channel our energy and passion into an experience that changed our lives and the lives of the people we lived and worked with. Twenty-five years ago I went to South America from your PC/CDP eager to help high school teachers build low cost lab equipment for teaching science in rural secondary schools. Today I lead project engineering teams that build satellite control stations for NASA and other agencies all over the world. Although my present day concerns may seem far removed from Peace Corps days, I recognize that the lessons in flexibility and perseverance that I learned from you and the PC/CDP have shaped my life and put me on the road to who and where I am today. Lessons that have included
Communication. You were a teacher and your life was spent communicating values and knowledge to us, your students. Reading your words has been like resuming an interrupted conversation with you. Your book has brought me insight into the forces that shaped your life and why our generations have moved along such different trajectories. Now with the publication of this book that communication continues - and you will continue to live through it's pages and in the lives and memories of the people who know you and love you.
Development. In developing your memories into memoirs you have provided us with your final and most lasting gift. You've written a book about a life well lived, stories of friends and family - relationships and love (of Jill, your family, friends, colleagues and students) - a book that doesn't contain a harsh word about anyone - a book that shows how a man can make a difference in the lives of others - but the most important gift I've received from reading your book has been the realization of how fortunate I have been in my life for the gifts I have received from my wife, parents, children, family, friends, colleagues - and from teachers like you who have developed us by unselfishly sharing their wisdom and insights.
Peace Corps Volunteers returned to Brockport in July 1994 for the silver anniversary of the Peace Corps/College Degree Program to show you the contribution they had made as volunteers and as citizens of the America and of the World. Although you were unable to attend the reunion due to illness, you expressed satisfaction with the rich harvest of the Cuerpo de Paz and that the spirit of the PC/CDP lives on. And so, Dr. Crandall, we honor your memory. You created a program that showed a new way. You taught by example. You transformed our lives. We owe you a debt we can never repay.
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