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MORELAND MEMORIES

So far in 2007, I am featuring a series of Moreland Memories of my own. Each thumbnail sketch reports an encounter with a noted personality, most of which occurred while I was living in Eastmoreland, where I grew up, or in Westmoreland, where I lived for another 39 years.

Over the years I have had the privilege and honor of encountering a number of well-known personalities.

One of these involved a man who has become a legend in Oregon in his own lifetime - Senator Mark Hatfield. However, before he built his reputation in the U.S. Congress, he was Governor of Oregon, and it was in that role that I met him -- and I'm afraid I didn't acquit myself very well.

I was asked to introduce him at a Portland banquet of 'Presbyterian Men' in 1963. For some reason, I thought it would be droll to do the job with one sentence: 'Our speaker tonight is a man who needs no introduction, Governor Mark Hatfield.' Rather than warming up the crowd, I cooled it off, and my wit was greeted with stony silence, as unfortunately was the Governor. I learned a lot about making introductions that night.

Certainly, the one 'famous person' who I knew best was my Uncle George, my father's brother. At Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, the statistical laboratory bears the proud name 'Snedecor Hall' after Uncle George, who, as far as I know, is the only member of our family listed in 'Who's Who in America'.

Uncle George was a professor who published, in 1937, a book called 'Statistical Methods', which has become the basic textbook on the subject. In my travels around the country, I have often been asked, 'Any relation to the expert on statistical methods?' Well, the answer is yes!

Two famous entertainers of years past come to mind, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting: One was the famous composer and singer of classic popular songs, Hoagy Carmichael, and the other was the wildly successful comedian of early television, Sid Caesar.

Hoagy Carmichael was the featured entertainer at the 1941 Kappa Sigma Convention at French Lick Springs, Indiana, and I was there. He played the piano and sang 'Stardust', 'Up a Lazy River', 'Georgia On My Mind', 'Ole Buttermilk Sky', and others of the many classic songs he had written. I recall that it was at Indiana University, way back in 1927, that he wrote the music to the song for which he is best remembered, 'Stardust'.

As for Sid Caesar, I saw him on the same program as the late Steve Allen in 1988 at the Disneyland Hotel, when both were performing at a conference called 'The Power of Laughter Play', which drew a crowd of 1,200. What a hilarious combination they made! For those too young to remember, Caesar had his own television program, 'Your Show of Shows', which also featured the late Imogene Coca. He was one of my favorite comedians.

More of these vignettes, in next month's 'Moreland Memories'.

Elliott K. Snedecor, a lifelong resident of Eastmoreland and Westmoreland, brings us his 'Moreland Memories' each month from his beach retirement home in Newport. Nonetheless, he can still regularly be found walking the streets of his old neighborhood, reacquainting himself with the places and friends of his youth.