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Tufton Has Been Found …Sort Of

We asked readers, via WU News, to find the hidden Tufton Beamish reference in the last issue; several responded with clever ideas, but only one nailed it.

First, Nancy Hooton ’67 wondered whether the initials “TB” were hidden on President Thorsett’s jacket button on p. 20. Then, Paul deLespinasse ’61 — one of the inventors of Beamish — wondered about the terms “CareerBeam” or “the beaming smile…” on pp. 40 and 51.

It was Ramona (Mills) Murtha ’89, however, who got it: The word “Beamish” is written in full on the mailbox in the graphic on p. 31.

We have sent her a highly valuable Willamette prize.

What’s hiding in this issue?

On Facebook and Kim Jong Il

I found out about Kim Jong Il’s death via Facebook. In that moment, I yelled to my mother, “Mom! Did you know Kim Jong Il died?!” I didn’t even hear her response as I kept scrolling through my wall to see what other people had written.

I was in shock, elated perhaps, yet didn’t really register the change until it came through more prepared news outlets the following morning. I made an obligatory “it’s about time” joke online and then finished wrapping Christmas presents.

My mother damned him and tried to call family in Korea but couldn’t get through. My younger sister is teaching English in South Korea, so I texted her quickly to call Mom.

She did, and Mom asked if she’d heard, found out what the South Korean media was saying, and then soberly instructed her to get on the first flight home should there be any military scuffle. I laughed — I’m numb to this in a way, a second-generation Korean-American so removed from the actual hardship of the war and nation-building that I roll my eyes at the routine scare tactics volleyed across the DMZ border lines every year.

My mother was born in Pyongyang, in 1947. The Communist regime took her father’s land. Luckily, one of my mom’s cousins married a military man, and one day he managed to have a large military truck drive to the house to take everyone to safety. This idea forever changed my family: My mother and assorted family members who happened to be over that day made it out. The bridge that was the main access road was blown up the next day; in that instant, my mother became a refugee in her own country.

Mom calls Oregon home now. Her brother, who stayed in Korea , brought a matte blue pamphlet once on a trip from Asia. “Look!” he said, opening it to show my mother, “that’s where our house was! And there’s the island we would swim across to in the summer!” He pointed to a drawing of what had been turned into a model government farm. As always, the talk ended with wistfulness, lingering ill will toward “the reds” and a collective sigh.

That sigh is for a time before the government farm, when the peninsula was in the shape of a rabbit, with the body and tail in the south and head and ears in the north.

So Kim Jong Il is dead, and yes, it’s a huge deal. But I am conflicted with wariness and hope. It’s not going to be as simple as taking away the border guards at the DMZ. Strangely, Kim Jong Il’s death — and his remote, mysterious life — make me feel closer to that faraway little country, the rabbit torn in two.

— Insil Kang ’04


In the last issue, a description of the class of 1957’s gift to the university archive mentioned a dollar value of $1.1 million; a portion of that amount was allocated to the archive, but the figure actually represents the class’s 50th-reunion giving in total.

We invite emails and letters to the editors. Contact us at scene@willamette.edu, or by mailing to Tufton Beamish, Office of Alumni Relations, 900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301. Published correspondence may be edited for length and clarity.

Contact us

The Scene

Office of Alumni Relations

900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301

Published correspondence may be edited for length and/or clarity.