A Note from John Coatsworth

After graduating from Cherry Lawn in 1958, I went to Westeyan University. I majored in History because I remembered Mr. Zuber leaping about imitating an ape -- to demonstrate evolution. I graduated a year late (1963), having taken time off to work.

In my senior year at Wesleyan, I saw an ad in a radical newspaper called The National Guardian offering a free trip to Cuba "to break the travel ban." My room mate and I signed up. In all, 59 college students traveled to Cuba, via Czechoslovakia and back, two months, via Madrid. We met Fidel, Che, and lots of bigwigs, but the most important person I met was Patricia Sopiak, one of the 59, who was a student at the University of Michigan. She let me carry her suitcase, but thought I was an FBI agent and dumped me (temporarily) for...a real FBI agent.

That fall, I went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as a graduate student in U.S. History (the alternative to getting drafted). A year later, after months of hitchhiking between Madison and Pat's home in suburban Detroit, I was exhausted. So we got married.

Many rousing protests later, Pat and I left in early 1968 for the first of many trips to Mexico. In the end, I managed to finish a Ph.D. dissertation and Pat got a Masters' degree in Library Science. Something to keep paychecks coming 'til the Revolution.

Instead of a Revolution, we got Anna -- our daughter, born two months into my first year (1969) as a Professor at the University of Chicago -- starting salary, $10,000 a year. We lived in Chicago until 1993 (with time off for another two years in Mexico and a year living in Madrid). That fall, we moved to Cambridge where I teach Latin American history and Pat is Administrator of Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute.

That's it -- life after Cherry Lawn!

See you on the 21st! But only if everyone promises to refrain from mentioning my performances on the football team!


Submitted 20-May-1997