EDITING IN MINNESOTA:
I was most fortunate to develop a friendship at Bowdoin College with a fellow who was undoubtedly the brightest guy in our class. He may not have graduated first in the Bowdoin Class of 1956, but I am convinced he was the smartest, as I took classes with him that also included scholars who lead our class.
Cal and I roomed together at the Alpha Delta Phi house in our junior and senior years. He was an English major and ultimately convinced me to take the one English course I took (other than the basic freshman courses, English 1-2). That modern American novel course changed my life. It introduced me to the joy of reading—which enticed me to start writing.
Cal then went on to earn his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, writing his Thesis in Latin, and not too long afterward, began teaching English at the University of Minnesota.
In 1982, Cal was teaching Medieval English at the University of Minnesota. I was running a textile company in South Carolina and had written my first book—a biography of my father. Pat suggested I contact Cal to help me with this book, and I called him. He reminded me I had taught him how to ski in Maine and he taught his wife, Ellie. Since the three of us were still skiing, Cal suggested we review my writing at the Minnesota ski resort, Lutsen. I asked our oldest daughter, Jan, to join me, and we headed north. From that visit on, Dr. Cal became my editor.
We all loved skiing in Lutsen. Ellie cooked some wonderful meals, and in the evenings, Cal started making suggestions on ways to improve my book. The first book was particularly challenging as it was about my 25-year business relationship with my father. My mother was a writer herself. She was book editor at Hilton Head’s newspaper, The Island Packet, and she also planned to write her own book about her husband, my father. Cal knew Mom and Dad, and he zeroed in on fleshing out details about some tricky situations in my father-son relationship that wouldn’t have interfered with my mother’s musings. My first book was Brunswick’s Legacy, A Learned Man.
Dr. Cal has now edited five books for me. This week I returned to visit Cal and Ellie in their Plymouth, Minnesota home to review his edits on my sixth book. This particular book contains a number of wonderful writings by my late brother, Peter Carvill Haskell. Jan and I had assembled Peter’s words, and I’d sent it to Cal for his final edit.
Cal and I worked for the better part of two full days, and it became obvious to me how much time and effort he had put into editing this book. After we’d finished the manuscript, we selected the photos to put in the book, many given to me by Peter’s son, Ben Haskell, a firefighter in Seattle. Ben had given me his blessing on putting together this book, Windmills by the Pink Motel and other Tales from My Life by Peter Carvill Haskell. Cal, Ellie, and I talked a lot about Peter. Peter had also graduated from Bowdoin, class of 1961, and went on to study library science and organizational behavior, earning two master’s degrees. Peter’s crowning life’s achievement, however, was hiking a major section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Cal was a hiker, having hiked the major White Mountains and the Adirondacks, so he appreciated what an amazing feat Peter accomplished —having Parkinson’s disease for more than 16 years when he hiked and wrote about his adventures. All that remains now is to place photos in the manuscript and send it to the printer. We’ve set a deadline of this spring as our publication date.
Ellie, Cal, and I attended a marvelous production of Shakespeare’s Pericles at the Guthrie Theatre during my stay. Cal also introduced me to some of his former associate professors at U. MN. he’d told me about and talked about Pat and my 22 years running our own professional live theatre. (Cal helped me write my book about SCRC, P.S.)
My weekend with Dr. Cal and Ellie was great fun. He still mixes a fantastic Old Fashioned, and, drinks in hand, we marveled at our 64-year friendship, talked at length about this new book, and made tentative plans to meet in Spain in May and attend our 60th Bowdoin Reunion in June.