The Mailbag

Story Evokes Memories Of Famous Speakers, Classes
Reading the article on the renovations at the Batten Arts and Letters Building [summer 2008] prompted me to think about my many hours spent there during the early and middle 1970s.

I recall meeting Rod Serling of TV’s “Twilight Zone” fame inside the building in 1973 or ’74. I had asked him for an autograph and he declined, saying, “I don’t give autographs because it’s an artificial means of communication.”

I have never asked anyone for an autograph since.

And in 1974 or ’75, I met the late CBS newsman and commentator Eric Sevareid in the Arts and Letters Building and rode the elevator with him – along with what seemed like three dozen other folks packed in tightly!

I can recall the first day of my sophomore American Literature class in Room 235; I remember the classroom number because Professor James J. McNally came bounding into the class that morning shouting, “Let’s come alive in Room 235!”

I still have a clear memory of Professor William W. Seward’s small, cluttered office with walls filled with framed black-and-white photos of famous folks, mostly writers, all personally inscribed.

Then there was that afternoon in 1976 when Professor Alf J. Mapp was briefly called out of our writing class, and my classmates and I decided to “relocate” our class to a vacant classroom down the hall. But before we left the room, we turned all the desks to face the opposite way.

When Mapp returned he strode purposefully into the empty classroom, stopped cold, went back into the hall to look at the room number, stood there bewildered a moment, and began to slowly walk away when one of us came out and directed him to our new room.

The other building where I spent much of my time is Webb Center, but that’s a longer story for another day.
Frank Sayles Jr. ’77
Tifton, Ga.

Kudos For Column
My husband and I both went to the University of Pennsylvania, but my daughter went to Old Dominion, and as I was looking at her alumni magazine [summer 2008] and just reading it in general, I thought that you did a bang-up job.

And then I read the column about ODU alumni in uniform that featured Jason Redmon. It’s just a tremendous column – and what a man! The column is neither pro nor con regarding war or military service, but what is important is that it is pro-American, and Lord knows we need that now.
– Lurline Stahl
Virginia Beach, Va.

Parker Lesley Papers At ODU’s Perry Library
I’m writing a response to a letter in Old Dominion University magazine [summer 2008] in reference to Parker Lesley. Everett Parker Lesley Jr. is one of the “Monuments Men,” who were so named for their participation with the recovery, identification and preservation of valuable art pieces during World War II. He received many commendations for his participation and art expertise.

Earlier this year I was in correspondence with Elizabeth Ivy (Laurel Publishing), and I confirmed that the soldier standing to the left on the cover photo of “Rescuing Da Vinci” was indeed Parker. I referred her to the Web page that features“The Papers of Everett Parker Lesley, Jr.” contained at ODU’s Perry Library, Special Collections Department. Parker’s personal papers were donated by his nephew Mark Lesley (former ODU faculty member) in 1982.

I solely organized and cataloged Parker’s collection, whose description of contents can be viewed at:

From handling Parker’s entire collection I have a subjective impression of what was important to him. He valued his friendships/relationships most of all, he had a passion for art, he loved to share his knowledge by teaching and he was dedicated to his occupation (whether a soldier, private art cataloger, art curator or ODU faculty member). Ironically, there isn’t any reference to his connection to the “Monuments Men” – only the commendations he received.

Also of interest is Parker’s book “Renaissance Jewels and Jeweled Objects,” which is currently out of print; ODU holds one non-circulating copy.
– David A. Corona
Perry Library

Remembering ODU’s Mythical Football Team
I am “Ted Constantly” amazed by the changes at ODU! I look forward to sitting in my seat at Foreman Field on opening day prior to kickoff pondering all the new stuff, reminiscing about Harry Caray’s home run calls and cheap beer at Speedy’s, and explaining to current students how I snuck into the ’92 Rose Bowl disguised as the ODU History Club float, stormed the field after our upset of Michigan and hoisted my roommate OJ Allen on my shoulders in celebration of ODU’s undefeated season.
– Chuck Piotrowski ’91
Rutland, Vt.

To send a letter to the editor, an update for the Class News section or a change-of-address notice, you may contact us via e-mail,; fax, 757-683-5501; or by regular mail, Editor, Old Dominion University magazine, 100 Koch Hall, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529.

You may reach us by phone at:
Alumni Association and Alumni Relations Office: 757-683-3097 or 888-ODU-3435
Old Dominion University magazine: 757-683-3093