Nordstrom Discusses Grade School (Play Audio)
Nordstrom: Being from Buffalo was a lot better than being in Buffalo. I went to public schools there until fourth grade – through fourth grade – then I got a rather discouraging report card from my fourth grade teacher who said that Alan walks and talks and wastes his time. And it was true, and fortunately I have been able to make a profession out of it eventually. But in the meantime, it was not a happy thought for my father, who said this requires some stringency. He was not wealthy, but he managed to scrape together enough money, and I think I had a scholarship for a few hundred dollars that allowed me to go to something like the Trinity school – the Trinity Nickels School in Buffalo is a country day school. It was though, all boys and when I started in fifth grade, I had of course to appear in uniform, which meant a jacket and a tie, and a white shirt, and charcoal grey flannel pants – it’s Buffalo so flannel was appropriate – and be a little gentleman. It was good for me; it did shape me up.
Nordstrom Discusses his First Impression of Rollins (Play Audio)
Nordstrom: While I was here, one of the things that I fell in love with was the Annie Russell Theater. They were rehearsing some play and I went in one evening when I wasn’t being interviewed or didn’t have anything particular to do and met some of the theater people. A fellow named – um, I’m just missing his first name here – Galacowski, I don’t think he was the director of the program, but he was the director of that play, lived just across the street from the entrance – the back entrance here in a house that used to be Rollins property, in one of those stucco houses, small stucco houses – I still can’t think of his first name – and his wife Johnny Galacowski was in the audience and sort of latched on to me, and took me under her wing and then I sort of got to see a personable side of the College before I – well let’s see, yeah – before I left. And then back in May when I came down, they invited me to stay at their house and introduced me to several of the faculty and helped me find a place to rent. It was this personableness I think, on all levels and all aspects of the College. The comprehensible size of the place – you knew you’d know people and that you’d know them for some time. That really sealed the deal for me; I thought I’d come to heaven. (laughs)
Nordstrom Discusses the Community of Learners (Play Audio)
Art and society was the theme. So the idea was to in that seminar,
makes some links, find some commonalities and talk about the
connections, so it had to do with integrating knowledge, which is the
same kind of notion that’s come up in our new Rollins plan. As a
general education program – you read about it maybe in the news last
year, how to make connections. In this case we had an overarching theme
and all those courses somehow spoke to it, but it was our job in the
seminar to draw some connections and write about it in ways that would
make that happen. I had to take the tests in and write the papers for
those other three courses and get the grades as well. (laughs) So I had
to be – and I didn’t always get the best grades. There were sophomores
that were getting better grades – and well, painting, I just didn’t have
as much as a knack, that’s understandable. But in the second one, there
was a course called Professional Ethics – Marvin Newman taught that and
you know, there was a young lady there who was a very strong rival and
often beat me. (laughs) That was a good experience to realize when you
put yourself on a level with students; some of them have very remarkable
talents and are sophisticated. It was a humbling experience.
Nordstrom Discusses the Literary Magazine (Play Audio)
Oh the Brushing magazine, which is art and literature. When I
came here there was none and I didn’t realize that there had been one.
It was called the Flamingo that expired sometime – I don’t know –
sometime well before came. It just had a good tradition, it had
Hemingway’s sister who was here and published in it. And it somehow
didn’t occur to me until a few years – three or so years after I was
here – that yeah, we don’t have a literary magazine, why is that? And
it occurred to a student of mine, Michael Madonick, and we kind of
conspired and said let’s start one up. And Brushing was born.
He named it because – and it’s not Brushings, its Brushing – because he
wanted it to be both literary and artistic and over all those years, and
I’ve got all those copies in my office.
Nordstrom Discusses the Shakespeare Festival (Play Audio)
Nordstrom: The McKean grant is for a project that looks promising. And what I did in winning that was to go to England for a summer and study drama. With the idea – oh and it was an intensive tour of mostly Shakespearean drama that was partly situated in Stratford and then moved on in London and we saw every Shakespeare play, and some others. It was led by Patrick Stewart, yes – Captain Picard, and a wonderful – he was with the Royal Shakespeare at the time and this was a summer gig for him to take a number of Americans and show them through the theater. But my rational for doing this was the thought that possibly we could start a Shakespeare festival here at Rollins. And I assembled a group of people from the faculty and elsewhere out in the community and tried to bring this off. It didn’t happen, mainly because there really wasn’t financing for that. But a good friend of mine who was part of that original group, he’s called Stuart Omans, and he was then, or around that time, the head of the English department at UCF and was also the Shakespearean there, so he and I were sort of Shakespeare colleagues. He took that notion and now we have the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, which at first was an outdoor thing at Lake Eola, Downtown, and now over in the Lockhaven Park has its own building with three stages in there, and it’s just changed its name from Orlando Shakespeare Festival or Orlando Shakespeare Theater.