Friday, June 29, 2012

Off to a Better Place

Today was Vida and Ranald's last day (before retirement).  So we sent them off properly with a party.

We had pizza from Otto and cake from Finale.  Naturally, since many of us have been around for longer than we care to think about, a flood of reminiscences spewed forth.  Then Charles dropped in, and the reminiscing got really serious, since he knows the history of everybody.  He recalled many scandals and was able to satisfy my curiosity about one old one.  I had heard that a German bibliographer had gotten money from Harvard to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair and get Widener some books, but he didn't actually go, and so he got canned.  But then Jon said that wasn't true.  I wanted to know what was true.  Charles said that the bibliographer had made appointments to see all sorts of book dealers in Frankfurt; but he didn't show up for any of the appointments.  So the dealers e-mailed Harvard asking "Did this guy die or what?"  This question led to the discovery that the bibliographer had used the Frankfurt-Book-Fair money to take his family to Switzerland for a ski vacation.  He got canned.  However, this goofy behavior had not prevented him from getting high-paid library jobs elsewhere.

This is a sobering story to hear at the end of one's working life!

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