Happy birthday and best wishes as you reach an august age. I am not so far behind you in years and so we can remember a few highlights of a couple of young men in Baltimore in the mid-Seventies. I was lucky enough to have you as my dissertation director at Johns Hopkins during your relatively short time there. It was not every director who would stop by on his way to campus to make sure his student was not still slumbering or who would serve him “chicken tits and bourbon” as a gracious evening meal. Or who would go occasionally with the graduate students, packed in a Gremlin, on a field trip for lunch to “Jack’s, the King of Corned Beef,” down on Lombard St. or for steamed crabs and pizza bread at Bud’s. A favorite memory was of you dancing on the bar after last call during a Fell’s Point weekend adventure. Last call at Rupert’s for Hippocleides. You were really fun.
You also got the job done. Your classes were prized by us as a rare combination of literary imagination and linguistic skill. You worked deftly to lick my inchoate ideas about Homer into the shape of a presentable dissertation. But you were as much a friend as a guide to me and my fellow students.
So congratulations and thank you for your help and encouragement back then and during later years as well. I, like many others of your students, learned to think about Greek poetry from you. That special view has informed my teaching career ever since. I’m very grateful to you for all you’ve done for me and for your other students, both in and out of the classroom. We are united by your care and insight and especially by your friendship.
Best Wishes for the Future,