Week of January 28, 2004

Schools Daze
And another thing...: I appreciated Geri L. Dreiling's and Shelley Smithson's fine and complex article about Bill and Bill's recent amazing adventures, but there are two or so clarifications that are important for me to make ["Bill's Bills," January 21]:

You referenced my now-legendary e-mail of some months ago to Bill Roberti and repeated the canard that I made a "lewd sexual reference to Roberti's working relationship with fellow...consultant Karen Marsal." Sometimes that e-mail is referred to as filled with "sexual innuendo." Nothing can be farther from the truth. Anyone who reads the e-mail knows it has nothing to do with sex or anyone's private lives. I did make a reference or two to Karen's working relationship with Bill, and I did use a lewd sexual word or two in discussing how I thought they were acting, but it was strictly symbolic and had nothing to do with anyone's private lives. Though your reference was technically correct, I thought it might leave the wrong impression with someone who hadn't read the e-mail.

Second, I want to say that other than the week of the e-mail, and now with Bill feeling I maligned his reputation, which is a good one and he's earned it (and I certainly didn't mean to defame it and was caught off-guard by his response -- he had told me previously that he had nothing to do with the preparation of the school-consolidation list, and I said I believed him) -- other than these two unfortunate instances, we've been, I think, friends, and fond of each other. I know I am of him, and I have great respect for his talents and intelligence. Early on, I bought him a gift that I thought would mean something to him; he's helped me job-hunt for something more full-time than adjunct teaching and part-time retail -- he didn't have to do that; and at our retreat, even though I was exhausted from the week, I made a point of going just to meet his wife, whom he speaks of a lot in the most wonderful of terms, and I told them that. We made an effort to sit at the same table for part of the evening so we could chat. Family members have problems sometimes, even lawsuits, and it's sad, and friends do, too. Bill's and my problems are essentially business, not personal (though it doesn't always seem like that) and pain us both, I believe. This will pass somehow, I hope, and I think he does too.

Finally, about Amy Hilgemann and all the mean things she's been saying about me lately. From appearances it seems that she may have had some input into the preparation of the school-consolidation list, and there's nothing wrong with that, but could that be why she seems so sensitive lately? And when I asked her if she wasn't interested in finding out the details of Waring School's closing (maybe she already knows?), she said, "Oh, it was just a dinky little school." I can handle all the mean things she says about me -- I know who I am, so do my friends, and I don't let others define me, but such a statement about one of our schools -- any school, not just a high-performing magnet school -- in my opinion is unforgivable from a board member. I won't say mean things about her; her own words speak for themselves well enough.
Bill Haas, member
St. Louis Board of Education

Credit Due
It takes a village to re-raise a restaurant: Michael Renner's recent review of Cyrano's grossly misrepresented the composition of the design team involved in bringing Cyrano's back to life ["How Sweet It Is," December 24]. Johannes-Cohen Collaborative, Inc. provided the architectural design services that "transformed this hulk of a room into three distinct yet interwoven areas...." Randy Burkett Lighting Design, Inc. served as lighting consultant, selecting and locating fixtures. McGinnis and Associates acted as structural engineers. Joan Colgrove was the interior decorator, selecting paint colors and fabrics. Tim Delahanty was the general contractor. A host of other players were involved, all of whom were integral in completing this successful project. I realize Mr. Renner's review was primarily a food write-up. But since he opted to discuss the design of the space, he's obliged to get the facts straight.
Leif Hauser, architect
Johannes-Cohen Collaborative, Inc.
St. Louis

Like Night & Day
Thanks for nothing! It was with great dismay that I read Bryon Kerman's Night & Day section article about a reading from my book, Nasty Sonnets ["Garbage-Pail Kid," December 3]. I have been doing poetry events for some years under another name and gratis. Finally, I have published a book using my grandfather's fine name as a pen name, and I asked Byron to do a little story about it. The damn thing was buried hopelessly in a tiny aside in which he excoriated everything about it and me. Of course no one came to the reading and instead flocked to the nude happening, which was a tame re-enactment of the Arousal show I helped produce along with Linda Horstley. Thanks for nothing, Byron.
Thomas Rangdale
St. Louis

Thanks for everything! Thank you so very much for the story with picture that appeared in the November 26 issue of the Riverfront Times [Paul Friswold, "Literary Heroes"]. Several people have brought the article in with them when they came to the museum. We really appreciate your taking an interest in the Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum. It has been a great help in letting people know about us. Thank you again.
Frances Kerber Walrond, director
The Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum
St. Louis