By Stephen Gentle
What I remember most about my week at SDSU as editor in 1992 - beyond the 6.5 hours of *total* sleep I had that week - was that it was the week that Hal Rather died.
You may know Hal Rather's name from the award that bears his name. Hal was from Tennessee, and he was a legendary character in SCL, even though he was barely out of his primary membership. He and his friend Tom Cheever from Massachusetts were hosts for That's Entertainment for a few years, and they were comedy gold. His recurring bit as Bob, the Generic JCL Candidate from Guam, was legendary in the early 90s.
When we arrived on the SDSU campus for Convention in August of 1992, Hal had been fighting cancer for almost a year. My recollection is that he was doing well enough, you know, for fighting cancer. In retrospect, that may just have been my youth believing that no one as young and vibrant as Hal could suddenly be gone.
And then he was.
We were in the Ear Office tossing around some ideas for That's Entertainment skits, when the Ear Office phone (a land line!) rang. It was either Mary or Geri from the JCL desk, asking with a very concerned voice, to talk to Cheever, his best friend. It was one of those moments of disbelief that slows everything around you, and you can't believe it's real.
I remember being numb.
I remember lots of tears.
I remember hugs with the only family that mattered to us at the moment.
I remember someone told Sister Jeanette Plante, who came immediately to the SCL dorm to support us. Sister Jeanette offered the sweetest words of comfort and a very moving prayer...all for "Al".
I remember the sobs becoming stifled guffaws because that's the kind of humor that Hal would have loved - a nun earnestly comforting his friends while getting his name wrong. We all knew Hal was laughing his ass off.
So how does this relate back to the Convention Ear? In two ways - both in Issue 4.
On page 6, there's an article recapping Bob, the Generic JCL Candidate. In a bit of serendipity, Cheever had written the article before Convention, and we were planning to run it on that day anyway.
More importantly, on pages 4-5, you will see a simple tribute to Hal, penned by Cheever, that still hits me in the feels when I read it.
By Jason Long
Salvete omnes! We hope you enjoyed your visit to NJCL Convention in Ohio as much as we enjoyed hosting you. Our sixty-ninth annual convention was from March 9th to 11th. The theme was from Catullus V: “Soles occidere et redire possunt.” We had 25 OSCLers in attendance, and gained 21 slashers at this convention. Below are some highlights from our weekend in Columbus.
Two new committees were created for our chapter’s merchandise and website respectively. We held a fundraiser for The Sportula, a scholarship fund for Classics students, and donated $100. We won the only Ludi event held at OJCL conventions, napping. Now OSCL President, Tullus Dean, was a celebrity, especially in the eyes of our state’s biggest delegation, who is Tullus’s biggest fan. We introduced Queen of the Day at our convention for the first time. Congratulations to our winner, Bob McDonald.
Check out more photos from our convention on the Gallery page of our website.