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Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark Hickory photoTwo of Keene State's most magnificent trees are a pair of shagbark hickories located in front of Elliot Hall. These stately specimens enhance the Main Street view of one of the College's oldest buildings. Just south of the College along Main Street, a sister of our hickories sits in front of the Wyman Tavern. Every year I admit to laughing as I observe people wading through hickory nut husks littering that Main Street sidewalk. Frenzied squirrels favor the tasty nut, knocking them to the ground and using the cement as a convenient nutcracker. Humans can also enjoy the nut, but personally I have never eaten one.

The trees' most obvious characteristic is the loosely flaking bark, which gives the trunk a very shaggy appearance. One description calls the bark "long curving plates, curling outward at the ends," which sums it up rather nicely. The bark and the trees' upright, narrow habit illustrate a favorite landscape architects' term, which is "winter interest." The yellow, golden brown fall foliage is not all that showy, enabling the bark and fruit of the hickory to grab most of the attention.

Sometimes I feel the beauty of Elliot Hall and the presence of a gigantic linden tree in the same area overshadow our twin hickories. These trees are usually dismissed in the modern world of landscaping because they are very slow growing. Ignored is the fact that "slow growing" usually means "long living."

One-hundred-foot specimens of shagbark hickories can be 200 years old or more, a fact I take great comfort in.

We are fortunate at Keene State to have this brace of shagbark specimens at such a prominent location. Their stature evokes for me impressions of strength, solidness, and dignity, not bad images to describe our college.

Jeff Garland
Campus Arborist

It's in the Cards for Jim Anderson '91

While many members of Red Sox nation scurried to get their hands on precious World Series tickets or gathered around their television sets to watch the dream unfold this fall, one Keene State College alum probably had one of the best seats in the house to witness the "Curse of the Bambino" finally being put to rest. The only problem? He was rooting for the other team.

Jim Anderson photostrong>Jim Anderson '91 grew up a Red Sox fan, but his allegiance switched last year when he joined the St. Louis Cardinals public relations staff. "At first I didn't think the World Series loss was going to sting as much," Anderson said. "But it did because we just didn't show up. Four games? You've got to be kidding me."

After briefly attending UNH, Anderson, a Nashua native, found his calling when he enrolled in KSC's sports management program. "Part of the reason for where I am today is directly attributable to my time at Keene State," said Anderson, who also found time to pitch during the 1989 season for the Owls. "It was probably the best thing I've ever done."

Photo: a Fenway Park fan section at the Series.Anderson, like a player, worked his way up to the majors. First he shuffled off to Buffalo after hearing about a minor-league baseball internship opportunity from former faculty member Steven Cone. After stops with minor-league hockey and baseball teams in Atlanta and Las Vegas, Anderson reached the big leagues in February 2000, when he took a media relations position with the Detroit Tigers. After a four-year stint in Detroit, which included the infamous 2003 season when the Tigers managed to win just 43 games, Anderson moved to the National League with the Cardinals.

Anderson felt like a player traded from a cellar-dweller to a first-place team. "Some people kidded me by saying, 'You're with a real professional team now,'" he said.

Although he had worked the playoffs the previous year, nothing prepared him for what was to take place at the 2004 World Series, when he had to deal with more than 2000 media representatives. "Being at Fenway Park for the first two games was surreal," Anderson said. "I was fired up myself."

A few nights later at Busch Stadium, Anderson watched with mixed emotions as the Red Sox celebrated their World Series championship. "It was neat to be here and see them celebrate," conceded Anderson. "But at the same time, my friends and family back home didn't get to see the same St. Louis team that I saw all year."

Anderson may be heartened by the advice that kept Red Sox hopes alive for 86 seasons: "Wait until next year."
- Stuart Kaufman

Coach Taft

Richard Taft photoRichard Taft '79, M'85 of Hampstead, N.H., always knew he wanted to coach from the time he traveled with his father, Robert Taft, to Owl cross country and track events. His father was a financial aid administrator and a psychology teacher at Keene State, as well as cross country and track coach.

Rick did indeed become a coach - of soccer, basketball, baseball, and track at high schools in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. But now he's doing some educational coaching, from the principal's office at Hampstead Middle School, a position he accepted in October. In an interview with his local newspaper, he said he believes in "talking to the people in the trenches, flattening the hierarchical team - with the principal as the leader, but people who work here need to have a say in guiding the school."

Rick started his career teaching driver's education at Pinkerton Academy, then taught physical education and health and started coaching. He is also an NCAA soccer official, refereeing Division II and III games.

Both Tafts have been inducted into the KSC Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. Rick was a back-up goalie on the 1977 men's soccer team, which was inducted in 1999. Robert was inducted in 2003 for his coaching achievements.

Mystery Meat and Macaroni Casserole

Photo: Mike Maher '72, now director of Alumni and Parent Relations, checked meal cards in the Dining Commons during the winter of 1972To help celebrate the opening of the new Zorn Dining Commons next fall, we hope to publish some of your memories about food and meals during your years at Keene State. Perhaps you met your future spouse over a cafeteria tray or developed a lifelong craving for that macaroni casserole served every Tuesday. Please send food stories and anecdotes to Associate Editor, Keene State Today, 229 Main St., Keene, NH 03435-1502; or e-mail

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