Friday, November 21, 2008

A Random Walk

I just picked up Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace, by Joseph M. Williams, which was recommended on Language Log a while back. After reading the first chapter, I wondered about the author and looked through the book for a bio. There was not one, so I checked the acknowledgments, which were signed "South Haven, Michigan." That's where my Dad grew up, so I was amused by that, and I thought I would see if Williams has an email address online anywhere. Google led me to the Wikipedia page linked above, and I found out he had died in February. He was born in 1933, the same year as my Dad, so I briefly wondered if my Dad might have known him, but Williams was born in Cleveland, and only died in South Haven, so he may have only moved to South Haven as an adult. My Dad has the good fortune of having been born in South Haven and of probably not dying in Cleveland, assuming he doesn't make the mistake of moving back to Ohio after having finally escaped Toledo in 1999, nineteen years after I managed to get away from there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, when I followed your lead and looked
him up too, I found out that South Haven was
more like a 'second home' for him ... He spent
weekends and holidays in South Haven, com-
muting to/from Chicago, where he taught
and lived during the week (just as gener-
ations of well-off folks who 'earn their
livings' in Chicago have been doing for
about a century ... give or take a decade
or two!)

All of which leaves me wondering why you
titled this item "A Random Walk" ... I kind
of get it, but it would surprise me if many
of your readers are familiar (enough) with
the phrase to 'get it' ... hmmm?

-- dhsh