THE WILLIAMS IN MY LIFE


Williams, that is, as a surname.

The first was a Miss Williams, teacher of English at Woodside Senior Secondary School in Glasgow, Scotland.    She is remembered by me, then a proverbial callow youth, as a glamorous personage;  even cloaked in the long black master’s gown of the time.   My recollection is confirmed by old school magazine photographs which I will not share here!

Moving ahead about six years, another of that name appeared on the scene –  Herbert H. Williams, Dean of Admissions at Cornell University.  I still have his letter of acceptance addressed  to  me In Japan where I was serving in the U.S. Army.    I was only three years an immigrant in my new country and was thrilled beyond belief at my good fortune.  The GI Bill in those days was very generous and covered more than half of expenses at one of the most prestigious colleges in America,  But I still had to make up a  deficit. 

Enter the third Williams,  David B., then Director of Financial Aid.  During my four undergraduate years, I earned  most of my shortfall in that office, helping other students get jobs on and off campus.  (David subsequently became head of the international student office where he did an outstanding job.)

I have to confess that the fourth is a bit of a stretch:  Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Yes, I know his name is an unhyphenated double-barrelled type.  But that Williams was a visiting lecturer and conductor while I was at Cornell.  Thus  I saw and heard the great man, a familiar name from childhood.    In the land of Copeland and Gershwin, I was proud of  my musical heritage in his person. 

The last of the name I can recall being eligible to be added to this list is Henry G. Willams, Director of State Planning, State of New York.   I was fortunate to join his office to participate in development of the new federal Coastal Management Program.  That marked the beginning of  a successful second career, this time in the public sector, in an unusual venture joining federal, state and local governments in efforts to improve New York’s 1,500 miles of coastal assets.  

So I thank all you Williamses for making my life more exciting and fulfilling!bb(Sorry Esther, Serena, Venus, Emelyn, et al.)

 

 

 

 

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