I’m going to get way down in the weeds on this one but I promise I’m actually headed somewhere.
A week or so ago I wrote a quick post about planters on campus and I included a photo with a very young Pender Turnbull in it.
This mention prompted an email (complete with pictures) from loyal reader John Wolda:
I married Harriet Nicholas in 1956. Her father was Dr. H.O Nicholas, Rice Chemistry professor for 35 years and Athletic Director in 1934 when the Owls won their first SWC football championship. Here are items from our wedding presents. The bowl was a gift from Pender Turnbull and Ann Wheeler, Dr Lovett’s secretary. We still use it.
Here’s the gift register. You can see Pender Turnbull and Anne Wheeler sixth from the top:
And here’s the bowl itself. Mr. Wolda claims it makes his famous potato salad look even better.
Pender Turnbull, who worked in the library, and Anne Wheeler, who worked in Dr. Lovett’s office, were dear friends for many decades. The bulk of the correspondence in Turnbull’s papers, in fact, are letters written by Anne Wheeler from various vacation spots. They lived in the same building for years, right at the edge of the Village across the street from Christ the King Lutheran Church on Rice Boulevard. (It was torn down only recently and is now a parking lot for Hungry’s.) It’s easy to imagine them walking together to and from campus, chatting about current events. My mind just reels thinking about what they could have told me. I found this picture of them with another colleague not too long ago. It’s the only image I’ve ever seen of Ann Wheeler, who’s on the left:
Cliffhanger: Tune in tomorrow as I search for the man in the middle.
Bonus: The Woldas also received a gravy ladle from Dr. and Mrs. Houston!