This isn’t what I had planned to write about today but as I read this knew I wasn’t going to be able to talk about anything else right now. It’s a tribute written by Dr. Lovett in honor of George Perkins, the Rice Institute’s head janitor, at his death in 1944:
People sometimes read Lovett as chilly, and no doubt he could be, but there’s also a good deal of evidence of warmth, compassion and loyalty. His respect for George Perkins could hardly be clearer. Mr. Perkins sounds like a fine man. I expect he’d be proud to be associated with today’s campus custodial staff, who do such a fine, professional job of caring for Rice’s buildings. They are sometimes little noticed and little thanked but their work makes ours possible.
Bonus: It caught my eye because it looks like a lollipop.
Smiling. A lovely tribute.
When I was a student in the 60’s the custodial staff were called gnomes (pronounced guh-noh’-mees). In hindsight that was very disrespectful and I hope it went away.
Name was still used into the early 80s. I remember it from the freshman handbook at the time.
There was an effort in the mid-80s to phase out “gnomes.” It was used for all Physical Plant workers, not just custodians. Opinions varied but generally it was not intended to be disrespectful but because it was sometimes perceived that way the term was officially discouraged (by the SA, I think.)
Sounds like Mr. Perkins was an interesting and perhaps a bit crochety character.
George Dallas Perkins was my grandfather. He was a lovely man. He was not a crotchety character. He was mild mannered. George Dallas Perkins was diagnosised with oral cancer from smoking. As there wasn’t medicare nor insurance available, he worked almost to the day of his death. Oral cancer is a painful cancer.
I am proud to say I am his granddaughter.
Thank you so much for writing. You have great reason to be proud. If you have any photos of him I would love to post one here. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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