Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor,

Thank you for the article in the fall '97 issue, "Not Fast, But First: The Desegregation of Virginia Tech."

My roommate, James M. White, and I were in G Company when Essex Finney was assigned to our room to prepare for drill and other corps functions. We were very fond of Essex, and I have often wondered what became of this brilliant person. Your publication has put many questions to rest.

Virginia Tech is fortunate to have Essex Finney as an alumnus, and I was lucky to have him as a roommate.

Bruce McIntosh II (animal science '59)

Waterford, Va.

Essex Finney

Dear Editor,

The article in the fall 1997 issue about the McCormick Farm ("Adventures along the Road to Blacksburg") brought back special memories for me.

As I recall, VPI (as it was known then) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of Cyrus McCormick's reaper. It was a grand event with speeches from important people, displays of agricultural machinery, and a sham battle between cadets firing blanks at each other from behind trenches or sandbags on the Drillfield.

During the clean-up, Floyd H. Fish Jr. '43, John G. Porter Jr. '43, and I gathered a large quantity of spent shell casings. We were 12 or 13 at the time, and it was something to do. Then we had a brilliant idea. Floyd had made some gunpowder in one of his home chemistry experiments, and we decided to make brass firecrackers by filling the shells with gunpowder and crimping the ends over homemade fuses. Then we set them off under tin cans at the Porter's front yard at the edge of town. The tin cans disintegrated nicely as they rose to great heights, but we were lucky no one was hurt as pieces of metal went whizzing about.

Back then, we had no idea that the three of us, all residents of Blacksburg and close friends during our school years, would all graduate from VPI, remain in good health, and be able to see each other from time to time during the ensuing years.

John H. Norton (mechanical engineering '44)

Newark, Del.

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