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Leo Daugherty

Your Name
Leo Daugherty
How You Knew David
Friend and Colleague
Your Message
David and I arrived at Evergreen at just about the same moment. One of my intellectual heroes was a social and cultural theorist named Morse Peckham, the author of many wonderful books, and I was surprised to find out that he had been David’s professor and was still his dear friend. So it was through David that I met Morse, but, just as importantly, it was through David that I met David. He was 38 then and looked a lot like Ernie Kovaks. He was one of only two Victorian literature specialists I’ve ever known who were any fun (the other was Morse). And David was wonderful, hilarious fun. A gigantic man at that time, he wore fishnet tanktops, drove an old International Harvester truck, and was always bumming cigarettes because he had officially quit. (Which he did, finally.) He had my favorite comeback line in my 25 years at Evergreen: when Beryl Crowe announced at the lunch table that he had quit smoking (for the first of many times), David asked him how he planned to stick to his vow. “Sheer willpower,” said Beryl with his sardonic, avuncular smile. “Yeah, Beryl, but you’ve never turned it on YOURSELF before.” Worthy of Oscar Wild, that, and it drew a laugh all around. But nobody else laughed like David himself. His “signature” was his roaring baritone laugh, and I can still hear it pouring out of his open office door like a deluge upon the poor frightened Greeners in the halls outside. Sweet, sensitive, brilliant, knowledgeable man inside himself, however — and to all who took the trouble to know him well, including generations of good students. The last time I talked with him, he told me about the physical pain he was enduring as compared to his past ills: “Leo, all that cancer and heart shit is probably just psychosomatic, but this arthritis shit is REAL!” Indeed. David was an indispensable guide as to what is real. (...)
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Friday 09 of October, 2009 23:50:36 PDT


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