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World Association of International Studies

Post A WAIS Summit in Norman, Oklahoma
Created by John Eipper on 06/13/15 2:46 AM

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A WAIS Summit in Norman, Oklahoma (Randy Black, USA, 06/13/15 2:46 am)

I got permission from WAISers Dick and Nancy Hancock to publish these two photos. My daughter Natasha gives her permission and of course, I am the photographer and it goes without saying. All photos were taken with my cell phone.

Background: Natasha and I had planned to meet and greet Dick and Nancy Hancock in February in Norman. Unfortunately, severe weather in Oklahoma, read tornadoes, caused a delay.

Dick and I rescheduled it for Thursday. Dick arranged for Natasha and me to join a prospective student group tour of the OU campus during our daylong visit to Norman. Sidebar: I attended OU in Journalism during 1965-67, transferred to Texas Tech and graduated from there.

After meeting Dick and Nancy at their wonderful, art-filled home, meeting their doggies and admired Dick's beautiful watercolors of his life in New Mexico, we shared lunch at a local café. We learned that the couple has been married for 58 years. What a gift to WAIS.

From the café near the campus, Natasha and I departed for the visitors' center and the walking campus tour, which was really thorough on a day that reached into the mid-90s and covered about 2-3 miles of campus, dorms, classrooms, the library and the football stadium.

The many potential OU students were graduating high school seniors from New York to California. Many of the kids were from Oklahoma and several, including Natasha, were from Texas. Natasha was the only student who was "still serving time" in high school. She'll enter her freshman year at Allen High School in the fall after returning from the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy in Vermont this summer.

Before venturing out into the walking tour, each student was asked their hometowns, age, proposed major; some were education, others undecided, others were psychology and when they got to Natasha who was clearly younger than the others, she answered that she was a high school freshman and planned to study Quantum Physics in college. The group turned to see who was saying such a thing. I was very proud of her for her poise and presence.

After the 2-hour tour, we again met up with Richard and Nancy who ushered us to the OU Museum of Natural History, the largest museum of its type in the US that is part of a university. Interestingly, all of the dinosaurs on display were Okie in origin.

Nancy was a docent there for years after their retirement, and all staff came out to greet her. We had a blast. So much so that the security guy reminded us several times that at 5 PM the day was over.

The day was a huge success if not a long drive for me. Natasha has had her first adventure to a real college campus and learned a lot.

At the end of the day, Dick and I exchanged books. I am now into the 40th page since last evening when we got home to Dallas after the nearly 360-mile round trip. I would be further into Dick's 400-page book except that I must stop and study each morsel of information, the locations, times and characters, many of whom are named Hancock. Over the decades, I have spent some time in West Texas and New Mexico and Dick's narration is a joy, inspiring and generates pictures and memories that must be considered before moving on. His is truly a "Lonesome Dove" type of gift to the ages.

I have to add that it's an honor read his memoirs.

JE comments: I've read Richard Hancock's Nosotros, Peregrinos, too, and it's a gem. One of my long-term projects is to publish the memoirs on WAIS, and I've been meaning to do so for a year or more. Where does the time go?  I do have the rest of the summer...

Photos attached. I feel I know Dick and Nancy very well, although we've never actually met.  Must do something about that!

I respect a Zeppelin fan:  Richard Hancock, Natasha Black, Randy Black


Richard and Nancy Hancock with Natasha Black, Norman, Oklahoma.  Photo Randy Black


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  • A WAIS Summit in Norman, Oklahoma (Richard Hancock, USA 06/15/15 2:25 AM)
    Nancy and I truly appreciated Randy and Natasha Black's visit to Norman. Randy is only the third WAISer that I have met personally other than Ronald Hilton and Les Robinson. He certainly enhances my high opinion of WAIS. It was also a joy to meet Natasha, whose intelligence and beauty is seldom equaled in a fourteen-year-old.

    I have just finished reading Randy's book, Favorite Tales from Siberia. He tells it like it is, short and sweet, without detouring into an extended evaluation of Russian history and society. I am a member of four historical societies--Oklahoma, New Mexico, the Texas Big Bend and The West Texas Historical Society. The first three would not publish or hear a personal history such as Randy's, but I think that the WTHS might be interested in hearing him give a presentation on his experience in Russia.

    Randy, if you are reading this, I would be happy to e-mail the executive secretary of WTHS recommending your presentation on Russia. (WTHS is located on the campus of Randy's "alma mater," Texas Tech.) Their next meeting for 2016 will be in Abilene. Nancy and I plan to attend.

    Once again, Nancy and I wish to thank Randy for his kind remarks about his visit to Norman.

    JE comments: Thank you for the kind note and the recommendation, Richard! You've only met three WAISers personally? I am going to do something about that; I've never been to Norman.

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