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November 14, 1976 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-11-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


I

Editor: Stephen Hersh Ass

sociate Editors: Ann Marie Lipinski, Elaine Fletcher

inside:
page four-
looking back
page five-books

Sunday, N'ovember 14, 1976

Nurnber 10

Trading

academia

for

agriculture

By ELIZABETH KRAFT
A BOUT A MILE FROM Dexter Road on
the northwest side of Ann Arbor, a
26-year-old man gets up at dawn every
morning to manage the affairs of an ap-
ple farm which boasts over 3,000 trees
carpeting more than 100 acres.
The man is Rick Birndoff, and he grad-
uated from the University last year-
with a major in history and the creden-
tials to teach high school.
But Rick has opted not to confine him-
self within the walls of a classroom. In-
stead, he's chosen to work surrounded by
rows of fruit trees and crops. And on a
brisk fall morning on the farm, with the
sun leaving a.golden glow everywhere, his
decision doesn't seem too hard to under-
stand.
The aisles of apple trees begin about a
quarter mile from the entrance of the
farm. A rutted dirt road leads down to.
the orchards. The trees spread across the
horizon, disappearing over low-lying hills.
They form a muted pastel-brown blanket
over the area. A few brown and yellow
leaves hang on to an occasional branch,
serving as a reminder of the rich green
summer, and the soft yellow and orange
tones of early autumn.
With or without leaves, the orchard is,
in a word, lovely. And the 100 acres of
apple trees cover only about a third of
the farm. There are also exnansive fields
ef corn, cherry orchards, rows of young
n." (, sapnings straining for a firm grip
in the ground, and several other crops.
Rick feels a close relationship wit? rthe
lTnd he works - even though the farm
belongs to his uncle. If there's enough
rain and the frost' doesn't come too early,
Rick gets a good harvest, a two month
veation in the winter. and strong feel-
inps of satisfaction and relief. If a cron
fails he feels a personal loss - not just
'-n+gWr one...
"Mv goal in life is to have it rain," Rick
savs, pushing back a hank of dark hair
with a calloused hand. "If it doesn't rain
" you die. You realize how you have no con-
trol totally no control.
"I watched a hail storm wipe through
the orchard one year and destroy the crop.
I was standing out in the orchard. I saw
Elizabeth Kraft is an LSA junior majoring in
journalism.

the trees bending all the way to the Rick would spend his summer thera along
ground . . ." His voice trails off, and his with his brother and his cousins.
express-'on1-u- n ...,,comes.sa.iTo'as

expression suddenly becomes sad tsa
though he's talking about a friend.
"Afterward I walked through the orch-
ard with my uncle, and we couldn't talk,"
he continues. "We saw the apples marked
with slashes. The cheriles were just on
the ground. You realize there's nothing
you can do.
"When it freezes in October and all the
apples fall off the trees," Rick adds, "a
lot of people go nuts. That's why a lot of
people get out of farming.."
But the discouragement Rick has faced
in his years of farming haven't been
enough to make him quit. And the time
he's spent off the land - as a student
at this University and at Oakland Uni-
versity - haven't been enough to lure
him away from the farm, either.

IE'S BEEN WORKING on the
he was seven years old.
belonged to his grandfather

farm since
The place
then, and

Daily Photo by PAULINE LUBENS

By SCOTT EYERLY
THE VAST BALLROOM floor is littered
with 'actors. Some bellow a warm-
up chant, others practice character walks,
but every face reveals a special excite-
ment-for a special reason. Down the hall
a chorus of 26 swings and vaults through
the big numbers, the pianist swears at
jammed keys, and the choreographer de-
monstrates steps in. her Tweetle-Bird
shirt - there is a special excitement here.
Next door, in, an office cluttered with
envelopes, old posters and snips of plas-
tic armor from "Camelot", the producer
rummages through his list-stuffed note-
book. He certainly feels a difference. It is
his difference. Smiling, lie studies his fa-
vorite proverb, slashed is bold blue ink
across the hotbook cover. It reads: "No
Guts, No Glory."
Soph Show is taking a giant step this
year in its production of Frank Loesser's
"How to Succeed in Business Without
Really Trying." But it isn't the choice of
the play that is unusual. Based on Shep-
herd Mead's satire of the corporate struc-
ture, the musical stands as the sixth long-
est running show ever to hit Broadway. It
tells the story of a clever and resourceful
window washer named Finch who joins
the World Wide Wickets company as a
mail clerk and in a matter of days works
his way up to the head of the firm.
Because it dates from 1963, such a par- _'
ody includes well-defined and outmoded
sex roles. It is a show of dualism: execu-
tive and secretary, boss and advisor, male
and fem'ale. All the executives are men,
all the secretaries are women. One of the
latter, Rosemary, falls in love with Finch,
and sings "Happy to Keep, His Dinner
Warm", which includes the line, "Oh to
be loved by a man I resnect / To bask in

Wi_
tion's boss pursuing, as the script indi- about it
cates "a real dish" - and the list goes on the id
on. That's why Soph Show's approach this it when l
year is all the more extra-ordinary: the staff me
male and female, roles have been revers- planning
ed. Thus F
"It's never been done before," cries pro- who con
ducer Jim Stern, a tall, friendly sopho- company
more. "I thought of it when I was in Lon- of Barba
don this summer, studying theatre. I sent original.
sophomo
the idea on postcards back to friends, "Happy t
half-joking; they thought I was crazy. later sho

to

and became terrifical
ea, and had to talk me
I became skeptical." Jim
mbers spent half the
the change.
'inch is sophomore Jud
quers the World Wide
with a charm more re
ra Walters than Rober
Rosemary is 'now B
re Rick Gandelman, a
to Keep Her Dinner Wa
ws up at a party not in

succeed?
ly strong "New York original" suit. Miss Jones, the
back into boss's personal secretary, has become Mr.
a and key Jones, a sprightly 80 year old man; Gatch,
summer a crusty departmental head, is now a
tight-lipped, regimental'woman.
y Valenti, Secretaries and executives are of both
Wickets sexes. Several other characters have been
miniscent changed, but not J. B. Biggley, "the big
t Morse's boss", or Hedy La Rue, his dumb "knock-
3enpamin, out" mistress, for as director Ron Sha-
vho sings
rm", and piro's remarks, "Our point is not to be lu-
a "Paris dricrous and just change everything. We
n. a sleek See SOPH, Page 7

"We played around in the orchards and
picked cherries," he recalls. "Now, they're
all professionals. My brother is studying
to be a doctor and my cousin is going to
law school."'.
By the time Rick was 18, his young rela-
tives had left the farm for good, an he
was "almost running the place." Then why
did he decide to study history when he
got to college?
"First of all, there was no agriculture
offered at Oakland University where I
went my first year. Michigan only has
Natural Resources, and that's not really
'*" l, ture."
He finished the requirements for a his-
tory major in two years and over the next
four accumulated the necessary credit
for a teaching certificate. Throughout this
period he n~ever really cut his ties to the
land, going to school part-time in the fall
and full-time in the winter when things
were slow at the farm.
When he earned his teaching certificate
last year, however, Rick had a hard time
deciding whether or not to abandon farm-
ing. He had enjoyed working as a student
teacher and was highly recommended by
his instructors.
"I was really toying with the idea of
teaching and I had a real struggle be-
tween the farm and teaching. But then I
just came to grips with myself, saying
even though I've got this really great re-
commendation, the chances of me get-
tir g a teaching job in secondary educa-
tion in history, in Ann Arbor or in any
town that was halfway decent, was going
to be pretty hard."
So Rick opted for a farming life and he's
glad of it. "I really like it. Oh, it's a lot of
hard work, but it's worth it. I'm my own
boss ... I' don't think I could ever spend
all day inside a classroom again."
Rick's a soft spoken but energetic guy.
He could pass for any college student and
often goes to parties here on camus after
a full day of work on the farm. He's been
to Europe twice during his winter vaca-
tions and -is planning on going to New
Zealand this winter. "I think anybody
who works their entire life has wasted
their life," he says.
THROUGHOUT THE FALL the farm
draws schoolchildren and weekend
visitors who want to spend an afternoon
in the country, and sip cider made at
a mill housed in a converted dairy barn.
"We run the mill every day in early Oc-
tober, making about 8.000 !alons of cider
every week." Rick says. "On football Sat-
urdays we go to the games and sell cider
there." Along with the cider, visitors can
pick up home-grown vegetables, fresh
home-made doughnuts or a bushel of ap-
ples to take back to the- city. For the real-
ly industrious individual open orchards
are available for apple picking. Although
the farm has acres of asparagus, straw-
berries, cherries, tomatoes and peaches
being harvested all summer long, Rick

But then, these same people thought Original" dress as before, but I

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