by Bob Axworthy ('48 Chemical Engineering, '49 Political Science)
I have many stories of my WSU (actually, WSC) experiences but this one has never been told. Since it has been almost 60 years, it might be safe now… maybe there is a 50-year Statute of Limitations, or something. But suppose I start at the beginning: When I was in my high school chem lab in Vallejo, CA, I invented a neat explosive. It was only years later that I discovered that the Chinese had been using it for about 2000 years. Nonetheless, the explosive afforded me much sophomoric hilarity over several years. A thumbnail-sized dab of explosive produced a satisfactory fire-cracker-like bang when the detonator string was pulled. I never allowed my secret formula to get out and I managed to use these devices with considerable care and never got in major trouble.
Unfortunately, my high school graduation year, l941, was not a good one in which to plan for College, but I made a deal with my Draft Board for a 2A (Educational) deferment if I could get into college and had a chemistry major. I enrolled at Sacramento Junior College just a short drive from Vallejo. When I graduated from Sacramento JC two years later, my dad had become the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Spokane and I quickly matriculated in nearby WSC... before the Draft Board could zero-in on me!
Fortunately, my draft notice came the following week. I don't know if the Draft Board accepted fugitives, but I managed to sneak in. The next time I was on campus, in 1946, there were about a million of us returning ex-GIs and I don't think anybody noticed me. Now that I've admitted to all of this, I hope nobody gets any idea about taking away my Chemical Engineering degree because it has served me well over the last 60 years! Here are just a few of its fringe-benefits:
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