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Storytelling

Gerlinde Follrich de Aguinaga

"... there are so many things that cost nothing: the wonderful friendship of so many people, the beautiful countryside of Ohio, my classes, studying in the library and at home, the smell of popcorn ..., and especially my deep feeling of gratitude toward all those people who contributed to my scholarship."

To begin with, I am not sure whether my "story" is what you expect, but it was published in the book in commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of Ohio University, which, thanks to Fulbright, I attended during the academic year of 1962/63, "Ohio University, The Spirit of a Singular Place, 1804 - 2004" (Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio 45701. 2003 by Ohio University Press):

"June '62: I have won a Fulbright Scholarship at Ohio University! The Americans in Vienna for whom I have been babysitting say, "You are lucky! O.U. is a good school!"

Sep. '62: After a one-week boat trip, a couple of days in New York, and a tiring train ride to Athens I have arrived! I explore my new environs: Voigt Hall, my classrooms, the library, the R.C. church, Galbreath Chapel... And there are so many lovely and friendly people! None of my teachers in Austria ever invited me to their homes. Here they do, and this creates a wonderful relationship between them and their students.

In April '63 the Hocking floods, the lower parts of Athens and Prof. Hultgren's private library. Those of us who have time, run there to help. There is a large cultural offering at O.U. My friends and I watch old movies, listen to chamber music, take part in the Mock United Nations, admire Helen Hayes. I myself have joined the chorus. Sometimes I go window-shopping. Of all those wonderful things I see I can only afford toothpaste and soap. The pocket money my parents gave me "for America", which was an awful lot for them, is worth nothing here. America: Sugar candy mountain for the Americans - but not for me. Yet, there are so many things that cost nothing: the wonderful friendship of so many people, the beautiful countryside of Ohio, my classes, studying in the library and at home, the smell of popcorn (unknown in Austria in those times), and especially my deep feeling of gratitude toward all those people who contributed to my scholarship.

July '63: Back to Austria... and an incurable homesickness for Athens."

Prof. Dr. Gerlinde Follrich de Aguinaga studied English as an Austrian Fulbright Student at Ohio University in 1962-63.

English Language and Literature Austrian Student Midwest Humanities