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Hardy Ames Hill, a native of York, Pennsylvania, was a contestant on the CBS reality series, Big Brother 2, hosted by Julie Chen, during the summer of 2001: the year the world changed. Hardy distinguished himself as a young man with integrity -- someone you would want for a friend. I thought he was a truly decent person, and definitely the finest person to participate in the Big Brother series since its inception in the year 2000.

Last Sunday night I watched the season finale of this summer's Big Brother. I thought of Hardy Ames Hill and then the following line from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, came to mind:

"They're a rotten crowd," . . . "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."

That was the second time that I thought of that line recently. It also came to mind last week when President Obama was heckled by a third-rate congressman during the president's address to Congress.

Be that as it may.

I first read The Great Gatsby in my first year of college, at Penn State. That was during the spring semester, 1972, when I was 18 years old. What you don't know when you're 18 is that you'll be 18 for the rest of your life. The English instructor was a young woman named Ellen Furman. I remember that we also read William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying in that English course. Ellen Furman introduced me to Faulkner. I think she still teaches at Penn State Abington, outside of Philadelphia.

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Comment by Gary Freedman on September 16, 2009 at 11:03am
I remember one day when Ellen Furman entered the classroom a male student said:

"Here she comes. Hair pulled back, and ready for action."

Ellen Furman used to have a pony tail.
Comment by Gary Freedman on September 15, 2009 at 12:55pm
Just in case you want to email Ellen Furman: Ellen Furman, Senior Instructor of English ehf1@psu.edu

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