Former professors base book on NIU experiences

By Michael McVey

The wide variety of animals Bullwinkle pulled out of his hat is classic cartoon humor, but less known and perhaps funnier is the diversity of live animals used as visual aids for on-campus lectures.

Caryl Turner and Gail Shadwell, both former professors at NIU, have compiled a collection of strange but true stories spanning 40 years of offbeat happenings on university campuses such as NIU. Drawn mostly from their personal experience as students and professors, “Never Begin a New Paragraph In the Middle of a Sentence” devotes an entire chapter to imals used as visual aids in lectures.

The book, due to be released next month, contains 102 anecdotes about campus life and is divided into chapters covering various types and settings of the vignettes. From the classroom to the speech clinic to the theater, college life seems full of awkward twists and turns as you read episode after crazy episode about the antics of campus crackpots—and usually normal people.

Turner graduated from NIU in 1953 with a degree in speech. Having been a professor at NIU from 1957 to 1965, she became a professor at Kendall College in Evanston and has taught there since. Shadwell teaches at Elgin Community College.

Turner said she got the idea for the title from a student’s response on one of her exams 10 or 15 years ago. She has thought of writing this kind of book for about 30 years. Believing her own experience to be too narrow for such a book, she said she decided to collaborate with Shadwell.

Although the anecdotes in “Never Begin a New Paragraph …” happened on several campuses, according to Turner, NIU is by no means underrepresented. Many of the episods in the book occurred while Turner and Shadwell were at NIU.

Although students always like collegiate humor, Turner said the book might have even more appeal to faculty, who also have been known to muse over the bizarre antics of students. Like the anecdotes in “Reader’s Digest” or Erma Bombeck’s “At Wit’s End” column, people of all ages and strata should enjoy this 144-page paperback.

“Never Begin a New Paragraph …” should be available in university bookstores by mid-October.