Indiana University Bloomington

One of the guys' at his dinner table

Jack N. Ray

When I came to Indiana University as a student the second semester of 1938-39 I had the opportunity of playing with a dance band during afternoon "tea/coffee time" for students in the Commons of the Indiana Memorial Union. The compensation was a daily meal. Money pay came from playing dances on weekends.

On one weekday during the semester President Wells planned a student reception within the IMU, asking us to entertain with our music, with an invitation to the band to a private dinner at his residence, before his mother came to live.

On the evening of our arrival, the guys in the band were pretty uptight in the formal dinner setting with the president of the university, even within his relaxing atmosphere, but he had a plan for ending the evening for a group of guys.

He introduced us to a recording by a little-known piano player, native Hoosier named Dewight Fisk, who entertained with "talk" in a background of musical chords and rhythm. The president's selected talk was about taking his wife on a vacation to Hawaii where he gave her a "lei." This immediately made Herman B "one of the guys" at his dinner table!

From Remembering Herman B Wells, 1901-2000:, March 24, 2000

Thanks to the Bloomington Herald-Times for allowing Digital Wells to publish these excerpts from their archive.