F21 -- Photo contributed by Don Dunkle


"This is inside our summer cabin at Bethany Beach," says Don. "Marilyn made the afghan, and I made the stairs."

Don tells a side story about the stairs:

"I had worked for about five hours trying to lay out the stairs and get the angle just right, and was about to give up when Ben Baffone, a friend of mine from Wilmington, Delaware, came along. Now, he had little education and was a journeymen union ironworker. (In my capacity as State Supervisor of Trade and Industrial Education, I supervised all apprenticeship programs in the state.) Well, Ben asked me what the problem was, and I told him how hard it was to get all the angles correct on the stairs. He immediately gave the project an eye and said, “Let me have your skillsaw.” In twenty minutes, the frame was in place with perfect angles, as you can see. And Ben said something to me that I never forgot: 'All your degrees are only a good thermometer.' One of his jobs was fabricating iron stairways in tall structures, and he taught this to his apprentices. Ben and I became very good friends, and he was on my doctoral committee as one of my experts.

"My Ph.D. dissertation was titled, 'Cost of Related Apprenticeship Training.' Another friend told me to put a $20.00 bill in the inside cover before it was cataloged in the Temple University library. He said, 'You can go back in fifty years and retrieve your $20.00 -- because no one will ever read the dissertation.'"

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