Although we only worked together for about a year at The Idaho Statesman, Ralph Nichols was a role model and a man I turned to for advice. We kept in touch after I moved to Minneapolis and I last saw him in Burien in November 2017.
He suggested in 1969 that I go to graduate school, and maybe that was his way of telling me to get out of town. So with a clear goal in mind I was able to endure the craziness of my supervisor. It wasn’t long before I would take the graduate entrance exam at the College of Idaho in Caldwell with an upset stomach.
Quoting a line from the movie The Graduate, I told Ralph I was drifting. I had no social life although I beat that dead horse to death, dating women who really didn’t interest me. I was inching loser to 30. My social life picked up when Ralph, a coworker, moved nearby and we would go to Lucky Peak Reservoir. I look back wistfully at my Idaho years but I was isolated, lonely and I had virtually lost my close friend Ralph when he married and moved to nearby Nampa.
He and Charice invited me to their home in Nampa to see the first NFL Super Bowl on their small B&W TV. I was an attendant in their wedding in Boise in 1968.
The book, I and Thou by Martin Buber was a gift from Ralph. I took a class in philosophy at Boise State to try to understand this text. He must have thought that I would enjoy the thinking of a Jewish philosopher.
An excellent story teller with a great, Ralph would regail me with incidents from his Statesman reporting days. He recalls that I advised him not to take the transfer to the Nampa bureau because it was a dead end. He settled in Seattle where I would see him until 2017.