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Summer 2008

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AU experts offer pointers on seasonal pursuits

By Suzanne Johnson Additional research by Benjamin Calvert Illustrations by Robert DeMichiell

Summertime, and the living is easy. Breezy. Well, okay—humid. There’s more time to relax and enjoy life—until you high-step into a bed of fire ants, keel over from the heat, char the ribs into a leathery lump and drive that golf ball straight into a trap. Get prepped with Auburn Magazine’s firstever seasonal guide to fun in the sun.

Turn down the heat

AU Medical Clinic director Fred Kam offers some cool tips on protecting yourself from the sun: Avoid going outside during midday. “If you have to go out, go out early or late and not between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.,” he says. Stay hydrated with plenty of water or a sports drink. Wear light-colored clothing. If it’s necessary to be in the sun, take breaks to cool down. If you feel lightheaded, nauseous or stop sweating, you’re in trouble. “Get to a cool environment and drink fluids,” Kam says. “If the feelings don’t improve, seek medical help immediately.”

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A wing and a prayer

Think mosquitoes are a pain? Try termites. “Every year from April to June, termites become very active in foraging, damaging and swarming,” says extension specialist Xing Ping Hu, AU associate professor of urban entomology. “Termites not only infest wooden components of houses, but also trees, ornamentals and vegetables.” To protect your home—not to mention your tomatoes and pear trees—hire an inspector annually and take a few preventive steps of your own. Limit the bugs’ access and make it easier to spot signs of infestation by pulling mulch away from foundations and trimming trees to keep branches off walls and roofs, Hu says.

Pull your feet from the fire

You’re walking through the yard and admiring your horticultural handiwork when intense pain sends you hopping like a mad rabbit. And then you see them—fi re ants— swarming, angry and ready to eat you alive. June is the perfect time to get fi re ants under control, says Kathy Flanders, AU associate professor of entomology and plant pathology. The answer? Fire-ant baits. “There are many kinds on the market, and they take the hassle out of fi re-ant control,” she says. Fire ants, native to South America, can be red or black. And while they can benefit humans by preying on flea larvae or cockroach eggs, no one wants to get too close—as anyone who has stepped in an ant bed knows fi rsthand. Most commercial fi re-ant baits work, Flanders says. “Just broadcast the bait when the fi re ants are foraging and they will pick it up and take it back to the queen for you.”

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Where there’s smoke . . . …

The coals are just right, but does that slightly charred exterior hide perfectly tender ribs or a tough, stringy mess? And how rare is too rare? Chris Kerth, an associate professor of animal sciences and meat processing expert who recently was named a Fulbright scholar, offers a few tips for creating the perfect slab, steak or drumstick.

Use a thermometer.

“There’s no other way to be sure the meat is safe,” Kerth says. Ground beef and pork should be cooked to between 160 and 170 degrees to ensure safe eating—regardless of how much or little pink is visible.

Don’t overcook. “It’s important to make sure the meat is safe to eat, but not proper to overcook it just to make it safe,” he says. Meat will continue to cook about five degrees more after you take it off the grill. “If you remove that hamburger when it reaches 157-158 degrees, it will be safe to eat but also will be tender and juicy. Don’t forget—a little pink is okay when you know the temperature.”

Let your grill do double-duty.

“Use your gas or charcoal grill as a smoker,” Kerth says. “It’s not necessary to spend money on a separate smoker to cook smoked sausage, pork butts or spare ribs.”

On a gas grill: Remove the cooking grate from one side and lay a piece of foil on the rack over the burner. Turn on only the burner under the foil and pre-heat. Place wood chips or chunks on the foil; they will begin to smolder in 10-15 minutes. Add more wood chips as the smoke thins. Place meat on the grate without direct heat and allow to smoke the desired time.

On a charcoal grill: Place all of the coals as far to one side as possible and place meat on the other side. The foil can be placed on the rack over the coals.

Cook for the cut.

For tender cuts of meat—steaks, chops, burgers and chicken—it’s important to seal in the juices, Kerth says. “You need a hot fi re that will sear the outside of the meat. A good rule is to preheat the grill or use enough charcoal so that when you place your hand at the level of the cooking surface, you can only hold it in place for three seconds before it gets too hot.” Place meat on the grill and turn only once—preferably when the meat reaches between 90 and 100 degrees. For tough cuts—butts, ribs, brisket or roast beef—use slow, low, moist heat to melt the gristle or connective tissue that makes meat tough and stringy, Kerth says. Use a three-step process: smoke the meat for one-to-two hours to a deep brown color with a thick pink layer under the surface; wrap the meat in foil to trap in the juice and cook for two to four hours; then unwrap the meat and allow it to fi nish cooking. If a wet marinade or sauce is desired, this is the time to use it. “These cuts take time,” Kerth says. “But they are defi nitely worth it.”

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Great escapes

Ahhh, beach reads. AU Bookstore general books manager Margaret Hendricks recommends these fictional top sellers: Memories of Kaos: The Lost Sons of God, a slim Christian sci-fi adventure from AU senior Brad Acton; Atomic Lobster by alumnus Tim Dorsey ’83; No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy; Atonement by Ian McEwan; and People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. As for nonfiction, try: The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Friedman; Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle; The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama; and Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks.

The kids are alright

You love your children, but really—a little break would be good for the soul. With so many summer camps to choose from, how do you choose? “As parents contemplate summer opportunities for children, there are lots of things to be considered,” says Samuel Burney, director of AU’s Outreach Program Office. “Factors such as quality of instruction, program content, location, security, cost, homesickness and camp reputation are especially important for parents considering residential camps.” If a child’s camp focuses on outdoor activities, he says, concerns about bug bites, sunburn, tetanus shots and poison ivy need to be considered. A number of residential camps are held at AU each summer, focusing on education or athletics. Most of these, Burney notes, are aimed at teens.

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Dig it

Does the grass always seem greener on the other side of the street? Don’t despair. Beth Guertal, professor of turfgrass soil fertility, and David Han, associate professor of turfgrass management and extension specialist, offer tips on how to make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

Use a chainsaw. Grass and shade are bad companions, Guertal and Han say. “If you have heavy shade and you want lush turf, you’ll need to thin, prune or eliminate that shade. If you want your shade to stay, use shade-loving groundcover and mulches in those areas.”

Pre-emergent herbicides. That’s “pre” as in before your weeds germinate. To control the winter weeds you see in January and February, apply herbicide in August. To control summer weeds such as crabgrass, apply pre-emergent herbicide in February or March. Already seeing weeds? Use a post-emergent herbicide.

Sharpen your blades.

Sharpen or replace your lawnmower blades at least once a year; it’s the simplest way to get a quality lawn.

Take a soil test.

Dig three inches down with a trowel and take a half-dozen samples from your yard, then send the soil in a plastic baggie to a soil-testing lab. (Auburn’s lab is: Auburn University Soil Testing Lab, 961 S. Donahue, Auburn, AL 36849.) A soil test will tell you the level of plant nutrients in your soil and will provide recommendations for fertilizer and lime application. A typical cost is $8 per sample.

Grow long. Don’t mow your yard too close, especially if you have zoysia grass. “When you scalp turf, you remove all the photosynthetic leaf tissue and it can take a long time to recover,” the experts say. And don’t mow too often—use the 30 percent rule. “When your lawn exceeds your desired height by 30 percent, it’s time to mow.”

Use nitrogen fertilizer. Almost any commercial product will work if you follow the directions. The spreader setting for a typical Southern lawn is from three-quarters to one pound per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize in late April, June, July and August, and water after application to prevent burn—unless you have centipede grass, which should only be fertilized twice a year.

Check your irrigation system.

Use shallow vessels like pie pans or tuna cans around your lawn to check for uniform water distribution. “And make sure the water goes where it’s supposed to,” the experts say—watering the pavement costs the environment and your pocketbook.

Find an AU grad.

“Our graduates in horticulture or agronomy and soils have all the training and experience to care for your yard,” Han and Guertal say. “Landscape companies all over the nation employ AU graduates, and it won’t take much searching to fi nd a company with a green thumb and orange-and-blue roots.” Auburn Magazine For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University

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You are as young as you feel

If canoeing and hiking are for the birds—or at least for the younger folks, if you’re a retiree—consider going back to school, says Linda Dean of AU’s Outreach Program Office. “College towns offer retirees affordable, intellectually stimulating and economically stable environments,” she says, noting that senior adults make up an important part of the mix of students on Auburn’s campus during the summer. At AU, seniors take classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which offers about 40 courses a year ranging from literature to music, from art to tai chi—often taught by retired AU faculty. In the summer, a different topic is explored every Tuesday. This year’s program includes a trip to Atlanta’s High Museum, a library research course and a course on non-native invasive plants.

Bogeys, birdies and swings, oh my

To improve your golf score, warm up with some stretching and practice swings— then concentrate on your putt, advises AU men’s golf coach Mike Griffi n.


Get up to speed. Most golfers hit their putts too short or too long, rather than too far to the left or right. “The most important factor involved in successful putting is speed or pace of the putt,” Griffi n says. “Here is a good drill: Before going to the course, take five or six balls to the practice putting green. Drop all the balls in the center, and putt each ball in a different direction toward the fringe of the green. The purpose is to try and lag each putt as close as possible to the fringe without actually touching it. Doing this in different directions will allow you to make use of different elevations, different grains and different breaks. Most of the time, golfers will see an immediate improvement in their putting if they improve the pace of their putts.”

2. The power of 10. “Our golf team practices what we call our ‘2-4-6 drill,’ ” Griffin says. “Each player must make 10 putts in a row from two feet, then 10 in a row from four feet, then the most difficult part—10 in a row from six feet.”


. Up and down. Try this drill to improve your ability to get the ball “up and in” from greenside, Griffi n says. “At your golf club’s practice chipping and pitching green, set up several stations within 20 yards of the green surface. Vary distances from close fringe all the way out to 20 yards, if possible.” When the AU golfers do this drill, they set up six “teeing stations” designed to play to six separate hole locations on the green, varying types of shots—then play three rounds for a total of 18 holes. Then they do it again from six different teeing stations. “Playing 36 holes of ‘up and down’ will most assuredly improve your short game from around the green,” Griffi n says.

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Culinary journey. Want to eat your way through the Heart of Dixie? Chesnutt recommends following the advice of “100 Places to Eat in Alabama Before You Die,” available from the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel at In Auburn, try the crab cake and avocado sandwich at Amsterdam Café, the fresh lemonade at Toomer’s Drugs, the fried green tomato appetizer at Hamilton’s, the “Momma’s Love” sandwich at Momma Goldberg’s, and the “Tiger Melt” at Big Blue Bagel.

A wandering eye

With gas well over $3 a gallon, vacationers might want to stick close to home this summer. Consider staying in Alabama during your time off—the state has lots of great places to visit, says AU assistant professor Tom Chesnutt, a tourism specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System:


If an old vino is your cup of tea, Chesnutt recommends touring any one of the growing number of Alabama wineries, including Wills Creek Vineyards and Winery in Attalla; Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery in Harpersville; Bryant Vineyards in Talladega; White Oak Vineyards near Anniston; Ozan Vineyards and Winery in Calera; or Vizzini Farms Winery, also in Calera, where one night a month in summer you can listen to jazz as you sip.

State parks.

Alabama has 23 state parks, among them Buck’s Pocket State Park (good for a day trip) or Little River Canyon at DeSoto State Park for a weekend. Buck’s Pocket is a 2,000-acre nature haven near Oak Grove in northeast Alabama, while Little River Canyon, above Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, features a 45-foot waterfall.

Scenic drives.

For the best scenery, check out the Black Belt Nature and Heritage Trail in central Alabama, which offers a view of the Old South; the North Alabama Birding Trail, a series of 50 roadside stops selected for their bird-watching potential; the Coastal Birding Trail, a “birder’s paradise” that spans southern Baldwin and Mobile counties; and Lookout Mountain Parkway, with mountain views from Gadsden to Mentone.

Museums. Alabama’s many small-town museums hold keys to state and regional history. Among them: the POW Museum and Center in Aliceville; the Alabama Mining Museum in Dora; the Old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville (which appeared in the fi lm version of To Kill a Mockingbird), the Landmark Park agricultural museum near Dothan; and the Fort Morgan State Historic Site and historic Fort Gaines at Dauphin Island. For folk art, check out the art museum in Fayette or the Kentuck Art Center in Northport.

Canoeing. Sail on a sliver of wood or fiberglass with a couple of oars as your companions along Bartram Canoe Trail in the MobileTensaw Delta; the Coosa River in the Wetumpka area; Pea River near Geneva; or Hatchett Creek in Coosa County near Rockford.

Hiking. See the outdoors up close and personal by trying one of these hiking trails, Chesnutt says: Pinhoti Trail, 111.4 miles of trail through Talladega National Forest, which eventually hooks up with the Appalachian Trail; Little River Canyon in DeSoto National Park; and Walls of Jericho in Jackson County, known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.”

Boating. If you really want to get away from the crowds, try the Black Warrior River near Moundville, Chesnutt says—but watch out for the sandbars.


Cities are the place to go if rock and roll is your music of choice. Prefer to get back to your roots? Check out the Backstreet Opry in Vernon for its Gospel Jubilee every fourth Friday night, or the Hank Williams Festival in Georgiana—this year’s event is planned for June 6-7.

Want more fun in the sun? Check out expanded and additional tips at: Auburn Magazine For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University

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By Suzanne Johnson

While scientists argue about autism’s cause and cost, a group of Auburn faculty and

staff members quietly give a voice to children who of ten can’t speak for themselves.

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Nick began babbling before his fi rst birthday, sounding out “mama” and “dada” to his parents, Montgomery residents Jennifer ’07 and Keith Sellers. Then he fell silent. Worried about hearing loss, his parents began an endless round of doctor visits. “Don’t worry,” experts said. “Boys talk later than girls.” They watched and waited. Nick drew more withdrawn.

“I’d like to start out by telling my neighbors that I’m really not crazy. I know how it must have looked when I started screaming my lungs out just outside my house, but you really didn’t have to call the cops. It was just a fly, (but) the feel and sound of it buzzing in my ear so suddenly felt like an atomic bomb exploding.” —Beth Adler, 55, writer and sufferer of autism


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“By the time he was 2, I knew we really had a problem,” says Jennifer Sellers. “We were desperate for a diagnosis.” When an explanation fi nally came, it baffled the young parents. Nick had autism, a neurological disorder that impacts behavior, communication and social interaction. When Nick was diagnosed in 1994, autism struck one in every 10,000 children. It was rare. Today, 14 years later, one in 150 children is labeled autistic—one in every 100 boys. Not only is the disorder no longer rare, it’s now an epidemic.

Jennifer Sellers, a teacher, reacted to Nick’s diagnosis with a scholar’s determination, learning all she could about the disorder. In the end, she came to Auburn, where a graduate program and model learning center gave her hope—and a new career.

’T You DON’T N DO Understand In the shadow of Jordan-Hare Stadium, in a square, one-story building that once housed the Auburn University traffic office, a group of 3- and 4-year-olds sits in a semicircle on pint-sized chairs, learning a song about the days of the week.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. They chant in sweet, pure voices—some watching the teachers with rapt attention while others swing their legs to the music and glance around the colorful classroom. Five of the children are autistic; five aren’t.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. In another room, a group of 4- and 5-year-olds plays noisily, oblivious to the sing-song chants across the hall. Three boys gather around a plastic trough, swishing their hands through the water continuously, back and forth. All three have autism. Of their classmates, two others have autism and five do not.


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It’s difficult to tell the difference. Between the two classes is an observation room with one-way mirrors, where staff members of the 5-year-old Auburn Autism Center can watch the children’s behavior and help assess each child’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s no simple accomplishment, because autism isn’t always obvious, says center director Robert Simpson. Jennifer Sellers, who enrolled at Auburn to seek a Ph.D. in rehabilitation and special education after Nick’s diagnosis, is assistant director. In fact, autism isn’t a single disorder at all but a range of neurological problems across a spectrum. The way each child exhibits the disorder is different—some are high-functioning while others are not—but all face challenges in three areas:

Communication. “Thirty percent of children with autism will probably never talk,” Simpson says. Others will talk but not communicate effectively, while those at the top of the spectrum can speak well. Social interaction. Children with autism often are loners. “The typical picture of autism is of a child sitting in a corner by himself, not making eye contact,” Simpson says. “But some of our children will make eye contact, and it doesn’t mean they aren’t autistic—it just means they’re a little higher up on the spectrum.”

Idiosyncratic behavior. Many children with autism walk on their toes, flap their hands or slap their legs for no apparent reason. Sensory problems add complications. One, two or all five senses— sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell—may either be too sensitive or not sensitive enough. One child might be hypersensitive to light, while another can’t stand noise. Some children won’t tolerate touch; others don’t react even to a severe injury.

“Until directly involved with autism, most of us think of the movie ‘Rain Man’ as the way it is. … Most children with autism are not so exquisitely advanced in these kinds of skills. However, if we observe them carefully, there is more there than most of us see.” —Oscar Olson, 81, grandfather of a child with autism

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“These issues create all kinds of problems in the morning at home when parents are trying to get kids dressed,” says Simpson (pictured below). “They have a young child who has a tantrum when they put certain types of clothing on him because he can’t stand the touch of the fabric. But the parents don’t understand, and the child can’t tell them.”

I CAN Learn In the 4- and 5-year-olds’ classroom, a vertical row of photos called a picture schedule hangs below each child’s picture and name. The visuals depict, in order, the events of the day: activity, outdoor play, lunch, reading. The last picture shows a car or the child’s parents, meaning it’s time to go home.

“Locked within the mystery of Macord’s disability there is a boy. He can be kind and sweet. He displays remorse for causing pain. We hope that he can learn to take care of himself and to live within the community. Just as exhaustion is a currency of our lives, so is hope.” —Eric Peter, father of 13-year-old Macord, who has autism communicating at home as well. Kids’ frustration over not being able to communicate often fuels tantrums and other behavioral problems, Simpson says. Each class has five students with autism and five without, which research has shown helps develop social skills. Activities gauge a student’s particular sensitivities—the little boys running their hands through the trough of water (photo on previous page) are being tested for sensory deficits as well as learning to share an activity.

People with autism often think in pictures rather than words, so illustrated schedules and instructions help them learn and communicate with others. At the autism center, every activity has a purpose. In preschool classes, visual cues help children with autism communicate—if they are thirsty, they can point to a picture of a drink in their notebooks. They have a notebook for

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The ultimate goal is to prepare each student for entering a regular classroom, then seeing how far he or she progresses. “We’re going to let each child set his own ceiling,” Simpson says. “Chances are, none of them will go to Harvard Law School, but we want them to go as far as they can.”

N Work A I CAN C

Wander toward the back of the autism center, and you’ll find a laundry room, a small kitchen, a sitting area—all the makings of a small apartment. Above the washer and dryer, a series of illustrations shows how to wash and dry clothes. Similar visual

“instructions”—for washing dishes, mopping the floor, folding clothes— adorn the walls in each room. This is the newest part of the autism center program—the transition class, where students can learn to find and hold jobs and possibly live independently. The center can accommodate 10 transition students, but at the moment there are two receiving training— 17-year-old Mark* and 22-year-old Kevin. Kevin comes to the center every day. Two days a week, Mark works with instructional assistant Debbie Bryant, who has helped him learn to do laundry, make his lunch, clean up his dishes and other tasks. Soon, he’ll begin working part-time in a mailroom on the AU campus. “Realistically, he will probably never be able to live independently,” Bryant says. “But he can definitely hold a job and do quite well at it.” People with autism have normal lifespans, but few are employed— primarily because society doesn’t see them as employable, says Sellers (pictured above). “Most people who are not familiar with people

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who have disabilities are scared—they don’t know what to do, how to interact.” Often, men and women with disabilities lose jobs because their lack of normal social skills causes discomfort for their coworkers. “We have to teach them that they can’t have a meltdown,” Simpson says. “They can’t cuss out their boss, and they can’t take someone else’s lunch because it looks better. We teach them more socially appropriate ways to deal with frustration or anxiety.”

says. “Society is going to sink or swim economically by what we do now.”

due to thimerosal,” Simpson says. “Other chemists, also well-respected, disagree.” Thimerosal is a form of mercury used as a preservative in baby vaccines. Those who believe in the autism-vaccine link celebrated a landmark court decision last November as the U.S. government conceded to a family’s claim that their daughter developed autism after vaccination. More lawsuits are sure to follow.

Employers who take a chance on hiring a person with autism might find the ideal employee for certain jobs, particularly those characterized by predictable routines. “People with autism tend to be very loyal and dependable,” Simpson says. “And they love doing repetitive jobs that most people wouldn’t enjoy. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Simpson is quick to point out that he isn’t a chemist, but believes thimerosal is only one part of a complex problem. “The increase is probably not all due to thimerosal because, obviously, 99 out of 100 kids get the vaccines but don’t get autism. So there’s something else—it could be that a child has a genetic predisposition toward autism that gets triggered by something environmental.”

There RE A Others Like Me

Sellers and Simpson point out that regardless of autism’s cause, there are huge numbers of children with autism who are entering school systems that are largely unprepared for the influx.

Autism occurs four times more often in boys, but no one knows why. The number of children with autism is dramatically rising, and no one knows the cause of that, either—although there are theories. “Some well-respected chemists say, very clearly, that the increase in autism is

“Right now, it’s the preschools and elementary schools that are feeling the crunch,” Sellers says. High schools will be next. “And then in 10 years all these third graders will be in adult rehab and will be employable,” Simpson

In Alabama, 96 percent of adults with autism are unemployed; if that percentage holds as the swell of today’s third graders reaches adulthood, it spells financial disaster, Simpson says. “If we don’t train these people to be independent and hold down jobs, they will be totally financially dependent, and we’re going to measure the cost in billions,” he says. Center employees hope, over time, to redraw the economic and social forecast by helping teachers and parents learn how to better educate their children with autism. For now, though, progress is measured in humble increments, such as the number of letters sorted by Auburn’s newest mailroom worker, Mark—loyal, dedicated, employed and autistic. * The students’ real names are withheld at the request of the Auburn Autism Center. Highlighted quotations in this article are taken from Voices from the Spectrum (Jessica Kingsley, 2006), edited by Cindy N. Ariel and Robert A. Naseef.

“It can cost about $3.2 million to take care of an autistic person over his or her lifetime. Caring for all people with autism over their lifetimes currently costs an estimated $35 billion per year.” —Harvard School of Public Health, “The Costs of Autism”

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For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University


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Reality3 Bites

With the stroke of a brush, Nashville artist John Baeder immortalizes American roadside culture and a disappearing American icon. By Betsy Robertson

Diners are to John Baeder what the Egyptian pyramids are to archaeologists: life-sized time capsules full of mid-century artifacts and the greasy footprints of humans whose lives once intersected over coffee mugs and slabs of meatloaf. “I saw them as temples of a lost civilization,” Baeder recalls of his initial fascination for America’s roadside short-order restaurants. His passion first began to stir at the counter of Atlanta’s legendary Majestic Diner in 1944. He was 5 years old. “I ate in them, attracted to their intimacy, the cacophony of the staff and patrons, especially the dance choreography of the grill men. John Baeder New York, New York August 1979 Photo by Nancy Rica Schiff

“I’d always sit at counters and watch, mesmerized by the scenes being played out.” After studying art at Auburn University in the late 1950s and serving a 12-year stint as an advertising agency art director, Baeder quit his corporate job and began painstakingly chronicling the nation’s lunch counters in oil and watercolor, on canvas and paper, in all their ordinary glory. His work is now the subject of a traveling

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Empire Diner 1999 Oil on canvas 30¾ x 38 inches Collection of Monica and Rick Segal

Baeder completed three paintings of the 1946 Art Moderne-style Empire Diner in New York City, which features a stylized Empire State Building on the roof.

exhibition, “Pleasant Journeys and Good

street from the Auburn Theater. Roy’s

magical feast for a teenager not used to

Eats Along the Way: The Paintings

was housed in a prefabricated building

such fare.”

of John Baeder,” on display July 11

manufactured by the Valentine company

While art historians generally

through Oct. 26 at the Asheville Art

of Wichita, Kansas, circa 1947. Valentine

characterize Baeder as a “photorealist”

Museum in Asheville, N.C., and Dec. 9

diners typically boasted a short counter

—one who paints a scene exactly as

through Jan. 30, 2009, at Tennessee State

and a few small booths that could be

represented in a photograph—he

Museum in Nashville. A companion

handily managed by single cook.

thinks of himself simply as a cultural

book is available at

“Roy had a specialty of the house:

One eatery not represented among

I called it a mystery meat sandwich; he

preservationist. “The diner is not just a sentimental

Baeder’s paintings is Auburn’s long-

called it a steak sandwich. I think it was

image I chose,” says Baeder of his

gone Roy’s Diner, once located across the

fried pork,” Baeder says. “It was a

lifelong muse. “It chose me.”

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For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University


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Summit Diner, Summit, N.J.

An hour outside New York, the Summit Diner has been serving traditional fare for 60 years.

1987 Oil on canvas 24 x 36 inches Collection of Fred Haymen Beverly Hills, Calif.

Super Duper Weenie 1976 Watercolor on paper 15 x 22 inches Elena and Andrea Brentan Collection Rome, Italy

The “Super Duper Weenie” shows Baeder’s interests straying from diners to depict a favorite roadside fixture in Norwalk, Conn. SUMMER 2008

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Couser’s Sundry and Snack Bar 1991

Signs—particularly hand-painted signs—play an important role in Baeder’s work, both in his paintings of diners and here, at Couser’s Sundry and Snack Bar.

Watercolor on paper 17 x 26 inches Private Collection

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For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University


4/18/08 1:47:45 PM


Julio’s 2000 Oil on canvas 30 x 48 inches Courtesy of OK Harris Works of Art


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Baeder’s passion runs not only to the diner in its traditional form but to preserving images of what he calls American “roadside culture.”


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John’s Diner 1990 Oil on canvas 24 x 36 inches

Morris Museum of Art curator Jay Williams says Baeder’s paintings “invite us to view the everyday world in a new way, to value creative expressions of individuality and discover the values of hearth and home in unexpected places.”

Collection of Arnold Falberg New York, N.Y.

Mack’s Diner (Clarksville, Tenn.) 1993 Watercolor on paper 11 x 17 inches

Courtesy of OK Harris Works of Art

Collection of Larry and Maryanne Kown Nashville, Tenn.

Auburn Magazine

reality bites-SJ.indd 43

For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University


5/1/08 2:55:28 PM

Auburn Magazine Summer 2008  

The Sound and the Fury: Autism in a child's world