Dr. Know soothes the worried parents of Oxford undergrads with this response from the October 2012 issue.
Fact or fiction: was a Miami University student abducted from his dorm room in the 1950s? It seems like such a safe place that it’s hard to believe this is anything but a tale made up to scare freshmen. Or their parents. —Nervous Father
Dear Father:It is fact-based fiction. Abduction is the fiction part. Or might be. What is fact is that on an evening in April 1953, 19-year-old Cleveland native and MU student Ronald Henry Tammen—an unremarkable fraternity member (Delta Tau Delta if you must know), wrestler, jazz band player, and ROTC cadet who had been seen studying in his room by the dorm mother—was, when his roommate returned, no longer there. Wallet was there. Car keys were there. Psych book was open. Ronald Tammen was gone. Forever.
He’s gone still. There was no evidence suggesting that Tammen was abducted, whether by aliens, communists, or Sigma Alpha Epsilons. But maybe even that is wrong. Maybe there was evidence. Remember that this was 59 years ago, when detectives routinely walked into crime scenes flicking ashes from their Camels into blood puddles and routinely ground critical follicular cells into the linoleum with the thick soles of their Florsheim longwings. In those simpler times, there were no charge card purchases to dig into and no ATM withdrawals to trace because there were no Visas and no ATMs. There were no cell phone calls to track down because there were no cell phones. Theories abounded, of course. This is America. But no theory led to any discovery of anything.
In short, the disappearance of Ronald Tammen was not made up to scare freshmen or their parents. Still, Miami parents remain among the most protective in the nation, probably as a result of that long ago event. It is the Doctor’s theory that The Banks was created by wealthy Miami parents with long memories as an attractive place for their offspring to have a totally safe urban experience as they transition between Oxford and Mariemont.
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