Tom Hoster ’72’s letter (Inbox, March 18) about “Paul Johnson” and Annual Giving reminded me very much of a story my father, Frank Townend ’33, used to tell.

When my sister got married back in 1969 (to a Harvard guy!), she chose daisies as her wedding motif. My parents were able to find a small number of nice plastic glasses with daisies on them at B. Altman’s (at the time a significant New York-based department store), but not enough to meet the needs of a sizeable wedding. “No problem,” my father thought, “I know the president of Altman’s, Fred Jennings (like Tom, I’m making the name up, as I do not remember it). He was in my class at Princeton. I’ll just write him and see if he can find any extras in some warehouse somewhere.”

Well sure enough, about a week later my father got a letter back from the Altman’s executive suite.

Dear Frank,

I’m pleased to tell you that I have been able to find more of the daisy glasses you reference and am sending along a good supply as my wedding gift to the bride and groom. My very best wishes to them both. And oh by the way, just so you know, I am not the Fred Jennings who was your classmate at Princeton. I did not, in fact, even go to Princeton. I went to Yale.

All of which goes to show, I guess, that in life, it is not whom you know that matters, but rather, whom you think you know.

All the best,


Steve Townend ’71
Devon, Pa.