Peace For Alma

March 13th, 2014

I appreciate the letter to the editor regarding the title of my Alumni POV essay about Alma Sanderson (“Role Model,” Mail Room, Jan./Feb.). I was also surprised by the title. The piece was intended as a gesture of gratitude to a friend who brightened my Brown experience. Despite the edited title, I hope the essay inspired other BAM readers to think of those who positively influenced their Brown experience. I only wish I could have thanked Alma more directly for the wisdom she shared.

Rebekah Doyle ’98
Flagstaff, Ariz.


As a longtime member of the UEL community garden, I read with fondness Rebekah Doyle’s remembrances of Alma Sanderson—and it was wonderful to hear from Rebekah again, an influential garden coordinator whom we gardeners enjoyed.

Paul Di Filippo and I shared decades with Alma, not only as members of the community garden, but as friends in her later years. I used to say that you could ask Alma something about Providence in any decade of the twentieth century and she could tell you a story about it! The community gardeners often teased Alma because she was strongly opinionated about what did and did not belong in an “edible landscape.” In her mind, flowers were out—they were not food! We would argue about blossoms that could be eaten, but she held firm. However, even Alma had to admit that one summer’s overwhelming display of self-sown hollyhocks was indeed magnificent.

Peace, Alma, and thanks, Rebekah Doyle.

Deborah Newton

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March/April 2014