As I recently wrote, and have occasionally undertaken on this blog, there are many ways to link Shimer to the world beyond what appear to be our boundaries. Indeed, we are "everywhere" if you just know how to look -- and to build the connections. There are historical connections, contemporary connections, connections directly through people or through texts. Since coming to Shimer I have come to see Shimer wherever I look -- and to understand that while humorous and fun, six degrees of Shimer is, in fact, part of our strength. Sometimes the metaphor can be "leaven" -- as in the yeast are everywhere in that loaf of bread, not merely in that one hunk you just put in your mouth. Sometimes the metaphor might be a web or a network moving out from a "center" that itself has a history into the world. Whatever the metaphor, connections, relationships, vary in their importance, of course. And yet, those linkages are what make Shimer.
In any case, here is the Shimerian connection to Lucille Ball -- and Burt Bacharach. It moves through an amazing Shimerian herself, Paula Stewart. Getting to know such wonderful Shimerians, if only through email correspondence, is part of how Shimer reveals itself as deeply connected and, in many ways, deeply influential. In this case, there is a direct link between Shimer and Paula Stewart, who herself attended Shimer. Shimerians, then and now, are the real reason the "game" of six degrees of Shimer is so fun -- and important to understanding why a micro-college is something worth sustaining.
For those like me who do not directly connect the name Paula Stewart to Shimer or to her career, you could, of course, click the link above. Let me, though, fill you in a bit: Paula Stewart (born Dorothy Paula Zurndorfer) is a 1947 graduate of Shimer, then a women's junior college. Like other Shimerians across our history, Stewart is a bit of a polymath, having had a career as actor, producer, entrepreneur, and soon to be published author. She acted on Broadway and in television in such venues as the Lucy Show, the Joey Bishop Show (remember that?), My Favorite Martian, Hogan's Heros, The Big Valley, and Perry Mason. (I admit it: many of these were favorites of mine at the time they first aired.) And, Paula has also been a realtor and entrepreneur.
Her work is what gets us to Lucille Ball in our "game," of course. And, Paula was once married to Burt Bacharach, another person whose music shaped generations. It is the former connection, though, which ia of crucial significant to Stewart, who has written a memoir about their friendship. Keep an eye out for it as another "Book of Shimer"!
Reaching out to Paula was a good thing for me -- as a reminder of the wonderful world of Shimer -- now and in the past. So: I have intruded a bit on her by writing this, and hope she will forgive me!