John Willson

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John Paul Willson has been a teacher for 48 years, most of them at Hillsdale College. He retired in 2005 (after around 12,500 students, 78,000 papers and exams, and 4000 meetings) but can't seem to get retirement right. He has been the second oldest in a five-generation picture. He still coaches punters and placekickers and plays a lot of golf. One wife, Helen; three daughters and ten grandchildren. Happy Catholic.

Recent Essays

The Heart of Light and the Heart of Darkness

He is resigned to the inertia of the old Spanish cult, and willing to just let it fade away. The voluptuousness of European culture had no way to gain traction in the purity of the New Mexican desert.

It’s the Family, Stupid

Hillsdale,MI. David the King ordered the beautiful Bathsheba to come to him because he could.    He also could have her husband killed, and sent...

Fifty Dollar Tomato

Hillsdale, MI. When I first thought about writing this it was the “Ten Dollar Tomato.”  But historians are more or less required to tell...

Sewers and Leashes: A Local Story

Hillsdale, MI. This is a true story.  It happened once upon a time in a place I do not now live. After an arduous...

Iron Mountain

Hillsdale, MI. Today the folks at NPR are having a grand old time remembering the Fall of the Wall.  German rockers, Hungarian revolutionaries,...

What’s Local?

Hillsdale, MI. A Mormon friend of mine once argued that the LDS prohibition of alcohol was right and proper not only because it was...

The Booth Tarkington Appreciation Society

Hillsdale, MI. I propose the creation of TBTAS, “The Booth Tarkington Appreciation Society.”  If we take the liberties some have with the Tetragrammaton (Y*H*W*H)...

The American Aesop

Hillsdale, MI. It is said that Aesop, despite making all his characters animals and thus avoiding being Nathan to his contemporary Davids, was finally...

Crolier Than Thou

Almost lost among the bicentennial celebrations of Lincoln’s and Darwin’s births is the centenary of Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life, a child...

The Right Way to Kick a Football

My father played for the Philadelphia Eagles. He didn’t particularly want to: In 1933, 1934, and 1935 the Eagles were a new “franchise” in...