On April 14, 2007, friends and family of Dave Stadler gathered in Seattle, Washington, at the house where Dave lived for 48 years with his family, to celebrate his wonderful life and enduring spirit. The day included:
A welcome from Anne Stadler
Songs by Dick Levin and Sue Stadler
Recollections by Caryl Roman
Recollections by Joan Martin
Recollections by Stan Gartler
Songs By Chris and Ellie Kauffman
Recollections by Bill Affolter
Song by Larraine Bayes
Recollections by Mike Stadler
Recollections by Aaron Stadler
"Give Yourself to Love", Dick Levin and Sue Stadler
A note from the Stadler family:
Occasionally, Dave Stadler wrote down his recollections, stories, poems, letters to the editior, and even a longer fiction he called "The Baseball Memories of Skippy Nordquist", in which a 21st century man (whose grandpa suspiciously resembles Dave) recalls the great days of the 1993 Seattle Mariners and the later invention of the automatic umpire. He also wrote a few songs (just the lyrics). Some he worked hard on, others he just picked up or dropped as time allowed. Telling stories, or reading out loud, was really Dave's medium of choice. But he's not here to tell them anymore, so we'd like to give you a little of what he wrote. His voice comes through, especially in the pieces he put his heart into: the stories of childhood in Columbia, MO; the letters to newspapers, decrying injustice and war; the fond, detailed stories of life in the lab and his colleagues; and of course, his recipes. We've included one of our favorites, "Pasadena Tacos", not only because Dave's delight and humor came through in the way he wrote it, but so you can make tacos at home and remember what a wonderful man he was.
The year I was nine, 1934, I got started listening to the football games on KFRU, the local radio station. The home games were reported directly from the field by a play-by-play announcer, much like they are today. But the technology had not advanced enough then (at least not at KFRU) to do the away games that way. What the listener heard was a long period of silence followed by the ticking of a telegraph key. Then the announcer would say, "Butch Huston runs over the left guard for two yards." Then another thirty seconds of silence followed by the ticking and the report of the next play. Well, the particular game that I recall was the Oklahoma game that year. Missouri was having its usual terrible season and Oklahoma was the best team in the conference (which was then the "Big Six").
So I was really excited because here it was the middle of the third quarter and my team was only behind by 13 to 7. And we had the ball at about midfield and seemed to be moving. Well, the silences between the plays seemed to be particularly long that game, as though they had some problem about the telegraph system. And, sure enough, just when it seemed like we might be putting together a winning drive, there at the end of the third quarter, the announcer suddenly comes on and says "our transmission has been delayed today, and, in fact, we have just been informed that the game has ended, and Oklahoma has won 44 to 7. We will now return to the play-by-play report of the game." And they went back to the third quarter and the long silences between brief reports of plays. And the thing that shows what a fan I was is that I went on listening. Right to the end of the broadcast I hung on, hoping against hope that we might still win.
In 1956 I was hired by the University of Washington. Hersch Roman told me the circumstances that led to my hiring. When he proposed to his colleagues in Botany that they hire me, they couldn't see any sense to it because they already had a geneticist at this university. So it would just be redundant to hire a second one. So, he realized this was not going to be an effective way to do it.
So he tried another approach. He had two main arguments, which turned out to be successful. One was that it wouldn't cost them anything. That was because at the time there was an assistant on state salary who prepared the laboratory materials for the undergraduate labs. But preparing the labs only took half his time, so the other half of his time he assisted Hersch with yeast experiments. But Hersch had just gotten a grant which was going to pay the salary of the assistant. So now the state wouldn't have to pay this salary, and so they could use it to pay me. So that was the main argument and the one I found in the minutes of the Botany staff meetings.
The other argument was somehow left out of the minutes, but I'm sure it was true: Hersch told them if they hired me they could probably win the annual softball game against the graduate students (At that time I was a little fleeter of foot and could hit the long ball). So that was apparently the really clinching argument. Leo Hitchcock and Dick Walker were avid ballplayers who just hated to lose to the graduate students.
So they hired me. That was it. When Anne and I and our two little children drove into Seattle on a rainy afternoon in March of 1956, it was the first time any of us had been here. I had never met anybody in the Botany Department except Hersch, but I was arriving to take up my duties. That was the way people were hired. It was sort of an old boys' network. You asked around and then hired somebody. (I realize that by telling this story I'm leaving myself open for someone to point out that you get what you pay for - if you want somebody good, you had better choose carefully.) Anyway, that's the truth.
When we open the restaurant, we will list them on the menu as "Pasadena Tacos", because that is where we lived in the early '50s when I developed the recipe. The meat sauce is the most important part, and my close friends generally consider it to be my greatest achievement to date. But it was really a kind of an accident. I had just enjoyed my first taco at a stand in Los Angeles and decided to find the recipe in my Mexican cookbook (the one by Elena). But it didn't have a taco recipe. So I tried to recreate it from memory. The hardest part was the meat sauce, which I remembered as being really great. So I found this pork recipe in the Elena book which I thought might be similar. It wasn't, but it was great. (Every taco I have seen in a restaurant or stand since then has had plain fried ground beef as the meat. I still think that first one was something different.)
I buy a boneless pork butt of 3 or 4 pounds when it is on sale at $1.29 a pound (39 cents at Ralph's when I first made it). Trim off the superfluous fat, and cut the meat into one inch chunks. Put it in a large pan, add just enough water to cover, heat to boiling, then lower heat to simmer.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute a chopped onion in a little oil or marg. On a cutting board, split open three pickled green chilies and scrape out the seeds. (This was my second mistake. I didn't know the names of the different kinds of chilies. I used these little ones that are only a little over an inch long, and their real color is yellow or yellowish green. They are really hot, but you don't use very much.) Chop the chilies fine and add to the onions. Add a teaspoon of garlic powder and one of ground coriander. And two teaspoons of salt. Add a six-ounce can of tomato paste, and mix the onions and spices in it over low heat. Now add the whole mix to the meat, and ladle some of the meat water into the skillet to get those last best scrapings. Turn the burner to very low and simmer the meat mix very slowly for at least four hours. The meat should become so tender that it will shred when pressed with the back of a spoon. Smash all the chunks this way and the meat sauce is done and ready for use. (Whatever is not used right away can be frozen).
Use either flour or corn tortillas for the tacos. Heat the griddle, melt a lump of marg on it, then put on the tortilla and cook for a minute or so, to lightly brown. Put a small lump of marg on top of it, and then flip it over. Immediately put a couple of slices of jack cheese on one half of the circle and a tablespoonful of the meat sauce on top of the cheese. So, while the tortilla browns, the cheese melts (the meat sauce was already warm when you added it). Have a mixture of five parts chopped iceburg lettuce to one part choped onions ready when the taco comes off the griddle and onto the plate. Put a handful of the lettuce-onion on top of the meat and cheese, add a dash of salt, and fold that heavy half over on top of the other half. Eat immediately, picking it up like a hamburger. You may need lots of napkins and bibs. It is pretty messy.
Here is my advice to my children and grandchildren. A great thing you can do is awaken your generations to their opportunity to use the great wealth and power of America to change the world. Knowing that people who hate us can now attack us from anyplace on the globe, you have a choice. You can opt to use your best energies building Fortress America, where you would spend your lives arresting aliens and going through security checkpoints. Or you can dedicate your efforts to opening the doors to the good life in those places where people have never had this chance. You can help the poor countries gain the basic necessities of human life: adequate food, clean water, and basic health care. Neither course is guaranteed to save human society from self-destruction. But which would you rather do?
- from a note Dave wrote in 2002 or 2003
A night will come
The intellectual ferment in this country is very thin and watery right now, and that is especially unfortunate because it is a time of terrible problems for the human society. And the world looks to its richest and most powerful nation for leadership. It seems to me that the university would be a good place to get the discussion started. I have decided not to be a candidate for the University of Washington president's job, because of my advanced age and uncertain health. But I hope we get someone who will initiate meetings and discussions on the important issues facing our society. If I were the new president I would right away schedule a couple of symposia. First I would get the medical school to sponsor a symposium on the question of whether it is possible to have a morally defensible policy on health care with the people who make the medicines and drugs operating as for-profit businesses. My second symposium (sponsored by the law school) would be on how we can minimize the occurance of the intolerable crimes of murder and terrorism and still have an open society.
- On the selection of a new president for the UW, 2003
I don't think I have seen or heard from you since we sat together those many Sunday evenings in the winters of 1940 and 1941 in our living room, the backbone of the second violin section of our little symphony orchestra. I remember enving the first violins, who often got to play the melody. The second violin part was usually an atonal "um-pa-pa" which hardly seemed to require much talent. Not very challenging, but then you and I were not very good. I believe the first violinists were Ed Weaver (a grad student in field crops?) and the first Mrs. Sears. (Her husband, Ernie Sears, was my life-long friend and became a world-renowned wheat geneticist.) I don't believe there were any Bents on violin, but there were Bents everywhere else. The family of Henry Bent (chemistry prof and dean of the grad school) was the backbone of the orchestra, and if they were ever unable to come the session would have to be cancelled. Old Henry Bent himself was the viola section, and his wife was on the piano (which often had to carry the whole orchestra through the murky bits). The two Bent boys, Henry Jr. and Bobby, were my age or a little younger. One played clarinet, and the other shared the cello section with my brother, Henry. The Bents' nephew, Willard Hostetler, who seemed to be in permanent residence with them, was our only horn, I believe. He played a trumpet. The conductor, of course, was Hersch Roman, vigorously waving his baton, though we were all too busy trying to read the music to ever look up at him.
The audience was usually made up of Gil Dysart and Buddy Vaughan. Although they sat politely from 7:30 to 9:00, while we played, they made no pretense of being there for any other reason than the refreshment period which followed the music. And, if the truth be told, there were probably several of the performers who would have been hard pressed to attend had it not been for the food. My mother, who had started the orchestra as a device to trick her sons into more enthusiasm for playing music, prepared the food. She never appeared in the living room during the performance, because she was so busy in the kitchen. But it was worth it. She always produced a dazzling array of delectable little things with bits of cheese or bacon or sausage on crackers or toasted rolls, and then a big platter of cookies or fudge cakes, fresh from the oven.
- from a letter to Eugene Brody in 1997