David Griffin holding up a London "taxi" at Lascaux parking lot. David comments: "The front of the family Pontiac Silver Streak can be seen at the right edge of the picture. It was shipped to France, and it hauled all five members of the family around the continent until it was shipped home after a year." The Vezere Valley, France. April 7, 1954. UMMAA 25851.

To the UMMAA:

The Museum’s Fall 2018 issue is a marvelous newsletter.

My dad was James B. Griffin, better known to everyone—including his children—as Jimmy.

I was born in Ann Arbor in 1942 (the middle of three boys) and stayed until 1966, when I joined the Navy. My career was in naval intelligence and then on the staff of the Secretary of 

I spent almost 24 years in and around the Museum! From the “zoo” near the parking lot in back, to the scary Gila monster (a must-see for all my friends), to the pumas in front, I remember the Museum well. The newsletter, from page 2 to page 21, also brought back fine memories of the Museum and, more importantly, the people within. And what a cast of characters, from Jimmy to other faculty members, grad students, and secretaries. So much fun to see them mentioned as they appeared in the following order: Chuck Cleland, David Brose, Leslie White, Richard (Dick) Ford, Henry Wright, Joyce Marcus, and John Halsey. Others, like Roy Chapman Andrews, I never knew, but Chapman was the origin of my younger brother's middle name.

Chuck Cleland reminisced about Jimmy’s knowledge of ceramics (definitely accurate). I can also vouch for Chuck Cleland being able to pick up any animal bone and tell me the exact name of the bone and the specific animal species. Heck, Chuck occasionally told me what the animal ate the day it died! Attention to detail, to accurate recordkeeping, and astute analysis—need I say more?

And those sherds in the farmer’s fields in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri! Perhaps you may be getting the impression that I tagged along at an early age on Jimmy's many trips throughout the Midwest and the Mississippi Valley (his specialty within general 
anthropology). I think I just might be in the UMMAA Sherd-Spotter Hall of Fame. Of course, I had an advantage over most, since I could keep a “whether” eye closer to the ground as I walked up and down the plowed rows searching for likely suspects. I learned that archaeology was sometimes a challenging row to hoe. Perseverance and dedication to the task were valuable lessons and were applied throughout my life. While a Michigan student, I learned about one of the benefits of becoming the director at an early age: It meant that Jimmy no longer had to actually dig any more. We had a good laugh about that (but never when he was within earshot).

I should mention some women in the Museum who made a difference. Kamer Aga-Oglu, curator of the Museum's Asian collection, had her office across the hall. How groundbreaking was that, especially when she never broke ground as a field archaeologist. And Carl Guthe’s wife—Mrs. Guthe, as she was known to me—tried patiently to teach me some basic French before the family embarked on a year-long sabbatical to France and Europe from 1953 to 1954. The secretary in the room next to my dad’s office always knew what was really happening on the fourth floor. And I should mention my mom, who was the family rock. Jimmy might have ruled the roost on the fourth floor, but my mom ruled where it counted most for me and my brothers.

As my college days came to a close, I occupied the C14 desk across the hall from my dad’s office. I also assisted on a two-year dig led by Dick Flanders at the Norton Hopewell mounds near Grand Rapids, along with John Halsey. By the time Jimmy retired a second time in 1990, as a Regents Fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, I had been in every state except Maine and the Dakotas. There were real rewards to spending more than two decades associated with University of Michigan anthropology and archaeology, even though I was just looking up at the greats.

Thanks for an excellent edition of the newsletter. It must have generated similar memories for many readers.

David M. Griffin

David Griffin and Bryan Fletcher inspect the Tonto Ruin in Arizona and also eye the camera. Summer 1952.

Mrs. James B. Griffin and David Griffin.