The other day as Ollie and I were driving back to Arlington along the PA turnpike, it warmed my little black heart when I saw car after car with Penn State bumper stickers. I remember hearing the statistic that one in 90 Pennsylvanians is a Penn Stater and one in every 900 Americans is a Penn Stater. Now, I’m no math genius, but wouldn’t that make Penn State’s enrollment like over eight million students? I don’t understand the logic behind those stats, but the bottom line is that lots of people love the school. I personally love Penn State AND their alumni. People that have gone to PSU are loud, proud and bleed blue and white. It’s like a cult – and I mean that as a compliment.
I got curious about our alum after the drive (I mean, I had six hours to think about it) and so today I actually Googled notable PSU alumni and wasn’t disappointed. Did you know Hillary Clinton’s dad is a Penn Stater? And Herman Fisher? Founder of Fisher-Price toys? Gene Kelly, the guy that dreamed up “Rambo,” George Bush’s cardiologist, inventor of the anti-wrinkle compound Retin-A, and the brains behind the Slinky — yep, they all graduated from Happy Valley.
However, my personal favorite, and probably the man to whom I am most indebted, is John Aniston. Yes, he’s Jennifer Aniston’s dad, but more importantly, he’s Victor Kiriakis on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. I cannot tell you how many hours of my childhood and teen years I spent whiling away my time with both eyeballs glued to “Days.” My favorite Days era was when Stefano made Marlena possessed by the devil (depicted as a crazed person in a red rubber suit). Yes, it has nothing to do with Victor’s character, but the fact that a Penn State Alum is involved in a theatrical masterpiece like this show makes me proud nonetheless!