The Cactus Patch
Volume 9       January 2006      Number 1

Who Is Bruce
& Why Is He Sending Me Letters?

A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

I was pleasantly surprised at the Christmas potluck to see a sea of unknown faces. I never imagined the Bakersfield Club could be so successful. My lack of optimism stems from experience. As Herb Thorne expressed it in a recent election appeal in the Fresno Club:

"In the early 1960's I was a founding member of the long defunct Kern Kactus Klub, which was dissolved when two of our stars Bruce and Polly Hargreaves left us for the Peace Corps in Malawi…".

I'm always happy to be needed, but it is also great when things carry on.

But, to go back to the beginning, after BHS and BC, I finished a BA in field biology at UCSB and married Polly in 1964. In 1965 we joined the Peace Corps and served 3 1/2 years in Malawi. We returned to Bakersfield in May of 1969 and our older son John was born in June.

Then it was off to Chapel Hill, No. Carolina where I received an MSPH in parasitology from UNC in 1970. Next was New York City where I got a PhD in parasitology from NYU (Thesis on Malaria) in 1974.

I taught at the University of Malawi (1976-1981) and National Univ. of Lesotho (1983-1989). James was born in Malawi and started school in Lesotho. I served as head of Natural History at the Botswana National Museum from 1989 to 1996.

In 1996 we returned to Bakersfield and a new Cactus Club was started. I taught at San Joaquin Valley College and Taft College. Then in 2001 I returned to the museum in Botswana and will probably be there for another 1 1/2 years.

Why do I write letters? Ego? To keep in contact? [Please feel free to comment on what I write.] To help explain where some of these weird succulents come from? To inspire future workers? Just because! It's a bit of all of the above.

Bruce on Pryor St with Agave americana descended from his grandfather's plant in Stockton CA.

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