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On The Light Side

July 9, 1988

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Libraries are considered mines of information but a student digging for knowledge got more than she expected when she uncovered 12 uncut diamonds tucked inside an 86-year-old diary.

Gerda Ray, a doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, was doing research work at Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library last month when she found the gems wrapped in old cigarette papers inside a letter. The letter was tucked into a 1902 diary of author Katherine Mayo.

″Though there have been lots of discoveries here, they have always been intellectual ones,″ said Mary LaFogg, an archivist at the library.

Researchers have used the Mayo collection for almost 30 years, said LaFogg, but no one noticed the diamonds before.

″I can’t think of anything quite as exciting,″ LaFogg said, adding that there has never been a similar discovery at the library.

Peabody Museum mineralogist Eleanor Faller said the diamonds are not valuable but they match stones found during the early 1900s in British Guiana, now Guyana, in South America.

The stones were sent to Mayo, who died in 1940, by a friend living in British Guiana.

The diamonds will be housed in the Peabody museum.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - People who complain about their daily commute might find solace in the long, long drive of advertising salesman Rod Conklin, named in a promotional contest as the nation’s No. 1 commuter.

Conklin, 34, drives each morning from his home in Darien, Conn., to his office in Boston, then back home again at night. His commute through three states takes seven hours; it’s 408 miles round trip.

Sometimes, if he stops to see a client, it takes longer.

″We are all very adaptable creatures,″ Conklin said after winning a car stereo and other prizes Friday in a nationwide commuter contest sponsored by Kraco Enterprises, a Southern California car stereo company.

″It’s funny how you get into a rhythm of something and make the best of it.″

Conklin’s rhythm begins when he awakens at 4:30 a.m. He leaves home at 5:30 a.m. and gets to work at about 9 a.m. He usually leaves at 5 p.m. and arrives home after 8 p.m.

He passes the time by listening to music and language-course tapes.

″I really don’t see much of my wife during the week,″ he said.

The commute was the result of a job transfer 1 1/2 years ago to Boston from New York City, which is within conventional commuting distance of Darien, a suburban community in southwest Connecticut.

He expects to continue the commute for another 1 1/2 years.

″Then I’ll move to the Boston area and get this thing under control,″ he said.

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