Major: Studio Art
Born: April 11, 1953
Passed on: February 1977
Harold Morrill '23 P50
James Whiting '41
Michael Oshima and I were roommates for three of our four years at Carleton; Freshman year in Musser, Sophmore year in Rice house, and Senior year in Prentiss House. We got along pretty well. During Freshman year in particular we hung out together often with a small group of friends that included at different times Katie Farinholt, Glenn Quint, and Virginia Smith.
I enjoyed Michael’s humor, wit, and energy and his generous heart (when I could stay on his good side). I imagine that many other people have similar memories of Michael.
When Michael died I was angry and depressed and so sad about him for a long long time. I have maintained very little contact with other former friends from Carleton and so maybe Michael would have faded off along the way also . . . but I really regret that he is not here, there, somewhere so that we could connect again.
I am attaching one picture of me and Michael taken on graduation day 1975. Its not a very good photo, but it is a great shot of Michael’s beautiful big smile.
Hi Rick - I was doing a search about Michael (just found a slew of 35 mm slides that I took of him in 1976 when he was visiting me in NYC) and discovered your post from 6 months ago. You probably don't know that I was a visiting artist/faculty member at Carleton in 1984-86 and curated a memorial exhibition of Michael's artwork for the Boliou Gallery at that time. There were many of us who mourned him deeply. We were very close, especially during the last two years of college and then after. He was one of the most talented artists of our era but due to homophobia the art faculty did not treat him well. That always enraged me. His sweet and talented sister was my roommate in Nova Scotia when I was in grad school. She moved in with me soon after his death. His art work still sits in my studio, and his photo has graced the altar in every studio I've had. I feel his spirit quite alive when I am working. I often wonder what he'd be doing now if he were still alive and sometimes try to imagine what he'd look like if he was an older middle aged man. I really appreciated reading your note and seeing the photo you posted.
I hope all is well in your life. I remember when you lived in the attic with Michael and others during our senior year.
Bev, Thanks for posting. I did not know Michael well, but I regarded him as a friend and always enjoyed our conversations. If there are elements of Michael's artwork that you are amenable to posting here, I know I would appreciate it and am sure that other classmates would as well. Thanks for letting us know about the exhibit of Michael's artwork at Carleton. I wish I had seen it. - Laura Graf
I remember Michael fondly as for three years, our sophomore, junior and senior years, we sat next to one another while performing in the Carleton Choir (or Chorus, whatever it was called). I recall his sly and slightly subversive sense of humor and the fact that he never hesitated to make fun of me when I performed badly, which I patently deserved. I look back now and I see two, young, guileless gay men whose paths would soon diverge. I was dumbstruck by the news of his death and remain terribly saddened by it to this day.