Bringing the Past Forward – A Retiree’s Nightmare
Anders Poulsen, ISPA Past President and Former Executive Secretary,
looks back to the years 1974 to 1984
Can you imagine looking at 30 years of files, papers packed in loose-leaf binders, filling the shelves of ISPA’s Central Office as well as at home, and wondering if I will live long enough to go through it all to determine what should be archived? They were all, when received, evaluated as important for a Central Office and of benefit for the association. Now and again it was my intention to begin going over all those papers, determine what is important for the history of ISPA and send them to Betts Rivét as official archival material to be stored in the library at the University of Memphis. Busy working days postponed these good intentions and only occasionally when a binder grew so big that not even one new (and important) sheet could go into it, this binder had to be examined and a number of older papers plucked out ending up in the wastebasket.
ISPA has filled pretty much of my life over these many years. Also my memory has been dominated with the natural “filing in my head” of ISPA information but, as you might expect, growing in age many of these memories have ended up in the “old age wastebasket.” However, now being freed from daily responsibilities, I found myself ready to take on the challenge of reading, sorting, and examining what is needed for future historical importance for ISPA. It seemed overwhelming and, indeed, a retiree’s nightmare. Finally I began by starting with the oldest material first. In many a case, I do not know what to keep because some of it may already be in the possession of Betts or Tom Fagan. For that reason Betts and I have agreed that I would make a rough sorting of the material and what I find worth keeping I will send to her for a final decision and thereafter archiving. It has proven to be very time consuming to read every letter, every document. Having worked a day or two with this, I realized that I had, in hand, fundamentally important information related to the origin of ISPA and, in fact, I was one of the few people involved at ISPA’s beginning and still active now. I felt strongly that some of this information should be shared with the readers of WGR. This I will try to do in coming issues with bits and pieces in which I was involved and which, I hope, will contribute to the understanding of the decade of ISPA, the years from 1974 to 1984, the period up to the tragic death of Cal Catterall in the train accident in France.
How it all began
On March 11, 1974, I received a newsletter called the World Go Round (Vol. 2, No. 1) edited by a Dr. Calvin Catterall, a man fully unknown to me. It was issued by an International School Psychology Committee (ISPC) which was described as ‘a joint committee of Division 16 of the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists’. The newsletter told that ISPC had two co-chairpersons, Dr. Catterall and Frances Mullen, and it went on to report about plans for an international colloquium for School Psychologists to be held some place in Europe during 1975. Dr. Catterall requested people to contact him if they were interested and willing to take leadership responsibilities in this. Several years earlier I had held a UNESCO post in Thailand and had, in several other ways, been traveling with professional purposes but this WGR was my first contact with an international group with the same profession as my own. It raised such an interest in me that I, the same day as I received the newsletter, forwarded a reply to Dr. Catterall. My letter began with “I wonder how you found me”, a question that was never really answered. After introducing myself, informing him that I was the elected President of the Danish Association of School Psychologists (or chairman as we say), I continued by saying that “Your idea of an International Colloquium of School Psychology is very fascinating. Is Denmark too small a place for that?” After giving more information about the Danish association the letter ended saying, “Please do write if you think we have something to contribute.” Soon I received Dr. Catterall’s reply. It was a long letter, rich in words which I soon found was a characteristic of his. He wrote to ask me to serve on the international planning group for this coming colloquium.
I accepted, with pleasure, for this was to be the very first international colloquium for school psychologists. A number of letters crossed the Atlantic in the ensuing months and it was decided that the site of the first colloquium should be Munich, a place easy to reach, and with reduction in hotel rates available. I had received a small Danish grant to be used for a study visit to New York during the fall of 1974. This made it possible for me to accept an invitation to attend the Executive Board meeting of NASP to be held in Chicago in October where I also were to meet with Cal Catterall and Frances Mullen in person. I must admit that as I landed at O’Hare airport in Chicago, I felt something important was just ahead of me.
Cal and Frances were at the O’Hare Inn where the NASP meeting was held. Our first talk was held over an awful chicken curry dinner. The NASP meeting was chaired by President Jean Leppaluoto. I was introduced as a member of the planning committee for the next year’s colloquium and I addressed the Board with a greeting from the Danish association. Later in the evening I met with a few members of the planning committee to discuss early stages of the colloquium plans. As the following months went by, plans developed well and Cal, supported by Frances, did an outstanding job working out details from a distance. They both possessed a warm, sincere sense of international cooperation, listening to and respecting other cultures as they designed this first colloquium.
The Munich Colloquium ( 22-26 July, 1975) The colloquium theme was “School Psychology in Changing Societies.” Program booklets were made and distributed during the winter, all adorned with a logo designed by Cal’s daughter, Karen. That logo is still the one representing our association today. Also they were very impressive as to the content of the program to be offered in Munich. The actual program presented at the colloquium was almost up to the promised standard, but cancellations or changes did not pose a problem because Cal possessed a very special ability to establish an atmosphere of acceptance. He could, elegantly, reorganize a session so that the 200 participants felt valued and given ample opportunity for international interaction about various aspects of the colloquium theme. An interesting note: more than ten of those present in Munich have attended most of our colloquia ever since. Two have served ISPA one way or another until this day and Bayard Bartley is one of them. The program booklet announced an evening session from 8 to 10 titled: The Future Of International Communication in School Psychology. Added was that it was ‘an invitational meeting for the presidents of National Psychology groups, the Colloquium Planning Committee, and members of the International School Psychology Committee. The aim of the meeting was that the invited persons should try to formulate some thoughts about how this first attempt for international cooperation could continue. These thoughts were to be brought up for discussion and a possible decision in a plenary session on the last morning of the colloquium.
- The planning group found it important to establish ways to continue some type of international cooperation but found it too early to try to establish a real membership organization with elected board and all that follows this. It was found that some sort of structure was needed if it should be realistic to keep a cooperation running and possibly making steps for further development and a minimum amount of money was also required.
- Goals or aims for this cooperation should be discussed and decided upon for the work to be done within the nearest 2-3 years, but which?
- Should a continuation of the WGR be one of these goals? To be published 4-5 times annually? If yes, how to provide funds for this?
- Should a new international colloquium be one of the goals to aim for?
- Would it be of importance to have published one or more books about school psychology in various countries, a project Cal Catterall already worked on?
Generally and without much discussion it was met with warm approval that the WGR should continue, that a new colloquium was considered important, and that books about school psychology would be most relevant for promotion of international cooperation and improvement of school psychology worldwide. The discussion about financing was the most difficult part. The group suggested that national associations should be asked to pay 10/15/20 cents per member to this international cooperation. Would that be realistic? Furthermore, each person receiving the WGR should be asked to pay for it. Three or four dollars annually was suggested. Those who did not pay would be deleted from the mailing list. Would that be realistic?
No minutes exist from that meeting but I do remember a long discussion and much doubt being expressed as to the realistic nature of the plans. It came up that the publishing of the books might bring a profit that would help keep the project running. At least, if we wanted to go on, we had to believe that money would come in some way or another!
The final part that was discussed was a mechanism for steering the committee and keeping it of such simple nature that it would cost nothing yet efficient enough to take care of the initial projects. To this purpose the planning group suggested that:
- An executive group of 5 should be established and this body should be named “The International School Psychology Committee.” Two of the members were obviously to be Frances Mullen and Calvin Catterall, (which I gave ground for saying) without their willingness to continue to put their effort and their heart into this international project, nothing whatsoever will be done and the goals not attained.’ This was accepted along with the suggestion that the group responsible for the day’s agenda be empowered to find three people for this committee who would be fairly representative of larger professional groups in major geographical areas outside the United States. Finally it was proposed that:
- The International School Psychology Committee should establish a larger Associate Committee consisting of members of the group involved in the planning of this first colloquium, and others who still wanted to be involved internationally, as well as one representative from each of the various national associations of school psychologists wanting to be involved in this project.’ The decisions made during this final session of the first colloquium were basic, but important steps in the later development of the International School Psychology Association (ISPA). They were small hesitant attempts and proved, in various ways, not to be very realistic. For instance, I am not sure that very much more money was paid than what the Danish association allocated (2 DKK per member = 30 cents per member). Right after the colloquium, I was asked to be a member of this new International School Psychology Committee. It took some time to find the two last members, but after long considerations and much exchange of thoughts Odette L van Kolck from Brazil and Avner Ziv from Israel also joined the committee in November.
In Munich I had accepted the invitation from Cal Catterall to become a member of the new International School Psychology Committee (ISPC). That was in July. Already early August I learned from a letter that Cal expected me to carry out the following duties:
- Organize the work of ISPC,
- Suggest who to appoint as other members of ISPC, and
- Take responsibility for the next colloquium to be held in 1977 and to find in which Scandinavian country it could be best arranged. In fast succession, all during August, four more letters came from Cal. Their content included:
- A news release about the Munich colloquium,
- Guidelines for choosing members of the ISPC,
- Organizational Guidelines to keep ISPC momentum going, and
- A tentative timeline for the 2nd international colloquium on school psychology listing 19 items/steps and the months each should be finalized.
Needless-to-say, my breath was taken away because Cal expected me to carry out all of the tasks. Little did he know that I already had more than enough to do. I was the leader of the School Psychological Counseling in my area and wanted here to do a job deserving professional respect among school children, parents, and teachers as well as by my employer, the municipal authorities. I was also deeply involved in official and semi-official associations related to the function of our society which were time consuming. But most demanding was my 6 year chairmanship of the Danish School Psychologists Association. This post brought along requests for my participating in and contributing to many types of sessions, meetings, conferences throughout the country, and also I was asked to be a member of several official Government boards and Commissions. All of this were unpaid work to be done after normal working-hours. I replied to Cal’s five letters before the end of August. This letter crossed in the mail with one more letter from Cal. (now, altogether six since we met in Munich). The main content in this letter from him was “I have been waiting for your answer for the last week and a half. I do not know what would happen to the Steering Committee if you are not able to accept. We need you desperately.”
I perhaps should have felt flattered at being seen as important but, instead, I was a bit fearful. I could foresee some problems if Cal, who seemed to spend most of his time on ISPC, could not accept or understand that I had major obligations elsewhere. In my reply to him, I assured him that he could rely on me to do what I accepted to do keeping in mind my other responsibilities. As the fine, warm hearted man he was, he immediately gave me a positive reply. Generally, we had an uncomplicated, cooperative relationship and I deeply respected his dynamic and visionary leadership. I also believe that he respected my help shaping and defining the direction of ISPC in those early years of 1975-6 as well as keeping plans close to the world of reality.
In 1975 Cal was preparing the first volume of the series of books about International Perspectives on School Psychology. It was published in 1976. Subsequently, Volume 2 was published in 1977.
In planning for the 2nd ISPC Colloquium, I suggested that Helsingør, Denmark, be the site for this colloquium. Early in 1976, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) was well on its way in planning for the 1977 colloquium. Even though Helsingør was two hours traveling time away from the airport in Copenhagen, it had all the facilities and attractions beneficial for our colloquium. It is a town with the Hamlet castle .Kronborg., and a new, modern Conference Centre had enough accommodations for the participants which could be supplemented, if necessary, with nearby camping huts, youth hostels, and even local teachers and colleagues opening their homes for us. All the municipalities around Helsingør had well staffed School Psychological Counseling Offices willing to support the LOC is various ways. But one major problem existed. The conference site was owned and run by the United Danish Trade Unions. It was much in demand and required that we sign a contract one year prior to the colloquium. We had to guarantee to rent the whole Centre which included full payment of all 175 rooms and full board for the same number of participants. Cancellation would be accepted no later than 3 months before the colloquium. If later, we would be obliged to pay 90% of the total sum (an amount of money higher than the value of my private home). ISPC had no buffer-sum available. However, realizing the personal risk in signing the contract, I did so on June 2, 1976, with my wife'[s approval. More about this later.
A torrent of letters passed between Cal and me, his more frequent and longer than mine. Fax and email did not exist so communication took time and we needed to meet in person to talk over a number of issues. The XXI International Congress of Psychology gave us this opportunity in July 1976 in Paris. Concurrently in Paris, Frances Mullen coordinated and organized the 34th Annual Convention of the International Council of Psychologists and Cal arranged to be there with a Traveling Seminar. I was invited to participate in a seminar on international psychology so with the financial support from my association and the Danish Ministry of Education, I was able to go to Paris and meet Frances and Cal. Staying at a humble side-street hotel where all sorts of perceptible human activities went on all night, I found my experience filled with joyful contrasts: Speaking in a Sorbonne classroom, meeting with Frances and Cal for a light meal at a little café (a favorite hangout for both Lenin and Hemingway), and finally an evening banquet in the luxury Hotel Concorde La Fayette, were the high lights of my Paris experience.
During our discussions of colloquium items and general ISPC matters, Frances hinted that because of an overload of duties she may need to leave ISPC. She did so formally during the fall and Professor Gaston Gauthier of Quebec, Canada, accepted to replace her. Upon returning to Denmark, the flow of letters about the planning of the colloquium between Cal and me continued and our local planning progressed. The First Circular, colloquium information, and the registration form were distributed on time. Cal’s travel agent planned three Traveling Seminars.
A plan was devised whereby Americans could register to attend the colloquium with Cal or with the travel agent or with us in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, we did not foresee the confusion and how difficult it was for us to keep a general overview of the registration process. We mailed announcements of the colloquium directly to every school psychologist in all 5 Nordic countries. We were supported by the Danish Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Education with both addresses and directly forwarding our material via their own channels especially to the East European Countries. To educational institutions in the Soviet Union, we made special letters of invitation in Russian. All of the publicity did not seem to help much because by May 1, 1977 we, in Denmark, only has 10 registered participants and Cal reported 50 “reservations, but some of them just inquiries.” Since the dollar was low, we wondered if that was influencing registration from USA.
At this point our signed contract with the colloquium site was causing us great concern. We had 15 days to make a decision to cancel or be bound to pay 90% of the total sum for 175 people. In fact, I was the one to have the final word on this because it was my home that we were gambling with. In a letter we told Cal that the LOC would call him on May 11th and he, by then, had to know how many, in total, had registered for the colloquium with him. But on that day, there was no reassurance from Cal except “they are coming in pretty fast now.” The situation was becoming critical. But I had the feeling that the administration of the conference site was not too happy if we cancelled because it perhaps could be difficult to get another group to contract the facility at this late date. I proposed and they agreed to set a new deadline date of June 15th and, further, they agreed to 153 full paying participants rather than 175. But even this lower figure could be a problem since the dollar continued to drop in value, which in itself undermined our budget. It was increasingly more expensive for American to travel abroad.
An appeal was sent out to all Danish school psychologists, explaining the situation and asking as many as possible to participate in our colloquium through the financial assistance of their own office budget. By early June we had a total of 109 people registered, but phone calls from Danish colleagues as a result of our letter- appeal gave us the absolute, unquestionable backing we needed from our colleagues. We decided not to cancel and luckily so because we ended up with 250 participants at the colloquium coming from 30 different countries. We will never forget that May in 1977 when panic was just around the corner. It taught me a lesson to strive for ISPC to establish a large enough buffer-sum to survive a necessary cancellation of a colloquium. This we first really took steps to realize after the Chernobyl disaster threatened our colloquium in the summer of 1986.
The Second School Psychology Colloquium, August 14-19, 1977, Elsinor, Denmark The theme was “Child Rearing and Educational Practices: Interaction on Personality Development.” Cal pulled off a remarkable feat by putting together a well organized program from a distance and bringing with him nicely designed program booklets. The colloquium was successful, documented in a very favorable way from our .Evaluation Questionnaire. that participants were asked to complete. We instigated the .Small Interaction Groups for all Participants. which has continued to be a valued characteristic at our colloquia ever since. Our very successful social programs included the popular study visits to schools and institutions, an evening in the old Carmelite Abbey where a local Amateur Theatre Group presented ‘Shakespeare Vignettes,’ and a special children’s program every day. Worthy of mentioning here is that the secretarial staff, reception and information desk personnel, as well as the shuttle service drivers were all volunteers which did not burden the colloquium budget at all. They were offered to us by their employers, the municipal school systems in the area where they were employed.
Financially, we were supported by a grant from the Danish Ministry of Education that covered pre-colloquium costs for printing and mailing and, further, a special grant large enough to invited a South African colleague to attend the colloquium as well as a special post colloquium study tour in our country. Settling the financial side of the colloquium was not easy because of three accounts (The Traveling Seminars, Call Catterall and the LOC). This led to the future decision that a very clear budget is needed and that money control must be in one place only. In spite of the fears of potential problems we made enough money to pay Cal for Vol. 1 and 2 of .Psychology in the Schools. which we gave to all participants. Also we were able to advance $2000 as a loan for costs of printing and mailing to the group planning the next colloquium in England (an amount that this group unfortunately lost for reasons never explained or understood). By the very end, we were able to transfer the small amount of $1500 to the work of ISPC, administered by Cal Catterall. Not much after all that work, but other types of results were probably worth more than money, such as: The Danish Association of School Psychologists had proved its ability to handle such a task, which gave some benefits externally. Of some importance it was also that Professor Robert Vallet, after a post colloquium study tour we arranged for him, was interviewed by a newspaper which appeared under the headline “Danish School Psychology Is The World’s Most Advanced.” Also the professional cooperation inside the Scandinavian countries flourished as a result of the colloquium AND it made ISPC and its work international known, and increased the aspirations for the future, which are documented in notes from internal committee meetings held during the colloquium under the heading: .Deliberations of the International School Psychology Steering Committee, August 1977. Members in attendance at all sessions were: Cal Catterall, Gaston Gauthier, Avner Ziv, and Anders Poulsen along with others who were invited when special items were discussed. Highlighted items are as follows:
- A strong group of British participants (Klaus Wedell, Jack Wright, Maurice Chazan, Seamus Hegarty, and the Honorary Secretary for the Division of Educational Psychologists of the British Psychological Society, Ken Cornwall) suggested the University of York in England as the site for the 1979 colloquium. Ken Cornwall offered to be the Convener if the two British associations, in joint sponsorship, would agree.
- The concept of Regional Meetings held at places where it was not yet practical to hold a colloquium, was discussed and accepted. Also planning Traveling Seminars and/or Study Travel Groups to such places were to be considered.
- A Task Force had been urging ISPC to start a journal entitled »International School Psychology Journal«. Although ISPC agreed on the desirability of a journal, we were not in a financial position to start now. The Task Force would continue to work on this (Ludwig Lowenstein, UK).
- The desirability of a relationship with the United Nations was discussed. Gaston Gauthier and Avner Ziv should explore possibilities and bring up more concrete plans and suggestions, especially considering the International Year of the Child in 1979.
- To increase the level of ISPC activity by building up broader contacts in various parts of the world, special assignments were accepted by committee members along with Anna-Lisa Melldén, Sweden. All would report their activities to Cal.
- Finances were discussed by representatives of present and up-coming colloquia and the Journal Task Force. ISPC was functioning on very limited funds. It should be the aim of all colloquia to produce some money for general operational expenses. It was revealed for the first time that Cal, when funds were available, received $100 a month as an honorarium. Avner Ziv suggested that this amount be increased to support Cal, who invested so much time in ISPC, as it would be unlucky for ISPC if he had to find other paid work, consequently, limiting his involvement in the development of ISPC. As soon as the financial status of the colloquium was known, Cal agreed to bring this question back to the committee by mail.
- A discussion about receiving any type of payment for doing work for ISPC revealed major cultural differences. How would this influence attitudes in the years ahead, what repercussions could be foreseen. North and West Europeans in those days expected such activities to be made by socially involved people, who volunteer their free time trying to move the world somewhat in the direction of their dedication, and not receiving any type of pay for this, but having refunded only their direct expenses.
- The formalization of ISPC was also an important item for discussion. As a first step, it was agreed to accept the offer from Werner Epp, USA, to begin to look into a Constitution and possibly even a Charter under the UN. It was no time to rest on the credit obtained during this colloquium. What developed hereafter will be reported in Part III…
In the June issue of WGR I focused on what happened in 1975, when I became a member of the International School Psychology Committee and thereafter in the article mentioned the activities up to the 1977 colloquium in Elsinor and finally gave a survey of what the Steering Committee at its sessions during this colloquium considered most important to have implemented in a nearer future. Right after the colloquium we probably all needed a period to restore to new activities. Cal Catterall admitted this as he introduced a letter to me, dated September 6th,1977 as follows: “I do not know about you, but I am having trouble getting back into the saddle again. I have been home for about two weeks and have only done a few of the things that needed to be done when I got home.” These words were followed by five pages giving evidence that he was very well .back into the saddle. Mentioning what he in fact already had been doing (which was far more than most of us would ever manage in the same time span):
- Made an agreement with Peter Burzinsky to serve as a “production manager” of WGR in cooperation with the advanced printing facilities at Vincennes University in Indiana (which proved to be very positive for WGR and ISPC during its period of functioning).
- Already had forwarded to the British a long organizational letter as a support to their initial planning for the next colloquium.
- Pre-planned the coming summer’s Traveling Seminar But most of the five pages dealt with finances, a continuation of the discussions by the Steering Committee in Elsinor. Cal did not like to discuss money. At the time, he had no regular job, thus no regular income. Support for ISPC came from various US sources such as the California School Psychology Association (CASP), American Psychological Association (APA) and mainly from the National Association of School Psychology (NASP). Very few people paid for the WGR which Cal generously distributed (about 1000 copies worldwide). He used his own funds to publish the volumes of “Psychology in the Schools in International Perspective.” But as the optimist he was by nature, and as he believed so much in the importance of ISPC, he always tried to find ways to raise funds. When he did not succeed, he paid out of his own pocket. We urged him to discuss this because the Steering Committee felt strongly that we could not let him go on doing this. We knew that a solution to this would not be found as long as we were a loosely structured Committee with no formal financial accounting system in place. Finding a solution became even more difficult when the continuity of the work in the Committee was broken when Gaston Gauthier vacated his seat and was replaced by Dr. Blanca M. De Alvarez from Mexico.
New initiatives: The International Year of the Child (1979)
The period between the Elsinor colloquium in 1977 and York in 1979 was, in reality, the Crown of Achievements for Cal. The Liaison network was tremendously expanded by Cal in co-operation with Anna-Lisa Mellden from Sweden but it brought on some operational function problems.
However, the core of this period was the International Year of the Child (IYC). It was roughly touched on in Elsinor but nobody imagined how successful it would be for Cal, personally, and for ISPC. Looking back it is unbelievable how Cal had already started setting up the ISPC.s agenda for the IYC in the October 1977 issue of the WGR. By June 1978 he published a draft of “The International School Psychology Committee’s Declaration of the Psychological Rights of the Child”. He named ten tentative ‘Psychological Rights’ along with a well-structured four phase plan indicating how these .rights. could be discussed worldwide.
Cal was an untiring, creative visionary. He succeeded in mobilizing a large number of people worldwide and set the agenda for discussions in wide educational and school psychological groups in many counties. He obtained visible and lasting results, not the least of which were the many successful Traveling Seminars. Not only did he bring the .rights. to the knowledge of colleagues in many countries but also to political and administrative circles as well. After a final polishing of these .rights., they were approved by the participants of the York colloquium in July 1979. Cal was the drive behind all of this! He was the only one who had the insight and imaginative power to formulate these psychological rights using ideas set forth by the UN in the 1959 document “Declaration of the Rights of the Child.” AND, it is worth noting that, as was characteristic of Cal, the 1979 document was published under the name of the ISP Steering Committee, so we all were given the credit that he and he alone really deserved.
I do find it fair to mention one special IYC initiative even though it is from my own country. The Danish Association of School Psychologists made a major contribution to the success of the whole campaign by publishing 20,000 copies of a well designed booklet of the ten psychological rights, each illustrated with a photograph. We added a one page text for each of the ten rights explaining and illustrating the content of each. This booklet was distributed free to most schools, libraries, practitioners in Denmark as well as colleagues in neighboring countries where it was well received and widely quoted. The Swedes and the Germans succeeded in having made reprints in their own languages. Furthermore, the Danish association published a special issue of the journal Skolepsykologi in which Danish cultural and political leaders wrote articles about the ten psychological rights and their importance.
During the York colloquium a Task Force under the direction of Stuart Hart finalized the ISP Psychological Rights of the Child which was presented to a plenary session the last day of the colloquium. In the 1979 October issue of the WGR, Cal reported, As was anticipated, the Declaration of the Psychological Rights of the Child was adopted by the majority of the participants at the closing session of the York colloquium. What had not been anticipated, however, was the rather strong opposition to the idea of making such a declaration at all. Although, like all rights statements, it is admittedly somewhat idealistic and various countries are at different levels of readiness to work on these rights and for most people who had been working on the wording of the declaration we had experienced a ‘who can be against them?’ reaction. After mentioning some of the reservations, he continued by saying that the majority signed in support of the Declaration. And so, although there were different reactions to the process, we have now passed the major milestone of having adopted the first international Declaration of the Psychological Rights of the Child. If this has to be more than an exercise in futility, the task before us is to find a variety of ways and the manpower to help move this process beyond where it is now to where it should be, a guiding force, helping to improve the quality of life for the world’s children.
Good documentation and follow up related to the whole process around the IYC can be found in the WGRs from 1977-1979. In my opinion, this was the most successful, effective and memorable task that Cal did for children and for International School Psychology. But the opposition disappointed him immensely. Cal also was let down when some participants raised the question about the loose structure of ISPC and possible consequences. It was meant as a serious concern. Everything would fall apart if something should happen to Cal ‘on the way back over the ocean’ (as expressed by some). There was skepticism related to the funding of the work done.
“Where are the needed funds coming from and how are they spent?” It was difficult for some to understand how Cal could afford to use so much time, as his level of activity for ISPC indicated, without getting money from somewhere. From whom and why? However, the ISP Steering Committee was still in agreement that the ‘movement’ was not yet mature enough for establishing a formal association which, naturally, would require membership and official treasuring which was what the critics were asking for. It was decided that Cal, who had taken care of everything related to money, would make a formal annual accounting of money received and spent. This would then be published in the WGR.
Unforeseen was that in less than a year thereafter, the Steering Committee was, indeed, confronted with the need to reconsider the structure of the ISPC. But first, a few words about:
The 3rd International Colloquium, University of York, July 7-12, 1979 which had the theme: Psychology for Children – Today and Tomorrow. Ken Cornwall was the competent convener and worked together with a strong group of British School Psychologists along with the backing of two associations representing the British School Psychologists. A total of 300 participants came to York, the largest group being British, many Americans, and 30 countries being represented. In my experience, the British are good conference hosts so most participants felt that social and cultural offers were fine and well arranged and that the professional program was interesting. Personally, I found the setting at the university campus excellent and the city of York was unique as an outer frame to the experience.
The colloquium was seen as valuable for the British and, certainly, for the development of ideas and thinking connected to school psychology in various parts of the world. A major contribution was Volume 3 of Cal’s books about “Psychology in the Schools in International Perspective.” His second part of the “History of the Movement” such as ‘factors affecting the development’ and the’ four levels of development’ were core questions in several sessions during the colloquium. Not everyone agreed with his deliberations but they stimulated discussions and brought forward ideas for the future.
Finally to be mentioned a sad fact. Many months after the colloquium the British Local Organizing Committee (LOC) informed me that they were unable to refund the loan of $2000 given to them by ISPC to cover the initial basic costs for printing and mailing. The reason for this was never properly explained. We can only speculate that poor financial planning or some internal friction which surfaced after the colloquium might have been the cause. From that we tried to learn for the future, but not always have we been successful.
The 4th Colloquium, Jerusalem, Israel, June 29 to July 3, 1980
At the end of 1979, the planning of the colloquium in Israel was well on its way. Sweden seemed ready for 1981 and other countries were explored for years thereafter. Cal planned a Traveling Seminar bringing a large group from USA to Jerusalem. I tried to arrange a Scandinavian group to go but the interest was not there. I also had to inform Cal that I was unable to attend because of my own financial reasons. I was somewhat surprised that I did not receive the usual quantity of mail from Cal and especially startled that he never commented on the fact that I could not attend the colloquium. I sensed something was not as it should be. Phone calls then, for me, were an expensive luxury and only used when urgent. I felt now was the time to call him and I did so several times. No response. Now I felt somehow I ought to attend the colloquium and, luckily, with the help of the Ministry of Education and the Danish Association, I was able to find the basic $700 needed for travel and registration. I forwarded a note to Cal about this.
It was a fortunate circumstance that I was able to book my travel and register for the colloquium because it was on June 23, 1980 that Cal.s wife called to inform me that Cal was seriously ill with Meningitis. She asked me, on behalf of Cal, to take over his duties and responsibilities at the colloquium. Of course I said yes, not knowing what that implied before I arrived in Jerusalem. Uriel Last, the convener, was helpful by giving me a list of my main duties. Among these were:
- Give the Welcome Address to participants at the opening activity,
- Speak at the concluding session,
- Head a number of sessions during the colloquium, and
- Prepare a ‘Thank You’ at a reception at the home of a psychologist being The First Lady of Israel, Mrs. Ofira Navon, married to Yitzhak Navon, the country’s President from 1978-83.
Those were busy days and evenings, trying to prepare myself to represent ISPC reasonably well. The colloquium was held under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with participation of three more universities and, of course, the Division of Educational and School Psychology of the Israel Psychological Association.
The theme of the colloquium was Psychology and Changing Education and the high quality professional program was very well organized. The social and cultural programs did not give many opportunities to meet colleagues partly because of the 500 participants, 450 were Israeli and were present mostly only during the professional sessions. The remaining 80 (60 from USA and 20 from other countries) were spread out in various hotels all over the city. Traveling to and from the colloquium site, Mount Scopus, was somewhat problematic, especially in the evenings.
Calvin Catterall serious ill. What now?
In Jerusalem I received a letter from Gretchen, Cal’s wife, with more details. The meningitis was diagnosed in May but, even before that, family and friends noticed some signs indicating that Cal was not quite himself. Doctors were not optimistic and a full recovery, if ever, would take time. At the colloquium, one of Cal’s duties was to head a meeting of the ISP Liaison Network but now it was my responsibility. The following eight people were present at the meeting on June 30th: Avner Ziv (from Israel and on the ISP Steering Committee), Peter Burzinsky (from USA and Co-Editor of the WGR), Ludwig Lowenstein (from England and Editor of the journal School Psychology International, SPI, which will be discussed later in detail), Jean-Claude Guillemard (from France who had already at the York colloquium involved himself in ISP activities and, I might add, has served ISPA on various important and demanding posts to the present day), Bob Germain, (from USA, liaison from Missouri), Michael Schnur (on the colloquium LOC and member of the Israel Psychological Association), Elizabeth Guillion (from USA who had the latest news from Gretchen Catterall). A person from South Africa was there also whom I had not previously met.
The meeting centered around the sad fact of Cal’s illness and our hopes for his recovery all of which led to a discussion of the future of ISP. In fact, we were now in a situation for which we had been criticized – loose structure of ISPC and what if something happened to Cal? Those weaknesses were now clearly manifested, however, the present forum of eight could not make any decisions. It was the duty of the whole Steering Committee. Fortunately, this little dedicated group of ISP people was willing to debate the situation, bring up suggestions for what was necessary to be done and how this could possibly be implemented. The following ideas came up during the meeting:
- Probably necessary to postpone the planned 1981 colloquium in Stockholm to 1982,
- Find ways to continue with 1) the International Network, 2) planning for future colloquia, 3) SPI Journal, and 4) World Go Round.
- Would Peter Burzinsky keep on with the WGR? If so, practical issues should be investigated. Are any articles ready? Is there money for printing and mailing?
- It would be necessary to find a person willing and capable to function, for some period of time, as the head of the Steering Committee.
- I was asked to take the lead in this process and accepted to approach the whole Steering Committee and inform widely within ISP about the present situation and return to this group with a status report by the end of August.
- I was back home from Jerusalem on July 5th and the next day I immediately began writing letters to inform the extensive ISP constituents of the situation.
Part three of the early history of ISPA, published in the September issue of the WGR, reported about the period covering the colloquia in York (1979) and Jerusalem (1980) and informed you of the serious illness that befell Calvin Catterall in the spring of 1980. How would his recovery develop and how would it influence his work for the ISPC? Nobody could know when we met in Jerusalem but the predictions were not too good. Fortunately it seemed at the beginning to turn out better than expected. Already in his letter of July 18th he reported, »……my memory functions seem to be about average……. “I am currently somewhat weak and temporarily a little confused at times but I feel that I can take of some of the ISPC work that I have had to give up over the past few weeks…..hope I will be able to carry the thought content….”
Sadly, he probably had been too optimistic as very few letters followed from him during the fall and they, indirectly, told that he was not back on track. The impression was that he continued to feel tired and short of energy. That was confirmed also in communication from US members who had met him. Yet he outwardly tried to prove that he was well by mentioning a number of initiatives to be implemented. The major one was in a December 1980 letter.
“The big news is that I have decided that it is time to formalize the organization. The idea was suggested to me by someone who was at Israel…..” Years later, considering how this evolved, the following thought came to my mind: Was that decision his signaling that now he felt well and back to his usual standard OR could it be that, subconsciously, he felt that it was high time to realize his dream? Whatever, the reason, Cal began a period of a high level of activity. He presented a draft of a constitution, based on already existing US associations’ constitutions. People who were close to him then say that he probably composed the constitution without help from others. This constitution was published in the May 1981 WGR and a vote was asked for from the readers along with a vote to indicate whether or not to establish a more formal association. That WGR also indicated that the International Liaison Panel had already approved both issues.
In the August 1981 WGR he announced that the constitution was now “formally accepted by the majority of those who voted……and that our new association can be established during the Stockholm colloquium in the summer of 1982.” Even though he did not communicate very much with me during this constitutional process, I had the impression that he was now back to his former, almost hectic, level of activity and full of initiatives and ideas, as usual. For example, he arranged a traveling seminar to China in June 1981 and worked successfully with the Psychological Rights of the Child and kept in touch with Stuart Hart’s newly established Center for the Study of Children’s Rights in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the fall of 1981, Cal made a European Trip. He visited Sweden for discussions about the 1982 colloquium. He stayed in my home for a few days during which first and foremost two items were discussed:
He, on his side, still trying to convince me to run for the first president of ISPA as in his previous letters. I, on my side, reminding him of his many promises to supply ISPC with an audited survey of its financial status. From Copenhagen he went on to Wurzburg, Germany to meet Bernhard Meissner (BM). He spent several days there and from Bernhard’s reporting from then I am here to mention, that Cal at a conference arranged by BM gave an interesting keynote titled “The Development of School Psychology and its Perspectives from an International Aspect.” Further Cal during his stay tried to convince BM to run for being elected as the treasurer in the association to be formalized during the Stockholm colloquium. BM argued that he had no idea of how to handle financial affairs of an organization, but Cal held out a prospect that he himself as the Executive Secretary of the new association would handle all the daily financial matters. BM finally accepted to run, also because he felt a real personal need for professional international contacts being one out of a total of only about 15 school psychologists at the time working in the whole of Bavaria.
Also Italy and England he visited and met members for discussions about coming events and initiatives. . I was informed that the material for a ballot for the election of officers was ready by December 1981 and would be distributed with an issue of WGR in late 1981 or early 1982. But no WGR came and no communication from Cal either. I should have been aware that something was not as it should be but I had just taken a new job and was, in fact, responsible for running my old job as well as my new one. My hands were more than full. Since I had tried, in vain, to speak to Cal about the financial accounting of ISPC, I had a foreboding feeling that the account was empty and that he had drained his own personal bank account as well. At last a WGR came in late April 1982 and had the ballot material enclosed. Later I learned that its production and mailing was made possible by The Brain-Wave Technologies Corporation Ltd., Montreal as pay for an order form for the “Mangina diagnostic tool of visual perception« printed in this issue of WGR.”
Late April was almost too late to carry out the election process but somehow Cal succeeded because by July 25th letters were mailed to the people who had been elected. These were: Anders Poulsen as President; Herbert Bischoff (Anchorage, Alaska) as President-Elect; Bernhard Meissner (Wurzburg, Germany) as Treasurer; and Ludwig Lowenstein (UK) as Secretary. These people were elected to the job of putting together a viable organization called the International School Psychology Association (ISPA). The circumstances surrounding its beginning were somewhat shaky, to say the least, but more about that in the next installment.
In the previous section, I explained the circumstances surrounding the late election of officers as the formation of ISPA began to take shape. When I received the letter from Cal about the election results, he also told that his traveling seminar plans had fallen through but he managed to find money enough for his air ticket to Sweden for the summer colloquium. Furthermore, he made a surprising and unexpected remark saying that he moved out of his home and was now living alone at a new address. This message was alarming and signaled that he was now facing personal problems which, perhaps, could be understood as after-effects of his meningitis in 1980. A few days after this letter we were to meet in Stockholm. When Cal arrived at the airport, his personal situation was such that the immigration authorities would not let him leave the airport. I was called to come there to possibly help. I met him quite ill at ease and depressed but he claimed that no medical was needed, only rest. The next day he was better and we, once again, had to admire his willpower. As a result of his year-long dedicated work, it was very important for him to be present during the forming of the foundation of the International School Psychology Association in spite of his health and money problems.
No minutes or personal notes are in my possession from this founding session that took place on Wednesday, August 4th, 1982, but fortunately Bernhard Meissner (BM) has some handwritten notes from this meeting. The colloquium attendees were invited to participate. According to Bernhard, 37 were present, and let me add that 12 of these are still ISPA members and all of them have for longer periods been actively involved in leading ISPA functions. From the elected Executive Committee (EC) only myself as President and Bernhard Meissner, Treasurer, were present. Cal had beforehand stressed that he would make it easy for the EC by continuing all of his functions as usual but now under the title of Executive Director. But what now? Would he be able to function? And we had a totally broken economy! Also Bernhard’s notes (which will go into the ISPA archive) clearly shows that he had very mixed feelings about the future. As President I seriously worried about what I had engaged myself in. What is left in my mind about this founding meeting and about the business meetings during the following days is that I felt scared, helpless, and completely uncertain about ISPA’s future. I expressed my feelings in a letter to Anna-Lisa Mellden after the adoption of ISPA by saying, “I will fight for the survival of ISPA but, if I have to accept that it is to die, I will do my best to leave behind that it passed away in a decent manner.”
The Fifth International School Psychology Colloquium, August 1-6, 1982, Stockholm
It was held at the University of Stockholm and the theme was “Children – the Mirror of Society.” The location was very good and it was well organized by the LOC, chaired by Anna-Lisa Mellden, who later took her good turn on the EC of ISPA. The approximately 200 participants, made up, for once, of very few Americans, met a large, well organized and qualified professional program. It was held in an epoch when nuclear weapons was a worldwide issue. This led to an important decision to form a task force to prepare an anti-nuclear resolution. That gave much reason for discussion of the pros and cons regarding that issue. The resolution was signed by more than half of the participants and published in the November, 1982 WGR. The LOC also succeeded in organizing an excellent social program, among which was an invitation by the City of Stockholm for a buffet dinner at Stadshuset, the famous City Hall, where the Nobel Prize Celebrations are held. Here in this beautiful hall, I gave my first official speech as President of ISPA. That was something very special for me and THAT I have not forgotten. This colloquium was very successful and also was favored by exceptionally fine weather for Stockholm.
The First Steps of the New Association
With no money and Cal, as disabled as he was, as our Executive Director, the EC realized that we had a difficult period ahead of us. We had no way of fully knowing about Cal’s personal situation except from results of his work. With the deepest respect for Cal’s personal integrity we did try to have him do the basic jobs for the association that he himself had outlined as his duties, not the least was keeping a membership list and the dues status updated. However, most urgently, he was to make a report of the financial status of ISPA. We could not move forward until we had these facts. This we did not receive from him. In December 1982 a WGR came, which seemed to prove his ability to function organized and structured, and happy was I for this signal of progress in his situation, but after Cal passed away we received information saying that my interpretation had been false1. Besides reporting about the Stockholm colloquium and the founding of the association, it also informed about an interesting and rather time consuming task in which he had been involved during the fall. That was a report about his successful cooperation with the newly established Center for the Study of the Psychological Rights of the Child, at Indiana University, Indianapolis, initiated and under the leadership of Stuart Hart. With the support of a large grant, Stuart was planning a convention on the Psychological Abuse of the Child: In the Home, School, and Community, to be held in August 1983. Stuart had already in Stockholm generously invited ISPA to be a co-sponsor and offered to add $10 US to the conference fee as a financial support to ISPA. Additionally, he would organize home stay for ISPA members from abroad. I do see all of this as Stuart’s tribute to Cal personally for all he previously has done in relation to the Rights of the Child and, also, as a support to stabilizing ISPA.
During the early months of 1983, the EC members received unclear signals from Cal and had the impression that his personal situation was very poor. This was confirmed by some ISPA members who had visited him. We also received requests from members who were troubled by not receiving any response to their membership fee payment. Many times during the winter, I sent letters to Cal in which I requested him to reply to matters related to the basic financial questions he had promised to handle. The whole situation was so sad and I did my best to be firm in a polite and respectful manner. But it seemed that he did not understand how serious the situation was for ISPA and also for himself. I felt that he possibly was unable to act in an organized and structured way, being caught in a world of positive ideas and plans for the further development of ISPA but not realizing his own disability in carrying these out. The EC felt obliged to have the total state of affairs of the association cleared up, and in June, I, again, requested Cal to supply a full survey of finances and provide other basic information to be given to members in an annual report at the Delegates meeting that would be held in Indianapolis in August 1983. This meeting would take place prior to the “International Conference on the Psychological Abuse of Children and Youth.”
When that day came, Cal had not prepared any of the material that was expected. The next days were difficult and unpleasant for everyone there. In short, the participating members demanded that Cal no longer should handle ISPA finances which the EC could only support. As a result, that brought up a number of subjects that had to be dealt with in order to implement this. Busy days followed. The members present really proved their dedication to the survival of ISPA by doing the following basic jobs sorely needed:
- Preparing a membership list showing the dues status . everyone present spent many hours helping to try to make such a list by copying Cal’s handwritten index cards which was an almost impossible task;
- A committee worked on needed amendments to the constitution in order to meet a now changed role of the Executive Secretary. From now on the elected treasurer would handle all daily financial functions including the recording of membership fees and keeping a membership list;
- In relation to the above, a bank account was needed in USA which Stuart Hart was very helpful in establishing;
- A membership form had to be designed.
During those days of intense discussions many things came up that everyone felt were crucial to ISPA’s survival. I have thought long and hard about what to, and what not to deal with in reporting about this period of the early history of ISPA. Some may find that I have been too detailed in my attempt to give an overall understanding of the situation this new and vulnerable association faced. However, what I have reported here, I have found needed in order to be just and fair to all involved.
The Child and Youth Abuse Conference in Indianapolis was considered ISPA’s 6th International School Psychology Colloquium. Of the 200 participants, most were Americans, of which 25 were ISPA members and of those 25 very few non-Americans. Because of our essential internal ISPA strategy discussions, few ISPA members took part in the conference sessions. However, Stuart found it generally successful and promising for further work.
A few days after returning to Denmark from USA, I found it necessary to send Cal a letter to make a number of things clear regarding his lack of response to relevant and urgently needed information requested from him to be reported at the colloquium in Indianapolis. The following are a few of my comments from this letter that were, at the time, expressions of my emotional suffering for him as well as for ISPA and its members. I share these comments with you not only as a catharsis for me but, also, to convey to you the deep sense of pain and frustration that enveloped Cal and the EC at that time.
“I was ashamed that we were not able to give the Delegates a proper and by you prepared annual report. You must have felt uneasy about that yourself, and the only thing I could do was to protect you against aggression coming from the Delegates…”
“Personally, I feel sure that we are in debt to you not only regarding ideology and spirit, but also hard cash. But it should be seen from your accounting….”
“For reasons I do not know ……why you did not in these matters act properly as an Executive Secretary, and there was no other way than to release you from these parts of your job, if we intended to survive with a certain trust from mainly the European and American membership groups.”
“As you seemed not to be able to see that yourself, we had to act as we did. Of course, that put pressure upon you and I am able to understand that you once in a while lost your temper. What I am not able to understand is that you did not realistically foresee that things had to turn out the way they did and acted accordingly.”
“I do not wish you to retire….or any other way finish your dedicated work for ISPA which is your true child. But what I do not know: Will you continue or have you stepped out? You told us…that you would not do anything without pay and we, unfortunately, have no money to pay you.”
“It is vital for ISPA that you…make up your mind and prove your capabilities as Executive Secretary by making suggestions for administrative and executive functions according to the decisions taken in Indianapolis” . . ..”Please make your suggestions in a joint letter to all of us….no later than September 15th.”
I did not receive any reply to my letter so on October 3rd I sent the same letter registered just in case the first letter was lost in the mail. A reply came, dated November 9th with main content being the following:
– Cal is prepared to continue as Executive Secretary and will take the responsibility for “Handling questions about joining the organization and general correspondence and try to keep the US members happy.” To do this, he asked for $100 US per month.
– Cal told of “receiving psycho-neurological treatments for the past month. Evidently the sickness I incurred several years ago has left me more deranged than I thought was possible. Perhaps these treatments will help me get back on the right track.”
It is the first and only time that Cal touched on his personal health situation. He did not copy his letter to the EC so after some internal EC consultation, I gave Cal a reply. The main content of this was (1) Unfortunately, we did not have money to pay him monthly for non-specific working tasks, (2) For the time, ISPA had to rely totally on work done voluntarily, (3) When there will be money in the ISPA account, we can pay for direct expenses and certain pay for specific work done, and (4) that the EC found that the functions he was willing to do hardly justified the title Executive Secretary but rather something like ISPA Coordinator of Membership and Committees.
We did not receive comments about this letter from Cal during the winter and spring months. The EC felt it necessary to have his position made clear before we met with the General Assembly at the 1984 colloquium in Orleans , France . For that reason, it was decided to write another letter and mail it registered to Cal . Again I wish to quote parts of the letter (May 23, 1984) so you understand the emotional environment under which the EC was operating.
“As we are very close to our annual official meetings in July in Orleans, I am sure that you understand that it is necessary for me to have cleared up matters in connection with your continued work for ISPA everybody with some knowledge of the origin of ISPA wish you to be involved. You have to admit that due to the serious illness you had in 1980 it was, for a period, impossible for you to function as you used to. That had its influence on the funds coming in and this struck you very severely because in many ways (you) needed ISPA and the bit of support it was possible to give you. To repeat I did not like Indianapolis at all in regard to some of the decisions touching you and your involvement in ISPA but there was no other way if ISPA should possibly survive. Just to let things continue would surely kill ISPA and could not bring you on your feet personally or economically. Would only be slow torture to the benefit of nobody.”
“You made it clear that you would not do any work whatsoever without certain pay. Nothing had been easier than to take you at your word. No pay no work..” “We did not (take you at your word) because we wished you to continue. We are old friends and I admire you in so many ways. You have the main responsibility for creating ISPA . I have been with you part of the period. We must be able to clear up this mess in a proper way. I have seen very little work done by you for quite some time and still no answer to direct questions of February 20th. Bernhard has not received any financial statements from you.”
“I feel badly putting it that openly. It seems to me it is time for yourself to face a number of realities in your situation and in connection with ISPA react accordingly. I should be most happy to receive a reply (saying). After the…. psychoneurological treatment, I am now ready to take over this or that responsibility for ISPA. But, if this is not so, I wish you to write me realistically about your ideas and possibilities. If this realistic self-evaluation should conclude that, for the sake of ISPA, you have to stop any direct, active involvement and wish to terminate, I then am to inform the General Assembly in Orleans and, at the same time, suggest that ISPA make you an Honorary Member and a sort of Patron of this organization.”
His reply cam promptly. From a long letter dated June 2nd, 1984, I will quote two of Cal ’s conscious realizations that show his dispirited, pitiable and desperate situation:
“I have given over 25 hours per week to professional organizations ever since I became a School Psychologists and feel it is time to stop. Not only that I just don’t have the economic base to continue this kind of work. I am literally against the economic wall. If I don’t get money for my work, I don’t do it.”
“I hope to arrive in Orleans on June 30th. I can’t really afford to come but I feel that it is essential if I am going to clear up this mess that I have created.”
His noble responsibility was still intact. It was and still is so sad to think of how difficult a time it was for Cal and I do believe that he also realized that it was difficult for me to act as firmly as I had to.
Meanwhile, many association problems were pressing for EC to deal with during the year after Indianapolis . These first steps of this new organization were supported by a handful of active members of ISPA committees. Worth mentioning are:
• Finalizing a membership form,
• Introducing a professional accounting system,
• Opening a functioning bank account at the Indiana National Bank,
• Correcting the many errors in membership lists,
• Updating the registration of members. fee payments,
• Continuing to work on amendments to the new constitution,
• The treasurer visiting France for talks with Jacques Grolaud, Chair of the coming colloquium and with Jean- Claude Guillemard, President of the French Association of School Psychologists,
• Discussing the .School Psychology International. Journal which was edited by Ludwig Lowenstein and first issued in 1979. It had very few subscribers and, consequently, had financial problems. Should ISPA include a subscription in the ISPA dues?
• Publishing the World-Go-Round was a crucial problem Cal was unable to do this and also ISPA had no money to cover the expenses.
All of the above problems were addressed and decisions were made. One was that the journal would not be included in the ISPA dues. Next, as President of ISPA, I took the responsibility of publishing the WGR since I was the Managing Director of the Danish Psychological Publishing Company. The company bought a half a page of WGR to advertise a testing material which paid for the total production cost of that issue of WGR. We succeeded in getting it published by the end of 1983. This issue informed extensively about the reorganized ISPA administration, fee structure, ways of payment, the changed role of Cal Catterall, the new constitution as passed in Indianapolis , and, finally, information about the colloquium to be held in Orleans , France , in early July 1984. Fortunately, the Stockholm colloquium committee informed us that they received an unexpected late grant from which ISPA would receive a support of $1300 US as profit from that colloquium. That made it possible for us to publish two more issues of WGR before we were to meet at the Orleans colloquium. Early June plans and agenda were ready and distributed, for the EC meetings to be held at the colloquium, the first of them on June 30th. It seemed that ISPA was beginning to see the light of day; things were not as bleak as they once looked.
Part Six of my report about the early history of ISPA published in the March issue of WGR focused on the period from the formal founding the ISPA at the Stockholm Colloquium in 1982, the sad Indianapolis events in 1983 and almost up to the beginning of the colloquium in Orleans in 1984. It had been a distressing period for everyone, especially Calvin Catterall who increasingly lost his ability to cope with everyday problems as a result of his meningitis in 1980. It was probably his will power and a very strong dedication to ISPA (and a natural hope of getting better) that made him try to conceal his real personal situation. But his inability to make necessary decisions related to his functions for ISPA were obvious. We did not know if he would be able to come to Orleans , France , for the colloquium since he wrote in a letter of June 2nd “-I can’t really afford to come but I feel that is essential if I am going to clear up the mess I have created.”
So on June 30, 1984, at 10 am, the EC met but Cal was not there. Later that day he arrived by train from Paris but even though he was tired after a long and troublesome journey, he still wanted to join the meeting. The main agenda item was a discussion of the future role of Cal . A decision about this was crucial before we could realistically deal with the day to day administration of ISPA. Happily and to me, surprisingly, Cal seemed to have already evaluated his personal situation. Right away, he accepted the proposal of giving him the position of “Honorary Special Advisor to the Executive Committee..” In my private diary I wrote, “I felt that Cal was relieved and I see this confirmed as he tonight told several he met that he was happy for his new role..” I also admit that I was relieved and pleased that this long, distressing period of uncertainty about Cal now seemed closed in a positive way for both Cal and for ISPA.
In the evening of July 2, more than 300 colloquium participants were invited to a concert of Musique Espagnole in Eglise St. Pierre du Martroi situated close to the square where the famous monument of Jeanne D. Arc (Joan of Arc) is located. Cal and I left the concert together talking about new ideas for future colloquia, inspired, perhaps, by the lovely concert music. Most of us went by bus back to our dorms in the University area but Cal ’s hotel was within walking distance of the cathedral. We bade good night to each other…..and that was the last time I saw Cal alive.
The following is quoted from the first issue of WGR published thereafter (Sept. 1984):
The next morning the police of Orleans called the coordinator of the Colloquium, Jacques Grolaud. Cal was found dead, killed in a train accident. I felt it my duty to get as many details as possible about Cal’s last hours, for which reason I, together with two colleagues, had a long, informative meeting with the police inspector in charge of the accident, visited Cal’s hotel and talked with staff, and finally visited the scene of the accident.
In that issue of WGR I tried to explain the possible course of events that led to the accident which are as follows:
After the concert Cal might have lost his way (his sense of direction was not always good) or he might have decided to take a walk. It was a fine summer evening and the area down to the river Loire was beautiful. Not too far from the hotel a railway bridge crosses the river Loire . This bridge has two rail tracks and a narrow foot path separated by a low iron railing. Cal crossed the river along this path. On the opposite bank of the river the railing between the path and the track ends and a wire mesh fence separates tracks and pathway. There is, however, an opening between the end of the railing and the beginning of the fence, a kind of gate where the local people, during the day time, make a shortcut to their houses, crossing the tracks. Being at this gate you are very close to and unprotected from very fast trains. You cannot hear these trains until they are very close because of a curve in the track. Cal was so unfortunate to have been just at this unprotected spot when the fast train passed (3.7.84 at 0.50), and even in the quiet of the night he would not have heard it before it reached him. The stream of air from the train caught him. The engine driver felt a small a bump, thought it was an animal but reported it at his next stop. In the morning Cal was found. There is no doubt that he had died instantly.
On the second day of the colloquium, it was quite shocking to the participants when I announced Cal ’s tragic death. Quoting from some of my words: He came to Orleans , even though I think that his health, in some way, had told him that he should not. But, as an old friend and co-worker, I would say that he, in a way, had to come. He still wished so much to follow ISPA, to inspire and influence it and us, that he had to be present. He was on duty to his very end!
The Executive Committee (EC) in consultation with his former wife and with yearlong co-workers participating in the colloquium agreed that Cal would want us to continue with the colloquium as planned. And so we did but carrying in our hearts the sadness of the passing of ISPA’s founder and mentor.
The VII Colloquium of ISPA in Orleans had the theme “Communication” and was held at the University of Orleans from July 1-6, 1984. The school psychologists in the Loiret District were hosting the colloquium and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) was headed by Jacques 9 Grolaud. The French National Association of School Psychologists whose president was Jean-Claude Guillemard, was also involved in the overall responsibility. They had successfully obtained sponsorship from the French Minister of Education, the Minister of Culture, and very important was a support from the French Commission for UNESCO. For the first time a representative from UNESCO (M. Henri Dieuzeide) was one of the main speakers at the opening event. This colloquium was well organized and very successful which led to the strong position ISPA has had in France ever since and also for our later position with UNESCO that, from then until now, has been nurtured so well by Jean-Claude Guillemard.
The EC held many associational meetings during this colloquium. We were functioning with a constitution that required a “Delegates Assembly.” That is one delegate from each region or country has the voting right in this Delegate Assembly. It became very obvious in Orleans that ISPA was not structured or internally organized to function under such a system. With a non functioning constitution, totally broken economy, and no real executive power to look after the day to day matters of the organization, ISPA was on its knees! For a long time we had not known what to do, had been in a state of emergency. Now it was time to find a way out of this mess.
The EC decided to invite all members present to participate in a general discussion about the future of ISPA. The EC felt much support. There was a membership wish and will to have this association to survive, and this as a true INTERNATIONAL association and not just an American branch organization, as I do hope will also be seen in the future.
Establishing solid and stable administrative functions, served by an Executive Secretary, would take its time, but before leaving Orleans it was of outmost importance for the EC that the most pressing responsibilities were delegated. The Treasurer (Bernhard Meissner) had to continue the full responsibility for all financial matters that he had looked after since Indianapolis . This included membership recording and payment of dues. The President-Elect (Herb Bischoff) would coordinate the work of the Committees, considered a very important function for the survival of the organization. The President (Anders Poulsen) would, together with Fred Partin, consider constitutional changes and take steps to prepare for the election of a new President- Elect. Anders Poulsen also took the responsibility for editing and distributing the World-Go-Round (WGR) which he had done since Indianapolis and is still doing today. It was considered most important to begin to arrange for the 1985 colloquium. The Secretary (Ludwig Lowenstein) had already made inquiries at the University of Southampton, and was willing to take responsibility for this 1985 colloquium, and he deserves to be complimented for having the first circular about the colloquium ready for distribution only three months later, October 1984.
The very last day of this memorable colloquium which will always have special mention in the legend of ISPA, a truly historic decision was made. Norman Weed, supported by Al and Mary Chunko, proposed that a “Calvin D. Catterall Memorial Fund” be established. And so we did! The many young recipients who since have been able to participate in a colloquium supported by this fund surely will join me in gratitude to Norman, Al and Mary for their creative initiative in July 1984. Also thank you to the many people and sources having donated to this fund. Every year representatives from the EC meet with the recipients at the colloquium and tell them of the legend behind the Cal Catterall Fund.
It must be noted here that the profit from the Orleans colloquium and the profit from the following years colloquium in England brought ISPA financially to its feet and gave us opportunities for new initiatives. This was a gratifying change and one of utmost importance for the survival of ISPA, a fact which you have undoubtedly concluded from my reporting.
My two and a half years as President expired on December 31, 1984. I left this post with the following words published in the December 1984 issue of WGR: Let me evaluate my time in office by saying: I did nothing of what I originally had hoped to attain in my period. Circumstances in connection with Cal ’s illness made it an urgent necessity that very basic matters for any organization had to be looked after. I feel convinced that our excellent team-work in the Executive Committee by now have brought ISPA to a turning point. It is a good thing for ISPA that Herbert Bischoff takes over now. He has all the qualities needed for the professional profile of ISPA just now.
I now have come to the end of what I felt I had to do when going over old files from this period: Bringing some bits of this past forward. During this process, I have thrown away hundreds of sheets of paper, all important when written. Now there is no reason to keep them except for those that will go into our archives, and in fact in these are many more details than reported here to be found. On their way to the paper basket they gave me much reason for unbelievably good memories from happy hours of working together with so many good people for such a good purpose. Having read Parts 1 through 6 of “Bringing the Past Forward” in previous issues of WGR, I hope that you have a better understanding of where ISPA came from and will participate in keeping it strong and viable.
Thank you for your faithfulness to ISPA and to my record writing.