Personal Creativity, 1963-1968
Dennis remained close to and engaged with his family during his college and grad school years, 1963-1968. This seems to be the period in his life when he was the most open and most personally creative as well. And happy. He built Heathkit receivers to listen to the Beatles and WBAI radio, he read Playboy, he made original art that he gave as Christmas presents.
During Christmas holiday 1964, the Ritchie siblings (Lynn, John, Bill) conjured up the idea that our family had an alter-ego secret superhero life as the Legion of Super Diseases (LOSD). Somehow we roped Dennis in to this, we got him to commit to creating an LOSD comic book origin story, which he labored over and finally delivered in July 1965.
For Christmas 1968 brother Bill, then 13, asked Dennis for a piece of original art, he delivered with this Andy Warhol inspired American flag.
Bill told this story at the Bell Labs “Lasting Legacy of Dennis Ritchie” event on September 7, 2012.
– By Bill Ritchie
– By John Ritchie
For Xmas 1972 Dennis gave this Lord of the Rings Trivia Test to brother Bill, then 17 and looking to get to Alaska the following summer. Bill took this trivia quiz, Dennis scaled how much he contributed to how well Bill did on the quiz. (Dennis ended up funding a bus ride from Seattle to Jasper, deck passage on the intercoastal ferry from Skagway to Seattle, and flight home from Seattle to Newark.)