Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gert Slept Here

OK, not there... well, actually... I'm sure there were a few days where I lounged on the grass with my trusty LL Bean backpack for a pillow and enjoyed a nice disco nap on the quad between classes....

You see, while the main purpose of the weekend was to visit my friend and see a football game, much of our time was spent walking down memory lane. The team I was going to the game to see was from where I attended grad school, but my friend was also so kind as to take me to visit my undergrad Alma Mater. It's a small, quaint liberal arts school (above) of about 2,000 students just outside Columbus in a small, quaint Victorian town of 10,000 or so people (below).

I did, however, sleep here.

There on the first floor, the last two windows on the right - it used to be much more cutely covered in ivy. Those were the front two small rooms of a suite that included a large bathroom on the side that then connected to two more small bedrooms on the back side of the building. For university dorm standards it was fantastic. Ten-foot ceilings and windows with ledges deep enough to sit in and read a book. A large bathroom with tiny vintage tiles and pedestal sinks. For real world standards it was insane. That 500 or so square feet housed six college senior women and all of their crap. I don't care how cutely tiled and pedestal sinked your bathroom is - that's not easy.

One of my roommates was a campus tour guide and would include our suite on her trips. A half-dozen or so prospective students and their parents would wander through a couple of times on Thursdays and Fridays with mouths agape at the quality of dorm life in our fair university. We - her roommates - would try to be at our collegiate best. Or at least not be in the shower. Our long, straight hair and rosy cheeks donned adorable woolly sweaters or college sweatshirts, and were usually seen studying, folding laundry or making Ramen in an electric tea kettle while college radio alt rock played artfully in the background. We were good.

One late afternoon on a perfect fall day a tour group came through as we were all hanging out in our common room (the widows pictured above) enjoying the crisp air and getting ready to enjoy the eve of one roommate's 22nd birthday. We had a friend in the oh-so-adorable men's a capella singing group and as we were chatting with the parents and students, our friend and some of his fellow singing buddies walked up to our open windows, and as a birthday gift, stood outside and serenaded us with Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl." Speilberg couldn't have scripted it better. I think three tuition checks were written right on the spot and I'm still not convinced that we shouldn't have gotten a commission of some kind.

Here are a few more photos:

My favorite building on campus. Just walking in the door made you feel smarter - it had a large central staircase with worn mahogany banister, old wooden tables, chairs and cabinets in the class rooms lit by 12-foot windows - and of course more vintage tile. It used to house the geology and geography departments, but a new science building was built and this one was renovated and restored using all environmentally-friendly techniques. It now houses - get this - the English AND Environmental Studies departments. Being one of probably only two English / Environmental Studies majors at the school ever - I feel quite honored. Could have put my name over the door too though... just sayin'...

Our football stadium. I think my high school stadium was bigger. Of course, the size might have something to do with the fact that we used the single-wing offense from 1894-1994. Yes, if you know football, that's 100 years without using a quarterback. 100 years.

Fraternity row is directly behind where this picture was taken and there's a large hill to the right that overlooks the stadium (or would, but big evergreen trees have grown up and blocked some of the view). So on Saturday mornings you didn't have to bother with buying a ticket to the game - or walking all the way down to the row for kegs and eggs - they would just roll it all over to the hill. A tailgating dream. No quarterback, but still, a tailgating dream.

The brick path that goes to through campus and to the chapel (and the clock that has never worked). Your freshman year officially begins in a small convocation in the chapel with your first-year classmates and all of the faculty in their academic regalia. You leave from there and process to the larger outdoor induction ceremony - two by two - down the brick path lined with the robed and hooded faculty clapping and welcoming each of you as you go by with a pat on your head or your shoulder.

You all meet together again, four years later, for another small convocation in the chapel. And then you process to the larger outdoor graduation ceremony - two by two - down the brick path lined with faculty, clapping and patting you on the head or shoulder as they say goodbye.

I think it's safe to say that if you're looking for a school for yourself or someone else, I can't recommend this one enough. Of course, these pictures don't do it justice. It was rainy and cloudy and the trees haven't changed yet, but in my head it's forever mid October and sunny. Luckily it's forever like that on the website too. They're no fools. I may spend the rest of the afternoon just occasionally going back there and clicking refresh.

Thanks for indulging me. Stay tuned for the rest of the trip.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Dang, I am totally charmed. So cute--I shall spend the day in heady nostalgia because of your post.

Anonymous said...

What a great set of memories and what a lovely place to have them set.

Katie said...

Okay, so I have to admit that I have academia issues like I have Manhattan issues. So you are doing me NO GOOD today. Shame on you.

gertrude said...

Sorry. Lucky for us both that Ohio is as far as I can afford to travel or else you'd have to endure a super-long post that waxed nostalgic for NYC as well.