Enter the debunking article
Reviving dormant memories
I enjoyed A. Gray Fischer’s remembrance of Woodward Court
(“Requiem for a Dorm,”
August/04). My own remembrance is from 1964–66, when I was
an assistant resident head in East House. East was a men-only dormitory;
North and West Houses were women only.
The stairwell in the annex (i.e., the central
building that contained the mailboxes, the “desk,” and
the cafeteria) was part of the only passage into or out of the dorms
after 10 p.m. It also had excellent acoustics, which is why some
of my friends and I often played guitars, banjos, autoharps, spoons,
etc., and sang there, just above the stairs to the tunnels that
linked the annex to the dormitories.
The stairwell also provided a built-in audience.
This is because female students had “hours,” a fixed,
weekly allotment of time they were allowed to consume in 15-minute
blocks. So, for example, if a female student and her date arrived
to check in at, say, 12:01, her time allotment would be charged
as if she had arrived at 12:14:59. Behold! An audience for our music!
Yes, there was a periodic emptying out of our
audience, but more always came to take their places. And sometimes
some of the women would extend their stay a time-block or two more
than required. Was this to be with their dates, did they have time
to burn, or was it our music? I liked to think it was our music.
Leroy B. “Lee” Schwarz, AB’63,
West Lafayette, Indiana
A. Gray Fischer’s
“Requiem for a Dorm,”
on the demolition of “New Dorm” (afterward named Woodward
Court) made me teary, having lived there in my first and second
years of college, 1960–62. I remembered the Passion Pit in
the basement, where young lovers kissed good-night and tried to
beat the hours requirement as the University fulfilled its mission
to be in loco parentis.
Most of all, I recalled the first few Twist Parties
in the lounge of New Dorm, with Paul Butterfield and his Blues Band
providing the music. As time went by, the University demanded student
IDs so the neighborhood people couldn’t be admitted. Many
of us lost interest. But, oh, how wonderful a mix the first parties
were! I recall my classmate, Elvin Bishop, X’64, tall and
lanky, always with guitar, holding up the wall in the stairwell
of New Dorm. In sum, twisting and blues were a welcome relief from
the intellectual hard work of classes.
Iris Cleveland, AB’65, MAT’67
Park Forest, Illinois
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