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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, MBA’67, PhD’71
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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