One word in the latest edition of The Critograph—nostalgia—sent me tumbling back through the decades to my freshman year at Lynchburg College. High school was, for me, five years of drudgery. Arriving on our campus on September 3, 1958 was like leaving a dark tunnel and coming into the sunlight of a summer morning. Later, after studying classical philosophy as a junior, I probably compared it to Plato’s analogy of the cave. Time has softened all those memories, but that does not negate the fact that my freshman year was the turning point in my life.
A friend of mine was the first person I knew who had the chance to study abroad. He was enrolled in a program sponsored by the University of Birmingham at Stratford upon Avon during the summer of 1960. The chance to study under Allardyce Nicoll, one of the recognized authorities on British drama, made the program particularly attractive. When he returned in September, I asked my friend about his experience. He enjoyed working with Dr. Nicoll, but he did not hesitate to tell everyone he knew that the course on Shakespeare taught by Dr. Dora Jean Ashe, was better than one he had just finished in England. Those of us who had taken one or more of her literature courses were not surprised. Dr. Ashe was the best of the best.
Winter passed its half-way point on Monday, Feb. 4, and the milder temperatures this week have me thinking of spring. While enjoying a bit of warm sunshine, I suddenly remembered a campus tradition that passed into history decades ago—The Senior Sneak. Many of the women who last participated in this activity are grandmothers now!
Cleaning out one’s office is like an archeological dig, even if the “debris” dates back to 1965 and not to 1665. Recently I found something I “lost” twenty years ago. Now at least I know where it is, although I cannot remember why I needed it in 1999! Last week my wife, who is helping me, found a copy of the address I gave at Freshman Convocation almost forty years ago. As I read it, I realized that some of my comments are still pertinent today. I did a bit of editing to fit the limits of my column, and I trust my readers will find something of value.
January is the “longest” month of the year, but it is almost done! There was a time, not so long ago, when the first month of the year seemed even longer. Exams were not given before the Christmas holiday, but in early January. Despite the best of intentions, very few students were ready for finals. As the first month of the year ended, a new semester finally began, and many the activities, both academic and social, centered around Memorial Gymnasium, now the Hall Campus Center.