My favorite Swarthmore moments from sophomore year... back

Mud sliding: First couple of weeks of school seem to always end in a downpour that floods the campus and turns Mertz field into a giant slip `n' slide. So naturally, we take advantage of that fact. Me, Alyssa, Laurel, Eve, Nori, Megan, Jenny, and Amelia are all part of a bigger group largely composed of frisbee players getting their layouts on. Huck the disc, big group of people takes off after it and lays out for it. So we do this a couple of times, then decided that sitting in the coursing water and painting each others' faces with mud. This goes on until we are well slathed, at which point we make our way to Willets to try and hug anyone we can get our muddy arms around. All three floors are infiltrated. Then to first south

Hollis and the Bagpipes in the Amphitheatre: I have just gotten out of Religion class (a sucky class) and am walking to get my mail. Faintly, I can hear bagpipes droning somewhere in the area of Wharton. I find Nori on my way to the mail room who says Do you hear Hollis? What? The bagpipes. Oh, that's Hollis? Who else plays bagpipes? Good point. We follow the sound to the Scott Outdoor Amphitheatre, the trademark and one of the most beautiful things about Swarthmore. Down the steps, and there is Hollis with his back to the tiered seating, standing on the stage practicing. We join him on the stage and commend him on his musical abilities. Nori wants to try. I get out my camera and start to take pictures of the only-at-Swarthmore scene. Nori gets a sound, but not the drone. I try. With much struggling I get the drone and some notes, but I don't know how to finger anything. The pipes go back to Hollis who plays a jig for the growing audience filtering in and out of the amphitheater. Only at Swarthmore.

Twelve Hour Horror Movie Study Breaks for Halloween: Sophomore year Halloween. Kellam, my hallmate and next door neighbor, decides to throw one of his marathon study breaks for Halloween. Study breaks are usually an hour long late in the evening when some activity is hosted by a room and some food (usually chips and a drink). Kellam bakes for an entire day, then entertains for 12 hours. Exorcist, Halloween, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Scream, (and two more that I can't recall at the moment). Signs were up for two weeks before: "girl 1: did you see tim curry in that getup? girl 2: yeah, he's so hot!" Um...

Happening Upon a 16Feet Rehearsal in the Bell Tower: On my way back to Willets from Paces one night, I heard music emanating from the bell tower. Privy as always to finding out the source, I walked down the Sharples path and up the hill to the bell tower. Huddled in several layers of clothing, standing in a tight circle was 16Feet, having a 11pm rehearsal in the cold. I came in for their rendition of "With the Boys." I stood at the base of the stairs, leaning on the cold stone of the stoop, watching unnoticed. They talked a little, introduced an alumnus around the circle who was visiting for the evening and was a former Foot. Then they launched into "On and On" with Gabe redefining aural orgasm as always. As he hit the high note, his suffering from a cold and the physical cold broke the note. He yelled out (timed to fit the music of course) "I SUCK!!!" Some more talking commences after "On and On" and then Even starts to sing "Four Seasons" in his amazing tenor strains. Brandon Silverman comes up to the steps and joins me in listening. We both stand there, in awe of the amazingness of the late night run-of-the-mill rehearsal of the 9 guys. He comments to me "Evan's voice is amazing." I nod emphatically, but don't say anything to interrupt the sound. The song ends and Brandon takes off. The Feet talk for a little longer than I'm willing to stand around for as the cold and the recollection that I have a lot of work yet to do find there ways into my consciousness. So I walk down the hill and to the depths of Willets Basement.

Four O'clock in the Morning Pumpkin Pie: In the middle of a long night of work, Laurel calls and asks if we think we'll still be up at three. Yes, of course, it's going to be a late night. Ok, I'm making pumpkin pie. Fantastic. The phone is hung back up and the work continues. Latin and Greek are difficult to switch between, much less at this hour of the night. Alyssa falls asleep on War and Peace for the 7th time of the night. Playlists switch, positions alter, more caffienated beverages are drunk. Work work work. Three o'clock comes and goes and there is no call or IM from Laurel. Alyssa falls asleep on Joyce again, but with more finality this time. The phone rings. Ok, the pie's ready. It took a little longer than expected. Cool, I'll be right over. Alyssa opts to stay and go to bed, but Amelia comes with me. We wander across the Willets courtyard and the courtyard of the lodges to Lodge 2. Down to the basement where a heavenly smell greets us immediately. Two plates, two forks, two pieces of pie and whip cream (extra fat fat fat super fat lard fat whip cream as Nori says coming into the kitchen) later, Amelia and I are immensely thrilled. Excellent work, Laurel. Back to work, peace of pie in hand for Alyssa who professes to have had nothing cooler happen to her than finding a piece of pie waiting for her in bed.

Parrish Roof Sunsets: I am upstairs on fifth floor Parrish uploading pictures for the Phoenix in the Publications office. Around 4 pm. This done, I descend the stairs and out the door to the reds and yellows of the fall-clothed campus more vibrant than usual in the reddish light of the early evening. The sky overcast, I look back to see the beginnings of pink above Parrish, trying to be a breathtaking sunset. I step up the pace back to Willets and burst into the room where my roommate sits at her computer typing emails. I'm stealing you and dragging you up to the roof of Parrish to watch the sunset which is gorgeous and worth watching and yeah. She stares at me dumbfounded for a moment and then moves to put on her shoes. So we trek up the stairs of Parrish (my third time of the day) to the fifth floor lounge. Much team work goes into raising the window and wedging a chair in it so we can get back in. We walk around the surprisingly cushy roof right above our friends' room. The sunset lived up to its potential. We sit and ponder whether "pastoral" can be applied to landscapes, or if it only refers to the clergy as my roommate thinks it does. We stare at the door to no where just above our heads that is a crack open and insanely intriguing to me. It starts to get cold so we crawl back through the window and head back to the room. Back in Willets room 12, I find "pastoral" in the dictionary. It can be applied to landscapes and indeed does mean pertaining to farmlands and sheep.

Midnight Drum Practicing in the Bell Tower: Every once in a while as I walk across campus late at night, there is a guy (dread locks and rostafarian get up included) in the center of the bell tower with a set of drums practicing. The acoustics are amazing, so the sound can be heard on either side of campus. And so he stands, silhouetted in the half-light of clothier.

Swing State Drinking Games: Campus wide study break for the elections, Laurel sends out an email proposing the Swing State Drinking game. For each swing state that Bush wins, take a shot. So if Gore wins, everyone is pleasantly toasted. If Bush wins, everyone is too drunk to care.

Staying up ALL NIGHT for the Election Returns: 2000 Presidential election night. I just got myself into the whole college news paper thing, so I'm out taking pictures for a short coverage on one of the plays that is being put on this weekend. I get back to my room around eleven at night. A bunch of people are crowded around the lounge TV watching CNN and waiting to see if we have a president yet. "Do we know?" I ask as I walk through the lounge. "No." So I go to my room and start working on Latin for the next day. Around 12:30, it is announced that Bush has won. Much depression and moping, well crap. That's all we really need, another Bush in the White House. Continue to do work. An hour and a half later, Laurel IMs me to tell me that they jumped the gun on Florida and they don't know yet!!! There is a vote margin of only 300!!! So up Alyssa and I get to move into the lounge to watch the closest vote margin in history. And sit. The whole hall joins as we watch the most amazing toggle between Bush and Gore. Gore has already given his concession speech. Interesting. We watch. Chris brings down a hot pot and starts to take orders on hot drinks. What a great study break. Food shows up and people get comfortable. It is announced that Gore has recalled his concession. The entire room lets out a huge cheer! I go to get my computer so I can do reading for Biology while I watch the returns. Gore passes Bush in popular votes. The margin narrows to only 150. Wow! The night drags on and no one moves. Second rounds of hot chocolate go around. I'm on my fifth or sixth caffinated beverage of the night. Several people announce that they are not going to bed. At the rate I'm going I won't get to either. So much bio reading. The margin toggles back and forth. It is realized that with the recounts they are talking about and absentee ballots, we wont know for weeks. Great. Eventually, things come to a standstill (the sun has come up, the housekeeping staff have appeared for work) and we decide to go to breakfast (my first of the year at Sharples). Life revolves around the TV and CNN for the next week. But we only found out last week (December 7th ish) that Bush finally won. But it was fun anyway. And I figured out that I can pull off an all nighter.

Painting "Jewish African American Retirees for Buchanan" Shirts One Weekend Night: A week after the returns and the non-election, Nori, Ben and I decide to go get white T-shirts and paint them. Not just any painting of random things on shirts, but "Buchanan campaign shirts." Not quite. Nori's says "Jewish retirees for Buchanan." Ben's says Elderly Jews for Buchanan or something like that. Mine says "Jewish African American Retirees for Buchanan." So much greatness. So much fun. And good food produced from the lodge deux kitchen as always to go with it.

Pat Dostal and "Lets get it on": Winter formal. Alyssa and I debating whether we should go. Neither of us have dates, but we want to get dressed up and dance for at the least, a little while. So we do. Some swinging with Ilya, boogying down, good stuff. Then Pat Dostal, the very attractive clarinet player, moves toward the front of the stage which holds Mike Duffy's band. Takes the microphone. And starts to sing "Lets get it on". Alyssa, me and every other girl in the room move to the front of the mob and cheer him on. Too much attractiveness to handle.

Leaf Fight: Alyssa, Ben and I were walking back from dinner fall of our sophomore year, having just talked about how Alyssa had had a leaf fight with some other people earlier that day. Giant piles of leaves met us at the base of Magill Walk just as we crossed it going to Willets. I don't remember at this point who started it, but we ended up a huge pile of leaves and clothes and people, with leaves indelibly stuck to Ben's particularly fuzzy sweater, leaf bits in Alyssa's bra, and leaves all in my hair. We left the pile no longer a pile and returned home, laughing and smiling.

Publications office sunrise: At the end of sophomore year, the Athletic Review Committee made the ingenious decision to end the existence of Swarthmore football, badminton, and wrestling, beginning a long standing rift between a number of the former players of the sports and the administration. I had just recently joined the Phoenix as a freelance photographer, taking the odd picture of computers, tree sculptures, and theatre performances. If I remember correctly, Thursday night was the Phoenix end of semester dinner and award ceremony, which I stayed at for a very long time. Something like 4am, drinking wine and talking with Justin, Nathan and Liz about everything and nothing. So I began the mass of coverage already low on sleep. Public knowledge of the rising controversy of the end of football began with Cookie (Chris Morello) standing on a table in Sharples, teary eyed, delivering the news and announcing a candle light vigil which was to be held in front of Parrish that night at 7 to protest the decision. I spent the evening chasing down football players, trying to find out anything possible and take pictures of everything as it happened. Michael Pasahow and I shot the vigil from setup to end, freezing in the December cold, and taking turns running memory cards and batteries up to the office and back down again. I shot somewhere in the area of 2,000 pictures, including the perfect shot of Coach Pete Alvanos crying as he addressed the crowd. After the vigil, Mike and I spend the next several hours loading, looking at, correcting and processing the obscene number of pictures taken in the couple of hours prior for the online coverage slide show. The next morning there was a meeting in the field house for all parties concerned to address the ARC and administration. Mike went to this one, which turned out to be a yellfest and general take over by the parents of football players. Saturday day was spent putting together the first of two emergency editions of the Phoenix (a six page photocopied document outlining what had happened at this point). I slept minimally that night, having joined in the photocopying, collating and distributing them under people's doors. Monday night held a Fireside Chat. Usually occurring in Kohlberg coffee bar next to the fireplace, the size of the turnout dictated a move into the Friends' Meeting House. This ended up being the largest Fireside Chat held in recent history and also featured a large number of the administration sitting in the front pews. Mike and I split front to shoot as much from as many angles as possible. Long night again, downloading and correcting the best of the bunch for the second special edition. This one I didn't tag along for as I was stuck in the publications office correcting for online coverage again. Meanwhile, the rest of the paper was coming together, so I spent my requisite many hours correcting things for regular print, choosing photos for the double truck and trying desperately to stay awake. I went home at some point to take a shower and change clothes, but I spent the majority of the night up in the publications office, working on Latin due for tomorrow's class and keeping Nathan and Justin company while they worked on various aspects of putting out a 36 page Phoenix-the largest edition in the history of the paper and certainly since. Sunrise came with a fanfare the likes of which I have never since seen. The dark purple of night gave way to the richest orange, red and rose I have ever seen produced by sun and clouds. The Magill Walk trees, bare from midwinter cold, were silhouetted against the riot of colors on the horizon. The color remained for a long time, stretching across the expanse of city in the distance, turning deep pinks and purples, slowly fading to daylight. All activity in the office stopped for a time to watch the development of beauty. Pictures were taken of the morning arriving and then all went back to work. I spent the early hours of the morning sitting in the window overlooking Magill Walk, reading for seminar that afternoon and watching campus come to life under a clear December morning. At some point I descended from my perch to attend Latin 11 which was predominantly taken up by discussion of what was going on with the football team and the like (info session headed up by me since I was in the middle of the source of information collection) and a minimum of actual class. From there I tried to get into a faculty meeting, but settled for staging a shot of Jennie Keith coming out of the meeting (the only staged shot I've ever taken, but at that point, I didn't care). Went to Bio5 a few minutes late, unprepared, but feeling very campus important and driven, or some facsimile of it. After class, I crashed for hours, making up for 5 days worth of sleeplessness.

Climbing Parrish: End of sophomore year, I was keeping people company up in the publication office as they finished Spike (well, that's only half true. I hadn't seen Gabe, my then boyfriend, for days for various reasons, and went up there to confirm that he and my absent roommate were alive). Kellam came bumbling into the office asking for help with a ladder. I asked what was going on. He answered that he was trying to get the flag off the roof of Parrish for the Willets scavenger hunt. Oh! I'm coming with you to help. We tried for a while with the ladder, got it out onto the roof of Parrish (the landing just off the fifth floor) and discovered that it only allowed the climber to just reach the gutter of the roof, and no more. We climbed around the edges of the landing and the roof for a while and found that the roof over Parrish north slanted down to meet a gutter that was reachable by the landing. So we climbed around that for a while, finding that one could climb around the gutter of the dome and get to the door-that-leads-to-nowhere that way. But it was locked. I climbed up behind the chimney and tried to wedge myself up the side of the dome to get to the top of the door-that-leads-to-nowhere roof, to no avail. And had a momentary freak out about not being able to get back down again, but I did and was fine. On our way back to the top of Parrish north, we found a guy wire that ran from the top of the dome and terminated where we were situated atop Parrish north. Perfect. One could climb up the side leaning backward, supported by the guy wire. Preparation for this was in order. We ran back to Willets, got gloves, my Texas flag to fly in place of the stolen US flag, some rope, duck tape, and Paul. Back to the top of Parrish. Kellam, Paul and I straddling the A-line of Parrish north discussed our plan of attack. Rope was tied to our waists and to the guy wire, gloves were put on, and Paul was situated below the guy wire with the instructions to catch us if we fell. I went first. The dome of Parrish is tiled in one foot by two foot slate shingles which are very slick and offer nothing in the way of traction or friction or grip or gription or any of those negative forces that figure into moving bodies in physics. Through a series of pushes and false attempts, I succeeded in getting myself into the proper climbing position and scurried up the roof, untied myself at the top and climbed over the metal railing that encircles the top of the dome. Kellam followed. The two of us walked around the top of the dome for a long time, assessing how we were to get the flag down without dying. The flag pole is very close to the edge of the dome and the railing. Were one to fall off the dome, one would fall off of Parrish and onto Magill Walk. Not fun. We opted to not die and to rig up my Texas flag on the pole proving we'd been there, though had not gotten the flag. We tied the flag to some rope and the rope to the pole, and taped the rope in place as far up the pole as we could reach. Walked around for a little while longer, admiring the view, looking down on the people camping on the beach that night, crouching out of the light of the flag spotlight as public safety drove by. Getting back down the dome proved more frightening than climbing up, mostly because it's backward and increasingly steep and you have to lean against your weight perpendicular to the dome as you descend. And then reach Paul who gives instructions as to where your feet are to go to make it alive. And we did. And the flag flew for a week after. And we won the scavenger hunt, though only slightly because of the Texas flag flying just beneath the US flag on top of Parrish.

Texas flag flying above Parrish: In the week that the flag flew above Parrish, I was sitting on the beach reading for a class near a group of seniors headed up by Mike Klunder. They were having some form of an argument that I wasn't paying attention to until he said in his very loud Mike Klunder voice, what flag is that? Puerto Rico? He got on a cell phone and was talking to some friend of his, asking what the Puerto Rican flag looked like when I chimed in, It's a Texas flag. They looked at me for a while and asked how I knew. I said, cause it's my flag. He asked how it had gotten there. I said cause I put it there. Pause. Why Texas? I'm from Texas and had the flag. No other reason. Oh. And I continue reading.

Worth Courtyard party (coffee icecream and whiskey): During one of the late spring days of Sophomore year, Eve sent out an email about icecream and whiskey in Worth courtyard. So under the sun of spring, between flowering trees in front of lodge two, a group of us ate coffee ice cream infused with whiskey and laughed.

April Fools antics: Night before April Fools' day, I got an email from Gabe which was sent to a number of his friends about the night's plans. Several things were in the offing. I, armed with a camera, joined the bunch which met in Eric Lievy's room in Parrish. We trundled off to Hicks mural room where Nathaniel Fairfield was working on engineering stuff and presented him with the instruction book to the bell tower which had been stolen from the machine room earlier in the week. What they wished to happen was a rewiring of the controls to have the bell tower play something other than its usual Big Ben chimes. This, it seemed, was a little overambitious for the amount of time we had to work with, and would have involved a separate control panel construction. Nonetheless, we entertained this idea for a while, I called Nori to find out what notes the chimes were to see what we had to work with in the way of other songs for it to play. This all died out and we decided to go attack the tower and see what could be done anyway. Nick Johnson, Gabe, Eric, Jane Ng, Nathaniel Fairfield, Jesse (name?) and I went to the intercultural center where the machine room for the bell tower is. In the SAO room there is a door to a closet (hinges out toward the room) which hold all of the controls to the bell tower. The guys took the door off of its hinges, put it to one side and regarded the control box before them. In one corner of the room was a ladder to the attic area of Clotheir. Everyone climbed up and walked around the attic for a while just to have said they'd done it. Back to the control box. This is where Jesse comes in. Jesse is the lock picker in residence. He picked his way into the box and into the smaller hardware box next to it. Then Nathaniel stepped up, electrical engineer eyes coming up with options to screw with. The bell tower bells have two settings: auto and manual. There is also the option to let the bells ring at random; press the button and the bells ring until someone turns them off. The hardware box next to it holds the wires for bell tones. The decision was made to switch the wires so that the wrong bells rang and then hit the button for random play and run. Simple as that. We cleared out to give Nathaniel some room. He gives the instructions that he needed someone to stand in the doorway with a large plank of wood so that if he got electrocuted, they could hit him free of the wires. Ok, Nick filled that position. Wires switched. Everyone but me, Gabe, and Nathaniel at the wires cleared out before the button was hit. Thus, a minimum of people would be seen exiting the scene of the crime. Poised to run, Nathaniel hit the button. And the bells rang at random at 2am on April Fool's day. And we ran. We ran as far as Wharton and then doubled back toward Tarble to see what would happen. Five minutes later, public safety showed up, parked on the stones in front of Tarble and ran to the IC rooms. Several minutes later, the bells finally stopped. The punchline was yet to come the next day. After that success, the three of us ambled over to the rose garden side of Parrish where Dan Sproul and about a dozen other people (most of our previous group) had gathered around the twig sculpture in front of Trotter. Dan had had the idea to cover the sculpture in giant ants made out of balloons spray painted black and duck taped with antennae and legs. Dan and Nick climbed up the inside and perched atop the first lobe, taping ants down and hoisting them up through the middle hole. At some point, a public safety truck drove up the path from Willets to Trotter, behind Trotter, around past LPAC and parked facing us. Turned on their spot lights, and shouted through their bull horn "we have you surrounded". We applauded and waved and they drove off. A little while later, after the ants had been completed, we convened in Parrish for Gabe's idea of putting a broken boot on a public safety truck, giving the illusion that they had been booted at the least (which never occurred). Down the hall, public safety let themselves into Tedd Goundie's office. We would find out why later. The final antic was stringing yarn between the trees all the way down Magill Walk. This entertained us until we ran out of yarn around 6am and left for bed. The next day (or so I hear, I was asleep), the bell tower rang at 1pm, but rang all the wrong tones and rang 4 o'clock. Maintenance apparently came and the tower didn't ring for another week until the bells were fixed. Also, and email from Tedd Goundie's office was received by [reserved students] reminding everyone to turn their clocks back for Daylight Savings (and as far as I can tell was sent out by public safety as Tedd sent out a followup email correcting the wrong instruction and congratulating the "kids" who successfully broke into his office without messing anything up).

Abducting Eve: Sometime during the week of April Fool's, the decision was made to stage an abduction of a spec on a campus tour. I don't remember who produced this gem of an idea, but the plan was set. Eve was to pose as the spec and join a tour group. A half dozen or so of the rest of us were to follow the tour at a distance, rush in, grab Eve, and run off with her. The plan went without a hitch. Eve joined the tour, saying she was a senior at some highschool in New York (probably the high school she actually attended), and followed the tour, being quiet in that intimidated-spec way. As the tour reached Magill Walk having just come down off the hill from McCabe, the abduction group made its strike. Yelling and cheering, they grabbed Eve, hoisted her above them, and ran up the walk toward Parrish, dropping her off in parlors. The tour continued on as though nothing had happened. Next time we need someone to pose as a distraught parent.

Paces Poetry Slam (Ben's sophomore paper): Early in the week that our sophomore papers were due, Paces held a poetry slam. I was there, trying to work on Latin and attempting to be in the general vicinity of Gabe who was getting drunk at a nearby table with Martin and Nori. Alyssa and Laurel were at my table, Alyssa trying to decide if she wanted to read one of her poems. Sam Dingman and Morgan Simon finished playing their sax spot and gave way to the poetry. Various people read their poetry. Eric Osheim got up and announced that he was going to try and freestyle poetry and bongos, bear with him, he's never done this before. He tried for a little while and then announced that, well, he tried. Alyssa read her poem, which was wonderful. Then Ben got up on stage. Ben said that he had been writing his sophomore paper, as a number of us had probably been doing. He said that he was going to read his sophomore paper as his poetry, but he was going to read only every other word. Much laughter. And then he proceeded to read every other word of his sophomore paper to the packed audience in Paces. And it was hilarious. In the space of the requisite one to two pages of "what I want to do with my major" essay, Ben covered it all, including cunnilingist. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes and was possibly the funniest thing I have ever heard.

Spring Fling 2001 (Ferris on the Beach, Petting Zoo, 50's dance under the cherry tree): this will be expanded upon later...