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Autumnal Memories

October 1, 2010
Just a few weeks ago, Archives, Media and Publications  sent out a email hoping to spark alumni recollections of fall on the Hill. Here are some of the responses we have received:

I Remember

-Beth Wang Nast ‘79

I remember the bakery had hot raisin bread on Friday nights.

The Roc had the liveliest pool games in America.

I remember the drinking age was much younger then (18), so beer was everywhere.

I remember dinner at Coach Richardson’s home for the tennis team– she made chicken and broccoli with cheese and it was terrific. What a preppie name: Channing Bullfinch Richardson the 3rd…I was not preppie.

I remember Dave Millar and his very tough American DIPLO class, nearly failed it.

I remember my poetry teacher, who was famous and still is: Tess Gallagher.

I remember snow all year– and a few nice days to play Frisbee up at Griffin Road lawn, where I once lived.

I remember Alteiri’s, only ‘cuz someone just told me they went there, WOW, still there, amazing.

Now that my son is at Hobart and I drive by, I will stop by (the campus) some day. Fortunately, my life is utter happiness now and my boys all are very happy individuals. I married an optimist.

You are doing a great thing…

A Montage of Other Memories and Comments:

From a few Kirkland women and a Hamilton man, who asked to remain anonymous as they continue to ponder their college years:

“I wish I could write something on the website, but I cannot right now. I have a rush of feelings that are intensely personal. You created an evocative place for those who went to, befriended, taught at, visited, worked at or just liked the idea of Kirkland College, the last coordinate womens college in America. Thank you.”

“I should be doing so many other things today, but your recent and lovely email got my memory revved up. It brought up intense memories- of my parents, my younger self and how exciting college was. We have lost so much. But then your email came as a gift and I find myself reaching back to remember so many things about an interesting place and an important part of my life.”

“I can’t stop thinking about Kirkland since I read the note about new posts coinciding with the start of fall semester. I found myself slipping back a few decades and could almost be that 19-year-old amongst my friends in our little quad. I so clearly recall the smell of apples at the cider mill, the smell of raisin bread at Jake’s, the first frost and even that sherry with the Babbitts you referenced. It was a gift and I hope you keep this going. I am still smiling.”

“Ahh. Fall on the Hill. Does it get any better than that? Thinking about fall in Clinton is full of so many conflicting feelings. I love this space, where we can reflect on Kirkland. I had forgotten so much, but your note arrived in my inbox and sent me down a trail I’d thought was long forgotten. Thank you.”

“I love this website. It is a reminder of that very special, trying and exhilarating/frustrating/happy/amazing place. For three days I have been unable to stop thinking about why I chose Kirkland, how powerful those years were and how my parents were part of all that. This website moved me to a point of even grieving for my younger self, my parents and our friends. You’ve captured the essence of it all.”

“I can’t write all my intensely personal thoughts. A bunch of my memories are still hard to sort through. And yet, the note about fall reminded me of so much that was special on the right side of the Hill. Thank you.”

“Keep plugging away and getting to the very core of Kirkland. It seems she imbued a very lucky group of women (and men) with the ability to collaborate, to analyze, to live with vigor and to create very special projects. It was a great place to be an individual and be part of something exciting at the same time.”

“You can post this part: I can only say that nothing has ever been quite so meaningful, intense, satisfying, scary and irritating. My professors sought more and more from me and I learned to push myself hard intellectually and creatively. It has led to great success professionally and I’m a better woman because of it.”

“Hamilton became a better place because of Kirkland. It didn’t know it at the time and time between the spring of 1977 and spring 1978 was a terrible and distracting one for many of us. It seemed to color the Hill in unflattering tones and may well have changed everything about how we view the world. Students came together, but the stench of divisive politics permeated every corner of the campus. I was angry for a long time and felt we lost our senior year in the blur. Ultimately, I’d have to say the entire experience made me a better person . Kirkland women made me think about every choice and every allegiance. Some remain my most important friends and they made me a better father to two college-age women.”

“Thank you for allowing us all a chance to talk about a place that was important and innovative, ahead of its time and fraught with controversy, Has education changed even today? That’s why remembering Kirkland is so important. How can we help?”

Ed. note: Please help by subscribing, posting comments and sending us scanned imagery. We need your assistance in rounding out the documentation of our traditions, history and customs. We encourage you to write about your major, a favorite professor or staff member, and the traditions and customs that made Kirkland special. Please contact us if we can help in any way.  Email will reach us via: karchive at hamilton.edu.  Thank you.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Liz Horwitt permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:29 am

    The last fall I was there, was supposed to be my senior year. I’d graduated a year early but didn’t want to leave because all my friends were there, and I wasn’t ready for the Real World yet. I spent a semester living off campus (over Jake the Baker. A horrible apartment, but the smells were wonderful, and it was great to be able to go down and have a warm, fresh made donut at 2 in the morning). I made enough money to live off of, selling chocolate chip brownies at the Coffee House and typing for the Spectator. I also mooched meals at McEwen, finding all sorts of inventive ways of sneaking in, including hiding in a large wooden box before it officially opened for dinner. I audited Jay Gomer Williams’ religion course, and played a lot of Bridge at Bristol. It was a strange, wistful time. I finally left after Winter Study, but kept coming back. I still dream that I’m back there.

  2. Connie Halporn permalink
    October 4, 2010 1:05 pm

    Ah Fall on the hill, pulling your stuff out of the basement of the dorm, hoping its not wet–and Apple Cider!

  3. Penny Watras Dana permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:30 pm

    Reading these comments was very moving. We all have so much shared history: the memories coming sometimes in staccato and sometimes in a torrent; sometimes so immediate, and sometimes needing a reminder. Peppered with the tumult of the end, the memories are still sweet. The connections we make with each matter! Thanks to J-cubed for this marvelous forum.

  4. kirkie '74 permalink
    October 24, 2010 12:45 pm

    Freshman year I remember all the Hamilton guys coming over to the Kirkland campus to “check out” the females but also to get a sense of what this odd, non-traditional school was all about.
    Every year Fall reminded me of being cold. To this day I don’t know why I went to school in Upstate New York–I am not a cold loving person and it usually snowed by October and didn’t end until March or April.Fall meant unpacking jeans and sweaters which, except on warm days, were my Kirkland”uniform”.
    Fall was returning to old haunts and friends but also getting to know my suite or floor mates and wondering why I had registered for the classes I was taking anyway. Each year there was a sense of coming back but of newness as well.
    When I went back this past October for Alumni Weekend, some of the same feelings were still there!

  5. Julie Weinstein permalink
    January 7, 2011 2:22 pm

    Winter Study 1973, my junior year. My project was to translate “New Poems” by Pablo Neruda because I hated the published translation. Sat in my room all day translating and listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Spent the evenings enhancing a new friendship through long chats, on-campus movies, sitting around the coffee house. A truly magical and timeless moment.

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