Harvard's 350th Birthday
[September '86] Ellen talks Bill into taking off for Harvard's 350th birthday party. Great party! Ellen sings her heart out with the Radcliffe Choral Society. The first time the director hears the alumnae sing, he (tactfully) says how great it is to hear "vintage sound." Bill avoids all symposia dealing with professionally relevant topics and has a ball going to symposia on modern physics and biology. Ellen is trapped in Memorial Hall by a divestiture crowd for several hours while at a Choral Society concert. Ellen and Bill spend one nostalgic evening sitting in the Yard in the rain with his sister Andra and her husband Dave listening to Joan Baez. Ellen goes for 7:30 A.M. choral rehearsals in Memorial Church. One day they are not allowed to go to the bathroom during break because the Prince of Wales is in the building (guess they figured some old Cliffie might attack him in the bathroom).
Harvard Class of 1963--25th Reunion
[Summer '88] Ellen is pleased that Harvard has, in its wisdom, finally decided that she may stay overnight with Bill in a Harvard dorm room. Totally unreal moment as the police close off Storrow Drive so that a convoy of 20 buses full of Harvards can be driven directly to a special performance of the Boston Pops. On a visit to the Kennedy Museum Bill realizes that if he has any questions it should be easy to get an answer since the person on his left is Arthur Schlessinger (Harvard 50th class reunion). After the official reunion Bill and Ellen head for Newport, R. I. where Bill's college roommates and several friends hold an alternate reunion full of good food and conversation.
Harvard Class of 1963--35th Reunion
[Summer '98] Ellen checks us into our suite in Kirkland House and when she later meets Bill she says "there is good news and bad news--the bathroom is en suite, but we have bunk beds!" (the ever resourceful Brewers soon figured out how to de-bunk the beds).
A very fine, cool and sunny day for Harvard's Commencement. Gorgeous colors --flags, academic robes, banners--all billowing in the brisk wind. Opened by the Sheriff of Middlesex County pounding his staff three times on the stage floor. A Latin oration (clouds ahead--one day soon there will be no undergraduate who knows enough Latin to do this!). As those from the School of Government receive their degrees they threw inflated world globes into the air. As the medical students received their degrees they threw inflated condoms into the air. (The MBAs use to wave greenbacks when they received their degrees, but I guess they decided this was tacky and didn't do it this year). One change from Bill's graduation. The undergraduates are no longer inducted into the ranks of "educated men" but into the ranks of "educated people." Ellen, ever the stickler for detail, notes that Harvard is having trouble with the PC translation for the song "Fair Harvard"--over the course of the various events she sang three different version of the first line (the offending phrase is "thy sons"--there is still work to do since the line "Till the stock of the Puritans die" still occurred in all three).
Bill and Ellen meet for their traditional lunch (no longer from Elsie's--sigh) on the steps of Widener Library. Ellen no longer carries on the traditional chase of the pigeons in Harvard Yard that she use to do when her father took her there as a young girl--perhaps on her 50th? The low point of the visit for Bill was his walk through the Harvard Coop--once the best academic bookstore in the U.S.--now a Barnes & Noble, with the obligatory Coop Cafe. Bill and Ellen have supper in Annenberg Hall (the new dinning hall for first years--Harvard PC for freshmen--in Memorial Hall). Each of their last visits to that room was to take a final exam. Bill and Ellen have a reception in Loker Commons, a new undergraduate recreation and fast food center in the basement of Memorial Hall. As best they can tell the Psychology Lab they met in is now the kitchen!
Back to Bill's Personal Page
Last updated June 4, 2000 by EFB