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Selected Letters from Our Readers

Bruce Carr ’60 writes: I sang in the Dido and Aeneas that James Gillen produced in 1958 (my sophomore year) though, as only a member of the chorus, I was not aware of Gillen’s involvement, nor involved enough to recognize the difficulties he cites.  But I wonder whether or not those difficulties really stemmed from the homosexuality of the performers.  I think a more likely analysis is simply that they chafed at being told what to do by — “resented the authority” of — someone who had not their experience as a musician or performer.  [The cliche is true:  Musicians are difficult, as I can affirm from half-a-lifetime of working in the administration of symphony orchestras.]  Indeed, many of them were homosexual, although I was not aware of that at the time.  Certainly when my Holworthy roommates and I (one “Negro” from the Bronx, one Jew from Queens [who played in the Dido orchestra], one Iowa-bred WASP) had applied to live in Adams House in the spring of 1957, we were aware of its “art-y” reputation; but that was not code for homosexual in our vocabularies.  Gillen may have been frustrated by a Pink Mafia at Adams House, but I can’t say that it came to our attention at all.

Thornton Clark ’59 writes: Wish I could be there for the big celebration and for the game… thanks so much for your invitation.

 I had a unique role in the history of Adams House, because with the Class of ’58, it had been the last choice.  I thought the proximity to classes, the superior food, the larger and more elegant rooms and what was then the swimming pool were great features.   I organized a fairly large number of friends to make Adams our first choice, and it was enough to rocket Adams from last to first in one year.  In addition to our choice of house, we got our choice of rooms, and I picked E-32..

My funny story to send to the current residents has to do with the fact that Adams, with the exception of C Entry, could be entered without having to pass an entrance guard.   This was another major advantage.  

In those days of early parietal hours limiting times girls could be in your room, it was a big advantage, except when (because of an amusing collection of developments), my date from Radcliffe very late at night entered the wrong room (E-22) and sat on the bed of a very stuffy and sound asleep professor.   He was startled when awakened but, in the pitch black dark, I am sure he never knew what or how it had happened and certainly did not realize that a beautiful girl had started to get in bed with him…

One of the reasons I liked E-32 was its piano.  We had a great party with a well-known band (the “Talbot Brothers” from Bermuda) playing in that room one night. I also built a bookcase with a fold-down typewriter table that has no use today (if it is still there) in my bedroom, which was the single.   I also left a large oil painting I had done of the bullfight.  Bet it is gone.

(It is, as is the piano… Those were the days… MDW)

David Kotz ’65 writes:  Adams House was a special place in 1962 when I applied to live there. It was known as a House with particularly interesting dinner table conversations. It was one of two Houses that, we were told, had their own chef and hence better food than you got from central kitchen. Not least, unlike the other houses with their high fences and lone entrance, Adams House had multiple entrances from the street, a configuration which we were told greatly facilitated sneaking a female guest in or out of the house, a prized ability in that benighted era of strictly enforced “parietal rules” regulating when female guests could be there. While many times in life expectations are not fully borne out, in this case all 3 proved accurate.

I have fond memories of Adams House. The philosophy tutor who was into Wittgenstein and wore a black cape. Mathematical logic prodigy Saul Kripke, who lived there as an elite Junior Fellow, and who occasionally would pace back and forth with his full dinner tray for some time, lost in thought about some problem or other. The stories about FDR having lived there. The ever changing cast of interesting dinner companions, providing as much education as I got in the classroom.