Currier and Ives, Eat Your Heart Out

A Periodic Column by Steve Duffy ’77, Library Circulation Specialist

Steve Duffy Some January days in Southwest Ohio, like today, bring the bluest of skies and are NOT terribly cold. I teased Bob Fogarty during last week’s warm spell by saying “I hope you are enjoying this moment of global warming.” He quickly and wryly quipped back, “I think I can live with a little bit of global warming!”

Anyhow, a quick walk across the Antioch College campus on this particular snowless mid-January day showcases a nicely appointed and updated North Hall. With the low January sun angle, North Hall’s solar-paneled roof seems to look like rows of shiny mirrors. North Hall and the horseshoe are also nicely framed by seemingly ever-taller sycamores with white branches that create an arch-like canopy under a bright blue sky above North and the horseshoe. The branches almost look like lightning against the sky! Currier and Ives, eat your heart out! We have some true mid-winter beauty even in this modern age and even sans snow.

Winter days on campus and the Glen are a botanist’s dream. With leaves absent one can easily examine structure and tree family by the way branches are configured. Taking time to look around it certainly seems like these sycamores have grown exponentially over the past few decades, some towering at least a story higher than North. I feel like they were only a wee bit bigger than saplings just a few decades ago. When also, I think that one year ago North was shabby and dilapidated and in the process of being gutted, its rapid transformation replete with solar panels is “electrifying and maybe potentially shocking!”

North Hall in JanuaryNorth Hall on a particularly sunny January afternoon. The sun was bouncing off North's solar panels!

This year North Hall is the home for new first-year students, the Class of 2016.

Meanwhile, the second-year students (Class of 2015) are now at the beginning of their first national co-op and are in many of the places where we Antiochians had our own Antioch adventures.

The Class of 2015 Antiochians are in NYC, D.C., Philadelphia, and even in more exotic places with palm trees like New Orleans, California and even the Bahamas. Eventually these co-op rhythms will normalize as we continue to grow.

I am hoping new Antiochians’ adventures will be as sweet, eye-opening, or even as earthshaking as the Antioch adventures many of us had back in the day. I am truly waiting for some “good” stories upon their April return! In this electronic age perhaps some electrons via email or Facebook might be the equivalent of postcards. I know everyone is busy settling into new cities and co-op experiences. I sort of miss them a lot.

This week a box came to the library from Seth Kaplan ’15.

Seth is what many librarians would fondly characterize as a most avid or voracious reader. He is also one of the first Antiochians to work at the OK library since we “resumed.” Anytime Seth might go out to the stacks he inevitably would find something “fun” to check out. He IS the ultimate “grazer.” So it should not be surprising that there might be one extra book to return as he settled in into New Orleans and his co-op at the Ashé Cultural Art Center. Along with that book came a marvelous handwritten note and a semi-smashed white box with a gold-seal on it from Southern Candymakers. Broken to perfect pieces during shipping were the super sweetest and most sinfully sensuous southern pralines. The box arrived on a Tuesday afternoon when students have free time and also put in many of their campus work hours at the OK Library. Between staff and students, probably fifteen of us indulged in the sweet pleasure of these true southern “pray-lines” (now that’s proppah southern pronunciation y’all!). It seems like some of the sweet things in life come along with co-ops. You never know what or whom you may encounter.

Letter from student Seth KaplanOur first letter from a second-year student on national co-op. Steven Duffy '77 got the letter, and overdue book from the OK Library, and a box of yummy pralines from Seth Kaplan '15 who is currently on co-op in the great city of New Orleans where he is working at the Ashé Cultural Center in the heart of the Central City neighborhood.

At Reunion 2010, Athena Frederick ’82 read from some of Edythe Scott Bagley ’47’s writings at the First Walter Anderson award. Edythe mentioned what a world the co-op experience opened. Imagine a young woman from a small Southern Alabama town being in Chicago and meeting Richard Wright! Hopefully sweet co-op encounters for the Class of 2015 will include not only sweet treats to eat, but great folks to meet. And of course, a good or even terrible co-op may ultimately change the entire direction in which you might have thought you might be going.

On campus, MLK Day events and January Volunteer Work Week kept everyone busy. The campus stayed active during January and will continue to into February. A few weeks ago, an interest group (or an acronymic that we call IGs) known as the Debate Club had its first event. A hot topic for a cold January night was what matters most? Survival or success? There were two teams of two. President Mark Roosevelt and Derrick Weston, director of the Coretta Scott King Center vs. Micah Canal ’08, chief admission officer, and Louise Smith ’77, dean of community life.

Good to know that Antioch is continuing its perennially favorite sport—talking—whether it is discussion or debate!

Unfortunately I was working but did send students over to McGregor 113 in relays to find out which team seemed to be hammering its points across. I imagine this debate will eventually be found on the online media page of the College website along with other events and lectures. You might find some scintillating viewing there! You will eventually have to see the debate and make your own decision as to who hammered their points across the best and even maybe where you stand on the subject.

Reunion is now about five months away! I hope you will plan to come to all of it or part of it or the Reunion Volunteer Work Week. By then, of course, those tall sycamores on the horseshoe will have leafed back out, the sun will set after 9:00 p.m. and there will be Antiochians on campus from many years including some that are just on the horizon. If you bump into the right person you might have some “good” co-op stories to swap, whether they are from 1965 or 2013. The great debate then may be who has the best tale to tell.