Silk Road Incident (Willie Williams)

One thing I’ve discovered while writing these recollection pieces is that my memory has gaping holes. I’ve mentioned that I don’t remember whose idea the Comiskey Park incident was. And later, you’ll find I don’t remember whose idea the bus trip was. But here the hole is that I don’t remember going to college. Not being in college. I’ll write some about that. I don’t remember getting to college. I’m pretty sure my dad drove me. But I remember nothing about the drive, which must have taken two days. Is this from a faulty memory, or the wondrous subconscious? Did we discuss my future? Did Pop reminisce about his college days? I don’t remember.

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Jack Sawyer, the Visionary President We Hardly Knew

President John Sawyer was a distant figure to most of us, the more so because he was not the best of public speakers and seemed to have a certain reserve in gatherings. It was rather paradoxical, really, on a campus where the Mark Hopkins ideal of professors and students engaging in lively discussion in a very personal educational process was the norm.

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Portraits fuming at poor hanging

Scene: The lower reading room of the Williams College Library
Time: About 3 am.
A kind of late-night emptiness, accentuated by the buzzing of fluorescent lights, pervades the room. All the dawn-scribblers and midnight-oilers have left. From across the campus the gym clock sounds its three o’clock dirge, and the dark portraits, silent for generations, finally speak.
First to break the hollow silence are Charles Dewey, 1824-1866, a weak-eyed, rather pale former trustee; and to his right the stern nobly-bewhiskered benefactor Frederick Ferris Thompson, he of the Memorial Chapel and the science buildings.

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Rock of Ages

The hits just kept on happening through a decade that summoned the energy of a renaissance and a revolution in what was called a youth culture — us, the children of warriors, raised in an era of unparalleled wealth, our college years bracketed by assassinations, against a backdrop of a civil rights movement that defined the era.

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Our cartoonist looks at Trumpland

My own mental health has definitely taken a hit. From late last summer through early December, I drew a topical cartoon (the Daily Cartoon) five days a week for newyorker.com. I was forced to stay extremely well-informed in order to make jokes about the very stuff that was turning my head into a dark, scary place, and wreaking havoc on my digestive system. (It’s my habit to read or watch news during meals.) At night, I lay in bed, sleepless for hours, replaying the day’s events.

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