Thursday, August 5, 2010

My favorite things (at Yale)

They may not be raindrops or whiskers, but these are my favorite things from Yale.  (My favorite things from my travels elsewhere will follow later.)

In no particular order:

The Iron Maidenheads, who went by many different team names (Iron Maidenheads was my favorite; Semantic Anarchy led us to victory) over the course of 6 weeks, played trivia every Tuesday night while in New Haven.  Most weeks, I was joined by James, Aaron, Elizabeth, Susannah, and Hans (but Renee and Ann each joined us once) in search of intellectual stimulation unrelated to Chaucer and the Middle Ages.  (Though we were always hopeful for a question about the Peasant Uprising of 1381.)  On our final Tuesday, WE WON FIRST PLACE, dominating the forum and beating the second place team by 50 points.  We can leave New Haven satisfied.  After all:  "There is no substitute for victory."  Douglas MacArthur

At Yale, all of the intersections on campus are set for double-crossing.  Nope, not fancy trickery, but instead the ability to cross the street on the diagonal.  (The picture above is a visual representation of that, not a tribute to The Beatles.)  This convenience makes up for the fact that you cannot make a right turn on red anywhere in New Haven.

This is my classroom.  I spend 9 hours here each week, circled around the table with my classmates, talking about history and literature.  It's just like a scene from Gilmore Girls (except it's real life).  The classroom is in a building called Linsly-Chittenden which is on Old Campus.  The auditorium has beautiful Tiffany windows and a fireplace.  It's surreal.

I shared a picture of the exterior of Sterling Memorial Library in one of my early blogs.  While the architecture is gorgeous (and inspired by a cathedral), it is what lies in the stacks--in the belly of the beast if you will--that draws me in.  The stacks, a labyrinth of knowledge, are intoxicating.  Within these catacombs one finds century-old (or  older) secrets waiting to be discovered.  4 million texts are housed within this maze and I only had 6 weeks to enjoy them.

One day during our second to last week we took a class trip to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the Yale campus.  These manuscripts are beautiful beyond explanation.  We viewed a facsimile of the Ellesmere Chaucer (the manuscript that holds the most completely accurate arrangement of The Canterbury Tales), The Siege of Thebes, a text of Arthurian romances, and an indulgence scroll.  (Indulgence scrolls were posted in the Church and provided sinners with specifics on how many "Hail Marys" to recite to reduce their time in Hell after death.)  It was an amazing experience.  And watching Dr. Patterson in this arena was incredible.  He manipulates the fragile texts with ease.  It was equally intimidating and inspiring.

The tintinnabulation of the bells of Harkness Tower in Branford college mesmerized me my first night on campus.  That night I arrived to Yale at the start of the 7:00 pm carillon.  The peeling chimes can be heard for miles, including the block of 91 Howe, and created, for me, personal zen.

The first two photos were taken on High Street, the campus view of Harkness Tower.

Check out information about the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs.  This is where you will find me next summer!

The last two photos were taken inside the courtyards of Branford college.  You get this view on the campus tour or if you live in this residential college as a student.  The residential colleges provide everything the students needs:  dorm sleeping, cafeteria, buttery (snack bar), library, common room, gym, dance studio, music labs, and much more.  There are 12 residential colleges at Yale and students are assigned to them as Freshmen.  It's like Hogwarts without the sorting hat; I would want Branford as vehemently as Harry doesn't want Slytherin.  Get more information about the residential colleges here:


Mr. Brame said...

Great work. I'm putting a link to this on my facebook page.

Sarah said...

I'm so jealous! What a fantastic opportunity you've had! You'll definitely have a much harder time finding that much history in Missouri. We'll be glad to have you back, though! Best wishes to you as you begin this new phase of life!


Saucy Wench said...

Thanks, Sarah. I have had unimaginable fun in the class. I learned so much. It's the perfect transition back to Missouri. Soon, the pilgrimage will be that of a sister and daughter coming home, not a mother going to college.