A periodic column
by Steve Duffy ‘77
June 16, 2011 – Even before Antioch College and the Little Miami Railroad, people flocked here for vacation and the “water cure.”
“Hydropathy,” Scott Sanders says in his essay “Free Love in the Glen,” “emphasized application of cold water, along with prescribed diet, dress, and exercise as both a curative technique and a way of healthful living.”
And if weren’t for the water – the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, in fact – Arthur Morgan might not have come to the Dayton area, and all our Antiochian lives would be alternate histories.
The first summer-like weather has been settling into Yellow Springs. After what seemed like a deluge-filled spring meant for Noah’s Ark, that particular page of the Midwest weather almanac has suddenly flipped.
The days have become long, warm, and even sultry at times. On campus, early Spring Beauties and violets have now given way to waves of clover, and the air is perfumed with the sticky sweet smell of the tulip poplar.
This week, there was much activity on campus, especially in McGregor Hall. A crew from the Rieck Company has been working on the air-conditioning system. Not too long ago, alumni volunteers completed some great restorative work on the wood shelves and furniture in that building, saving money and repurposing and refinishing wood that had seen forty years of Antiochians.
So with some work, love, and sweat-equity, McGregor 113 and its environs again will be a community space for discussion and education – and maybe some moments of entertainment and laugher.
Like the seasonal arrival of the June clover, the Reunion Work Project was like the coming of the cavalry to spruce things up. A friend from the late 70s told me: “I had a great time and was sore and exhausted for a minute, but it helped me lose several very hard-to-shed pounds.” A friend from the 60s said that that working along with folks from several decades was a mind- and heart-opening experience, that in the end everyone on the project from the 50s to the 90s decades seemed to have more in common and be more alike than originally perceived. It was an epiphany.
Over at the library, archivist Scott Sanders readied for Reunion by pulling out boxes of black and white photos for cataloging. Some of them are a true joy to behold! It is great to see fashions change, but the cast of characters remain eternally young (Katy Jako ’54 playing a guitar on the lawn, Ilse Opton Tebbets ’54 getting driving lessons).
I imagine hordes of Antiochians will be here shortly. Ohio summer evenings still start late. The sun sets after 9:00 p.m. and by 10:00 p.m. or so fireflies also provide natural fireworks. I hope to enjoy both Reunion and the start of firefly season and many of you … both quintessentially and magically Yellow Springs moments to be experienced totally.
Steve Duffy ‘77 is a library circulation specialist and special assistant to alumni relations at Antioch College.