A periodic column
by Steve Duffy ‘77
August 12, 2011 – Though I moved to Dayton twenty-five years ago, I find I spend most days – even many weekends – in Yellow Springs. Each time I drive into town, I’m reminded of how different these two worlds of mine are. The distance gives me some needed boundaries and, at times, a dose of perspective and appreciation for this precious tiny southwestern Ohio oasis. (That distance also helps me to get a clearer picture of some of the shortcomings of both of my “paradises,” but I digress).
Last Saturday I came to the village to meet up with alumnus Steven Oliver ’90, who used to work with me at the Olive Kettering Library desk about 20 some years ago. He is now dean of diversity affairs at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. Steve wanted to have a day-trip here before the start of the academic year, some relaxation and maybe some catching up.
I arrived to town somewhat early because Yellow Springs does have some sinful Saturday pleasures. The Farmer’s Market is coming into a time of great bounty. After procuring some squash and several varieties of garlic, including one called music, I sat down on a bench near the old Epic Bookstore (now Sam and Eddies’) and waited for my cell-phone to ring, letting me know that Steve was close.
Any sunny bench in downtown Yellow Springs can become a community gathering space, so soon enough Jim Spangler ’74, a dedicated volunteer who has been sprucing up campus, was sitting with me and enjoying the world pass by. Moments later Louise Smith ’77, dean of community life, also sat, and we talked about the problems and possibilities of our local piece of paradise.
Around 1 p.m., the phone finally rang; Steven Oliver had arrived.
We enjoyed a quick vegan curry meal at the Winds, walked through town, and then headed to campus. We made stops at the library, South Hall, the Union, Pennell, Birch, and McGregor, where volunteers Roger Husbands ’68 and Carlos “El Poeta” Dufflar ’78 were scrubbing down the patio. We found Jim Spangler at the Art building, where he and David Vincent ’65 were hard at work painting the exterior a delicious milk chocolate brown.
We ended our visit by 4 p.m. or so after much talk of all things germane to “back in the day.” As we parted ways, I thought about the number of folks who floated through in the past few weeks, Antiochians from almost every decade. One day while working in the stacks, I got a visit from Darren “Bajea” Gilley ’94, who worked the library desk in the early ’90s and then went off to travel the world. He told me he’d been spending most of his tine in Guinea but I may be living in the area for a while.
Others to come through in this past fortnight: Melanie Gross Lawrence ’92, Chris Mortimer ’05, Ron Winger ’64, Jeanne Badman ’80, Levi Cowperthwaite ’08 and Kathryn Leahy ’10, one of my last work study students.
Kathryn, who seemed an inch taller, is about to be married but was also wanting to spend a few days here with husband to be. She seemed to be overjoyed that we are getting ready to re-open.
Mid-summer has arrived in Yellow Springs and the Antioch College campus. It is that lingeringly hot part of August where the air can still be sub-tropical and one can hear the fleeting sounds of summer cicadas all over the village and the Glen.
Some days those cicadas even sing louder and faster than other days. Perhaps they are complaining about the mid-summer heat or maybe, like me, they excited about all the things that are happening on campus.
Steve Duffy ‘77 is a library circulation specialist and special assistant to alumni relations at Antioch College.