November 22, 2015

Tales from the attic: Fixing the bells of St, Paul

Your editor's taste for reform began early as this 1958 letter to the Harvard Crimson indicates - written by him and several classmates including Michael Ritchie who went on to direct films like Candidate, Bad News Bears, Smile and Fletch.

November 22, 1958

To the Editors of the Crimson:

First, we want it to be understood that we are not bigots. We're open-minded Adams House residents in Westmorly, on Bow Street. We have Lamont, Widener, Hayes-Bickfords, the Clubs and even the I.A.B. in which to study. While this seems to be ideal, sometimes, sometimes, we find great pleasure in studying in our rooms. We enjoy talking to our room-mates, playing our hi-fi's, and wooing our women with a reasonable amount of quiet. Yes, and there are those tender moments when we wish we could forget about time. We have alarm clocks, wall clocks, wrist watches, even a ship's clock in one lucky room, hunger pangs, and the sun (on those rare days) to remind us of mortality. In addition, Mem Church chimes approximately 325 happy times during a weekday, the Lowell House bells ring spasmodically, and there is the sun-dial in back of Lamont. You may not have known about the sun-dial, because, like all of the time reminders owned and operated by the University, it is fairly unobtrusive. And all are hushed as night steals across the campus. In general, the situation is satisfactory.

However, pending verification by IBM, we have calculated that the St. Paul's bells across Bow Street ring 924 ponderous bongs per day, every day of the year. Except on Sundays, when they ring even more. We think of this every conscious quarter hour of the day, and at 7:10 a.m., 12:10 p.m., and 6:10 p.m. It is not within the scope of this letter to enumerate in detail the various personal agonies experienced during and after each of these numerous reminders of Man's Condition, and the apprehensions involved in this lengthy countdown before the launching of exams.

Therefore, in the interest of all men in Westmorly, and in behalf of the innocent future residents of Quincy House, we wish to present an easy and amicable solution. The Church should continue to ring 924 bongs per day, but all at once, all at 11 a.m., when everyone is in class, or should be.

-Samuel H. Smith '59 Gregory Dickerson '59 Michael B. Ritchie '60 Grenville B. Whitman '60 Anita O. Bullard '61 Terrence R. Murphy '59

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