Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"There's a spot in Indiana where the leafy maple grows . . . ."

During the eight years I lived with my family in Goshen, Indiana (1956-1964), our family's life revolved almost exclusively around the Goshen College campus. This small liberal arts college provided our family's income, church life, social and cultural life. For decades, Dad worked in administration, first as Director of Development and then as Business Manager. By the time he retired, he was the longest serving administrator in the college's history--a record that will likely stand for a few generations.

As we all knew, the college school song (in four-part harmony) opens with the line, "There's a spot in Indiana where the leafy maple grows . . . ." When J. Lawrence Burkholder became President, he asked that the money normally budgeted for inaugural celebrations be spent instead on planting trees across the expanding campus. And thus it was that the already colourfully-treed campus became a spectacular showcase for hard maples. So, during my last visit to Goshen, I managed to find an hour for walking around the campus, enjoying memories of my student years, of Dad's contributions as well as those of my uncle and cousins. By that late Sunday afternoon (the 25th of October), the red leafs had disappeared but some yellow maple leafs remained, providing glimpses of the glorious colours Goshenites had enjoyed a few weeks earlier.

This is the front of the administration building. You can see the windows for Dad's former office.

The windows of the former Music building, reflecting views of the gymnasium and book store.

Can't show the college without including the train that runs right through the heart of the campus, without gate, flashing lights, tunnels or elevated walkways. At least one of my four brothers and one of our children have relished telling of catching illegal rides on these freight trains as they lumbered slowly through the campus. I was chicken.

The glass in the entrance of the administration building reflects images of the fire escape for Kulp Hall where Janice lived as a Freshman.