Seeing Things, Saying Things

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Posts Tagged ‘Indiana University

Romantic Traditions at IU

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The Rose Well House on  the main campus of Indiana University in Bloomington is one of the school’s oldest structures and has a long history of being the location of romantic encounters.

Legend has it that a woman wasn’t a true coed until she had been kissed in the Well House. The kiss had to occur at midnight and had to last for the 12 strokes of midnight from the bell at the nearby Student Building.

Given that in the early years of the school women were to be inside their dorm rooms by 11 p.m. it was risking punishment to be out that late.

Countless couples have gotten engaged at the Well House and many women were “pinned” there.

Being a campus landmark, the Well House is often the site of graduation photographs.

The Well House wasn’t created to be a romantic oasis or the backdrop of photographs. It was in the early years of the campus the site of a cistern pump for obtaining water.

The roots of the Well House date to 1907 when IU trustees formed a committee to investigate moving the fronts and ornamental stone fixtures of the Old College Building and using them to create a house for the existing cistern pump.

Theodore Rose, who had graduated from IU in 1975 funded the project, hence the well house was named for him.

The eight sides of the Well House are said to have been inspired by the shape of Rose’s fraternity pin from Beta Theta Pi. The building was completed in 1909.

The Well House is less today a destination for a romantic getaway than it was in the school’s early years.

Nonetheless, the Indiana Daily Student in February 2017 listed “kiss someone special at the Rose Well House at midnight” to its bucket list of things for IU students to do before graduating.

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Pounding Out Another Story

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Ernie Pyle is a name that was familiar to those who lived during World War II.

The Indiana-born journalist was, arguably, the best known war correspondent of his day, earning the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his accounts of the life of ordinary soldiers.

Writing for the Scripps-Howard chain of newspapers, Pyle was killed on April 18, 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa.

For many years the building housing the School of Journalism at Indiana University was named after Pyle.

There was a bust of him inside the building and, if my memory serves me correctly, a photograph or painting of him elsewhere.

Some incorrectly thought the School of Journalism itself was named after Pyle, but that was not the case.

Not long ago the School of Journalism was merged with a couple of other programs to create a new Media School, which was moved to Franklin Hall.

As part of that move, a statue of Pyle pounding out a story on his portable typewriter in the war zone was commissioned and placed near the entrance to Franklin Hall.

The statue brings to life a glimpse of a time that virtually all college students today only know from history books.

All That Remains is the Glitter (and Some Memories)

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It is graduation season at the nation’s colleges and high schools and millions are donning caps and gowns and going through ceremonies and rituals that have been around for as long as any of us alive today can remember.

And graduates have probably been saying for just as long that they were only doing this for their parents.

I suspect that if the graduates could take a vote they might do away with all of the pomp and circumstance.

But many of them go through it anyway even though I know a number of people who skipped their graduation ceremony and at least one who was there, but sitting with the audience and not walking across the stage like the rest of us.

When I taught at John Carroll University, faculty members were expected to participate in the ceremony.

After one particular commencement, I remember going the next day to get a haircut or some such mundane activity and wondering what the graduates were thinking today.

All of their lives they had been preparing for going to college. Then college came and it must have seemed like an eternity before they would graduate.

But they did and now it was the morning after. What are they thinking now that a major part of their life is behind them?

I was reminded of that question when I ran across this “glitter” on the bricks in front of the Rose Well House on the campus of Indiana University.

The Well House is one of the more iconic landmarks on the Bloomington campus and countless grads had their picture taken in front of it.

Graduation Day at IU had been four days earlier and some graduates had left behind – although probably unintentionally – some reminders of that day.

Now it is time to get on with the rest of their life. But cheer up grads. There is always graduate school if you don’t want to face life just yet. And you will always have your memories.

Waiting for Godot? No, Waiting for a Bus

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Waiting for Godot is a play that you might expect literature or drama majors on a college campus to be familiar with.

The Samuel Beckett play is about two characters waiting for someone named Godot who never shows up. Unlike the characters of Vladimir and Estragon, though, these two students at Indiana University are waiting for something more mundane.

They are waiting for a bus to come on East Seventh Street in Bloomington. They are reposing along the stone wall that borders Dunn Meadow, a popular campus gathering spot.

Unlike the characters in the play, the bus is likely to show up — eventually.