Sunday, April 11, 2010
As I was sitting at my computer, writing, I heard on the radio in the Living Room a recording of a Handel anthem from his Oratorio, Judas Maccabeus, called, I think, "Thine be the Glory." It called to mind a magical moment from my Sophomore year at Harvard. It was 1951-52, and I was living in Claverly Hall, an overflow dumping ground for undergraduates who did not make it into one of the seven Houses. [As I have already explained, I refused at the end of my Freshman year to go for interviews, which were then required for admission to a House in one's Sophomore year, and as a result I was farmed out to Claverly.] Claverly fronts on the north side of Mt. Auburn Street, just west of Adams House. I came out of Claverly one day to find a small group of Harvard Glee Club men and women standing there, singing the Handel anthem. Far away, across the street and a large lawn, were another small group, responding antiphonally. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard -- all the more moving for being entirely unexpected. Since I have spent my life protesting, in small ways and large, against what I see as Harvard's establishmentarian policies, it seems to me that I ought to acknowledge the happy moments I spent there.