August 2012 Articles

Reunion 2013

Remember the time…

Mark your calendars now for Reunion 2013, on May 31-June 2. Everyone is invited!

Reunion is a time to relive memories and make new ones. To gear up for Reunion 2013, the Alumnae Association is calling all Mawrters to post their favorite Bryn Mawr stories here. You might see yours appear in future Reunion communications!

Comments on “Reunion 2013”

  1. Perhaps it’s cliche–no, it IS cliche–but some of my most cherished Bryn Mawr memories revolve around the Traditions. It’s hard to pick just one, but my senior May Day celebration certainly stands out. I had been diagnosed with mono a month before and was scheduled to defend my thesis that afternoon (pesky Haverford major!). Although the morning was bright and clear, I couldn’t escape my various stresses to enjoy my (non-doctor recommended) champagne or Hoop Race. When I finally got back from Haverford, everyone was disappearing to take their pre-Step Sing naps, but I was happy to run into some of my favorite alums, the seniors from my freshman year hall. They were so proud of me, so excited for my impending graduation but especially for my final Step Sing. As always, they imparted sage advice about that final official ascent of the Steps and the trials of the coming years. Later that night, when all was said and done and I bade “Good Night” to all my favorite underclassmen, I was hit hard by all that Bryn Mawr had (and has!) meant to me, and how “forever” she truly is. We’re all tied together by her– the moments when I realized my love of her are my favorite BMC memories.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out just how much the Radnor community had to do with most of those times, but those stories might be best saved for a more quiet/private retelling 🙂

  2. One of my favorite memories was May Day my junior year, my traditions year. The day had dawned a little rainy and cold. Everyone was worried that the day would be ruined. By the time we were done eating our strawberries and cream the rain clouds had gone but it was still overcast and chilly. The parade went off without a hitch and the Maypole dancing was lovely, but the sky was still gray and the temperature was still a little too cool for Mayday. By the time we got to the May Hole I was absolutely sure, that on my May Day that the weather would be gross and my Traditions Mistress powers had failed me. Feeling sad I stood back as the circle formed around the silk parachute we had filled with petals form roses and all the cherry trees. I could hear the chanting about the patriarchy, and saw as the girls broke their toilet paper “chains” and ran towards the parachute. As soon as those petals hit the sky the sun came roaring out as if someone had turned on a light! It went from overcast to a cloudless sky in what seemed less than a second and all I could hear was a deafening roar of every Mawrter on that campus. As I looked around girls were hugging, laughing, crying, singing, and dancing. It was then I realized I was crying, just overwhelmed with the sheer magic of that moment.

    It will always be my favorite Bryn Mawr story, and it just happens to be true.

  3. My favorite Bryn Mawr “memory” is brunch! I loved those moments I got to spend with my best friends during one of the most relaxed parts of the week. The ease with which you could round everyone up by just texting “Erdman?” and trek to the dining hall in your PJs is something that I really miss in the real world. Most things that happened to me at Bryn Mawr were eventually recounted and rehashed over brunch with the ladies: traditions, awkward Haverford/Swat parties or trips into Philly, plans (or lack thereof) for the future, etc. Can’t wait to celebrate my 5th Reunion and relive Bryn Mawr brunch all over again!

  4. In 1969, I entered Bryn Mawr on a personal search for truth. As a young lady of 18 years of age, the world was yet a plethora of opinion to me, and I was zealous to find the key to understanding it.

    I was assigned to the then new Erdman Hall, and found among my compeers many Jewish young ladies. My recollection was thus spurred of that moment two years past when I had felt, in my heart, a desire to know what the Scriptures really said. I had determined to learn Hebrew and took up teaching myself the Hebrew alphabet during the summer before my senior year in high school. Now, 1969, I found myself befriended by ladies of the Jewish faith and my desire to know the source of that faith was ignited. I must learn the Hebrew language and read the Torah!

    Off to see the Dean, Patricia McPherson, I was both tremulous with expectation and jubilant with determination! The Dean stood majestically towering above me; but, to my surprise, she was quite receptive to my desire, and recommended that I contact Rabbi Samuel T. Lachs, then a professor at the neighboring Haverford College. Having never ventured forth like this among strangers, and never having met a real Rabbi, I was quite excited to behold the outcome; one of my mother’s frequent encouragements , “Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”, sang along with my footsteps.

    The Rabbi was more imposing in visage than Dean McPherson; nonetheless, his smile illumined the atmosphere as he heard the purpose of my quest. To my elation, the Rabbi told me that he would undertake to teach me Hebrew if I were able to gather together at least seventeen other students from Bryn Mawr to learn with me. Wow! I sped faster than the blink of an eye to Erdman, and visited all my fellow freshmen there. To my delight, more than seventeen committed, some Jewish, some not! Happily, I phoned the good Rabbi and he told me that we all should convene at Haverford, in his classroom there, on a certain date, bringing paper and pencil.

    Can you imagine the buzz as (I think there were twenty-two of us, for word had spread outside the Erdman group) we took our seats at that long table awaiting our teacher. He was a marvelous teacher, filled with excitement and gruff benevolence as he directed us to read passages from the Torah, correcting our pronunciation. That is when I grew a bit faint, as I realized that the majority of the group had had long familiarity with the Hebrew language, while I, whose inspiration had initiated the class, could only pronounce the letters of the alphabet. It was quite disheartening as my compeers sailed on merrily, being refreshed in a language already familiar to them. Determination kept me tuned, absorbing every sound and meaning I could glean. By the end of the first term, I sheepishly approached Rabbi Lachs, and told him that, although I had started this initiative, I could not keep up with the class, as I was obviously a bona-fide baby at Hebrew and could not read a sentence, much less pass an exam! He, of course, understood, and allowed me to bow out gracefully!

    Plagued with severe health problems, I departed Bryn Mawr, on leave, after two years of ever-diminishing grades, with embarrassment, given that academics had been so easy during my high school years of relative health.

    BUT..HAPPY ENDING…..Ten years later, health restored, I traveled back to Bryn Mawr. To my surprise, I was directed, by the Dean’s office, to a building on the Bryn Mawr Campus. Upon entry, voila! there was Rabbi Lachs, at his desk, in a small office, outside of which sat a room full of young ladies, at their desks, intensely occupied in writing something! Upon seeing me, Rabbi Lachs whirled me out of his office with an aplomb great with joy, and, calling the class to attention, introduced ME as the reason for THEM being able to be there! He was so proud of me! My effort had been blessed from Above to establish the study of Judaic culture as part of the curricular offerings at Bryn Mawr. My former embarrassment vanished as thoroughly as my ill health had!

    Bryn Mawr gave me the opportunity to explore my heart’s desire, and that supportive spirit bore fruit being enjoyed even today!

    God Bless You All!

    Ruth Louise Balash, UG, 1973

  5. During my senior year, I lived on the Fourth Floor of the Deanery two nights a week, in a cubicle next to Eleanor Amram ’58 who was pursuing a masters. Martin Deutsch was also pursuing a masters in psychology. We spent many an evening talking and smoking and drinking. One evening, we spied Robert Frost, who had been invited to campus, wandering the First Floor dressed in yellow pajamas. I can still picture him, with his shock of white hair, in my mind’s eye. The other memories are of Peter Bachrach’s glorious mind and twinkling eyes challenging us to understand American politics, Gertrude Leighton’s quiet brilliance and incredible patience with an anxious honors student who was struggling to eke out 100 pages of a thesis on the European Coal and Steel Community, Richard Lattimore lifting us all to the heavens of Greek Lit in Translation. And afternoons at the College Inn drinking Constance Comment and devouring sticky buns.
    Nancy Fogelson Kirk ’59/60

  6. Thanks for the reminder of Rabbi Lachs. By the time I arrived he taught History and Literature of the Bible, one of my favorite classes of the four years.

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