October 16th, 2005


Flashback to college journalism

While Googling around, I discovered that the Barnard Bulletin (student newspaper) has been digitally archived. http://www.barnard.edu/archives/bulletin.html
This is a fun toy. There are five reviews of Joan Molinsky's student theater performances in 1953. She's now Joan Rivers. Martha Kostyra was involved in student government in 1962. Yup, Martha Stewart. Judy Miller (the recently jailed NYT reporter) was involved in a student strike in 1969.

Of course, I searched myself and discovered something I had completely forgotten about: in 1972, I ran for the Committee on Instruction. I even wrote a lengthy campaign statement. I didn't win. Or at least I think so. I definitely have no memory of serving on this committee!

My other mention was an announcement of the first spring supplement of the Course Guide, of which I was co-editor-in-chief. As for the other co-editor: Will was coming back from Indianapolis recently and got to talking with the flight attendant. It turns out her husband was my co-editor. I E-mailed him but have not heard back.

I also checked the Columbia Daily Spectator, but I don't think their online archive goes back to my era. In any case, I don't necessarily need an archive since I saved every physical issue the entire time I was in college. They are somewhere around here, and must be yellow and crumbling. I typed for the paper, which involved working in the middle of the night on a Compugraphic machine that punched holes in a tape that was then processed to produce the pages.

The scariest issue of the Spec came out one spring day my freshman year. The headline blared that Columbia College was going to admit women on its own. I was devastated and panicked. How could they do such a thing? What would happen to Barnard? I would have to transfer. Then I noticed the rest of the issue was a little odd. There were also plans for massive, really noisy construction on South Field. And other things that were not completely plausible. The date: April 1. It was the April Fool issue. Whew!

After I was long gone, Columbia College did decide to admit women. Amazingly, Barnard survived, thrived and got more selective than before.

The Course Guide, however, is gone, replaced in 1997 by an online course evaluation system.


I was sitting inside and heard the hum of a vacuum cleaner in the hall. And kept hearing it and hearing it for much longer than usual. Plus it's Sunday and they don't normally vacuum the halls on weekends.

I had some garbage to bring to the incinerator, so went out to check. It's a good thing I was wearing slippers because the carpet was wet and squishy. The hum was from a suction machine to remove water. The machine was halfway down the hall, and its hose led into an apartment.

Apparently, there was a flood. It stopped raining, but it's very windy today (not that I've gone out for several days).

In April of 2002, a handyman knocked on my door one rainy night. My neighbor downstairs was complaining about water dripping from her ceiling. We found to my dismay that the area near my terrace door had turned into a large puddle. The water was not coming through the door from outside, but UP through the floor. In fact, much of the living room floor was damp under the rug. Luckily the electronic equipment is further in, and there was no obvious damage to anything.

It turns out there is a terrace drainage area under my living room, and this got clogged and backed up. I could see that the water on my own terrace showed no signs of draining. I spread towels around the wet area inside. Talk about sunken living rooms!

The next day, some guys worked on my terrace with a suction machine. Probably the same machine I just saw. It worked. Although I still keep a small towel on the floor inside the terrace door "just in case," I've had no new floods. I never did get my floor fixed or replaced; the wood is ugly and warped looking where it was wet. One of the many "things to do."

So my neighbor down the hall may have a similar terrace drainage area under her floor which flooded. You'd think being inside means you're dry, but not always. Scary.