March 8, 2006: On the Campus
A time for farewells
By P.G. Sittenfeld ’07
On the second-to-last Sunday in January, the staff of The Daily Princetonian put the paper to bed for the semester, marking, for the seniors, their final issue.
Staff members from each section of the paper gathered at about 10:30 p.m. to pop open a few bottles of bubbly, watch a slide show of photos from the past year, and enjoy toasts from outgoing editors.
“Watching the seniors holding their glasses of cheap champagne and looking at the old pictures, you could tell how much they’d grown and come together,” said Regina Lee ’08, a news writer for the Prince.
Following the toasts, staff members lingered while the finishing touches were put on the paper.
“No one wanted to walk out that door,” said David Baumgarten ’06, outgoing sports editor (and a PAW contributor). “After being at the paper from 4 p.m. until midnight every day, a lot of us don’t know what to do with ourselves now.”
That said, noneditorial responsibilities have a way of surfacing with a sudden dose of reality.
“That night we put the paper to bed, I finally had to leave around 1 a.m. so that I could start studying for a final I had the next afternoon,” Baumgarten said. “That was appropriately symbolic of the balance over the last year of my life between the Prince and school.”
The final exam doesn’t always leave students with the best-flavored memory of their studies. Happily, a handful of professors share a tastier tradition for closure to their course: inviting their students over for some home cooking.
English professor Larry Danson hosted his Shakespeare class, but admitted that things don’t always go as smoothly in the kitchen as they do in the classroom.
“I was enjoying playing host so much that I completely forgot to put the lasagna in the oven,” said Danson. “It ended up being cold and mealy. It wasn’t exactly a gourmet occasion.” He noted that the students were much too polite to say anything.
Some weren’t even focusing on the food. “He had an entire wall completely filled with books, and I just sat there drooling in front of it,” said Tawny Chritton ’07.
English professor John Fleming *63, in his own valedictory semester, concluded the winter term by throwing a Chaucerian supper for the students in what he called his “precept of destiny.”
The meal, at which his wife was warmly welcoming, featured homemade chili, fresh-baked bread, and a lemon cake for dessert. Placemats depicted a scene from The Canterbury Tales, and were produced by the host on his home printing press.
Students at Fleming’s dinner party also enjoyed a glimpse of their host in a less professorial role. “Professor Fleming kept conspicuously disappearing and would reappear with logs to keep the fire roaring,” said Ross Urken ’08. “I think he was showing us that behind the intellectual scholar, there’s a macho outdoorsman.”
When most students headed home for the winter holiday, the cast, orchestra, and tech crew of Triangle Club took to the road for a weeklong, five-city, pre-Christmas tour. Stops included New York, Washington, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.
The journey provided more than ample time in close quarters for the 50 roaming Triangle members. “We’re a pretty colorful, rambunctious group of people anyway, and we tend to become more colorful and rambunctious when you pack us on a bus together,” confessed cast member Kyle Booten ’08.
One of Triangle’s most sacred road-trip rituals is the collection of “muzzles”: embarrassing comments made in front of the alumni who house them in each city.
Members reassemble on the bus each morning to record the verbal blunders in an official Muzzles booklet, and, at the end of the trip, award the Golden Muzzle. Triangle members deemed this year’s Golden Muzzle inappropriate for alumni eyes, ears, and sensibilities.
Does their different-city-every-night lifestyle cause Triangle members to feel like rock stars — even if only for a week? “Not exactly,” said Cathy Rampell ’07. “But when the alumni have had a bit to drink, they’ll sometimes ask for our autographs.”
P.G. Sittenfeld ’07 is an English major from Cincinnati.
MORE ON THE CAMPUS: “Student curators; a Fleming sampler” by Elyse Graham ’07, click here to read.