Monday, June 23, 2014

College Life: Episode 6: Marvelous Marble

For the summer, once a week I'll be sharing a story from my college days at CSU, 1984-1988. I will leave links at the end of each post for previous episodes.

Despite all the joking, pranks, and my lack of ability in physics, I was a really good student in my other classes.  I was also majoring in English along with the math.  Since I was studying two subjects which don't usually go together (that whole right brain/left brain thing) my classes were ALL over campus.  

I received the privilege of inhabiting buildings old and new, large and small.  I had the chance to attend classes in buildings over 100 years old.  Those were the ones that held my attention and fed the history buff in me.  Today we're going on a bit of an exploration to one of them.

The moment I opened the door to what was now the statistics building, I could scent the history of all those years in a way that touched me.  Not musty - but old paper, old machines still in use, it was the sum of thousands up thousands of people going up and down those amazing stairs, caressing that wooden rail with the brass fixtures, which now is narrower and has a patina.

The inlaid marble stairs were indented.  The impact of all those feet had worn deep marks into the design.  In places the big diamond outlining the pattern was just gone, little by little, until only a slight side or small corner remained.  No longer bright and shiny, the stairs were to most people just the stairs.  

"There's no elevator to the third floor?  Isn't that illegal?"

Hurrying by, on their rushed way, they miss it.  I just stopped and watched.  I super-imposed a scene - men dressed in suits and with hats, ladies in dresses and heels and the stockings with the seam in back. (The building had once been utilized in a public, commercial way, and I'd seen pictures in the library archives, though that's a different story, and I will tell it.)  It had been converted from offices to classrooms for our use.

I know I'm weird - math, words, history - but I love it all. Climbing those stairs to the top floor, I thought about someone coming in another time, and seeing the imprint even further into those stairs, only my feet helped make that impact.  One step at a time, we add our bit to the history, whether we appreciate it or not.


What "gets" you?  Are you into history?  Does a brand new building make you want to check out whatever the latest and greatest is in design?  Do you see if they're using "green" building products?


P.S Some of you saw two posts Friday.  I had written a totally whiny post about my health again, but had decided against it and to focus on my anniversary.  I forgot to delete the old one.  Sorry about that.  Operator error.  Unstable blogger ;-)

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Episode 1: Rommmates


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Have you ever gone back to see if an elevator was installed?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina - what a conglomerate of a mix you are .. did you do geology too?! Interesting you were looking at architecture and design then too .. and not just rushing along with the other kids ...

I know I see buildings now - but 'never' in those days .. as I've got older, and older, and more decrepit!! and wizened I see the same in those ancient buildings .. except I'm not quite as prehistoric as that!! quite yet!!

Anyway .. fascinating and yes I want to see what the building was originally ...

Sadly it's my feet that get worn away .. but I did clamber up really crooked wooden stairs probably pre-Dickens era and they were really worn ..

I do enjoy seeing how people alter buildings into homesteads and use natural products or green up their new homes ...

Lovely story ... cheers Hilary

PS Did you get my posts email ..?

JoJo said...

Sounds like the buildings that were part of the Emerson College campus in Boston. The school bought up a ton of old brownstones and other historic old buildings in the Back Bay part of the city so there were a lot of beautiful fireplaces, marble, woodwork, etc. in all the buildings.

shelly said...

I love old schools, courthouses, libraries, etc. I know. I'm weird.

Hugs and chocolate!

Rachel said...

If you're ever in the Fort Worth/Dallas area in Texas, please go to The Stalk Yards and make sure that you go the the converted course house that is now a small museum. It was my favorite place to be as a child. I loooove history. I hate text book "and this happened on this date at this time by this person with help from that other guy". But I love learning the stories and seeing how things used to be. I would love to even go into an Amish community for a couple days just to see how they live. To me, I don't find "oh there's a ghost here" interesting. I find, "yeah there was a farmer who owned this entire area with his family for decades, he's still seen here sometimes" interesting. (My grandparents' house. I'll tell you about it sometime, if you want.) Now I feel like I should go exploring but everything here is new and it's too hot outside haha.

Andrew Leon said...

You know, I ought to have an answer for this, but, right now, I just don't. I think it's too much softball and too much being gone, but I don't have an answer for what "gets" me.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Great post! I love visiting old buildings, too! Where I live, there are many. The old Courthouse, for example, from the late 1800s. Nice sturdy banisters, super thick walls, narrow windows, wood everything inside. I especially love the historical photos posted along the walls... *sigh*


Brian Miller said...

i do enjoy history...we had buildings on our campus that were so old they did not have quite a few modern conveniences...ha....

TheCyborgMom said...

Some really beautiful writing in this post Tina. I have a thing for old to think of all the memories they hold. And old the smell of old churches!

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Hi Tina,
what a great reminiscents!!
I went back to my young years!
you have a great. Memory 😊😊😊
the building episode is really interesting. Eagerly eating for the next episode 😊😊😊
Keep writing
keep informed
~ Phil