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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
This time it's for good, Inchball, if one can ever leave anything for good. Once before we departed to face the monotony, the endless present, the mal-adjusted life, but then we were held by an elastic band, and knew that one day we would be snapped back to you. Now we move out from under your protection naturally, as children who grow up and leave their father's house. But as we leave, we look back and, in your face, see reflected men, experiences, lessons. We see five figures going over an obstacle course together, and at the end of it they don red flannels and carry cow bells. We see a portrait, with two names under it. We hear a tinkling, and then the rapping of bits of metal as the blank yellow is dotted with significant black. We see a wooden chair with a large back, and a midget sitting in this throne of giants. We see a gracious, skillful, friendly leader sitting surrounded by functional and orderly rocks, and thereby are reminded of countless helping hands stretched out behind the closed doors that always opened at the magic words. We feel once more the surge of unmitigated joy of that twilight walk through a Yard that was familiar, yet had become unfamiliar. We hear a lilting, cheerful voice repeating a color over and over again. We remember all too vividly the soul-searchings and fears of failure as we worked a new machine for you, Inch, with new parts. Then there was a walk in the dawn, surrounded by fuzzy outlines colored with a pink glow which brightened until it was easy to read your reborn writing by the light in the sky. And we catch one picture that we will never forget, that will never be merged in a great mass of faces, impersonalized, romanticized, forgotten except in the abstract. It is a view, Inchball, of part of that which has made you, of those who have made you, but who have left you never to return, even for a fleeting nostalgic, invigorating moment.
But the details of your face are inexhaustible, Inch, for they are all the indications of a very full and happy life, and their description in full would be the description of that life.
And now, helped by you, taught by you, brought up by you, we leave you to hordes of the eager but frightened, the phone-answering, non-smoking, hatless. But in our relation with you, Inchball, we have formed associations with one another that may appear to fade, but will ever revive under your influence. And these associations have been, perhaps, the most worthwhile pages of your textbook.
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