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Now When Time Pauses


When the closets are locked and the books are in their cartons, when moth-balls are in the drawers and roommates are leaving for Europe, when the libraries are still and the dining halls are empty, when crushed beer cans dot the riverside and old sneakers lie about the hallways, and when the rooms are empty and Harvard becomes more hollow than ever, some sounds and questions linger in the air.

As the uniformed man hammers the last few seating pegs into the lawn of the Yard, a Senior watches and wonders if he'll control what comes next. As a man in the truck sprays the trees a Junior remembers his 24 hours fighting the Plymouth forest fire, and he wonders why he met so many Harvard students there and whether it was fun, excitement, ennui, or a commentary upon Harvard and a nation.

A Sophomore watches a man trying to cut the grass in the Yard, and wonders why he didn't try to cut the grass before the pegs were set up. Another wonders why screens were set up in his House this week when they're going to be washed next week. But neither asks the workmen, although they will ask their room-mates.

A Freshman wonders why the examination proctors marked the time he left the exam on his blue book and his tutor thought about the same practice, condemned it, and then was annoyed when a marking informed him that a student left the exam half-an-hour early. A professor wonders why his best student entered law school and a business school student wonders why Littauer students won't talk to him. And a grad student wonders if his parents will ask why he hasn't gotten his Ph.D. yet.

A University painter sits in a room with three others, chewing a candy bar, and wonders if the AFL-CIO boys can help. A garbage collector rides in the back of his collection truck, sorting out valuables and wondering where the students get their money from.

A Radcliffe girl packs her last trunk and wonders if the way her section man said good-bye means that he'll call her up that evening. And an alumnus walks into the Yard, watches the workmen moving lumber, the Yardling carrying his bag on his shoulder, the girl sitting on the steps of the library, and he feels detached from Harvard, and wonders if everything has changed, or nothing.

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