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A Senior's Serapbook Pictures at an Exhibition

By Frank Rich

There they all were-the veritable image of geographical distribution-sitting in the Waldorf Cafeteria on Mass Ave, freshman roommates enjoying their first late-night snack in Cambridge. A cool one a.m. in September, 1967. The next night they went out again, this time to the Bick for ham and eggs. They don't do this anymore, of course. This year the Bick and Waldorf disappeared without a trace-and the roommates Harvard so carefully brought together no longer live with each other.

Said one Harvard senior a few weeks ago: "What happened was that everyone from the upper class joined PL [Progressive Labor party] and all the middle-class kids joined NAC [heir to the old SDS New Left caucus] or became Weathermen. Now the rich kids are going out to the factories and the middle-class ones are going to become doctors and lawyers. The revolution does seem far away."

There are other graduates who want to make movies or go into business. And others who are going to work for McGovern or McCloskey or Nader. And others who, as it turns out, are going to do nothing at all.

It was a mixer at Lowell House during that first fall, and Ted, who no longer exchanged letters with the cheerleader he had loved in high school, asked a Simmons girl to dance. Out in the quad, under a crescent moon, he sat the girl down and proceeded to get to third base. A week later he took her to the top of Prudential Center. But she would not go home with him at midnight, and did not want to smoke dope, and did not want to join Ted in bidding adieu to virginity. So he went home to masturbate and never called her again.

It had been the distinct impression of many members of Harvard '71 that the following things would have happened by the time of commencement: the war would be over, almost everyone's chromosomes would have been destroyed by LSD, everyone else would get married, racial peace and harmony would be a fact of American life, the Beatles would make another tour of the U.S.

The sophomores were standing in the Yard, hugging each other and crying and screaming. The sun was coming up and they had just seen, among other things in the dim light, the sight of helmeted policemen striking a boy in a wheelchair with bully clubs.

During the year that followed these sophomores would get together again, late at night, and scream. Nathan Pusey had brought the police to Harvard Yard. No one knows if he has screamed in the years that followed. Or indeed if he ever screamed in his life. Nathan Pusey is graduating, too, now.

When the class of '71 arrived at Harvard, a lot of people had just heard Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and seen Blow Up . Many of them went out and bought stereos with earphones, cameras with long lenses, and drugs.

One senior is going to work at an educational TV station. Another five are planning a radical video-tape and film producing collective. There is, overall, a lot of talk about the ongoing cassette revolution.

"I've discovered," said a senior last week, "that if I'm getting bored and want to change the topic of conversation, all I have to do is say I'm going to kill myself. It generally works. I mean, it's usually enough to switch the conversation to something else-not to whether I'm actually going to commit suicide or not, because they know I'm not going to do that but just to a more interesting subject than they were talking about before."

Harvard-Yale, 29-29. None of the then sophomores could see a damn thing, because all the upperclassmen and Overseers had the good seats. Some of the sophomores, of course, sold their tickets to the millionaire graduates of years past. Six-dollar tickets went for $100.

Mike Nichols made a lot of money with The Gradaute at the end of freshman year. Some came away from that picture wishing that they had Alfa-Romeos like Dustin Hoffman did. Others were disturbed that, seeing that film, no one would ever know that there was a Vietnam and a draft.

But the war came. To wit: The strawberry Statement. Push Comes to Shove, Getting Straight, Windsong, Charles Reich, The Whole World is Watching . When the war came, it came with a vengeance.

When the death toll out in Yuba City, California, surpassed the magic number 16 (held by sniper Charles Whitman, Austin, Texas) two weeks ago, some Harvard seniors were so thrilled they nearly threw a party. This was an event! If the toll passes 30, there may be fireworks in the Square.

Paul and Sue dropped acid. They tripped over to Soldiers' Field and split another cap on the fifty-yard-line. Then they walked to the Business School, glided into an empty court yard, and heard the "Tara" theme from Gone With the Wind being played on a distant phonograph.

A year and a half later, Sue went to a hospital for being crazy. And Paul wishes he could be around next year so he could run into Tricia Nixon while he is tripping.

The freshmen ran out of their dorms in the Yard and followed the crowd up to Lesley for a panty raid. It was a big deal, for it was hard to see women unclad at night then; freshmen could only "entertain members of the opposite sex" for three hours a day during mid-afternoon.

At Leslcy, though, few panties were to be had.

Dare to struggle!

Dare to win!

Bobby Seale!

Live like him!

Somewhat fewer than a hundred women poured out of a rickety old building off of Men Drive. They had not had a chance to shower for a few days, many of them talked tough-much to the horror of some rigid observers. Among the women, there were some who were in love with each other. This fright need some people.

Everyone was on vacation when LBJ announced that he was stepping down and when Martin Luther King was shot and the cities burned and when the Chicago police busted heads during a convention and when Robert Kennedy was shot and when Woodstock became a household word.

School was in session during the Cambodian invasion. As well as during the "protective encirclement" of Laos.

Four seniors staggered out of the Toga Lounge on Mass Ave at a little after midnight. They were not used to drinking, for when everyone else had been drinking in high school, they had been studying or, in some cases, smoking dope.

These seniors shared common interests in life-they had pursued it, so to speak, in not dissimilar ways-but they had never been all that close as friends. Now, with graduation around the corner, something had brought them together-and brought them to drink. They pounded each other on the back and laughed raucously. What was going on here? Well, they would each write books about it in later life.

Dare to struggle!

Dare to win!

Charlie Manson!

Live like him!

In the fall of 1967, grass went for about $15 per ounce in Cambridge. In the spring of 1971, the going price was $15 per ounce. There were some fluctuations over the four years-but inflation only really hit home at the Coop.

"Has my mind been destroyed?" he asked, fingering a Q-Tip.

"Well, your Marxist critique is all fucked up," she said, fingering his fly.

There was snow and there was snow and there was more snow. Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neal were able to romp in it, but everyone else had to make do keeping their eyes open for dog shit.

The two friends had stayed up all night studying for an exam, sampled eggs together at dawn in Lowell House, traded Monarch Notes with each other.

A year later they just told each other on the phone what someone else had said the trots were about-and didn't worry about it too much.

"Yes I was crazy, yes I wanted to be a Weatherman, yes I wanted to commit suicide . . . and I'm going to Law School."

She used to swim every day, she used to say no to the hash pipe for she claimed to "get high on life," she used to let people cry on her shoulder. Then she discovered analysis.

Doris wanted to hit Peter. Oh, he could understand equal pay for equal work and equal admittance to Harvard. But she had asked him to sleep with her , and it was entirely possible that she wanted equal orgasms. He left the room.

He did not get out of bed during junior year, except for an occasional meal or movie. He is graduating with honors and wouldn't mind getting a job as an undertaker for the summer.

"I love you," she said.

"I love you, too," he answered.

He put on Dylan and they made love again.

"I want to be a doctor," he said.

"You will, you will," she said.

He took some aspirin for his hangover and lit a cigarette.

He had gotten his magna and he was ready to consume now with the best of them. Walt turned on the radio and heard his song again- "I Love my Thick and Frosty/love my Thick and Frosty. . ." Could this be? From Birds Eye? As good a milkshake as you get when you drive out for it? As good as MacDonalds? Is it made out of chemicals? Is it real plastic?

Dreams he had-chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. He went out to buy, and, when he discovered that there was a new flavor, dark chocolate, he could hardly contain himself.

They are all going to go out West, not because they saw Easy Rider, but because of Nathanael West and Charlie Manson and earthquakes and Scott Fitzgerald and St. Mawr and Taco Bell and the beach. After all, if the country isn't there, where is it?

There must have been two dozen of them, listening to the TV, waiting to hear the lottery numbers. Those who got the low numbers left right away; the rest stayed around to celebrate. What would this do to the antiwar movement, anyway?

The three couples decided to try a new bar, the Ulysses. It was reportedly a place for freaks. What they found were a bunch of 16-year-old kids in motorcycle jackets. Before the Harvard student' very eyes, the ruffians smashed a table to splinters. They had fist fights. They even threw a chair that landed on the students' table. No one, however, missed a beat in the conversation.

He had taken too much mescaline too soon and, as he watched Mick Jagger prance around the stage at Boston Garden, he thought he was either seeing God or on the verge of a nervous breakdown. There was a moment at the brink of the abyss, but then he decided in favor of God and pulled himself together. Like nearly everyone else.

Mr. Kurt Vonnegut, guest lecturer in English in the fall term of 1970-71, once said that Spoon River Anthology is the most important book in American literature. Here is Edgar Lee Masters' vision of what the ghost of "Dippold the Optician" had to say:

"What do you see now?

Globes of red, yellow, purple.

Just a moment! And now?

My father and mother and sisters.

Yes! And now?

Knights at arms, beautiful women, kind faces .

Try this .

A field of grain-a city .

Very good! And now?

A young woman with angels bending over her .

A heavier lens! And now?

Many women with bright eyes and open lips .

Try this .

Just a goblet on a table .

Oh I see! Try this lens!

Just an open space-I see nothing in particular .

Well, now!

Pine trees a lake, a summer sky .

That's better. And now?

A book .

Read a page for me .

I can't. My eyes are carried beyond the page .

Try this lens .

Depths of air .

Excellent! And now?

Light, just light, making everything below it a toy world .

Very well, we'll make the glasses accordingly ."

For the luckiest of Harvard '71, the lenses have been made and the glasses are ready to wear.

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