Of Postage Stamps, Old Porters And the Wrong Anniversary

350 Harvard.

For thousands of alumni, it's an excuse for four days of frolicking in the playground of their youth. But for five Cambridge residents, 350 Harvard is home.

350 Harvard Street, that is.

That four-unit red brick building just blocks from the Yard has been home to Nancy A. Siddens for three-and-a-half years. "When I first moved here I thought, living on Harvard Street, everyone would associate it with the University," she says.

But Siddens never drew the connection between her address and Harvard's birthday bash this week.


Neither did Jerome K. Saunders. And he works for Harvard. He even graduated from the School of Education.

Saunders, who is assistant director for executive education at the Business School, has lived at 350 Harvard Street for eight years. The proximity to the Square and the festivities, rather than his street number, prompts Saunders to say, "I feel like I'm living in the celebration."

A Cantabrigian for 60 years, Catherine E. Gillespie has called 350 Harvard Steet home for 15 years. "I suppose I should be honored," she says of her address.

But Gillespie won't be attending any of the festivities. "I'm watching it on television as much as I can, especially Prince Charles," she says.

Who's Telling Time?

Hate to spoil all the fun, Mr. Bok, but to tell the truth, this is not really the occasion of your school's 350th year of existence.

Actually, that comes next year.

While Harvard was in fact founded 350 years ago, the college closed for an entire year and has only been operating for, well, 349.

You see, back in 1639, the college's first headmaster made the mistake of beating an assistant so viciously with a walnut-tree cudgel that he resigned, and the fledgling college had to fold.

Because of that scandal, no undergraduate paid tuition in the 1639-1640 school year. No one went to classes, and Harvard College was deserted for an entire academic year.