Open Letter to Lowell Dish Return

By Aiyana G. White

Dear Lowell House Dish Return,

The other day, someone in our apartment building broke a glass dish, and a strong feeling rose up inside of me. It was for you, and I felt so full of love and affection that I just had to express my emotions. You have been one of the most infuriating aspects of my college life, but also one that has brought me immense joy. Even on days when I ate my meals alone, it didn’t feel that way, because you were there with me. Amidst all the chaos of Harvard, you were a constant in my life.

I have to admit, I didn’t like you much at first. The sound of glassware smashing reminds me of my childhood, when I was the clumsy one who got in trouble for breaking things. Of course this wasn’t your fault — students didn’t understand how you functioned or were too distracted to place their dishes on a tray. The dhall employees got anxious, and one employee always stood, watching over you to make sure students handled you properly. Students feared you too — why else would they stack plates underneath their beds?

However, as the fall semester progressed, as I got more exhausted, it was no longer an option to breakfast early and avoid hearing you. Slowly, I got used to you, and as more Lowellians learned about your needs, there were fewer shattering sounds. It was always pretty obvious when someone from outside of Lowell came to dine here — they were unfamiliar with your ways. While I don’t condone violence, the less frequent sounds of breaking glass started making me laugh. When I shared meals with friends in other houses, I would always rearrange my silverware appropriately even when there was no need. What can I say? You grew on me.

You were all the most beautiful aspect of Lowell dhall (those fancy chandeliers have got nothing on you). You were so sensitive (to silverware not removed from plates and bowls) and were perhaps too good for the world of coronavirus, which has silenced you. Sometimes when I wash dishes in my sister’s apartment, I still hear your gentle whir and the chinks of the glass dishes being carried underground to the dish room, and I know that you live on, inside of me. I wonder if I shall ever see you again, but I dream of the day, because it will be the same day it will be safe for students to be back on campus, eating off of dhall glassware, when they will break dishes and blame it on you.

With (probably unreciprocated) love,

A fellow Lowellian

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