Monday, February 24, 2014

Oberlin to Bartlett

DAY FOUR: We got up fairly early this morning and met Arthur Davis for breakfast at the Main Street Diner. We had a great conversation about his course work at Oberlin, and he also modeled a vest for us that he had just woven for himself.

Arthur modeling his vest

Pointing out the seam

Arthur is tapping Maple trees on the Oberlin commons and hopes to make a gallon of maple syrup back at the kitchen in his coop housing unit (called "Tank").  He is the food buyer for his coop. He is an environmental studies major and is taking a fascinating course on Systems Modeling. Here is the course description:
Computer simulation models are powerful tools for organizing information, gaining insight into underlying dynamics, and predicting the behavior of complex systems. Students will design and construct models as a means of building understanding of a variety of biological, physical, social and environmental phenomena. Models developed will cover topics ranging from physiology to community dynamics to large-scale flows of material and energy. These examples will provide students with systems-thinking skills and a library of analogies that can be broadly applied to problems in the natural and social sciences

He is also taking a course on the Book of Job, taught by OT professor, Cindy Chapman. Dr. Chapman is also a lecturer for The Great Courses. Arthur is enjoying her course very much. He is also taking Chemistry. We were impressed with the education he is getting.

Dr. Cynthia Chapman

Looking at the local bookstore, my eye was caught by a book titled The Organs of Oberlin, by Stephen Schnurr. Browsing in it, it became clear that Oberlin is a pipe organ mecca, including several Flentrop organs (contemporary organs built on principles of the organs of Bach's time). There are also two Estey organs in Oberlin (made in Brattleboro). A quick visit to the Conservatory office revealed that commencement weekend in May would be a fine time to visit Oberlin and hear several organ recitals. I've put it in my calendar. (I can anticipate a problem finding a motel room however).

A Flentrop Organ in Warner Recital Hall

The Flentrop organ in Warner Concert Hall is a three-manual instrument with 44 stops and four couplers. Its 3,400 pipes are housed in a painted case made of hand-crafted solid African mahogany, with the Prestant pipes of each division comprising the facade

We left Oberlin somewhat reluctantly. It is a very interesting place. But we left about noon and headed for Bartlett, IL and had an essentially uneventful trip, arriving about 6pm. Along the way I read aloud from a book titled A Layman's Guide to Protestant Theology, by William Hordern, published in 1955. Hordern was on the faculty at Swarthmore back in the 1950's, and this book is a very lucid exposition of the theological ideas that were sort of "in the air" my first year of seminary and the year Shirley was a Danny Grad at Kansas State Teachers College. It provides sort of a backdrop for the letters I am reading right now - letters Shirley and I wrote in 1954-55. Reading helps make the miles fly by.

So here we are in Bartlett, visiting, Ellen is knitting, I'm blogging. Jerry is knitting using a knitting frame:

Jerry knitting
Tomorrow evening part of the Crockett clan will gather for supper. Stay tuned.

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