Though I am an avid reader of the BAM, with an infant and toddler at home, I am often late in finishing the issues. And so it was just a few moments ago that I had the pleasure of reading “A Special Sense of Place” (September/October 2013).
Indeed, not only is the campus architecture “the story of Brown;” I found it to also be the story of me. I had a challenging four years at Brown. Often feeling as if I didn’t fit, I packed up my belongings on two separate occasions and headed out of my freshman dorm, Hope College. Alas, it was the lofty trees, graveled walkways, and stately buildings that in part stopped me in my tracks before I could descend the hill and make it to the bus stop downtown. My campus backyard was a lovely contrast to the stark reality of my Brooklyn neighborhood, and it also held for me a great deal of hope for a better future.
Truly, “to view Brown through the prisms of its buildings and landscaping is to view” my history on campus and its impact on my life since. Smiling as I looked at the picture of University Hall, I remembered being involved with fellow Minority Peer Counselors (MPC) and Women Peer Counselors (WPC) in a protest and takeover that nearly got me arrested. It is how I found my way to lifelong work in social justice and advocacy. As I glimpsed the photograph of Sayles Hall, I thought fondly of the many inspiring lectures I attended motivating me to persevere. My heart was warmed as I recalled conversations with peers as we were sprawled out in our “outdoor living room.” It has been too many years, but today I look forward to returning to campus and giving my husband and two daughters a tour of the place that did “delight [my] eye” and “nourish [my] soul.” Thank you for sharing the excerpt.
Wendy Maragh Taylor ’93