As a freshman at Oberlin College, I lived in Room 327 of Burton Hall,
at the north end of the Men's Quad. Surrounded by men's
dormitories, the Quad was originally designated the Intramural
Athletic Field, but it was almost never used for that purpose.
view of the Quad, looking south from my desk, is seen in the
colorized 1965 Polaroid below. Kettering (the chemistry and
biology building) and Barrows (another freshman dorm) are in the distance.
camera required setting the exposure manually, and I guessed wrong on
my first try. I filed this overexposed photo away and didn't
rediscover it until 2018. It reveals what I kept on my typing
table (on the far right): a Smith-Corona portable electric
typewriter in its hard carrying case, with a small radio on the shelf below.
allows me to enhance the reflection in the window and flip it, so
that we can pretend to look into the room from a drone hovering six
feet outside. I think that's my roommate's desk and bookcase in
I roomed with Dave
Wilkinson, a flutist from Sausalito, who added some artwork to our
walls and played classical music. As an introvert, I was
uncomfortable having a roommate, although we got along okay by
practicing mutual avoidance. When he was at the Conservatory, I
was often in Room 327. When he was in Room 327, I was often
somewhere else. He did accompany me to tour the WOBC studios.
I was also
uncomfortable in the boisterous atmosphere of a men's dorm.
customarily held "open houses" in the fall, welcoming
visits from other students (especially those of the opposite
sex). Here's an advertisement of such an event the next year at
Harkness, a freshman women's dorm, on Saturday, November 19, 1966.
For our open house
at Burton, various denizens planned special decorations.
In one room, there would be some sort of Halloween theme, with
recordings of spooky Gregorian chants playing.
Room 327 planned
nothing outlandish, however. I expressed my feelings,
appropriately enough, in the form of a fake 60-second radio commercial.
(use sincere tone)
Center Burton has, from time to time, been characterized as a rather
wild section, interested more in girls than in the finer things of
life. But there is a quiet, peaceful corner in the midst of
this perversity: Room 327.
Magazine has never found its way to 327. There are no pinups
on the walls except a Picasso, a woodcut, and a brass rubbing of a
16th-century tombstone. No harsh sound is ever uttered, except
by the phonograph when it's playing Stravinsky. In short, when
a lady enters Room 327, she is treated as a lady.
you tire of the exhilarating entertainment being offered in the rest
of the section during the Burton open house, come to the peaceful end
of Third Center. See Tom Thomas quietly struggle to decode his
FORTRAN error messages. Hear Dave Wilkinson play Bach flute
sonatas as only he can, on the record player. That's the
peaceful end of Third Center Burton: Room 327.