This is Branner Hall, my freshman dorm at Stanford. What a fabulous, life-changing first year that was, and seeing or hearing about Branner will always bring back a flood of amazing memories.
Just a few of them:
The "Mr. Branner" vs. "We rule the world" feud. When the guys "cupped" the whole third floor (all girls, the year we were there), and the 3rd floor girls retaliated by somehow stealing underwear from most of them and then hanging it out "to dry" on clotheslines around the hall. Becoming "Stella" to nearly the whole dorm when the guy who couldn't remember my name at first started calling me that (the nickname stuck for years!) Late night chat sessions in the hallways. Watching late afternoon Star Trek re-runs in the lounge, or listening to Craig play the piano. Blocking off the drains in the girls' shower to create a steam room and drinking 7 & 7's (what were we thinking..??) When Jim (for a dorm contest) rewrote the lyrics to song (was it "Hey Jude"...?) to make it about me - so sweet! All those hours in Scott's room, listening to music and wondering what the heck we were all about..if anything...?? Taking 8 a.m. calculus (all the way across campus, too) because who could miss out on the fabulous Professor Mary Sunseri? Realizing I never, ever wanted to be a Chem E and dropping Organic Chem class spring quarter (but keeping the lab - that was that fun part). Climbing out Rolf's window with him and basking in the sun on the little lawn there (part of the RF's quarters...? I don't remember), talking about how the year was almost over and everything was about to change completely, again.
The photo above was included in a Stanford missive about Branner's recent rennovation, along with the news that Branner was going to convert to an upperclass dorm. Stern and Wilbur, two much bigger dorm complexes, are going to become all-frosh. I'm sure the kids there will have a fabulous experience too. But there was something about just 180 of us, where the community was small enough that we could (and most of us did) know every other person's name, but large enough that we could put on a spectacular musical (and we did: "Sweet Charity") and have enough diversity that nearly everyone could find a group of friends to hang out with.
It was an amazing year and I treasure the memories, the lessons along with the joys and victories.