It is a cool, dark, autumn evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the early sixties. A smell of chocolate wafts from the Necco factory. McCormick, the first co-ed dorm at MIT, is a dream of the future. WTBS has not yet sold its call letters to Ted Turner for a mess of wattage.

In an old mill in Maynard, a little-known company has just released its very first commercial Whirlwind-style computer. In Washington, a young Boston Irish lad reigns over Camelot. And up the river, just eight minutes from Park Street via the Cambridge-Dorchester line, one hears talk of a professor and the wonderful discoveries he is making about lysergic acid. A big gasoline billboard near Fenway Park is green and reads "Cities Service."

On such a night, if one lives on the side of Burton or Baker House away from the river, and gazes meditatively out the window, one sees, beckoning in the distance, a scintillating vision of light and color, in a luminous panoply of gleaming, flashing, dazzling hues of the purest primary colors, a treble vision of radiant splendor... as shown, approximately, above.

This is the way I remember it, anyway.

Additional keywords: MIT nostalgia, Burton House, Conner House, Baker House, college folklore, H. J. Heinz, Heinz 57, Victor Coffee, Cain's Mayonnaise, Cain's Food.

Comments to: Dan Smith

Dan Smith's home page