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Q&A with the Surfer
Pressing questions answered by Bob Rettew

From: MetHistory@aol.com [mailto:MetHistory@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 11:52 PM
Cc: MetHistory@aol.com; dthood@attbi.com
Subject: '68 reunion

Bob, I am so grateful that you and Ann can let us burn some beef in your backyard on Friday night of reunion weekend. We will try to be neat.
[Bob Rettew] Glad to help out. Please send along your list of returning form mates as it develops so we know whom to expect.

I wonder if, for the form of '68 reunion website, you would be willing to bring us up to date on some topics that might interest us reformed revolutionaries, in the form of a Q&A. If you would, it may reduce the shock to our hearts when we return. If you'd like to do it anonymously, we could just post it as "a person familiar with the school in recent years".

If you can, here are my "Q"'s:

Are we still known as "the bad class" - or is all forgotten?
[Bob Rettew] All is not forgotten, or forgiven! You Form lives on in infamous legend as the revolutionary vanguard that accelerated the cultural revolution at SPS. I will send a Topics publication under separate cover that shows how your Form continues to play in role in the School's collective memory...

Chapel: how often?
[Bob Rettew] Four mornings a week: M, T, TH, F. And hour long convocations or evensongs (beginning of term, etc.) several times a year. We still have the Last Night service before the long vacations, too.

Seated meals with masters - a lost custom?
[Bob Rettew] Down to twice a week (T, Th) at 6 p.m. And since the Fire Marshall began cracking down on occupancy limits a couple of years ago, the School has developed a complex and unsatisfactory system of rotating part of the faculty, with as few family members as possible, through the dining halls. Typical setup is for a faculty member to serve at one end of a long table, with a Vita former serving fellow students at the other.

Heck, do they even call them masters anymore?
[Bob Rettew] No; "faculty" is the usual term these days.

And if they do, what about the women teachers?
[Bob Rettew] See above. Female faculty are numerous--but few senior faculty are female

Do students still respond to "boys and girls playing in the streets of Jerusalem" - or is every day a holiday?
[Bob Rettew] This is still the most popular prayer at SPS

Any trace left of black demerits, red demerits, On Restrictions or the dreaded On Bounds?
[Bob Rettew] Demerits are long gone; OR and OB remain, but there's less dread attached thereto than in our day. Being confined to one's room isn't quite as daunting now that students have personal telephones, high bandwidth Internet connections, and computers with DVD players

Is there even the hint of regret of the demolition of the lower school building (and its alcoves)?
[Bob Rettew] Only when Old Guard types appear at Anniversary, and perhaps on the part of a few life masters (like Bill Faulkner). The Lower has vanished from School culture and most students have never stopped to wonder why the Forms begin at III.

Hockey on the lower school pond anymore?
[Bob Rettew] Sadly, no. Fluctuating temperatures and an epidemic of Eurasian Water Milfoil (which raises water temperatures as it decays) have made slaking on the lower school pond a very rare event. I can only think of several isolated days of skating in the past ten years, and only one abortive attempt to put up hockey rink boards--which where quickly taken down again when the weather warmed up.

Compare and contrast: food in the 1960's - and now.
[Bob Rettew] More variety; a salad bar and routine vegetarian options help. But Lorene Carey's summary (in her SPS memoire from the 1970s) still applies in large part: "Heavy food for growing boys in a cold climate."

Does the school still have that cool giant vacuum truck for the leaves, and the jeep fitted with a reverse brush for thesnow on the paths? For that matter, do you still have snow?
[Bob Rettew] Vacuum truck, yes. Smaller motorized rigs with brushes are used on the paths now.

What's the deal with Tuck Shop? Where is it, and who runs it? Would a current student recognize the term "fluffernutter"?
[Bob Rettew] Tuck Shop is located in the Freeman Center, which is behind Memorial Hall in the area where the Oates Performing Arts Center for Ballet and the Music program was constructed. It's run by School employees, has some video games a grille, vending machines, and soon-to-be-unveiled ATM

Do "feeds" still excite the teenaged heart? Or has modern life jaded the students?
[Bob Rettew] Feeds are still popular, but food has a different status in the life of students since our day--all dorms have refrigerators, microwaves, and stoves/ovens for student use, and many students cook for themselves (Ramen noodles are very popular but not the only meal they prepare for themselves). Ordering take-out food is no longer a coveted and restricted upper form privilege--any student can order take out from one of Concord's many fast food outfits almost anytime, and they do. So, feeds are popular because teenagers still love to eat, and the price is right--but they aren't a special, rare treat.

Drinking in our time, and the present -more, less, or Perrier?
[Bob Rettew] Hard to say, but I remind you that the Human Genome evolves very slowly and doubt the the SPS adolescent genome is much different now than it was 30 or 35 years ago.

I guess there aren't any dances with Concord Academy any more, hunh?
[Bob Rettew] No. Once in a blue moon there are inter-school dances, usually sponsored by a diversity-oriented group like the Student Cultural Alliance. And the Activities Office tends to schedule dances almost every Saturday night for SPS students. Typical locations: the New Space (add-on theater area adjacent to Mem. Hall, the Freeman Center (student lounge area above Tuck Shop); the Lower Dining Hall; the Upper Dining Hall (when a Name Band is brought to the School, e.g.).

How rich did Dick Lederer get from all those word books?
[Bob Rettew] He did quite well and still has a syndicated Radio show out west--he moved to California (or Nevada, I forget which) a few years ago. We have almost all of his books in the Library.

Would a current student recognize the terms wipe out, nerd, mystery meat and wombat? And if not, what would they use?
[Bob Rettew] Student slang has continued to evolve. See the section on student slang in the booklet, "Changes," that I'll send you via US Mail. Today you'd more likely hear words like Newb; frelk; sesh; vid; etc.

Hope this is helpful,
Take care,
R2