TOPIA is no longer the land of nowhere; it is now realized at Blue Stone Hill, where perfect peace, happiness, and contentment reign – where the skies always reflect the blueness of its walls, where the birds sing sweetest and the flowers bloom fairest. The original plan is complete, and the Warwick and Kenilworth ivy covers the front of Science hall. The coffer is now running over with silver and gold with which to buy at least twelve copies of each special reverence book. The girls can now be really civilized human beings and no longer engage in the library over one reference book which has to be read by ninety girls in three days – a custom which in 1913 resulted, of course, in the survival of the fittest.
Moreover, there are plenty of chairs in the new library for each girl to have a whole one; and the tables are in these days so far apart – mirabile dictum! That you do not have a sudden shower of ink from your ever-willing fountain-pen every time some one comes in contact with your elbow, and even an Edna Myers or a Lucy Cobb might attempt the pass. The girls now do not have to resort with their parallel reading to the hall, where they once were wont to encounter the black looks of the librarian because they forgot to specify their destination on those pink reference cards. The library chairs, however, are of the same upright make of those of 1913, which Miss Elizabeth Cleveland advocated strongly for the sake of those learned Seniors who still cannot digest Browning on flowery beds of ease.
In the year 1950, during a long, exciting faculty meeting in which Mr. Burruss, Miss Scott, Miss Lancaster, Miss Sale, Miss Elizabeth Cleveland, and Miss King put their honored gray heads together in strong alliance against the other members of the faculty – among whom Dr. Wayland was the chief Tribune of the Plebs – it was finally voted by secret ballot that too much reference reading had been required of the students. And since that, the most memorable date in the history of the school, roses have bloomed profusely in the cheeks of the Normal girls as the result of exercise, sunshine, and fresh air.
School now opens at nine o'clock and closes at half-past three, and no class meets for a whole hour after dinner. Alarm clocks have become very unpopular at the Normal , because they are no longer needed to disturb our peaceful slumbers in the wee, small hours of morning – except when some one wants to play tennis or hockey before breakfast.
The old board walk has long ago been supplanted by asphalt pavement in conventional designs between the grassy lawns and flower beds. Because of an electric line running to Mabel Memorial, Miss Scott and the practice teachers can reserve for something else the sympathy once expended on the livery horses. There is also an electric line to Waterman, which saves many a weary step for the Kindergarten girls who go out to play with their young hopefuls.
Not that the Normal “follows the line of least resistance” by any means! There is plenty of work; but because there is play too, everybody is happy and can find time to do what she has to do without giving cause to dye her premature gray hair. Perhaps this ability is a legacy bequeathed to the students by Dr. Wayland! There is time to catch a breath once in a while, and part of this time is spent in the Y. W. C. A. bungalow where toasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, chafing dishes, and shade, beauty, and, above all, inspiration, to those who learn to love them velvety chairs do not party in clearing the cobwebs from the brain. Besides, the spreading trees of the many previous Senior classes offer their shade, beauty, and, above all, inspiration to those who learn to love them.
Can there be anything else to make a sweeter existence! I might add that final examinations and calomel have gone out of fashion at the Normal , and appendicitis is no longer contagious.
Thanks to the imagination that enables us to hope for what is in store for Alma Mater, but also in the memory which will always make 1913, even sweeter us than 2000 A.D.!
– Mary B. Settle
The Schoolma'am, 1913