Almost two months had passed by my Harvard freshman door. It was 1961, early November, and the air was crisp and blue-gray. I had moved into Pennypacker Hall from a smallish farm town 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the smartest of 900 kids graduating from a large public high school that had never sent a student to the Ivy League in its 64-year history. My admission, with headlines bolding its uniqueness, had blossomed on the front page of our daily newspaper the previous April. A month later there was a letter to the editor from a retiree in Arizona who peevishly and poignantly reset the record with his story of a 1933 admission to Yale that he had turned down due to lack of funds.
The first month at Harvard had been manageable, although I had previously read few things more dense than a textbook. The next couple of weeks crosscut my footing with assignments in Aristotle and Piaget, and I began to teeter. I anesthetized my anxiety about insufficient studying by playing contract bridge, and on this particular night I was trolling the halls, searching for a fourth. Continue reading “George W. S. Trow (1943-2006)”