My freshman year move-in day went smoothly, largely because it was my brother’s (Mal Curtis ’70) third move-in day, so he and our folks rather knew the routine. They parked the huge station wagon on Elm Drive in front of 1915 Hall, and I emptied out what little I had brought from home in Connecticut — clothes mostly, a few books, an AM/FM radio, my trumpet, and a portable, manual typewriter.
One of my two roommates, Dave Parsons ’72, had already moved into our three-room triple. Dave was a legacy, and being very familiar with the campus, helped get me oriented and settled in. We agreed that when our third roommate showed up, we would buy some basics together — a couch, a fridge, et al.
Feeling content, Dave suggested that he tour me around the campus that he had learned from all the visits over the years with his father. So we headed up campus, Dave pointing out the primary freshmen “zoo” dorms, such as Witherspoon, as well as the Art Museum, Whig and Clio, and then finally Nassau Hall.
Just as we stepped onto Cannon Green, along the path came a gent on a tiger-striped “English racer” bicycle, with a tiger’s tail flowing from the rear fender. The fellow was wearing a suit, with a tiger-striped cap on his head. He greeted Dave warmly and welcomed us to Princeton.
Dave introduced me to the late, great Freddy Fox ’39, a classmate of his father’s. Freddy wanted to know when we arrived, how move-in went, where I was from, what I was thinking of majoring in — a very nice conversation for five or 10 minutes.
“Well, I must be going,” he announced. “But to welcome you to Princeton, I have something for you.” He reached into a pocket and pulled out two orange-and-black striped lollipops, giving one to each of us. “Enjoy yourselves, boys!” he shouted as he pedaled away.
I stood there in a state of smiling disbelief. I hadn’t been offered a lollipop, never mind one with tiger stripes, since I was maybe 5 or 6. But, here was the recording secretary of the University greeting me with one, to ensure that I felt welcome on his campus.
It was an effective gesture. I did feel welcome, and a part of the place on day one. It was the start of a fine four years.