In the fall of 1936 I moved into 5 North Middle Reunion, a dreary apartment with two narrow rooms, one containing a fireplace that once had heated the entire apartment. In 1938 I acquired a congenial roommate and a pleasant apartment at 21 North West with a large living room and a good size bedroom, right over the old U-store. Senior year we moved up to 42 North West, with a very large living room and two good-sized bedrooms. Living in West was a pleasure; Reunion Hall living was depressing.
Reunion Hall was demolished some years after our graduation, and I learned that John F. Kennedy had roomed there from September 1935 until Christmas of that year. Also, James Stewart ’32 had roomed in Reunion in 1928-29. Naturally, I wondered if either of them had occupied 5NMR. †
My younger son, now retired, was claiming that one can find any information on the Internet, so I challenged him to find whether John or Jimmy had lived in 5NMR. It took him five minutes to find that John had lived at 9 South Reunion. It took him almost three hours to find that “as freshmen they were assigned to the worst housing on campus: a single room they shared in Reunion Hall,” from a biography of James Stewart by Marc Eliot, published in 2006. Obviously not 5NMR, so I conceded. †
Looking back, Princeton dropped the ball at least once:
1. To paraphrase: While incoming freshmen are all equal, some are more equal than others. Just don’t assign a Bill Bradley [’65] to Reunion Hall.
2. Relics are valuable: The Coliseum, Pompeii, even Venice, are not demolished, but treasured. Let’s hope that Princeton grads will be going back to Nassau Hall for centuries to come.
Browsing Letters 2011-2012