I was only with you all for two short terms – from January to July 1970 – in your senior year, but I have many happy memories. One that stands out concerns facial hair!
On arrival at NMH I discovered that a student was allowed to have a beard on campus, but the beard had to exist on arrival at school. It could not be grown during the school year. Having come from the far more restrictive regimen of an English boarding school, the thought of being bearded was just too tempting. A loophole simply had to be found!
Luckily, within weeks I had been cast in a student production of “Murder in the Cathedral.” I stopped shaving forthwith and informed the first teacher who challenged me that I needed a beard “for the role.” I can’t now remember which member of staff I first tried this transparent falsehood on and I don’t now believe he was fooled for a moment, but he (or they?) let me get away with it. From that moment I knew that I was going to enjoy Mount Hermon – and I did!
My memories of NMH and of my subsequent trip round the U.S. on a Greyhound that same summer will be with me until the day I die. The hospitality of many Americans, including some of your parents, was magnificently generous and I won’t forget. The appropriate adjective for my stay is probably “life-changing.”
Incidentally, I also owe a debt of gratitude to Derricott Morrison for a conversation we had during rehearsals for that play. He taught me a very necessary lesson and was much gentler about it than I deserved. But perhaps that’s his story to tell rather than mine?