[Welcome back to those of you returning from the Woodstock mini reunion. Here are some thoughts about this trip from Norm. Gil]
I spent last week at Woodstock [see Mini-Reunion 1998] with my son and four other members of the Class of '59. And two others. Perhaps more reflections will come to me in time, but in the course of writing to a friend yesterday, I found myself summarizing some of the things I noticed. I thought that some of you might be interested in these observations, too.
It was great being back at Woodstock again. I think my last visit was in 1972. Various things struck me this time. A sampling:
The monkeys all over the place. I certainly don't remember that we had even one kind of monkey right around the school when I was there. Now there seem to be two kinds. [Christopher's response
How extemely international the school is now. Korean and Vietnamese parents who have no connection with India are sending their children to school at Woodstock. There are a lot of other nationalities, too, but in those cases I do not know whether or not the parents are living in India.
How dangerous some of the khuds are. I don't think it ever bothered me when I was there, but watching my son trying to take shortcuts up the hillside definitely made me aware of the facts! [See Gil, Christopher and Robert FRobert F.]
How little I thought about the mountain people when I was there. On this visit I found myself itching to learn more about them, to learn to speak to them, and so on. I was especially struck by how fair-skinned many of them are. [See Gil]
The need to figure out an effective and environmentally-friendly way of heating the buildings. It was very cold while we were there (it had snowed a few days before), and heating was definitely needed. But in some of the classrooms and in the high school library, I couldn't help but wonder if the heating was more dangerous than the cold. The fumes were all over the place, and my eyes starting watering as soon as I got near those rooms. [ See Christopher]
Sue, I think you were the one who mentioned that the paths around the Hillside were in disrepair during your visit. It looks like a lot of work has been done on those in the last year or so. Apparently Woodstock has purchased (been given?) many of the old mission properties for staff housing, so the total Woodstock "campus" now must cover a fair proportion of the Hillside. Which means that Woodstock itself is in a sense responsible for more of this maintenance work than they might have been before.
Something else I don't remember hearing about, although most of you must have seen it yourselves on your visits, is the "Mussoorie bypass" (I think it is known by a different name there, though). It is a road that leaves the Dehra Dun road somewhere below Kincade, comes around above St. George's School, then runs along below the old Tehri Road, but above Hostel, eventually rejoining the Tehri Road at Jabarkhet. So there are now two roads between the residences and the school.
However, take my use of names with a grain of salt. Another thing I discovered during my visit was how little I had internalized the various Landour names. This was especially true of the names of all the houses. I was almost never out of boarding during my Woodstock years, and I must not have visited people who were out of boarding on a very regular basis. Anyway, I remember neither the names of the houses nor the names of individuals who might have lived in them. Whereas for Alice, one of our classmates (during elementary years) who was along on this trip, locating particular places she had lived (e.g., Tehri View) was an important part of the pilgrimage.
Well, that's enough of this for the moment. I don't guarantee not to think of other things to write about, but I thought you might be interested in this much, at least.
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