April 16, 2021

SPRINGTIME AT VANDY

The first time I strolled around the Vanderbilt campus was on a springtime field trip with my Lipscomb botany class.  Dr. Russell Artist took us over for an afternoon to study the trees and sketch their leaves.  In the 1950s a garden club did an inventory of the Vanderbilt trees and affixed plastic labels identifying each species. Today there are at least 190 varieties of trees and shrubs and since 1989, the campus has been accredited as a Level II Arboretum.  The Bicentennial bur oak is the oldest—at least 250 years old. 

I spent one year in graduate school at Vanderbilt after graduating from Lipscomb. Again I spent many hours walking through the campus and enjoyed that beautiful spring season. I read that in 1969 a proposed building project would have required the destruction of many campus trees.  A female student advocated strongly against this and Chancellor Heard eventually canceled the construction project.  She deserves a plaque!

This photo was taken on a 1990 springtime visit to Nashville.  The group of physicians I worked for surprised me with a generous gift!  They offered to pay for a caregiver to stay for the weekend at my home with Mother, who was then an invalid, and to pay for my travel expenses plus a hotel in Nashville! Heather was a senior at Vanderbilt, and I went for her 22nd birthday on March 30.  I got a luxurious room at the downtown Hyatt (now the Renaissance Nashville) and she and her friends came to enjoy the views. We had a great time eating out, celebrating her birthday, and I got to walk around the beautiful campus.  There were even some unexpected family connections, as my nephew John Eaves and his family had relocated to Nashville.  He and Kay brought their three little boys Jesse, Josh and Matthew, down to the Hyatt for a mini-reunion.  Tootsie and one of her teacher friends were also in town that week for a teachers’ conference at the Union Station Hotel and we were able to visit too.  She joined us in my hotel room for John’s visit. 

I’m taking a virtual OLLI class from Vanderbilt this spring—The House of Possibility: Literary-Theological Imagination of Emily Dickinson—taught by the delightful Victor Judge of the Divinity School. Yesterday morning as he lectured from his office on campus, he opened by describing his walk across campus and delighting in the springtime beauty.  He said he imagined Emily Dickinson walking beside him, as she too loved springtime.  He read one of her poems:

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