All of a sudden, he raised his cane in the air, and with the boisterous voice of a young man, shouted out to a fellow classmate he spotted. It is this very enthusiasm that defines the members of the Old Guard.
The Old Guard is a group of alumni who are beyond their 65th reunion or those who are members of the Class of 1947 or older classes. They followed the 25th reunion class in the P-Rade on Saturday. Every year, the oldest returning member of the Old Guard is awarded the Class of 1923 Cane, a black wooden staff topped by a leaping silver tiger. This year the cane was awarded to Malcolm Warnock ’25, the oldest living alumnus.
Approaching a table full of alumni that graduated in 1942, I expected to encounter a sense of hesitancy and apprehension, but I was greeted with just the opposite. Telling me to take the seat right next to him, Crandall’s friend and fellow classmate John Farrington ’42 launched straight into a discussion of his time at Princeton.
Members of the old guard said that the lack of women attending Princeton at the time meant that the campus culture was very different.
“When a girl appeared on campus, everyone yelled ‘Fire,’ ” John Farrington ’42 said.
Crandall remembered this as well.
“We took road trips to women’s colleges back then like Wellesley, Bryn Mawr or Mount Holyoke, and we brought those babes down to Princeton.”
On a more serious note, Farrington said the most memorable moment of his time at Princeton was the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“Some of us were studying, some of us were nursing hangovers and others were playing bridge. I was up in my room studying, and my roommate was out in the living room portion of the dorm listening to the radio, and he told me about Pearl Harbor,” Farrington said. “Some of the members of our class just joined up. Others carried on like life before and others were excited by rumors.”
Crandall, Farrington and Jim Brown ’42 are now attending their 70th reunion. Crandall recalled that although he could not attend last year, he tries to come back to Princeton for Reunions most years.
“Seeing friends is the best part, there’s no question, just like they never left you,” Crandall said. “You know the guys. A lot of the guys come back, not so much because of the University, but they come back because their friends are coming back.”
When Farrington asked Brown why he comes to Reunions, Brown immediately replied, “To see you.”Farrington smiled.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/06/03/31015/