As Reunions draws to a close, Mathey courtyard, which plays host to the 50th reunion, offers a cool respite from the hubbub at the ever-crowded 5th, 10th and 25th. Take a stroll around Jolene and you can expect to find members of the class of ’63 strolling arm in arm, catching up with classmates over drinks. What is less expected, however, is the little tent at the corner of the yard housing two tables laden with books. No, this is not a senior’s desperate last attempt to sell off his remaining textbooks, although you will find a textbook or two among the many volumes. It’s a finely curated collection of the many books written by members of the Class of 1963.
Binders are scattered all across the tables, containing a short blurb written by each author describing their time at Princeton, their books, and why they chose to write. The assortment of books includes a range of genres, with everything from “A History of Mathematics” by Victor J. Katz ’63 to “Love is not a game (But you should know the odds)” by Randy Hurburt ’63.
Perhaps most intriguingly, the blurb by Dennis Fowler ’63 informs the reader that he writes “whatever pays,” which included a series of pornographic novels when he was getting his start as a writer, “about 50 of them in the early to mid ’70s, all under pseudonyms.”
The tent becomes a site of reunion in itself. Those passing by might see an old Tiger perusing a classmate's pages, or classmates sharing bylines on a novel. Michael Partnow ’63 and his wife Marcy found a friend among the pages of “Tailwind both ways: A cowman’s chronicle,” penned by Laurence M. Lasater ’63. Partnow, along with friend Alan Lopez ’65, took a trip to visit Lasater and his younger brother at his ranch in the summer of 1964. “We [Lopez and I] were on a 7000 mile trip and we had a couple of credit cards, next to no money,” remembered Partnow as he looked through the book. “We spoke to [Lasater’s] younger brother and he said, ‘Come on over and I’ll cook you some steak.’”
The books are a testament to the talents, friendships and personalities amongst the great class of 1963. They serve as a nostalgic reminder for class members and a glimpse into the future for younger Princetonians.