Yes, we’re about to do a series on benches. But not all at once, don’t worry–I’ll spread it out so we don’t get overwhelmed with excitement.
I got quite a few comments and even more emails after I wrote this post about the nice (and vanished) bench between Anderson Hall and the Physics Building, so I began paying closer attention to benches, both past and current. The other day I happened upon these undated images of some benches over by the corner of Abercrombie where it meets the Mech Lab:
Oddly enough I had no memory of ever having seen this spot so I wandered over when I had a few minutes and I noticed several interesting things. First, what looks to me like water around the marker (am I wrong about that?) is now gone, replaced by some plants. Second, people have apparently decided that the benches need some supplementing and have dragged a few of those lightweight metal table and chairs over to this spot, which is really nice and shady:
Finally, the benches still seem to be the same ones and they have markers on them. Here’s the one on the right, in honor of James Waters, who I’ve written about here and here:
The one on the left, though, is much sadder:
I had a hard time finding out much about Jim Boyvey. He graduated from Ray High School in Corpus Christi in 1960 and came to Rice to study engineering. The only mention of him in the Thresher came in May of 1965 when he was singled out in a review of engineering courses as a good lab instructor. He was killed in a car accident that same summer. I did manage to find these wistful reminiscences from classmates at both Ray and Rice on a Ray High School Class of 1960 website and it just feels right to post them here:
James and I were in college together for 4 years and lived in the same dorm. I really didn’t know him well until we went off to college, but he would come by my room from time to time for a visit. I found out that he was pretty interesting to talk to; he really knew his engineering, and we’d talk about that and other things some. I gradually got to know him and appreciate his intelligence a lot. He sailed right on through Rice without any trouble, and not many did (me included). He was ready to go out and do great things as an electrical engineer, and he would have been a good one. One thing in particular that I remember is that he was always positive and laughed a lot with an interesting kind of chuckle.
Unfortunately, just a couple of days after our first graduation (after 4 years one got a BA in engineering…you had to go on for an extra year to get a BS), James died in a car accident. It was a real shame to lose him so soon.
My memories of James date back to junior high where his mother was the librarian. James was extremely intelligent, and entered the science fair in the 9th grade. He should have won it with what he made, but it was so complex that the judges didn’t understand it.
Perhaps my best memories of James are at Monterey Tech in the summer of 1959 where we roomed together while taking 3rd year Spanish. At one point he had us fill over 20 sinks in the dorm restroom with solutions at just the right temperature to develop Kodacolor pictures that we had taken. On one of our Saturday excursions we all went to the Carta Blanca brewery where they served us complementary beer. Many of us got very drunk!
When I heard he had died in an auto accident, I couldn’t accept that the world was going to miss out on what he could have achieved during his life.