So, yes, I had an unexcused absence yesterday. I wish I could say I was off on vacation or something but the truth is I got temporarily separated from my laptop. It was a strange sensation: more than simply thwarted, I felt as though I weren’t quite real. Anyway, with laptop back in hand solidity is slowly returning.
I spent several hours alone at Rice this Saturday, poking around over in the far southwest corner by the track stadium, which is being readied for demolition. That is, the stands are coming down. I found quite a lot to hold my interest over there, including what was to the best of my recollection my first ever encounter with a snake on campus. (Please stop here to admire my restraint.) I don’t have any special attachment to these stands apart from a strong sense that they–or rather the dark, secluded underneath of them–must have been the site of much hidden, human passion. Still, it’s always good to have a last look.
And as I climbed up and gazed out at the Medical Center something came to mind. Here’s a photo taken by my friend Carl Knapp in 1914, looking out at the same space. Note the white horse right next to the first automobile on the left:
There have been bleachers in this spot for a long time, although they’ve been replaced at fairly regular intervals. As far as I can tell the current ones date to the early ’70s. But hang on to your hats, because I think I’ve figured out a surprising way to trace the history of those stands. More to come . . .