Friday, September 5, 2008

This Month In Ross History

September 1975

Re-admitted to Harvard University, Ross was full of energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and humor. I stayed in the off campus apartment he shared with three very tolerant graduate students.

We ran rampant. Widener Library. Andover-Harvard Theological Library. The Harvard COOP. Occult bookstores. Harvard Square. Pennypacker Hall. An Ingmar Bergman film festival. Oven baked grinder sub sandwiches.

I learned that Ross' freshman class at Harvard had included Dave Duxbury ("Dux")
whom I had known in Colorado in 1969.

Ross vanished for hours, returning with tales of world-class scholars and incredible research opportunities. During one consultation Maya expert Tatiana Proskouriakoff of Harvard's Peabody Museum expressed interest in a Native American Astronomy symposium.

So on Monday 22 September 1975 Ross and I hitchhiked to Colgate University in the Village of Hamilton, NY. The distance: 291 miles. One of our rides informed us that Sara Jane Moore had attempted to assassinate President Gerald R. Ford. We rode with an elderly drunk gentleman who cried as he told us about his wife and daughter. When police detained the driver, we paused to enjoy the blazing fall foliage that graced the rolling hills of upstate New York.

Arriving in Hamilton at 1:47 AM, we established a residence under the golden dome in the upper balcony of Colgate Memorial Chapel. I heard Marty Balin of the Jefferson Starship:
If only you believed in Miracles baby - So would I.

We stashed our packs behind couches in the lower level of Case Library and sat through numerous droning highly technical presentations. Our favorite speaker was the heavily accented University Of Guadalajara professor of pre-Colombian architecture Horst Hartung (Ancient Maya Architecture And Planning: Possibilities And Limitations For Astronomical Studies). During a break "someone" scrawled COLGATE TOO STRAIGHT - GET HIGH on a bathroom stall. Ross convinced a female Colgate student to let us stay at her apartment. Her roommate blasted Cat Stevens' Tea For The Tillerman.

Eventually we found ourselves drenched, penniless and stranded on the NY Thruway. But Ross entered the Howard Johnson's restaurant, eyed three young people and charmed them into giving us a ride to our door.


Edited versions of papers presented at the symposium held at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, 23 - 26 September 1975:
Native American Astronomy. Anthony F. Aveni, ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977. xvii + 286 pp. ISBN 0-292-75511-2