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A Tale of Two Barbaras

Again this is a story driven by my college days in the early 60’s at Trinity College in Washington, DC. One of my good friends in those days was a chemistry student named Barbara who was from New York City. She was such an interesting person to talk to because she always had so much information on any subject one could imagine. When we asked her how on earth she had managed to learn so much, she said that it was from her years of daily completion of the New York Times crossword puzzle. She used the dictionary, the thesaurus, and even on occasion the encyclopedia in order to solve the clues, and her enthusiasm for the puzzle continued all through our college days. We all wondered how she could find the time! She aced the MCAT exam, and when we congratulated her, she attributed that triumph to the New York Times crossword puzzle which had made her knowledge so well rounded. She went on to medical school and enjoyed many productive years as a pediatric neurosurgeon in New York City.

In those days, Trinity College was known as a singing college (a cause for a lot of family jokes as I was NEVER able to carry a tune). Barbara offered to help me learn how to sing, but try as I might, I never could. Every class elected a songwriter who chose a committee to help her, and every event, every complaint, every accomplishment deserved a song. These were simply new lyrics set to music that we already knew, so with a song sheet we could all sing along without any practice. Others enthusiasm drowned out my attempts, so I enjoyed it as much as the more proficient singers among us. I was amazed at the cleverness of my classmates who wrote the songs, and I always looked forward to all of the singing occasions. We laughed and cried and sung our hearts out. In so doing, we felt we were bound together in a strong, caring community with common concerns, common accomplishments.

This brings me back to my new friend Barbara. She also is from New York City. She is so interesting to talk to, and she is extremely talented, able to create spot-on sketches in a few minutes. She is fond of irony. The other day, I told her that I was never going to make toast for fear of setting off a smoke or fire alarm. A few hours later, she she announced that she had written a song for me. She began to sing it and I recognized the tune at once. She said you know, “No more, No more, no more, no more … .” It was a perfect moment that took me right back to sitting with my old friend Barbara and singing our own class song that began, “Trinity – very pretty, and that DC life is sweet, but that game called Trinity College is impossible to beat.” I know Barbara would sing it for us. What do you think? Maybe we should elect her as our songwriter?