Trolley along


Looping around campus since 8:30 a.m. Friday, trolley driver Emanuel has memorized the route well before lunchtime. “I don’t even have to think about it,” he says. Transporting U of C reunion attendees from Alumni House to various event locations, he brakes for maroon and white balloons and “trolley stop” signs. Eighty-year-old Ruth Beiersdorf, AM’65, boards on her way back to Alumni House from the SSA, where she earned her degree. “I was here in ’45,” says Beiersdorf, who flew in from Colorado. “Then I got married and came back to finish in ’65.” When she gets off, Jeff, AB’55, and Beverly Steinberg climb on. They think the trolley is a formal tour, but when they learn it’s more for transportation than information they stay put, watching the campus as they browse their brochures and make their pick for Saturday’s Uncommon Core lecture—Developing Fundamental Scientific Concepts: Illustrations from Thermodynamics by Stuart Rice.

After lunch traffic picks up. Five graduates and spouses from the late 40s and early 50s marvel at the new GSB and the Ratner Athletics Center. “The pool’s in there?” one man exclaims. A couple with two kids, ages 5 and 7, ride to the BSLC to board another trolley, where Hank Webber, University VP of community and government affairs, will guide a Hyde Park tour of recent growth and other neighborhood changes. Then they’ll return for a dinosaur talk by Paul Sereno.

Soon the trolley is full. Veronica Drake, AB’85, talks with another member of her class whom she didn’t know during school. Woodward Court is gone, she says, but it was probably time for something new. True, the man agrees. Jimmy’s is still here, they note. The Ida Noyes painting was stolen. Remember Kuviasungnerk. On they talk as Emanuel drives around campus, evoking 20-year-old memories with each turn.


Photos: Emanuel's trolley (top); Reunion riders (bottom).

June 3, 2005