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Etc. Coffeehouse patron from the 1960s shares memories on the 60th anniversary

By John Day, formerly of Kinmundy, now of Foxboro, MA



I didn’t realize that The Etc. was only a year or two old when I discovered it as an undergrad, still grappling with the culture shock of the Big U. But the description in the latest newsletter I received captured the spirit. Yes, it was home-y, a comfort, a refuge. They were tumultuous times, but my recollection is that they didn’t really get tumultuous until ’67 or ‘68 (Remember the graffiti on the construction fence when they were building the Psych Building: McNamara is no where continuous and everywhere differentiable (political mathematics) ;-) the demonstrations in CampusTown, the riot when the movie Z was playing at the Co-Ed) and culminated in the early 70s. But during that period, The Etc was a refuge in many ways.


The winters were brutal and very cold. Many a weekend night after a long walk across campus, frozen to the bone, duck into The Etc. either with a friend or to meet a friend, (was there a fire in the fireplace? I want to remember there was, it would have been on the north wall) get a hot mug of wassail and grab a table was a good evening. The wassail was thick and spicy and warmed you up like nothing else. Nothing compared to wassail at The Etc. (has the recipe been lost) Not so much for studying in those days, there really wasn’t enough light to study by. ;-) But conversation on important subjects, deep discussions most definitely. Many a fond memory of The Etc.


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