Gropius House Tour

Gropius House Tour 

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Join the BMC Club of Boston for a fascinating look at Gropius House on Saturday October 3, 2015 at 10:30 a.m.  We will be joined by former architectural columnist Yvonne V. Chabrier, BMC ’65, on a guided tour which will last about an hour.  After the 1 hour tour, we will head to the nearby Whistle Stop Cafe.  We can eat at outdoor tables at the Cafe or head over to nearby DeCordova Museum and eat outside in the sculpture garden. (Additional $7 fee to enter the sculpture garden and museum is not included in event price).  During lunch we can discuss the house and Walter Gropius with Yvonne and with History of Architecture professor Itohan Osayimwese BMC ’97.

Walter Gropius, founder of the German design school known as the Bauhaus, was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.  He designed Gropius House as his family home when he came to Massachusetts to teach architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Simple in design, the house was revolutionary in impact.  The house contains a significant collection of furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and fabricated in the Bauhaus workshops.

A few things to know about Gropius House:  it is not handicapped accessible and in fact, the house features a narrow, circular staircase which makes it a challenge for those with any walking difficulty to climb to the second floor.  There is no restroom, only a porta-potty.  If you are considering bringing a child of any age, please contact Margaret Hoag (see below) for certain restrictions.

The house is located at 68 Baker Bridge Road in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  For more information and directions go to http://www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/Gropius%20House

**The tour fees are NOT refundable.

Registration/Fees– **please read carefully**

1) To reserve your place on the tour you must email Margaret Hoag at margaret.hoag@gmail.com or 978-369-5970 by September 30, 2015.

2) Those who pay their 2015-2016 annual Club dues at $20, or Lifetime Membership at $250, by September 30th may join the tour for free.  Pay your dues at bmcboston.blogs.brynmawr.edu (click on “Membership”) or by mailing a check to Jane Lifton, 27 Concord Greene #4, Concord, MA  01742.  Current life members are free.

3) Non-members and guests must email Margaret to register and also mail a check for $12.00 payable to the Bryn Mawr Club of Boston to Jane Lifton at the above-address which must be received by September 30th.  We can not accept cash the day of the tour.

4) Note: alumnae who have graduated since 2013 may join the club for free but you must become a member by visiting the Club website (see above) and clicking on the link for “Pay your dues” and selecting “Alumnae up to 3 years out.”

Notes from the Book Group on June 26, 2015

Recollections of the Meeting of the Bryn Mawr Book Group

Friday, June 26 2015 for H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Present: Sally Bold, Roo Dane, Anne Ipsen Goldman (hostess), Sandra Lovell, Dorianne Low, Marcella Musgrove, Katherine O’Connor, Barbara Powell, Dodie Rees, Corny/Cornelia Robart. Supportive companion host Jay Goldman

Anne and Jay did a marvelous reception for our Book Group – cheese, grape leaves, salad fixings, etc. complemented tasty pot-luck offerings by the group. And every dessert was enhanced by Roo’s berryful bowl.

As for the Hawk book:

Not everyone was enthralled. Some quickly had more than enough of hawking; some had more than enough of T.H. White with or without his interest in hawking. Was T.H. White included to give literary weight to the narrative? To contrast the techniques – and maybe the fate – of hawk-handlers? Some of us struggled to finish, perhaps for the sake of the group discussion (anasa kata).

FYI, falcon kills are very bloody. Helen’s Mabel, a goshawk [goss-hawk, from Old English goose + hawk], is one of the most savage of the hawks and falcons. Those who have witnessed a goshawk kill do not forget the sight (as on the lawn of the Cambridge library!) There must be great trust between the keeper and the animal, as with every wild species brought to serve mankind. Fashions in falconry change over the years as have fashions in correcting schoolchildren who do not obey. Enough about hawking.

In this carefully crafted memoir we are artfully entangled in a double or even triple helix: 1. Helen and her loving father (who dies on page one); 2. Helen and Mabel the Goshawk; and 3. T.H. White and a) his drastically dysfunctional childhood vs. Macdonald’s cherishing parents; b) his brilliant mind vs. his indifferent scholarship; c) his reclusive life preferences; d) women, who repulsed him and whom he avoided for their way of interfering with human relationships.

Helen rejected any glamorizing of her hawk, albeit a creature of medieval and exotic origins and heritage. “Animal stories end badly,” she wrote. She was neurotic, depressive, a psychological minefield prone to illness.

She was a keen observer, however, like her father, an aerial photographer. Could the memory of her father who hid behind the lens and thus distanced his emotions from the bloody war, have contributed to this faculty?  Not at all spiritually inclined, Helen experiences a mystical rebirth through the farewell to Mabel, the eclipsing, molting hawk, her truest companion through bouts of depression and also of joy. She, unlike White, becomes healed.

Let me say here that the story line, we agreed, is secondary to the curative, emotional journey back to Helen’s childhood. Helen was happy with loving parents, whereas White’s young years were filled with emotional and physical danger from his warring ones.

The writing is filled with beautiful descriptions of the English countryside (as usual, a primary protagonist in so many English stories). It is also very intense, like a play in which the actors shout every line. Finally, as one reader remarked, we should all learn to regard our own pets by their body language. Of course we do, but do we seek beyond the obvious food/escape/anger/fear/pat/pleasure patterns? Who has noticed how a cat deals with grief (if it does…)?