Story time again

Gather ‘round boys and girls, I’d like to tell you a story. I may change some of the details from the last time I told it to keep it interesting but hey, it’s just a story so what does it matter? A story … a legend … they’re pretty much the same thing. Legends change as people hear things or read items in the newspaper and pass them on. Most people don’t bother to check out the details—they believe the newspaper staff has already done that for them. And once it’s in print—it’s “fact,” right? Well, not quite.

The stories on NIU’s “legends” in the Welcome Back issue of The Northern Star were cute, but unfortunately lacking in fact. I won’t dispute the current version of the “legend” of the Freshman Bench because it has changed over the years. But let’s at least get the right bench! The Freshman Bench, donated by the class of 1905, is located on the southwest shore of the East Lagoon. The seat along the sidewalk on the east side of Swen Parson Hall, on the other hand, is a memorial to Fred Charles, an original faculty member with quite an interesting history of his own.

Now, about the “gargoyles.” Actually, the object in the Altgeld garden is a grotesque, but who really cares or knows the difference, right? Anyway, it was knocked loose in 1966, stored away for a while, then restored in 1973 and planted in the garden. I hardly think the school’s “first graduation” was in 1966!

The moral of this story, of course, is: don’t believe everything you read (or hear!). But how do you know I have the facts right? Well, you might just want to check it out for yourself.

Peggy Safford


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