Hammered Aluminum Pitcher Image

Hammered Aluminum Pitcher

Everlast Forged Aluminum, 1172

This is my favorite aluminum pitcher. It's hammered aluminum, you can tell by the texture on the surface and it is relatively heavy, generally implying good quality. It also is marked and numbered by Everlast Forged Aluminum, a company that made products with designs I like, probably produced sometime in the 1940s. It's not my only aluminum pitcher, but I always liked the shape and size of it. I can't remember who gave it to me, but I think it was Carole the last time I was in Portland Oregon, although it might have been my friend Ellen.

What I like best about this pitcher is when I look at it, a high school reunion I recently attended comes to mind. This always makes me smile. It wasn't my own high school reunion, but the high school reunion of my friend Llewellyn. What made this high school reunion different from possibly all others is the school that graduated all those who convened no longer exists, having permanently closed its doors in 1975.

Of course the buildings and grounds are still there, housed in the Berkshires on property now owned by Boston University. In June 1996 over 600 alumni gathered in Lenox for I what believe to be the largest high school reunion for Windsor Mountain School. The graduates came from all over the United States as well as Japan, Italy, Germany, Canada and other countries and representing graduating classes from the mid 1940's through the school's closing in 1975.

It was amazing because after the school closed, all of the school records had been inadvertantly lost in a subsequent fire and it had been no easy task to learn where graduates of the school had migrated. But, Bill Dobbs, an alumnus and the driving force behind the reunion effort, had spent three years and some considerable amount of personal finances searching libraries and various databases to locate people. So in June, after three years of searching and planning, this event actually took place with a total of nearly 900 people gathering to celebrate this common experience.

Lindsay and Julia Lafford
Lindsay Lafford, Former Windsor Mountain Trustee
and Julia Lafford Welbon, Windsor Graduate

When I told friends I had been invited to attend the reunion, most of them predicted it would be a boring event and warned me not to go. The rationale being that I would know no one while Llewellyn would spend all his time catching up with old friends and former romantic liaisons. Against all advice I went anyway and we ended up staying in a charming little B & B along with Llewellyn's sister Julia (also a graduate) and husband Guy, brother Peter (another graduate) and Lindsay (their Dad, who had served as trustee). I decided ahead of time that since this event was based on volunteer effort, I could at the very least, make myself useful.

Peter and Llewellyn Lafford
Brothers Peter and Llewellyn Lafford
Windsor Mountain School Alumni

It was an incredible event. Seeing people reconnect and the overall warmth toward each other really made me wish I had gone to Windsor Mountain School. The only glitch was the treatment Boston University promulgated on the alumni in general but more specifically the organizing committee, especially Bill Dobbs.

The first afternoon we were there I was witness to the Boston University representative (aka "Ice Queen") telling the caterer that there were no working phones on the campus and then within five minutes turn around and use the phone herself. It's not like the caterer was trying to use the phone to make social calls, but rather was trying to obtain a copy of the liquour permit the committee had obtained to allow them to serve alcoholic bevereges on the campus grounds. So the BU Ice Queen made the caterer reload his huge Ryder truck with the liquour until he obtained the permit, but then refused to give him access to communication lines that would have allowed him to get the permit she was demanding. Llewellyn's cellular phone was crucial then and at other times during the weekend. This, I soon learned, was just the beginning.

Llewellyn and the Caterer
Caterer, Llewellyn, and
the much-in-demand cell phone

As we walked around the grounds I noticed yellow plastic police tape everywhere, the type you might expect to see at a crime scene. At first I assumed there was major construction going on around the campus, and the tape was there to prevent injury and potential liability. Later I learned that the BU Ice Queen had seen to it that the campus was cordoned off with strict instructions regarding where the alumni could and could not go. Can you imagine traveling to Lenox, Massachusetts from Tokyo to visit your high school and not be permitted to even look in the library, in a classroom, in the dining room or even the dorms -- places you spent the most formative days of your life?

The next day things got worse. Early in the day Llewellyn pointed out to me that during the night the Ice Queen had magically managed to have all the dumpsters on the campus chained and padlocked closed. I took a photo of this because I thought it was unbelievable, especially when I later learned that the reunion committee had repeatedly offered to pay for removal of garbage.

Locked and Secured Dumpsters
Chained, Secured, Protected
From Windsor Mountain School Alumni

I wonder how much that cost BU and if the Ice Queen was reimbursed. My imagination still runs wild when I think of her out in the wee hours of the morning, flashlight in hand, possibly with some young male student assistants directing them to secure the dumpsters. I imagine her going back to her room with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at the deed and hardly being able to sleep from the excitement, looking forward with anticipation to the reactions from those on the Organizing Committee.

Later the same day, in the evening during dinner, the electricity went out. The organizing committee at this point had been prepared in some manner by the sequence of earlier events and to some extent were ready to move into action. It was at that fine point between dusk and total darkness when someone turned up with a generator and electricity was restored to certain areas. The dance that had been on schedule for 9-11 pm began about thirty minutes late. I imagined the Ice Queen feeling distressed at being foiled again.

Making myself useful later in the evening I began helping the group who were clearing the tables from dinner. It was getting late and Julia was there also helping with the clean-up. Throwing away garbage, putting bottles in one area for recycling. People volunteered, which was one of the great things about the whole weekend. The whole area was cleaned up except for a few tables on the side where the caterer had served drinks. Bill Dobbs showed up and, not being above working like everyone else, began bussing one of these tables. Llewellyn and I went to help. Bill was in a calm reflective mood and there was some quiet conversation, when suddenly the Ice Queen descended upon us. Llewellyn was to my left and to my right the Ice Queen solemnly stood, a serious and determined look on her face. Across the table was Bill Dobbs, continuing the clean up. The conversation, as I remember it, follows.

Bill Dobbs Cleans Up
Bill Dobbs Cleans Up
(Note the Pitchers)

"I need to talk to you," demanded the Queen, looking at Bill.

"I don't want to talk to you," he casually responded.

"I need to talk to you NOW!," the Queen insisted.

"I don't want to talk to you," he responded, more emphatically.

"Please leave us alone to talk," she demanded, glancing at Llewellyn and me. We made no move to depart.

"Never mind," she rationalized "you are one of the organizers, you can stay. It's 11:15, the contract you signed said the dance would end at 11:00"

"I don't want to talk to you," responded Dobbs, "leave me alone."

"If the music doesn't end," she threatened "I will have to do something about it."

"The power was off, it started late," offered Dobbs.

"You have to end the dance and leave the premises," she persisted, "now!!"

"You are," Dobbs suddenly screamed, "the consummate bitch!! You have done everything in your power to make things difficult and miserable for everyone! I will NOT stop the music or the dance! Just go away and leave us alone!"

"It has to end NOW!" she demanded.

Of course, as I said earlier, Bill Dobbs was cleaning up the table like the rest of us. In fact, at that very moment his hand was actually resting on a aluminum-like pitcher (much like the one shown at the beginning of this page) provided by the caterer. The pitcher was, in fact, filled with icy cold water, having been used earlier at dinner. Without warning, and with great surprise to all, including Bill himself, he picked up the pitcher and with flawless aim flung the water at the Ice Queen. It landed true to his mark and drenched her, particularly her face and hair. She spun around and retreated with a determined step. I couldn't help being reminded of the time I watched my grandfather using the hose to spray cold water on an uncontrollable cat in heat to get her out of the backyard.

Bill calmly said, "Maybe I ought to leave soon."

"I think you ought to leave NOW," I suggested.

"Want me to drive?" asked Llewellyn.

"It might be a good idea," agreed Bill. They both headed off toward an area of total darkness where somewhere the cars could be found.

So, you can see that to me aluminum pitchers are rather like a symbol of nonconformity. A simple aluminum pitcher can represent the will of the people and make the most emphatic of points to the unwilling listener. My aluminum pitcher is in a place of honor, representing to me all things right with the world today. In fact, if I ever come across another aluminum pitcher I have vowed to buy it, have it engraved, and send it to Bill Dobbs, who by the way, has excellent aim, both in thought and deed.

© Laurel O'Donnell, 1995-8, all rights reserved
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Laurel O'Donnell
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