As Norcross trudged through a long rainy spout, even the weather seemed to reflect the mood of all Wesleyan’s students and faculty as they said farewell to a loyal and much-beloved companion, the Table of Room W180.
The famous discussion table of W180, formally labeled a “Harkness Table,” was removed from its place of permanent residence on the weekend of Aug. 26. Initially used in the Fine Arts building as a conference table, she saw it all. AP Language teacher Andrea Shupert said that “the rich and storied history” of the Table spans all the way from meetings planning out the year’s Fine Arts Week schedule to this year’s heated AP Literature discussions.
Table mourner and English teacher Kendra Morris said, “I didn’t love her when we first met. It was really within the last year [of teaching in W180] that I actually started liking the Table. Until she was gone, I didn’t know how much I liked her.”
Though the Table of Room W180 is not gone for good, her absence has been truly lamented by teachers and students alike. English Department Chair Joe Tamel said her removal was necessary because, sadly, she became “a shared canvas for poor artistry by middling, bored students.”
“They’ve sent her away somewhere for a facelift,” said Morris, due to the unfortunate care shown by Wesleyan pupils. “She’s supposed to be back in the next couple of months.”
She created so many memories within the Wesleyan community. Tamel will miss “sliding papers across to students and having them not get there, forcing people to climb or crawl across the Table to get them, which is always kind of fun.” Senior Darby Carroll said, “The waxy texture [I felt] when I glided my hand across it gave me comfort during tests. The squeaking sound still haunts me to this day.”
Shupert said the Table gave classes the “ability to have that congenial and collegiate atmosphere.” The Table also gave students the option of a sturdy chair or the more unconventional yoga ball to rest on during class. Though some just prefer “a good chair,” such as Morris, the ability to decide one’s lounging preference is what made her so special.
In her absence, she is survived by the Harkness Table of Room W182. Though her sister is similar in design, nothing could fill the gaping hole she left in the Wesleyan community. The Table of Room W180 bequeathed her duties to several classic pupil desks, but teachers and students feel it is not the same.
“I just hope she’s missing me as much as I’m missing her,” said Morris.
For those who never got a chance to say goodbye, Wesleyan held a wake service on Sept. 7 in room W180 to honor her memory. Wake attendee Garrett Hangartner said, “She will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to her loved ones.”
Upon her much-anticipated return, the Wesleyan community ought to shower her with love and care as to avoid her displacement again. “Kids have [defaced her] every year. Every other summer, facilities would sand down a section or two, clean it up, and add a layer of varnish,” said Shupert. Having to show this level of maintenance to any piece Wesleyan property saddens the hearts of all and will ultimately lead to its removal.
Taking care of Wesleyan’s property encompasses not carving one’s name in or doodling on the beautiful and expensive surface. Shupert recalled that her mother always said, “‘Fool’s names and fool’s faces always appear in public places,’ which is kind of funny and true. You wouldn’t draw on your own dining room table, so I don’t understand it. By [defacing the Table,] we are basically saying we don’t care about the facilities’ time or energy.”
High school principal Jeff Plunk said, “We need to treat [her] with respect, like all other blessings on campus.” It will cost the school thousands of dollars to refurbish the Table of Room W180, so the students’ role is to make sure no more graffiti or damage comes to the beloved classroom beauty.
Wesleyan anxiously awaits her resurrection and will be counting the days until her return.
See you soon, old friend.