On most days, the Sanborn Hall library, with towering bookshelves tucked into balconied alcoves, an imposing fireplace, heavy woodwork, and glittering chandeliers, is a formal room where serious readers take refuge. So it took a bit of decorating to set the stage for the English department’s annual not at all silent bash marking the end of spring term: an Alice in Wonderland tea party.
Oversized playing cards graced the mantle and lay scattered on the floor. Beverages, scones, and hard candies appeared on Victorian tables alongside signs urging partygoers, like Alice, to “Eat Me,” and “Drink Me.” Cardboard Mad Hatter top hats perched here and there. Outdoors, on the Green, fierce competitors wielded croquet mallets and played an oversized chess game.
Presiding over the festivities was a dapper man in a white suit. He had tall, furry ears affixed to a headband, which had arrived in the mail especially for the occasion. “I had to overnight the ears,” said the wearer, Associate Professor of English Aden Evens.
Beside him stood a young woman wearing a short skirt and blouse and looking remarkably like the eponymous heroine. Bronwyn Lloyd ’17 saw the Disney movie as a child, and read the Lewis Carroll book in high school. “By then I was in my big fantasy phase,” Lloyd said. “I still love the story.”
Melissa Zeiger, an associate professor of English, compared the adventuresome Alice with graduating seniors. “They may have to run as fast as they can just to stay in place,” she said. “You don’t see any parents in Wonderland.”
Lacey Jones ’16 relaxed on a sofa with a few friends as the party wound down. She’s not sure what the future holds for her after graduation, but worries, a little, that enchanting hours like this will be few and far between. “I don’t want this sense of wonder to get edged out by day-to-day life,” she said.
Much later that afternoon, Evens, still in his white suit, could be seen strolling down Main Street, his rabbit ears wiggling slightly on his head. He was the only one downtown in costume. Passersby seemed unfazed.