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CAMPUS ROMANCE













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Here's the Fall, 2003 essay by Mike that appeared in OREGON QUARTERLY, the University of Oregon alumni magazine:

LOOKING FOR LOVE IN UO PLACES
















OREGON TRAILS
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In and around the U of O campus, the ghosts of lovers past mingle with the souls of lovers present to produce an exceptionally amorous ambiance. The Universitys verdant physical setting is singularly rich is this domain, framed as it typically is by gold-spangled autumns, damp, misty winters, and radiant green springs.

If you are a student, where do you find the greatest congregation of free-lance cupids? If you are a graduate, at what magic locale did you first date your mate?

There are places in the physical world, no less than in the human heart, where Eros reigns supreme. It is here, it is there, it is everywhere. As such, no listing of the extrasensory stations around the University campus could ever be complete.

But for the interested, in ascending order, herewith is offered a tiny, unscientific sampling of various places where the stock of accommodating apparitions is especially abundant. Go to them, and you will find no end of allies in your pursuit of lifelong lamour:

No. 10. Tenth place is awarded to a spot that is technically not on campus. But for a personal picnic of unmatched elegance and convenience, take your tablecloth and wicker basket to Washburne Park on 21st and Agate.

No. 9. The EMU Fishbowl is justly famous for hosting conversations that begin with coffee and end when the lights go out. No better place exists to share those dreams that are absolutely going to come true. The atmosphere is at once intimate and bustling. Look quick for the madcap spirit of John Belushi.

No. 8. If once upon a time there was a tavern, it had to be Taylors, situated on the corner of 13th and Kincaid. With a frosty pounder in hand, you can indeed laugh away the hours.

There is some controversy about which window booth is most eminently suited for pitching woo. Some say it is the first one from 13th, others say the second. The argument is best view or most cozy. If snuggling is what you seek, pick the cozy (first) booth.

No. 7. Bold and dramatic describes the vista atop the Autzen Stadium footbridge, where the stream of life is represented by the flowing, rock-strewn river below. At the end of a meandering walk, a full appreciation of the view requires numerous steamy kisses.

No. 6. The front of the UO Library is businesslike, heavily trafficked, designed for going in or out. It is in the back, where the red sun burns away the winter chill, that you will encounter the warmest response to your intimate overtures.

No. 5. You want ghosts? Trod through the Pioneer Cemetery on a rainy evening, ever-respectful of the venerable gravestones. Here lie the ones who went before us, in their final assignations. This is the ideal site to bare your soul, in a setting that underscores the transitory nature of earthly existence.

No. 4. Love cannot forever be schemes, plans, and worrying over choices. You can be an active player when the need arises. Pick-up basketball, volleyball, frisbee, and even languid lying on the grass make partner selection a snap amid the rolling lawns east of Carson Hall.

No. 3. The interior of the relatively new Willamette Hall complex on 13th oozes stimuli for sparking. After all, what is love but a dynamic interplay of sub-atomic particles, vectors, and time-variable electromagnetic fields? Erudite experiments in primate pair-bonding could not find a more libidinous laboratory than this spacious, open foyer.

No. 2. When silent voices speak, the heart is most at risk. Pale winter light illuminates the second floor window seats in the Erb Memorial Union, and any one will do. Bring along a bottle of juice, an apple, a cupcake.

Confess to another human being your deepest secrets, your fondest hopes. In yesteryear, none of the seats in the windows were padded, as they are today. But the hard floors never diminished the softness of the dreams passed between young lovers there.

No. 1. Out in front of Deady Hall, in the autumn of 1948, future NFL legend Norm Van Brocklin found the love of his life, the demure Gloria Schiewe. To commemorate the event, the Van Brocklin family installed a bronze plaque at the spot, alongside a wooden bench.

"It is here they met,

and here they will always be."

The spectral otherworld is almost palpable at places like The Bench Where Norm and Gloria Met. It is by far the single most romantic spot on campus. The only possible exception is the spot where the two of you met.

THE END

Here They Met
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and here they will always be...
















Copyright 2007 by Mike Bonner