2013/02/19/letter to CFS

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I've added some links to the text, for reference.


Hi John,

Thanks for writing. I think in part my comment was fueled by things that don't really have anything to do with CFS, but which seem to align with CFS's general trajectory since our generation graduated.

That said, however, there was one significant thing, and some smaller things.

The significant thing was the overpainting of the Quaker Dome mural in 2007, with no apparent effort made to alert anyone (much less contact the original artists) via the usual online channels and let them know (so as to permit any final photography before it was gone) -- and subsequent denial of any responsibility when I mentioned this somewhere (possibly on the alumni site or Facebook; I don't remember now for sure -- the alumni site had an article which mentioned the mural, but that article doesn't seem to have made the transition to the new site).

(The article was at this URL, in case you can do anything about it: http://alumni.cfsnc.org/?page=QuakerDomeMural

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a copy at archive.org. I've snagged a copy of it from Google Cache, but it's missing the photo. )

This was especially wrenching for some of us because one of the artists was Jenny Hall, who was my best friend at the time of the painting (and is now a fund for teacher enrichment at CFS). I had hoped to get a higher-quality photo of the dragon she painted, but that is no longer possible. (When I say "us", I speak primarily of myself and my partner Sandy, Jenny's next-older sister.)

The smaller things may be as much just a general (and perhaps inevitable) feeling of alienation as the school has gradually changed or removed a lot of the buildings and landmarks we once thought of as nearly eternal (although, of course, they had been there less than two decades at the time we left) -- as well as changing the general "feel" of how things are done (no more hand-cut logs; no more student-constructed buildings) -- and not really anything specific that anyone did.

I'm hardly one to insist that things must always remain the same, but there often seemed to be a lack of... it's hard to explain; the word "closure" comes to mind... perhaps I mean that the need for a lot of the changes never seemed clear to us. The fact that many of these changes were accompanied by self- congratulatory cheerleading -- with the word "community" featuring prominently -- rather than any substantial explanations (much less open discussion beforehand) didn't help ease that feeling.

Probably a lot of this feeling was colored by what happened to the mural, and we would have seen things differently if that hadn't happened.

In other words... much of this may just be crankiness from childhood lost, and nothing to pay any attention to, but I thought your inquiry deserved a sincere answer.

Please do let me know if I can help with the web site.

Best wishes,