The snow cathedral

The words "no photo yet"First snow, freshman year, wet snow. Young men go out to throw snowballs at each other. As a New Englander, this is not my first wet snow, and I start rolling snowballs of a size to build with. Someone wants to start a fort. When a wall gets to a certain size, I demonstrate how you can use an arch with snow balls of a certain wetness and size.

A red-haired fellow directed the build of a very decent likeness of the gothic cathedral at Chartres. The front facade with my arch got a lot of detail, as impressive a work in snow as I have ever seen, but there were flying buttresses and all the named parts. One spire taller than the other.

Genuine 13th Century Gothic architecture among the wannabe gothic of Yale.

That was how I first met Larry Maloney, who became one of my sophmore roommates. I later came to know his incredibly deep and broad knowledg of everything, via a Jesuit high school north of Boston. He certainly had memorized the proportions and general architecture of Chartres.

I don’t remember other faces among the 20-30 guys who built the cathedral. I think Charlie Schnelle from Silliman, Maybe Marv Krakow. Maybe Al Meyers? Whoever came by as night fell. I hope others remember.

My goals as a Jewish pacifist at the time were more about avoiding snowball fights than getting the flying buttresses right. (Even after I stopped being a pacifist I didn’t have much of an arm.) I think the cathedral was pretty successful at putting off the snowball fight, although it may have served as a fort later that night or the next day. . I don’t remember getting hit by any snowballs that night, or seeing more than a few go by once we started rolling and building. I put myself mostly on rolling once Larry had the arch thing.

It was so much fun out in the falling snow, building.

– Mark Zanger