Rooftop perch

A nook in the Branford roofJunior year, I lived in Branford over the archway closest to York St. by the walkway between Branford and JE. Bob Blank and I had a memorable two-room “suite”, small and wonderfully unique. Complete with fireplace. Our common room, the one you walked into, had a small window that opened onto a sloping slate roof. I would climb out that window, climb over the top of the small peaked roof, and nestle into the crevice formed by the angles in the roof. I loved the architecture of the sloping roof lines, loved the perch, and most especially enjoyed hiding in plain sight. Someone on the Branford/JE walkway would occasionally see me but I was mostly invisible. It was a sweet spot to relax and breathe.

Joel Bard

Library Walk

Library WalkLibrary Walk, between JE and Branford, remains a special place for me. The solid architectural statement made by these two colleges served as a frame for my frequent walks along the tree-lined great stone walkway. It offered a short journey, long enough to reflect on the day’s prospects or share repartee with passing classmates. Perhaps this space also symbolized important transitions for me: a change from West Coast to East Coast surroundings; a daily commute from Wright Hall to Pierson College; a compact stage upon which the seasons played their respective roles; the development of a naive teenager into a young man questioning his place in the world. A location attached to my memory by a sense of belonging, curiosity, enthusiasm and hope.

Thatcher Shellaby

900 Branford

900 Branford, from the courtyard outsideI’d have to say I really loved my room that I shared with two others (three if you include my girlfriend and now wife of 40 years!): 900 Branford. It had a working fireplace in a huge living room with a great bay-window and window seat that looked out on the main Branford courtyard with its swing.

That courtyard was also a favorite place for us, as were the catacombs under Branford – lots of ping pong games, the Branford buttery, the disco, and the room where my band practiced right under the master’s study. Master Trinkhaus had to enact a time limit on practices for his wife’s sake. I’m sure all that has changed a great deal since then – the basement was basically a fallout shelter at the time with some recreation spaces, but it was a lot of fun. There were a lot of other spots – the Yale architecture is great anywhere one hangs out, but those have the most meaning for us.

– Mark Williams

Fellows Common Room in Branford College

Fellows Common Room, now called Trumbull Room, in Branford CollegeThe Fellows Common Room in the first Branford courtyard was a place where everything I loved happened. We had meetings of the Branford Council there, planning for May Day activities, a few really great seminars with amazing faculty and the Fellows Cocktail Party every Friday afternoon. In that room I could be a scholar, a radical, an interesting person conversing with other interesting people, or a bartender with a bright future.

Sometimes I would sneak in there and sit in silence alone as I watched the sunlight stream through the old windows and I’d snuggle into the leather couches like a kitten. The world seemed to be all ahead of me then and I knew that Yale was present in the Fellows Common Room. Sometimes I long to be back there, to smell the leather and the dust, to sit in the darkened room as the sun went down or to seek refuge from a mixer turned ugly. It seemed like home for my soul. It is part of me.

Peter Sheras


Branford Courtyard

Branford Courtyard at duskBranford courtyard, looking at the tall windows of Saybrook dining room. In our day you could walk through the gates between Saybrook and Branford at either end, and I’d make a point of passing that way when I could – I don’t think you can do that now. This was especially beautiful in spring, when the laurel would blossom. But winter evenings were also beautiful, when the lights of Saybrook dining room shone through.

Mark Fulford