MEMOIR:

FALL 2004:

A Satisfying Newbury Lunch
When It Felt Like Home

SPRING 2003:

The Big Boys
The Fine Art of Urination and Defecation Al Fresco
The Golden City
Inside Looking Out
Roxbury
The Soup Game

FALL 2002:

All the Hearts
Footsteps

SUMMER 2002:

Being Family

SPRING 2002:

An Alternative to the Common Use of Forks
Memoir Lead
Two Weeks in New Mexico
Untitled
Zeroes

FALL 2001:

The Anti-Valentine's Girls
Play

SPRING 2001:

Amour de Soi
The Day Music Let Me Go
The Force
Lucky Me, I'm Gifted
My Green Canyon
A Painful Passion
Point of Departure
Sail the Sea
Smile and Nod

FILM REVIEWS:

FALL 2004:

Lola Takes Us For the Sprint of Our Lives

FALL 2002:

Arlington Road: A Thriller with Thought
A Big Fat Fairytale Wedding
Border Patrol: The War Against Drugs Continues
Not the Stereotypical Shoot 'em Up Gangster Flick
Punch Drunk Love

SPRING 2002:

The Complexity of Artificial Intelligence
Monster's Ball
Monster's Redemption
Royalty Runs in the Family

FALL 2001:

A Hard Day's Night: A Rock 'n' Roll Joyride That Never Runs Out of Steam
Too Many Potholes in Riding in Cars with Boys

SPRING 2001:

Requiem's Melody Lingers
New-and-Improved Horror

FEATURES & PROFILES:

FALL 2002:

In The End, Everything is Crystal Clear
A Match for Success
They Will Follow Him
A Very Bostonian Hotel
What's an A?

READINGS:

The CO201 program hosts special Coffee House Readings periodically throughout each semester. These stories have each been selected by 201 professors for reading.

SPRING 2002:

Death and Board Games
Luxembourg
Resurrection of a Ghost
The Tool Man

FALL 2001:

Bits of Daylight
Leona's House
This is Spinal Tap: No Need for Painkillers
The Toad and the Giant

SPRING 2001:

The Movies
Solving the Equation: The Trials and Triumphs of International Adoption
Yaglafant

ESSAYS:

FALL 2002:

Her Face is Red
Smoking a Cigarette
Stories and Lies
Sumit Ganguly: He, She & It

PROPOSALS:

Proposals are group projects in which 201 students propose and create an ad for a non-profit organization or cause.

SPRING 2002:

Christian Solidarity International

CONTEST WINNERS:

SPRING: 2007

Riches to Rags... to Riches
Man of the House
A 'Special Education' Defined

SPRING: 2006

#71952
For Never Was There a Story of More Woe, than This of Mr. Thomas A. Marcello
Pei-yeh Tsai finds harmony in opposites at the keyboard

SPRING 2005:

Colorado Peaks and Iraqi Deserts: A Paramedic's Story
The Consequences of Drunk Driving
America, Open Your Eyes

SPRING 2004:

A Fine Balance: The Life of an Islamic Teenager
A Genetic Link to Identity: Dr. Bruce Jackson and The Roots Project
Rebel With a Cause

COFFEE HOUSE READINGS:

FALL 2004:

The Amah’s Revenge
Circle in the Sand
It’s How I Walk
School Bus

SPRING 2002:

Death and Board Games
Luxembourg
Resurrection of a Ghost
The Tool Man

FALL 2001:

Bits of Daylight
Leona's House
Nonfiction Story
This is Spinal Tap: No Need for Painkillers
The Toad and the Giant

SPRING 2001:

The Movies
Solving the Equation: The Trials and Triumphs of International Adoption
Yaglafant

ESSAYS:

FALL 2002:

Her Face is Red
Smoking a Cigarette
Stories and Lies
Sumit Ganguly: He, She & It

INSIDE LOOKING OUT

BY JOELLE ASARO BERMAN

I found myself sitting home on a Tuesday night during the winter break of senior year. Sitting in the chair that faced the window, I stared outside. No cars passed on the street. I had come to expect this after 9:00pm when my town unofficially went to sleep. The only light I saw was from the blank, saturating streetlights reflecting off of windows through which one could see the tired blue vibrations of late-night television.

I was ready for another night of Nintendo tournaments with my younger brother when my phone rang. It was my friend Mike, telling me to be ready in 20 minutes.

“For what?” I asked, my heart rate changing to support my surge of excitement.

“You’ll see. Dress warmly, get a flashlight, and tell your parents that we are going to a diner.”

I hung up the phone and started foraging through my wardrobe for my warmest corduroys and coziest sweatshirt. I was unable to find a flashlight, which would have seemed suspicious to my parents anyway, and so gave up on the idea. Layer after layer I dressed until the loud sounds of Tool and a honking horn filled the space of my driveway.

“Be back at 1, Ma!” I shouted, already halfway out the door.

I jumped into the shotgun seat of his Bronco, ready for anything. He turned the music down.

“We are going to pick up Ian. Then, you have to be my navigator.” He handed me a map to a nearby town, half an hour away. The instructions were obtained via the Internet, and the destination read, “Sanitarium Road.”

“What is this?” I asked.

“It’s an abandoned insane asylum. It closed 30 years ago--used to be the Overbrook Mental Hospital. I found it in Weird New Jersey. Shouldn’t be anyone up there. No cops are gonna expect kids to be there tonight-- it’s 20 degrees out.”

We always ended up in places like this--abandoned houses, old mansions, deserted streets-- and always on the coldest of nights. We found them in Weird New Jersey, an underground magazine published solely for those like us who were bored enough to spend winter vacations exploring old buildings. Yet it was these late-night ventures that became the weekend activities we longed for and the secret getaways that we needed in order to escape our bland suburban teenage lives.

It was cold on this particular night, far less than 20 degrees, it seemed. Mike rounded the next corner and pulled up in front of Ian’s driveway. He was waiting in the dimly lit foyer and bolted through the door at the sound of the horn. He was clad in black; his broad shoulders made his coat look even more bulky. His face was stiff as he fumbled with the batteries of his maglite. Mike triple-checked the film in his camera, adjusting and readjusting the lens. Armed behind our props, we ventured off onto the Parkway, heading north.

I spewed out directions; Mike followed intently. We rounded a few dark corners, and finally came to a roadblock.

“That’s it!” Mike said. He backed up and parked the car three blocks away, so that we would not seem suspicious.

We walked back towards the roadblock. The street leading up to it faced a main road, so we had to be quick. As soon as we were out in the open, we ran, and hopped the roadblock. We kept running until the road curved, no longer conspicuous to neighbors or passersby.

When we stopped running, we looked ahead of us. Our path, lined with dense woods, was covered in fresh powder and seemed to go straight up the mountain. We started walking silently. With each snow-crunching step, I became more aware of how the place might have looked when it was still in operation. I pictured old Chevys chugging up the road with their less-than-stable daughters, ambulances with patients that missed their daily ration of morphine or Valium. It was so quiet.

With Ian’s maglite as our only source of light, we continued up the mountain. Arriving at a plateau, we saw three buildings. They were monoliths, the night sky outlining them as silhouettes. We walked towards one of them and stepped through the empty doorway.

We found ourselves in a giant hollow space, still furnished with the laundry machines that worked once, now rusted over and broken. Our feet cautiously traversed the terrain of broken concrete, dead leaves that had been blown in through the window-spaces, and shattered glass that had once been those windows. Each step was an orchestration of cracks and echoes.

We separated, exploring the dull vacancy of each room. The occasional shutter release of Mike’s camera reminded us that we were not completely alone in the darkness. We eventually found each other again beneath a graffiti drawing of a devil’s head, which, if traced to the floor, led to an underground passageway. About one hour had elapsed, and I was getting numb.

“Guys—that’s it,” I said, hoping they would consent and follow me out.

“No way!” said Ian, forging forward. “We didn’t come here for nothing. Let’s go.”

I looked at Mike. He had half of a roll of film left, and he was not saying anything, but the way he bit his lip and stared down into the passageway told me he was not going anywhere.

“Fine,” I said. “But I am not going down first.”

Ian had already taken care of that—he was already halfway down the rusted metal ladder that led beneath into—into something we were not sure of yet. After he was safely down the eight or nine squeaky steps, I grasped the cold, crackled metal and began my descent underground. Mike followed, camera in hand.

It was colder in the tunnel—our breath still lingered in the air long after we had exhaled. The ceiling was low, and we ducked closer to the ground, only to find the crusted over remains of nature that had seeped through the cracks in the concrete. Pipes ran above and all around us, and we followed them like a lifeline to our next destination.

We came to a fork, took our chances and turned left. Walking slowly, we continued, the flash of Mike’s camera illuminating the tunnel-space for brief seconds, then leaving a quiet afterglow. Another ladder soon appeared, and we climbed above the earth again.

I was then standing in a long and empty hallway. The night light filtered in through the broken windows. Snow falling from the glazed sky found its way inside. I suddenly felt isolated. I knew Mike and Ian were behind me, but something separated me from them—the air, the lost vibrations of voices and running water and mattress springs. It must have been a residence for the patients, now decayed, rotting.

Room to room, furniture left untouched, paper piles windblown across the floor, tiles broken onto the porcelain sinks…cold, dead. Graffiti and written yearnings of hundreds of visitors smothered the walls. Vines and their unruly tendencies had found their ways inside the rooms, forming a growth over the peeling plaster.

***

In the beginning, we said nothing, except for the occasional “I cannot believe we are doing this.” Most of the time was spent watching, cautiously, as if we were invading the space, as if it were still someone else’s. We were walking in the carcass of a dead house, touching and walking upon the tombs of a poetic graveyard. I returned to that place several times afterwards, always with Mike and Ian. Sometimes we brought along new visitors to what we now felt like was our space. We were always cautious, always quiet, respectful of the voices that we thought we would eventually hear. Now I realize that the voices were our own, and the voices of many others, finding it easiest to talk within that place, where it was so quiet.

During the summer, I came across an article in a local paper announcing the condemnation and scheduled demolition of the buildings. People had apparently abused the space with which we had been so careful. The neighboring communities had become agitated with the throngs of teens that visited during the summer. To them, it was a drug haven. After months of complaining, the local authorities decided it was time to rid the community of the burden, and said action was taken.

***

I went to college that September, and found myself in a whirlwind city. Now, when I looked outside my window, traffic streamed below, crew teams rowed across the river, and trolley cars rang their bells as students hurried across the tracks. The lights were brighter here, a thousand sparks in the electric night.

Upon my return home from winter break, however, I received a phone call.

“Joelle. I found one. Another one. It was abandoned ten years ago- the hospital is still intact, and there is even a morgue.”

It was one of the voices, a voice from my past, resurfacing, if anything, for nostalgia’s sake.

“I’ll be right over,” I said, grabbed a coat, and ran out the door.