Years ago, forty or forty-five at least, a call came to our office for me. I was not available, so the secretary asked for a message. “Tell him Professor <blank> called from the university.” Since I was employed at the State University, she sought clarification: “Which university?”, there being a number of them in the vicinity. After a moment’s hesitation, he intoned with obvious annoyance, “THE University”, and hung up. From which we took it to be the OTHER university about seventy-five miles downstream. When you live in this state, it’s not unreasonable to imagine we’re limited to one of pretty much everything. He certainly thought so.
This put me in mind of the two weeks I visited the Isle of Skye — that’s “An t-Eilean Sgiathanach” in Gaelic — trying to learn some of my native language (though I’m only 50% Scot, and Lowland, at that). In this context, the Scottish connection relates to Gaelic (Gaedhlig, pronounced “GAY-lig” (the language enjoys a lot of silent letters) and a peculiarity of its grammar: in the Highlands and Islands, one and two are singular; three or more are plural. Apparently you’ve got to have at least three of something to brag about it, like having three hands. And so it is, there are several items in Agincourt which begin with “The”. As though there is only one — in the spirit of that self-anointed professor and a nod to my Scottish roots.
The Square. The Commons. The Avenue. The Boulevard. The Auditorium. The College. The Shades. The Hump. You don’t have to specify, because there’s only one and no threat of confusion.
Postcards continue to appear which would make wonderful additions to Agincourt’s imagery. Fortunately, many of them are of Iowa communities, so it’s not stretching the point to claim them for the Project. The card above is out of my price bracket, however, so I won’d be bidding on it, I guess. But that doesn’t stop me from “borrowing” it for a while, until I can gain the rudiments of PhotoShop and “fix” the caption.
The view is precisely what I saw in my mind’s eye when conceiving two blocks of North Broad Street that had become boulevarded during the “City Beautiful” moment.