Classroom Virtuoso: Recollections of a Life in Learning by Victor Cahn

By Victor Cahn

Did you ever have a instructor you could not omit? anyone who contributed to shaping your wisdom and values, and so is still an indelible a part of you?

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Furthermore, at the end of every one of my courses, I present Culture Day, which begins with my playing fifteen minutes or so of solo Bach. I’ll write more about those occasions elsewhere. I’m not sure why I maintain this dedication. Obviously I enjoy center stage, but a more important reason might be that my violin has become a special friend who’s tagged along everywhere I’ve been. As I have moved to each new school, and into every new apartment and house, the violin is always the last article I put in my car, and the first I unpack.

He always seemed amused by my brother and me, as we sat with him and recalled names and places about the camp. He never seemed to realize that to us he embodied that carefree time when we wore short pants and baseball caps, and could find comfort in a way of life we valued. Even those of my father’s generation instinctively grinned when they saw him, and for a few moments they were boys again. When Bob could no longer take an active part in Seneca, the supportive precision fell apart. Then the camp grounds were sold, the buildings were torn down, and only memories remained.

The next day pickets departed from the front of Butler, and the building reopened. I like to think my actions contributed to the restoration of order. The next autumn, campus life resumed with a veneer of stability. Political unrest, however, still simmered. For example, I registered for a senior seminar in dramatic literature, and to each meeting wore my customary suit and carried my customary attaché case. Most of the rest of the group, however, including several notables from SDS, regularly wore surplus fatigues.

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