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Elephant Tree: Alumni Memories

We asked for your memories of the tree and here are your responses.

Elephant Tree “A few months into my freshman year I was out on the mall looking at the full moon and a girl who was also out moongazing stopped to chat. She was a senior and was shocked that I didn’t know about the Elephant Tree. She took me to it and we climbed up to the very top as far as we could go where there was the perfect spot to sit in and we could see the moon through the branches. It turned out that she was making a senior film and needed somebody to be in it. A few months later I was in Lori Flammer’s senior film. Over the years I spent a ton of time under, around and up in the Elephant Tree. Some memories are clearer than others, depending on that night’s extracurricular activities. It took on the feel of being the essence of treeness, the template by which one consciously or unconsciously compares all trees against. I took it for granted that it would always exist (at least in my lifetime), and the knowledge that it will no longer be in the world feels strange on a physical level. It will be missed.” —Ari Ress ’02

“I studied for my junior field exams sitting high up in that tree. My own secret treehouse.”
Mara Novak ’72

“On my first night at Purchase, I climbed up into the Elephant Tree with some new friends. There was a very cute boy, whom I’m not gonna name. He situated himself so we were pretty close together where the trunk split off, forming a ‘v.’ He was leaning on one side and I on the other. I don’t remember our exact conversation, but it was magical and about some kind of magic. In that moment, I forgot about my boyfriend at home and we spontaneously kissed. It was a fantastic kiss. Suddenly, I remembered I had to be a ‘good girl,’ so I told him that I shouldn’t have done that but he was so real and kind that whatever he said to assure me, I felt it was good, pure, and innocent. It was both a soul connection and some might say ‘just a kiss.’ Anytime we ran into each other after that, we sparkled eyes at each other. Yes, I remember.” —Eve Fischer ’89

“This is one of my overall favorite Purchase College memories. My freshman year was an election year and it was also the first year I was able to vote having just turned 18 that fall. I was very thrilled to be able to vote Obama into office and be a part of such a momentous election. It seemed that the vast majority of Purchase College also felt that excitement as the dorms and apartments were up all night (and morning) celebrating. My roommates and I were walking back from the Olde late at night and decided to stop by the tree to have a cigarette before turning in. We sat and reminisced over a smoke, when out of the blue, someone started playing Jimmy Hendrix’s ‘Star Spangled Banner’ LIVE from the direction of the dorms. Sure enough, someone had hooked up an electric guitar to 5 or 6 amps, lined them up to their common room windows and was quite impressively playing. You could hear cheers erupting from everyone still awake, including us and several others who had taken shelter under the tree. We also then saw the flashing lights of campus police roll up to the dorm, flashlights going up the stairs, down the hall and into his room, but luckily he had enough time to finish the entire song. The cheers got even louder as he finished, drowning out the sounds of the cops unplugging the amps. The whole thing was magical.” —Tess Wieloszynski ’12

“My fondest memory of that tree was one beautiful, warm, and honestly perfect May afternoon back in 1987 when my beautiful lover and I spent a few hours in that tree laughing and chatting about the future. I’d venture to guess that we weren’t the first, and seriously hope we weren’t the last. It was an amazing memory that still makes me smile, thirty-four years later!” —Anonymous ’89

“Late nights nestled in the branches Deep thoughts and conversations, Free of academic mental clutter Pure, crisp memories of introspection clearer than any class.” —Neal Rosenstein ’84