How I Got to Stonehenge

I was a senior at Wellesley College.  I was taking a modern architecture course, and we had to do a paper on a building.  My parents knew someone who owned a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  When I called him he was upset at telling me no, but said he had refused many students and felt he had to be consistent.  He felt badly enough to call me later and tell me about a modern church built by a local architect, designed so that the sun fell on the altar at Christmas, Easter, and St. John’s Day.  As I was an astronomy major, I was fascinated and called John Garber to set up a meeting at the church.  Our first words after introducing ourselves were “Where do you go to college?”  “Wellesley.”  “What’s your major?”  “Astronomy.”  “Would you like a job?”
The job was teaching astronomy to his children at their summer place on the Damariscotta River.  He had hired someone else to teach gardening.  He was interested in the Neolithic Age, which is when people discovered agriculture, settled down, began to build big buildings, and observed the sky.  So the beginnings of agriculture, architecture and astronomy were all together.  He also told me that Stonehenge was an astronomical computer, he had read Gerald Hawkin’s article in Nature, which had just been published.

I was already planning a trip to Europe in the fall with a fellow student.  We started in Ireland, and looked for neolithic ruins all along the way.  We got to Stonehenge in November.  The guard was just locking the gate.  We pleaded but he ignored us and left.  We looked at the three strands of barbed wire between us and Stonehenge, and climbed through them.  We had Stonehenge all to ourselves, a wonderful experience, as the sun shone through rents in the clouds and we could see sunbeams stalking over Salisbury Plain.

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