The Lamp is Born

The following is an article which was written by Layne Bruens '72 when she was a BGSU Firelands student and contributor to the newly created college newsletter, "The Lamp".  "The Lamp" was published from 1969 until 1983 when it was replaced by "The Plough," a literary magazine.  The following article was originally published on October 13, 1969 in the second edition of the publication.



A light in the wilderness glows. The pioneer’s faith is renewed. Can this be a place of refuge? Hoping against hope the brave man forges on. The nearer he gets he discovers not one but many lights – strange lights – five huge, round globes. His mind ponders the settlement he has found. Rows and rows of shiny automobiles, long, long concrete walks leading to two brightly lit buildings. Surely, here he will find a friend. His eyes focus on these strange lamps. Why such a design?

Ah well, what can it matter? The pioneer feels frost-bite creeping towards his ankles. Suddenly, a huge crowd rushes from one building to the next. The pioneer is swept into this pulsating mob. As the mob disperses he finds himself in a room emitting a terrifying and deafening roar. An arm reaches out and grabs the pioneer. A pointed stick is stuck in his hand and he is now engrossed in a game, “pool”. He finds himself now in with a group of students. He has found his place in this throbbing mass. One of the pioneer’s new friends decides he needs to be warmed. The pioneer is shoved through the crowd until they reach a table near the door marked MEN. His friend disappears to return with two glasses of steaming coffee. The pioneer is indeed happy to receive the coffee, for his is still half frozen from his long journey. Another more distinguished settler appears. This must be one of the elders. The elder sits with them and fall to discussing the learning possibilities of apprenticing yourself to him. The pioneer is impressed. The elders, or professors as some of his new friends call them, are groovy.

The pioneer decides to “sit-in” on some of these training sessions. He finds the materials they have to work with are quite advanced. The pioneer is again impressed by these task-masters and their training sessions.

In time, the pioneer becomes more enthusiastic about the settlement and decides to start a weekly newspaper. Here sits our pioneer, in the town square, disenchanted, lacking a name for his news sheet. He is approached by the elder known to his friends as “Shakespeare, Jr.”

He explains his purpose is to find a name which would represent the apprentices, task-masters, their training sessions, the materials and the repetition of settlement customs. The elder smiles, my son, these lamps are fashioned in that respect. They are a modern version of the lamps of knowledge. They symbolize students, faculty, curriculum, tradition, and facilities. And, my son, remember….”The play’s the thing”….Exit Shakespeare, Jr.

So, this is what those strange lamps mean. “The Lamp”, what a name, what symbolization!

Our pioneer suddenly realizes, the Firelands Settlement is quite a place here for a brief period of his life. He can shape his destiny.

Here we leave our pioneer to function as he will.