Not Nostrums, But Normalcy

There comes a time to take off the mask and remove quarantine drag for a return to those more privileged times when the living was easy. Following the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic after World War I, in a smoke-filled room, presidential candidate Warren Harding opined, “America’s need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy.”

My California grandsons are in Co-Vid 19 bind together with their coast to coast classmates. Weston’s Crossroads School ceremony is cancelled and instead will have a ritualistic video. Jared, his NYU-Tisch School brother remains quarantined at home pursuing virtual classes thousands of miles from Washington Square. Influenced by personal circumstance, here’s my normalcy suggestion for this year’s social distanced graduation day.

J. Press has many ideal gift items honoring alumni or current students to keep campus campfires burning at home. University hoodies, T-shirts and baseball caps remain available “Weekender” items keep the flame ablaze with Madras shirts, seersucker Bermuda shorts, “heyday” Blue Blazers above and beyond adorned with J. Press OCBDs, khaki trousers and repp stripe belts are available for delayed keg celebrations.

In healthier climes my own graduation came fraught with paternal strife. Returning to Hanover for the first time since depositing me in my freshman dorm, the first order of business for Paul Press was a visit to the J. Press showroom he hadn’t seen in four years. I had previously leaned on Jack Kennedy, Dartmouth road-traveler, to keep it between us that I refurbished the slender space with standup bar, poker table and chairs. My exposure was imminent. Dad erupted when he saw the place. “What the hell’s going on here, it looks like a Vegas whorehouse.”

Fatherly pride with his son’s Dartmouth B.A. overcame the showroom post-traumatic stress, even permitting him to overlook my non-J. Press James Campion 1959 class blazer hidden beneath my flowing graduation robe.


Oh, if only for a return to normalcy.







As a fellow Dartmouth alum, I can’t help but correct the nearly 100 year-old Faux Pas. The more appropriate word is “normality”.

PreppyWashingtonian May 14, 2020

We share a graduation year, but my school is Illinois Wesleyan. I traded at your Cambridge shop when I was at HBS. I am glad to be on your website now.

DENNIS E STARK May 14, 2020

As a COVID-19 front-liner in nursing home administration, I’m proud of the honest wear exhibited by frayed linings and patched elbows of my J. Press blazers which I still wear to work every day.

Robert W. Emmaus May 12, 2020

If the world becomes untitled again- I cant wait to order custom shirts from Andrew again in NYC-
It’s been nice to order somethings here in Pasadena- in hope of dome type of social normalcy late summer.
Till then thank you for your stories! Although this one was too short!

Sims May 11, 2020

Dick. I really enjoy your Hanover musings. Thanks. Bob

Bob Werbel May 11, 2020

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