Winter 2001
Volume 5 Number 2

Free Room Service

John E. Huegel (‘54B, ‘57M) recalls that he, PTS president Tom Gillespie (‘54B), and classmate Vahe Simonian (‘53B) all lived on the third floor of Brown Hall while students at PTS. One evening at about 9:00 p.m., when John had just returned from a field trip with one of the Gospel Teams, he noticed considerable commotion on the hall. Some of the residents quickly informed John that a trick was being played on Tom and Vahe.

John was not particularly interested in becoming an accomplice, so he retired for the night. Later, at about 11:30 p.m., he heard a loud “booming roar” from down the hall. Vahe, whose thunderous voice could be heard all over Brown Hall, and Tom, who didn’t know quite what to make of it all, were both standing in the hallway. The two had just returned from their weekend preaching assignments to find that their rooms were completely bare. There was not a pin in the place—beds, dressers, bookcases, chairs, personal items, and even the carpet had been taken out and carefully placed in different rooms all over the dorm.

John never found out how long it took them to retrieve their belongings and to get their rooms back into shape. However, he does recall the looks on the faces of his two classmates on that night more than forty-six years ago.

A “Sunday” to Remember

Fred E. Christian (‘34B) shares an anecdote from the final year that Miller Chapel faced Mercer Street, before it was moved in 1933. 

“The guest speaker that night was Billy Sunday, and Dr. Charles Erdman was sitting in the front row, aisle seat. Sunday had developed a reputation as a performer who used many innovations, which was at once evident. On a raiser in the center of the chancel was a small easel and pad, on which was written one word per page. Each word suggested to Billy Sunday his next thought as he raced across the platform. “Sin.” “Grace.” etc.

“During his talk, he began reflecting on his age, and suddenly said, ‘I am nearing 75, but watch!’ With that he took off from the center of the chancel and with one giant leap headed for the wall. With what might be described as a slide into second base, he touched the wall under the window with his foot as he picked himself up in an agile manner.

“The climactic moment for us students came later, however. Billy got to the word “church” on the note pad and took off on a tirade about ‘cold churches.’ You should know that Dr. Erdman was the pastor of “First Church” in Princeton, as what is now Nassau Presbyterian Church was then known. It was not the warm, inviting body that it now is. Billy rose to his climax and said as loudly as he could: ‘Why, some churches are so cold you could skate down the center aisle, how about that Charlie?’ The nape of Dr. Erdman’s neck grew florid.

“That evening marks in my mind the closing of Miller Chapel on Mercer Street. We returned to classes the next fall only to see a vacant space between what was then Dr. Blackwood’s home and Alexander Hall. Miller Chapel had been lifted and turned bodily to face toward the quadrangle.”

 Fortune-tellers Need Not Apply!

Joel Mattison (‘54B) shares a story that he thought he understood during his student days at PTS, but admits that it has grown in significance over the years.

He recalls that one morning Dr. Norman Victor Hope, PTS professor of church history, closed his lecture by telling the class about a group of Scottish youths who had gathered outside a church and were discussing their visit to a fortune-teller the previous Saturday night. 

Trying to have a bit of fun with an elderly lady in their midst, one of them turned to her and asked, “Are you going to the fortune-teller?” Her quick reply was: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. That is all the fortune-telling that I need!”

If you have humorous anecdotes or photographs relating something funny from your days at Princeton Seminary, send them to us at Funny You Should Remember, c/o inSpire, P. O. Box 821, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803 or by email to Of course, the editors reserve the right to decide what is appropriate for this column.

© Copyright 2001 Princeton Theological Seminary
The URL for this page is last updated 03/09/01

In This Issue


All Things Bright and Beautiful
One of Scheide’s New Tenants: PTS’s Director of Student Counseling
To Be Boring or to Be Bored: That Is the Question
The Master Key: Unlocking the Relationship of Theology and Psychology


From the President's desk
Letters to the Editor
outStanding in the Field
Class Notes
End Things
Student Life
On & Off Campus
Alumni/ae Update
Investing in Ministry
inSpire Staff

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