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Hogwarts at Hamilton!

March 30, 2007   

Over Winter Break, I neglected my brand new colossal copy of John Updike’s stories to follow the exploits of Harry, Ron, and Hermione once again. I think I excused the choice by calling it preparation for the upcoming movie and seventh book, but honestly, I wanted to pretend I went to Hogwarts – because who doesn’t want to be a wizard, with an owl and a wand and all sorts of adventures? Once, though, I actually was a wizard.

I went through a dark phase during high school that was essentially centered on the works of J.K. Rowling – I spent a good year of my life writing fanfiction and re-reading the four books that were available at the time. When I came to Hamilton, I immediately volunteered to participate in Hogwarts at Hamilton, solely for the name. Even though my fanfiction days were far behind me at that point, I was still ridiculously excited to actually be a Hufflepuff, if only for a weekend. Every year around Halloween, Hamilton students decorate the ELS building to look like an English castle of classrooms, don ties and cloaks, and re-enact Harry Potter.

Students and community members (and veritable hordes of small children) come through for tours of “Hogwarts,” while the “students” perform skits based on their assigned classes. I was Hannah Abbott (which was my own idea and therefore solidifies my secret identity as a dork), and was a student in Care of Magical Creatures, along with Neville Longbottom and Madame Pomfrey. Hagrid was also there, of course, enacted by a rugby player who now lives in the suite above mine. Snape, coincidentally, lives next door. Two other students volunteered to be mermaids, which involved a lot of cadaverous-like makeup and fake seaweed, while I stuck my hair in pigtails and talked like a Liverpool pipsqueak.

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities at Hamilton, but Hogwarts at Hamilton might be the easiest way to do some good and have an awesome time simultaneously. After we did our little scene (where Hagrid poorly translated some Mermish and I asked a lot of questions about the giant squid), the touring kids could ask questions. One particularly precocious visitor told us all about the Strait of Gibraltar. Later, a few of my friends came through in Halloween costumes (one went as a Slim Jim) and did their best to humiliate me, to no avail.

I still have the cloak in my closet – I’m pretty tempted to break it out and revisit my former, more magical days.