Coming Home Again

During my time at Nobles, I’ve been lucky enough to call the Castle home–twice, actually. My first experience as a Castle resident was about discovery, while my second stint was very much about recovery.

Truth be told, when I moved to the Castle in August 2006, it was the first time I had ever lived alone; I had always shared a space with siblings or roommates. I was thrilled to live on campus, in my own studio apartment, but I was also nervous. It was impossibly hot that moving day; my father took one look at the winding staircase leading up to my second-floor apartment, and announced that next time, he would chip in to hire movers. It was a long day, and then I spent most of the evening unpacking. With the newness and excitement of it all, I was hard-pressed to fall asleep that night.

I laid in bed, listening to the sounds of my new home, the Castle, thinking about this adventure I was starting. It was close to 3 a.m. and I knew I needed to sleep. I was fighting a summer cold and thought some cough medicine might help, so I got out of bed. I was mid-pour when I heard an odd noise. It didn’t take long to figure it out. Out of the corners of the bathroom, a bat swooped down at me. I screamed, threw the cough syrup in the air, and dove into the main room. The bat followed me, circling above me and my dog, who just looked curiously at the creature. I dropped to the ground and Army-crawled to the door, lifting myself up just enough to reach the handle and pull it open. The bat eventually made its way into the corridor (In retrospect, it would have made more sense to open the door to the balcony. Hindsight is 20/20). I was frazzled and terrified.  After a sweep of the apartment, my puppy and I took refuge under the covers for the night despite the heat. I don’t think I slept a wink.

I lived in that space for a year–and, bat attacks aside–loved it. This is a wonderful community and I discovered a lot about Nobles, the Castle and, most importantly, myself.

I moved off campus into a small, one bedroom apartment in Newton. It was one of the first times post-college when I felt like a “real adult.” Over the year and half I lived there, I shed my hand-me-down furniture and invested in well-made pieces that fit my style. I loved the neighborhood, and the dog seemed impressed with the big backyard. It was a good fit for us both.

One April morning, I returned from Assembly to see emails and messages from my Newton neighbor, urgently asking me to call him back. When he answered, he sounded out of breath and the background noises made it almost impossible to hear him. He told me I needed to come home–there had been a fire, and although the dog was safe, everything was gone. I didn’t really understand what he meant until I got there. Sure enough, almost everything I owned was burnt, charred or had just simply turned to ash. I was so very thankful that no one was hurt, but it was a hard reality to swallow. I needed to start over.

This community rallied behind me and helped me pull it together. I couldn’t have done it without them–there is no doubt in my mind. Thankfully, there was a vacant apartment in the Castle and Bob Henderson said it was mine. With a crooked smile, I told my father he was off the hook; I didn’t have anything to move this time. But, with the generosity of friends and colleagues, I started to rebuild and recover. Again, I spent time learning a lot about myself. Even now, years later, I am so grateful to this community. I hope they know what it meant to have such love and support when I most needed it.

My old Castle apartment(s) look very different post-renovation. The space is beautiful and I am so happy to see so many faculty and staff call the building home. It will always have a very special place in my heart.

-Julie Guptill

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