By Larry Beahan
The brand new College at Buffalo medical school downtown is an architectural marvel. I stand in amazement at its hovering glass, seven-story, gentle-stuffed atrium, its terracotta “rainscreen” exterior and its statuary-adorned subway station basement.
My coronary heart and thoughts spin again to 1951 once I enrolled in UB’s medical school, then housed in a very totally different constructing on nearly the identical spot at Primary and Excessive streets. Mine was the final class to make use of this decreasing brick and crimson-sandstone Italian Renaissance palazzo. After us, the medical school retreated to subdued yellow-brick quarters on Bailey Avenue.
After I was 12 I walked previous the previous medical school to swim on the Buffalo Flip Verein constructing simply down Excessive, at Ellicott Avenue. On my proper was a saddlery store with a horse model. On my left was the medical school. College students in white coats lounged on low stone partitions earlier than it. The constructing’s outsized, arched double doorways, I used to be instructed, had been there so carriages could possibly be pushed inside and professors may debark their carriages shielded from the climate.
Certainly, once I had the privilege of coming into these doorways, the inside courtroom was spacious sufficient to accommodate a carriage and group of horses. A brief flight of deeply worn stone steps led arrivals from there up into school rooms, workplaces and labs.
Time dims my recollections. I've no pictures of the inside. However the imaginative and prescient I retain of our medical library simply rivals that seven-story atrium of the fashionable constructing. As a substitute of vivid vastness, our library was cosy, dim and mythically snug. The partitions had been stone, the passages arched, the tables of heavy planks. The entire was surrounded by a balcony of tiny examine alcoves. Books upon historic books lined the cabinets.
In 1893 on the previous school’s dedication, Dr. Charles Cary stated: “It was partly for the sake of this educating affect, in addition to for financial system, energy, security, and cleanliness, that the open system of inner development was adopted, which avoids all hid areas, and exposes each plank and timber and each pipe to view – in order that a stroll by means of the constructing could also be stated to be a lesson in anatomy.”
Which may be so however we discovered our anatomy within the lab from 20 beneficiant, deceased human beings, poised on stark metallic tables and lined with sheets. The stunning expertise of dissecting their flesh set us other than others without end. I bear in mind, with blended terror and affection, professor Oliver P. “O.P.” Jones, who guided us by means of that have.
I see him now, tall, balding, bespectacled standing earlier than the 5-foot-broad kidney-formed mahogany desk within the pit of the school amphitheater, a wry smile on his face, about to crack a joke or make a vital level.
Saturday mornings had been osteology recitation. We referred to as it “blood letting.” O.P. would decide up a femur or metatarsaland say, “Beahan, give us the identify of this bone and level out its muscle attachments … in case you assume you possibly can.”
Pray God, I remembered or died below O.P’s scorn.
We had our revenge. Anatomists give their names to anatomical particulars. O.P. had a pot stomach. When he leaned again, his white shirt opened above his belt. This anatomic area has turn out to be “the triangle of Jones.”
I rode the streetcar down Primary to school, lugging a microscope in a 30-inch picket case, and books. Now subway trains will deposit fashionable college students instantly indoors virtually the place O.P.’s blood sport passed off. The basement subway will make the journey significantly simpler however it may’t evaluate to the magnificence of the previous carriage manner entrance.
Larry Beahan, M.D., a retired psychiatrist, lives in Amherst.