Plaque Project: Hunter Moorman ’60

Hunter Moorman’s plaque is of him, blindfolded, about to whack a piñata. At the beginning, Hunter didn’t know what he could possibly carve to symbolize and represent his entire Middlesex experience. Simultaneously, he was busy pondering the topic of his college essay for his applications. He wondered, like every other Middlesex student, what he cared about enough to write about, and was “filled with a sense of frustration and supressed—what?” It was something not expressed, something uncertain, and awaiting discovery: the future. The outcomes of college, the adult world, work, and even himself, were all unknown.

The piñata, therefore, symbolizes this bunch of question marks in Hunter’s life. Graduation was fast approaching, and eventually he would indeed break this metaphorical piñata and the unknown would become known.

The carving process itself was part of his experience as well. The “woodworking master” at that time was Loring Coleman, “a marvelous artist.” In Hunter’s eyes, not only did woodworking transform from a task into an artistic expression, but the group of guys (there were only guys back then) carving with him were interesting and different than his normal friends, so the “normal social constraints of group and identity seemed to relax” as united, they all rushed to finish their plaques in the last spring months before graduation. Roy Orbison’s hit “Pretty Woman” was at the top of the charts and often played on the radio while they carved, eventually defining those days for him, as “certain rock ‘n’ roll songs seem to define most of [his] days at school.”

For a long time, however, he couldn’t stand to look at his plaque. To him, it was crudely done and unimaginative. It took him a while to feel comfortable with the “roiling feelings” that his plaque tried to express. Now, he sees his plaque as a rich source of memory and identity that defines both his past and his present.

-Written by Katie ’12