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Dacie Moses Turns 126

February 18, 2009 at 11:07 am
By Collin Hazlett '12

As of February 1st, Dacie Moses is 126 years old.  Even though all Carleton students know who Dacie Moses is, this is still a good place to explain briefly who she is and why her house is special...

After Dacie Moses retired in 1954 from 50 years of employment at Carleton, she opened her house to Carleton students as a place to come at any time to talk, play cribbage, and eat cookies.  Even after her death in 1981, she asked in her will that her house remain open to Carleton students to be used for the same purpose as when she was alive- as a place to come at any time, for conversation, games, and cookies.  Thus, the house is unlocked 24 hours a day, filled with shelves of board games, and continually stocked with baking materials so that students can bake cookies and eat them, as long as they leave any extra cookies at the house for the enjoyment of others.  Every Sunday, there is a Sunday brunch at Dacie Moses House, where people come and bake food as an alternative to the standard LDC/Burton fare.

Sunday Brunch was considerably larger than usual sixth weekend.  The foyer, kitchen, dining room, and living room of Dacie Moses House were packed with people coming to celebrate Dacie Moses's life- about half of whom were Carleton students and half of whom were Dacie Moses's descendants.  There was very little space on the foyer floor that was not covered with the discarded shoes of visitors.  Baked goods and their remnants filled every available square inch of dining surface.

The packed party officially crossed over into fire hazard territory when the Carleton Singing Knights squished themselves in to sing a capella for the party, announcing, as usual, that "if you like us, well that's fine. /And if not, that's too bad for you."  The Knights are accustomed to singing at Dacie Moses House- Dacie Moses let them practice there when she was alive, and they continue to practice there today.  In fact, Dacie Moses's favorite song, Steal Away, is kept permanently in the Singing Knights' repertoire, and they sing it at every concert they give (including, of course, this one).  They also sang a wonderful rendition of Scenic World by Beirut, to which half of the audience members happily bobbed their heads.

After the mini-concert was over and the baked goods had been mostly eaten, the majority of the Carleton students said their goodbyes, fished their shoes out of the gigantic pile that had accumulated in the foyer, and left, while most of Dacie Moses's relatives and some students stayed behind to talk and finish off the remaining crumbs of cake and teaspoons of coffee.

Few people are remembered for so long and celebrated by so many people after their deaths as Dacie Moses.  Her legacy, in addition to being an example of the reverberations that simple kindnesses have on the future of the world, is also a testament to the fact that people just need to bake cookies for each other more often.