Cla(i)res of Cenyon
For a small school, there sure are a lot of people with the same name. You know the names… Emmas, Liams, An(n)ikas, and Cla(i)res. Recently, The Cla(i)res of Kenyon got together for some shenanigans that only people with the same name can take part in. The following is an interview with Clare Livingston ’18, who orchestrated this beautiful moment.
What inspired you to call upon the Cla(i)res?
The decision to call upon the Cla(i)res (I put the “i” in parenthesis for the inclusion of Clare Chou and myself) was completely impulsive. I’d had a conversation last year with Claire Tomasi in the Deli last year after, being the only two people there, both standing up when the name Cla(i)re was called. She proceeded to tell me that something like 2% of her class (Class of 2017) was named some version of Cla(i)re. Weirder still, there was an absurd amount of Claire Elizabeths. So there I was, sitting in an adirondack chair in front of Olin with friends at the start of September 2015 and I looked up Cla(i)re with every letter last name on Gmail and wrote a joke email. The rest is history.
Were the Cla(i)res generally receptive to meeting up, or were there some harsh feelings around (regarding different spellings, maybe)?
The Claires were very receptive. I think around 12/15 responded. The other Clare did not respond so it’s just me in a sea of “i” spellings, feeling like the 1%. After some discussion, we made the executive decision not to include Sinclares or Claras for the same reasons that humanity doesn’t include pancakes in the cake category: they just wouldn’t fit in. My parents came to visit recently and they met [a Clara], whom my mom then asked if she was in the Cla(i)re email thread. It was awkward. Any spellings besides Claire and Clare are conspiracy theories started by enemies of the Irish, French, British and Scottish.
How long did it take for you all to meet up?
We made several plans to get together [for a pregame, “drink if you have a ‘c’ in your name, an ‘l’, an ‘a’…], but it never panned out. A few t-shirt ideas were thrown around, as was the line “john green got it wrong, it’s actually “an abundance of Claires”. I knew of at least two particular wonderful Claires going abroad this spring semester, so I knew that something had to be done while we had them on the Hill. With winter break approaching, I found myself making a freaking Doodle at 12:45 am and sent out an impetuously threatening email urging Claires to fill it out. I hope that weird email never resurfaces. Side note: Doodle is inane. I made a facebook event and hoped for a turn out, and allas! The photos were taken by the brilliant Charlotte Lee.
What was it like seeing all the Cla(i)res at once?
It was great since we didn’t have to do introductions. The most interesting part to me was that our friend groups don’t really overlap so people passing us on middle path didn’t put it together that we were all named Cla(i)re.
Are the Cla(i)res planning on doing anything anytime soon?
I don’t know yet what the future has in store for Cla(i)res of Cenyon, but I’ve heard whispers of theme housing… stay tuned.