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photo of Mary J. Hughes and Thomas W. Perry

32 years.  Mary J. Hughes, adjunct professor in the A&S honors program, and Thomas W. Perry, emeritus associate professor of history, in hughes's Gasson Hall office
HUGHES: I have this whole mental category that's called Tom. I read things or I hear things and I immediately think, "I must discuss this with Tom" or "Tom would be so interested in this."

PERRY: I have an in-box, like a file in a stack, with her initials on it. It works the same way.

They met in 1969 when Perry hired Hughes as his teaching assistant.

HUGHES: After Tom's lectures, we'd come back to his office and we'd talk about the substance of the course, the discussion sections and what topics he wanted me to cover and so on, and that just naturally led into other things, other common interests.

PERRY: Travel . . .

HUGHES: Gardening, history, architecture, food, antiques.

PERRY: You tell her the story of the head.

HUGHES: All right, here's an example.

PERRY: We're both interested in cooking.

HUGHES: This probably didn't take place until--near the end of the first year? We were both interested in cooking and Tom and his wife were having a dinner party for which he was going to make a roast suckling pig. And I was fascinated by all the details of making a roast suckling pig a la Julia Child. I remember that Child gave two possible ways to arrange the pig for service. This was a whole pig.

PERRY: In the mouth you have an apple.

HUGHES: And the day after the dinner party when we next had lunch, I was dying to hear how it went. As soon as we sat down I said, "OK, tell me, how was the pig?" And he reached into his green book bag and produced the head of the pig! With the apple in the mouth!

PERRY: Yuck!

HUGHES: And a necklace of orange peel around the neck. That broke whatever ice had remained.

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