Well, Jenn and I are officially the parents of a kid who’s off at college.
After some late-night car-packing-Tetris (including a late-game miracle “hey-where’s-the-chair-going” solution from Kelsey) last Thursday, the three of us got up a couple hours before dawn on Friday and headed west, then north, to Eastern Michigan University.
EMU seems to have the traffic flow and vehicle unloading system down to a science: Plenty of signs on the roads in directing everyone to their specific buildings; efficient use of the small adjacent parking lots to get stuff out of cars and onto the sidewalks and grass, then redirecting to larger, more distant parking for the rest of the day. Kelsey queued up to get her key and get signed in while we waited by her belongings. An army of student volunteers helped everyone’s families carry their things to their rooms when it was time.
I’ve thought a lot over the past few weeks about moving over to Bowling Green State University with my friend Adam in the fall of 1989, and I raided the family photo albums in search of pictures.
This one looks like it’s from a day or two prior to our move. I seem to be sick of packing.
Which reminds me: I think it’s time for me to bring back my distinctive three-wristwatch look, this time with each timepiece set to a different city.
I feel like moving to college was a much bigger hassle for Adam & me, although Kelsey and her roommates smartly planned ahead and combined their resources – so she didn’t need to bring a refrigerator, for instance. The biggest things we packed were a folding living-room chair, a microwave, and an unassembled floor fan.
Here’s a shot from my own college move-in, with half-hidden flashback joys such as rabbit ears on the black & white TV and a bowling pin (room aesthetics, y’know). Also, that thigh-high box there next to the fridge? That, kids, is a single speaker from Adam’s kick-ass stereo. There was another just like it, plus the stereo system itself, slightly larger. Occupied a nice chunk of precious dorm room real estate, but it was (at least in memory) unparalleled in our hall.
Also: I do not know what is up with that striped shirt I’m wearing. I seem to think Adam gave it to me, but he claims to have no memory of it. (Heck, if it wasn’t for these pictures, I wouldn’t admit to having worn it either.)
So here’s me, first day of college:
…and here’s the shot my parents took from the parking lot. Adam and I lived in Chapman Hall, Harshman Quad.
It occurred to me that this picture reflects my parents dropping their first kid off at college, and Adam’s parents dropping off their last.
Now, that’s all there was that day at BGSU, as far as I can recall. My brothers remember it similarly: We drove to Bowling Green, moved in, probably ate lunch at the McDonald’s or Wendy’s across the street, and then they left.
After we got Kelsey moved into her dorm at EMU, there was a picnic lunch for students and families, so we picked up some sandwiches, salad and pasta, and ate at the edge of the campus pond. There was a convocation planned for 2 p.m., so before that, we went and picked up Kelsey’s books and a few supplies, and walked them back to her room.
The ceremony at the convocation center was only about an hour long, I think. When it was done, we said goodbye, and the students headed out as a group for a class photo on the football field:
I’m proud and excited and nervous for all of us – Kelsey, Jenn and me – as the journey continues.
I was a huge Jim’s Journal fan from my first exposure to the comic during my freshman year at Bowling Green State University, fall of 1989.
Which means I’m hugely excited that Scott Dikkers has brought him back.
New strips and classics running daily at GoComics!
I’m fairly certain that I do, in fact, remember the night at BGSU that Adam is talking about in his most recent “End of the Eighties” flashback on New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that my corroboration is something less than trustworthy.
At any rate, whether what follows is actually a part of that night or from an evening of similar events – I’ll add this small bit of reawakened and semi-related memory:
Early that freshman year, while we were all hanging out in Jeff’s room, I was sitting on the lower bunk when an odd realization crept into my head.
I was sitting on the lower bunk. Just sitting there, legs off the side, goofing around, not even noticing that I was sitting on the lower bunk.
This is important why? Because back in our room, sitting on the lower bunk was impossible. Oh, I slept there just fine – Adam had the top bunk – but the space between the top my mattress and the bottom of his support springs was just enough for me to prop my head up on my pillow and read with a book leaning against my knees. To actually sit on my bunk chair-style, you had to put your butt on the very edge of the mattress and rest your elbows on your legs, sticking your shoulders, neck and head out from beneath Adam’s bed frame.
So here I am in Jeff’s room, and it dawns on me that man does this lower bunk have some serious head space: I can sit straight up!
This is when we take notice of the four metal extenders which insert into the top of the bottom set of bedposts and click solidly into the bottom of the upper bed’s legs. They’re probably about 16 or 18 inches long, and not only do they make things roomier, they … secure … the beds …
HOLY SHIT I’VE BEEN SLEEPING ON THE BOTTOM OF A STEEL HOUSE OF CARDS!
Indeed: When Adam and I moved into our dorm room the week before school, we opted, as many roommates do, to bunk the beds and save space. We had wooden lofts ordered, but they weren’t due for delivery for a couple weeks, so we just stacked the beds. Yes, seriously – we just stacked one bed on the other. Now, granted, the beds went in a corner, so there were two walls of support, but still, the corner posts of these things were only maybe two inches by two inches, so it’s not like there was a lot of wiggle room.
Either Adam or I suddenly pointed to these support posts and, it what must have seemed quite the non sequitur, demanded of Jeff: “Hey – where did you get these?!?”
“Um … they give them out when you tell them you want to stack the beds.”
Our friends Jen and Erin support his assertion: “Yeah. You just go to the front desk and ask for a set.”
The light bulb goes on collectively as we all realize that I have been dozing in a deathtrap every night, with naught but sixteen square inches of contact surface between me and a Sherman-tank-worthy dorm room bed poised above.
It is, naturally, hilarious.
And yes, Adam and I left them that way until they delivered our lofts. (Because now, ladies, John Booth was a man living on the edge, a man looking danger in the face, a man too lazy to bother with common self-preservation sense.)
At the end of the year, when they took the lofts out, we did get a set of those supports for the last few weeks of school. No sense in pushing my luck.
Jenn just found this lying around the other day. I remember rediscovering it fairly recently but losing track of it again, so now I’ve taken the step of preserving it electronically, because it’s a reminder of a strange and fun little slice of my Bowling Green years:
Yes, “John Wilkes Booth” was my radio name on 88.1 fm WBGU (“The Shark!”) effectively cutting off the assassination-of-Lincoln jokes at the knees, see? Also, it required extraordinarily little effort in its creation.
And as on-air, er, “talent,” we were given free rein regarding flyer creation and posting and generous access to the BGSU administrative copy services. This was, I think, the only promotional material I ever made. Photo scanning and manipulation courtesy of my friend Jeff, who had the awesomest computer setup 1990 could provide, because not only did it allow you to create lasting and important art like this, but you could also play Marble Madness.