26 August 2009

1983 Dorm Room

Today's Commentators ME & DB pictured above

That's A Turn Table - - It Played Records

Dorm With A View
Jack Kramer in the Corner

What an antique store. I've had these negatives for years but never printed them. Scanners are slow but they sure as hell beat dektol, stop bath and fixer.

I returned to this college one Summer and since my old room was on the ground floor and just off the courtyard - - I swung by for a look. The window was open and I pressed my face against the screen. My room had changed very little. But what took me back - -what threw me back to 1983 - - was the smell. It's an old building with a distinct scent. Like the giant boxwood hedge at my great grandmother's house in NC. I wish I could bottle it.

Ten minutes of smelling my old room and I moved on. Stopped by a history professor's office during his black beans and rice lunch. He offered me a chair and we chatted but he didn't remember me. He did give me an odd look. Same thing with a popular English professor. Didn't know me from Adam but he cocked his head at an angle and squinted at me while I talked.

I moved on to a popular tavern and had a beer at the bar. I mentioned to the bartender I had gone to the college 15 years ago and was doing the memory tour. I asked her who owned the bar nowadays. She said she didn't know and ran off. That was odd. The place wasn't crowded at all. In fact, it was dead.

Walking back to the car I couldn't help but think it was a strange day. Thomas Wolfe was right about going back. I sat in the car, adjusted the rear view mirror and saw perfect little squares of black dirt over my entire face from my old window screen. As I wiped it off ... I wondered why no one said anything. Today, the administration likes to ask alumni what attracted them to the college. I always say the look of it hooked me. The faculty kept me. But the smell and the dirt keep me coming back.

34 comments:

longwing said...

Nice room. Mine was like a cube in a high rise and I didn't keep it very nice. Being post military must have made you something of a standout.

I've got a fraternity reunion at homecoming this year. 33 years after pledging. Should be fun. I hope some of the old girls will show up. The guys, I think, are mostly fat. I'm going back.

M.Lane said...

A really fine post. Love the dirt squares!! Your room is a LOT more artistic than mine circa 1978. The authorities made me give up all the photos. But the Farrah Fawcett poster was there, of that you may be certain...

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Donaska said...

I love that musty, old wood smell! Sadly, this morning I walked into that same building (just down the hall from your old dorm room)to my office and noticed that it smelled "CLEAN" - what happened to that wonderful musty, dirty "historic" smell? Students are due to arrive on Saturday and they are cleaning too much! Hopefully, when the students settle in, housekeeping will let up a little and it will return to it's old self!

Paul said...

I was just there -

Things must change - and some say you can never to go back - or it won't be as you remembered it. But yes, close your eyes, smell the warm air, and your there!

Cheers,

TWJ said...

Tintin,
Love the post. At that time I was in Major Williams Hall, 5th floor at VaTech. We were in the quad next to the cadets. Simular room layout as yours and the smell, oh I can still remember it now. It always reminded me of the smell of the basement of the house at my grandfathers farm in south western Va. Oh yes, the Jack Kramer, I still have mine with a cover and in a racket frame. I think I had it re-strung about four times. Every once in a while the kids get it out and laugh at it. I remember thinking that PRINCE was going to change the world with their new design. And yes, I guess they did.

TWJ

Anonymous said...

my high school has been razed
my fraternity house is no more and the campus has gone from pastoral to research center megaplex.
the drive from chicago to there is now all strip malls. ..

I think post wwii has been a the most drastic non violent change in history - suburbanization and mass construction..

Anonymous said...

Tintin,
I see you were a SCTV fan. Loved that show. That room is so clean for a guy. No pizza boxes or beer cans anywhere. D

Anonymous said...

I just love that story! I was beginning to think you had one of those "parallel universe" time travel things where no one knows that you ever existed, yet everything else is normal.

Maybe it's still the case. You could wake up tomorrow and revisit and everyone would act fine. They'd even ignore the dirty black squares. I would have worn them as a badge of honor for the rest of the day - proof that I was once there, fell in love with the place, and made it back. To love it again.

Yours has to be the least frat of any dorm room I've seen. By design, natch. Noted: the ranger hat, Illya Kuriaken, the gloved hand on the Fiat stick, those handsome men in ponchos.

-DB

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

The window screen facial Hilarious!
Like the girl who hit it off with a guy at a party. He invited her to dinner, more fun, then drove her home. He just shook hands at her door and left. Perturbed, she resigned herself to disappointment and proceeded to prepare to brush her teeth before bed. Looking in the bathroom mirror, she found a large piece of spinach stuck to her front tooth.
BTW. Enjoyed seeing my painting of the good ship Cutty Sark on dorm wall.

ZZ said...

Looks like Rollins College, the Spanish/Moorish style, the palm trees. Nice place to hang out, if it was. Actually, nice place to hang out if it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

I like the St. Pauli Girl, what.

Anonymous said...

college=waste of time and money.
big joke.
worthless.
like almost everything else in America.

Ben said...

I lived in 3 memorable dorm rooms, freshman and sophomore year, and again my first year in law school. I wish I'd photographed them, even if they weren't much to look at.

Cathleen said...

Hi Tintin-

I would guess University of Tampa . . .

Love looking at these pictures - definitely a bygone era. Most college guys I knew who had clean dorm rooms, such as your room, did this partly because they were fastidiously tidy, but also because they liked to entertain girls there. (I'm from the pre-coed dorm days when visiting hours were limited.)

Is that a hairdryer on top of the cassette suitcase?

tintin said...

Long- The president of the Young Republicans asked me join my freshman year. I told him I was a Democrat and he was shocked. I had a very small group of friends but the friends I had in college are still my friends today.

M Lane- These pics were taken after they made me take the cargo parachute down from the ceiling.

Donaska- They don't know what they have and they never will.

Paul- I had to delete part of your comment. I have friends of mine who think I went to college in Cuba.

TWJ- The Prince was catching on big. I bought a used one from a guy on the tennis team for $20 but I stuck with the Kramer for another year or so.

Anon 10:54 - I would have to agree with you.

D- The early SCTV from the mid70's was the best and strangest TV I've ever seen. It was pure genius. And I was not neat. I just knew how to hide stuff.

DB- Who knew you were such a Clint? Me, that's who.

Dad, Yes, that Cutty was a favorite. I have no idea where it is. I had to leave all the art behind when I graduated and moved to NYC with everything in one duffel bag. Maybe T knows.

ZZ- It was just outside Havana.

Anon 14:14 Cheers, yeah.

Anon 15:16 Best 4 years of my life. Maybe 'cause I did it after the Army. I was grateful for it. All of it. The social and the books. I would'a never read Chaucer or Milton and I'm glad I did. And it's a place I can go back to for the rest of my life.

Ben - Can't remember why I did it except I was a work grant in the PR Dept and had free access to the darkroom, film, chemicals and paper.

tintin said...

Cathleen- How do people see this room as neat? The bed is unmade, drawers are open, crap is everywhere. I think that's a Penthouse on the desk. Note, you cannot see the floor. We had tough rules. No booze on campus. No interdorm visitation. All selling points to Daddys whose girls were leaving home for the 1st time. I did figure out how to get girls in my room and booze as well. I had a cocktail shaker and made the mistake of trying to shake a gin and tonic one night in front of a female visitor. It was messy but fun.

Anonymous said...

You toiled over many a paper for Dr. D. in that space! ME

wstroby said...

I laughed my ass off the first time I heard that screen story a few years back, and I just did again.

Those photos are like little time machines. Good to see the old Iron Mike, back when it was still intact.

tintin said...

ME- No kidding. If any of the BS I wrote in that room stuck to the walls...Well, that might explain the smell.

wstroby- The Ex wanted to throw the Iron Mike out because it was broken at the base. I told her no and that I intended to have it repaired (still haven't).

She asked me how it broke and when I told her MM threw it at me, missed my head by an inch and it hit the wall and broke... The Ex said...

Uh, never mind what she said. You know, I think it best I stop here.

Anonymous said...

dance hall

tintin said...

Anon 13:27 - The first Victorian building to come along and you leave it out? I'm amazed.

Anonymous said...

Is it really a Victorian building? I was going to comment that it's cool you had a dorm room that was, well, a room with mantle even.

Where I was, most dorms are 60s-70s concrete block soviet style projects.

heavy tweed jacket said...

Great post. I haven't thought of an old dorm room in a long time. I wish I had taken photos of my dorm rooms, though they wouldn't have probably been fit to look at. The fans in the window are a very nostalgic touch.

tintin said...

HTJ- I didn't think these were fit to look at which is why I never printed them but 20+ years later and the patina sings. Good hearing from you.

Anonymous said...

Ta'er at The Mint enquiring of a Docent: "Uh, which un's're Tintin's pater Mr. Phred's works?"

Docent: Regretabbly, Suh, I'm unfamiliar with the artiste. Could you elaborate on the subject?

Me: Huh?

Docent: Could you describe the paintings, Suh?

Me: Uhhhhhhhh, dunno. Likker bottle labels?

Docent: Unfortunately, we have no exhibts of that genre.

Me: Well then, don't 'spect no tip.

(Seriously, what's Mr. Phred's Mint metier, if that's the appropriate foreignism for which one strains?)

tintin said...

Tater- American Gothic and Whistler's Mother...but in a contemporary take.

Anonymous said...

I could have hit the intended target had it been absolutely necessary...ME :)

Anonymous said...

I could have hit the intended target had it been absolutely necessary...ME :)

tintin said...

Sweetie, You were too close to have missed on purpose.

ADG said...

Great post. The window fans remind me of how unbearably hot the my room was in a hundred year old fratty house.

Longwang-the fratty reunion will be fun. Don't expect esthetic nirvana when viewing the gals.

tintin said...

ADG-It was damned hot and humid. And in winter it was damned cold and wet. But who remembers that.

I love to see how women age. Those who have done so with grace despite the pounds and lines and wrinkles versus the ultra thin, botoxed, bottle blondes with their French manicure and recent divorce from the contractor husband who was caught planking a 25 year old.

Life is so much easier when we realize what and who we are and are happy about it. Have fun Longwing and report back.

Dickie said...

It's like the two page line drawing from the OPH - all the pieces are there...

Awesome.

Anonymous said...

looks like Flagler, picture of Castillo on mantel.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I love the pictures! My first visit back was in summer of 2006. I pushed past the No Trespassing signs and showed my daughters my third floor dorm room, conveniently next to the fire escape so I could sneak cute guys like you in for fun and games!
Now my youngest daughter wants to attend Flagler... when we went for the tour I took them for lunch at Scarlett's and as we passed George's, I smiled ... it is a wonder that I graduated. MB