I am not sure what I am going to do with this. At first I thought it might be a great introduction to a collection of short stories or a story in itself or something like Hemingway’s In Our Time to transition from one story to the next. Maybe it could be a long prose poem or just an essay.
What would college life be without some craziness to add a bit of variety and spice to one’s academic endeavors?
For me, it was the three semesters I spent at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale—in the summer and fall of 1980 and again in the fall of 1983.
Although I didn’t know it at the time when I first started attending classes in the summer of 1980, SIU had a reputation for being one of the top party schools in the nation. Not that it would have made any difference when it came time to choosing a university to attend when I got out of the Air Force in May 1980, but I most certainly would enjoy that so-called party school reputation to the fullest. I might have been a film major, but what I really majored in was having a good time.
I might have only attended SIU for three semesters, but I packed in a lot of memories to last me a lifetime. I also got to meet some really cool and special people like Paul Collin who I was able to track down a few years ago and now we stay in touch quite regularly. Other than David Siegfried (from David and the Happenings), there’s no one else from that period of my life that I keep in touch with.
I first met Paul in the autumn of 1980 when we both were living in Freeman Hall, an off-campus dorm not far from the university and, interestingly enough not far from, believe it or not, Beveridge Street where there was always one party or another happening on the weekends.
Freeman Hall was one bizarre, wild place to live. Paul lived next door to me on the ground floor, which was where most of the zaniness happened. It was your typical off-campus dorm where your die-hard party animals were usually on the first floor. Maybe that is why some people in Freeman Hall often called the ground floor the zoo. The weekends got pretty wild.
Sometimes when I came back to my room after another wild night out, I might have played my music just a little too loud which usually prompted Paul or his roommate Mark to start banging on the wall to get me to turn down the music. Or maybe it was the other way around. The walls were not that thick.
If I am not mistaken one of us might have even punched a hole in the wall allowing us to see into each other’s rooms.
Paul was one of the actors in my first student film, which was pretty lame when I think about it now. I am surprised that I was even able to talk him into even being in it.
In the movie, which also starred Miles, one of my suite mates, Paul pushed Miles around in a shopping cart. I swear after I finished the film I kept on seeing shopping carts everywhere. If I am not mistaken, one day someone had rolled one up to my dorm room. I have often wondered if Paul had done that.
It was Paul’s room that I burst into on December 8, 1980 to tell him that John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York. Paul, who was sitting on a beanbag chair studying, looked up at me and said, “Now I know the world is going to end. Someone shot a Beatle.”