Monday, March 31, 2014

Roadrunner Reflections - ASU Memories

Since we were in Mesa for a few weeks we were able to go over to Arizona State in Tempe where I spent four years of my young adult life.  I attended ASU 1971-1975.

It was different even from the last time we were here three years ago.  There were still some familiar landmarks and I was glad to be able to walk from our parking spot on one side of the campus and make it over to the main area  of the campus (to the Memorial Union - MU) without a problem.  Winding through some sidewalks and auditoriums, I remembered a few classes I had take here and there.  We never did make it over to the College of Business where I spend most of my time.

I was struck once again by the different the look of the grounds.  It seemed so much smaller and crowded than it was a student.  Arizona State was a big school back then - almost 30,000 students.   But now it has almost 60,000 students making it the largest undergraduate population in the nation.

The fountain, MU building, Women's Gym, Palm Walk, Hayden Library, were all there.  About the only thing that looked the same was Palm Walk.
I remember walking back to the dorm from classes in the evening and sitting on the benches and taking in the smells.  Orange blossoms in late winter/early spring were more than I could take!  I would inhale to the bottom of my lungs and soak it up...

The central part of the campus was the fountain where people would come and hang out and people watch.  Not far away others would throw frisbees or talk or study in the shade.  It seemed back then to be a large and expansive, open campus.  Not now.  It is full of huge and mammoth buildings and lecture auditoriums where parking lots or open areas existed.  It seemed as if there were twice as many buildings as there used to be in the same space...

We drove around just on the edge of campus over to a couple of places I used to live:
Saguaro Dormitory - My freshman year I lived in the dorm and walked to class.  It was fine and I liked the cafeteria food.  Most folks like to rag on it but it usually tasted good to me.  When we drove over near where it used to be, a monstrosity of a dorm complex has swallowed it up and the entire area is not recognizable.  I did see a What-A-Burger that was on the corner.  On special once in awhile occasions I'd eat Sunday dinner there.  But mostly I would not splurge my $$ like that.

Lemon Street - my second year I moved in with Rick who had an apartment.  Rick had one bedroom and another roommate (Bob) and I shared another.  That was great and I really felt like I was learning how to live on my own then.  We cooked and did laundry next door at the laundromat.  I have a few poignant memories in the apartment.  I remember hearing on the stereo that Nixon resigned and listened to John Denver a lot.  I also remember studying at my little setup in the bedroom on Sunday nights and listening to the radio.  I think it was there I learned about all-nighters and realizing cramming was a pretty ineffective way to study.  I went through the whole book and all the exercises but by the time the 8:30 AM test rolled around my mind was completely fried...

Mill Ave - my senior year I moved into another apartment, this time by myself.  It was located behind a house on Mill Ave above the separate garage.  We drove down the alley and found it and it was still there.

During our time down memory lane (my memories actually since I did not meet Pam until 1978) 40 years, the university has bought up a lot of real estate, so familiar places are gone...like the dormitory where I lived as a freshman, and the lighted tennis racquetball courts, and the Haberdashery, Hobo Joe's restaurant, The Tee Pee (Wigwam) motel, the Burger Queen hamburger joint....

The Howard Johnson's where I worked (across from Grady Gammage Auditorium) is still there but the name has changed under new ownership.

Like most things of long ago - it has changed considerable.  But I remember the good times I had at ASU and all the friends and great times.  My circle of friends primarily centered around my new found faith while a freshmen.  Most of my activities were involved with Campus Crusade for Christ during college.  I remember thinking as a freshman about this huge decision I was making as a friend urged me to pray.  I thought, "OK I am going to pray here and if this belief system works - great.  If not the joke is on me..."  43 years later, it is the most significant decision I have ever made.

I was not a party animal, but I remember loving the football games and watching all the folks get dressed up for the big event.  And I liked watching the college baseball games.  Back then Danny White was the quarterback of the Sun Devils under head coach Frank Kush.  Bump Wills (son of LA Dodger great Maury Wills) played on the NCAA national championship contender team.  At that time both football and baseball teams were powerhouses.  This past year the football team had a good season, but one would think if they have such a huge student body population, they would be able to field a top 10 team every year in many sports?

Yes -- it was a fun couple of hours being on campus and drifting back to earlier days.

 Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

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