Moving Day

Today is moving day for my son Gus, and while he has migrated in and out of the house many times over the course of his college career, today is more significant than the others because it is potentially permanent. He’s off to Memphis as part of Teach for America. The mission for the next two years is to help high school students understand Algebra – possibly the most important job being done anywhere today.

Good Luck and God Bless.

One math concept we’ve come to understand is simple addition. If you buy stuff for a kid almost every time you see something cute or fun or useful, and you do this for 22 years nonstop and almost never throw anything away, you will wind up with a huge collection of things. The prospect of moving these things out of the house and into a shared apartment 700 miles away has led to some much needed thinning out of the family museum, but even so the rented truck that pulls out of our driveway this morning will be heavy with memories and debris.

Who knows how much of this will fit in the new apartment? Careful plans have been made but we shall see how they measure up to reality.

My first real post-college home was on the second floor of a house just a few blocks from Lake Okabena in Worthington, Minnesota. There were two apartments up there in what used to be the attic. The space was divided down the center with a common hallway and a shared bathroom. I had my own bedroom, kitchen and living room. My housemates were two sisters – they made sure I knew they were of German ancestry – named Matilda and Lucille. I remember at the time I referred to them as “elderly”, although they were probably very close to the age I am now.

I’m sure they were horrified to have to share a roof (and that bathroom) with me – a 20 year old knucklehead with no manners or hygiene. Even now, friends offer sympathy when they find out I had to endure such an arrangement, but I think Matilda and Lucille suffered more severe pain from having to hold their tongues. I needed so much scolding, but it would not be neighborly to just come out and say it even though disapproval can be toxic when it is bottled up. But I knew my activities and associations did not escape notice.

Perhaps it is not such a bad arrangement for a young person to feel so closely watched. If Friday night was so much fun that, come Saturday morning, I could not remember what time I returned home, Matilda and Lucille would be able to tell me. Right down to the minute. The knowledge that one is being carefully monitored can bring some sobriety to the decision making process.

Not a bad thing for a kid on his own, a long way from home.

Tell us about your first apartment.

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91 thoughts on “Moving Day”

  1. Good luck and safe travels, Gus!

    IIRC, my first apartment did not involve a truck for moving my stuff. I had next to nothing, and it all fit in my car (which was a used Dodge Colt). A friend lent me a loveseat hide-a-bed and I had some books, clothes and kitchen utensils.

    The apartment itself was a small studio in a newish row of such domiciles. My next door neighbor was a grad student from Dartmouth who was going for her PhD in English and was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism and had interesting articles to lend on tanning roadkill as a source for fur for costumes.

    Me, I was working on a PhD in Anatomy. Everyday, I would come home from a day in the Gross Anatomy lab and strip off my clothes inside the front door, making sure to keep it on the tile inside the door, not the carpet, so the formaldehyde smell would not get into the place. I would head straight for the shower and try to condition my hair into something a little less like Easter grass, then bundle up the day’s laundry in a towel and take it to the basement laundry facility.

    I also had a portable b&w tv, and I remember 2 things about that. 1) watching “The Day After” on it (my mother called in the middle of it to tell me she thought all those people grabbing the last roll of toilet paper off the shelves were nuts-what? don’t those people keep a full package on hand at all times?) and 2) watching the Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy opens the door upon landing in Oz, and it was b&w out there too, I thought, so, this is what it is like to be a “grown-up”.

    Thanks, Dale, I really appreciate my little rambler and my current life now!

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      1. Iowa City, Iowa. My brother lives near Iowa City, but I have never been tempted to try and find it again. Also will not make the turn-off to go to the town I went to high school in, which is also near there.

        Very tempted to go to Tama and look at the bungalow I remember so fondly from my early childhood tho’

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  2. Good morning. My memory isn’t clear on this, but I believe my first apartment was the room I shared with a fellow student during my first year of graduate school. I think as an undergraduate I lived at home and then in a dorm which really wasn’t an apartment. The room I shared wasn’t much more than a dorm room. There was a kitchen where I did some cooking that was shared with others living in this house. The kitchen was a little smelly because some of the other students, who I think were from India, used a lot of garlic in their cooking.

    During those years in graduate school I continued to live away from home during the summer at my summer job and returned to live in a series of rooms or small apartments with the same fellow student. We were good at cooperating with each other and that worked well.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!5

    Yesterday was so busy that I did not even get to LURK! This is an outrage. Well OK, maybe just a minor disappointment.

    If someone gifted in the ways of You Tube can post Happy Trails to You by Dale Evans for Gus, that would send him off in Baboon style. Best Wishes to You as you start your career. Memphis has a fabulous Mississippi River Museum that is worth the time and entry fee to experience both the indoor and outdoor exhibits, Gus.

    My first apartment was a large studio apartment in an old mansion in Boone, Iowa, complete with a few bats. It had once been the mansion’s ballroom so it was a graceful room with a bank of window seats in a large bay window. I remember the rent being $95 per month. Unfortunately, this apartment came fully equipped with a nosy, elderly landlady who liked to sneak into the apartment while we were at work. Her dear husband had ALS and could not speak or walk well. The more he faded away, the more completely she expanded into his world. One day they were out on the lawn and Mrs. C. was watering a plant with a hose. She dropped the hose which jammed the nozzle. The hose began dancing around the yard and she was chasing it. Mrs. C. stepped on the hose in an attempt to slow it down, but stepping on it seemed to unjam the nozzle which shot water up her dress. She began dancing, too, accompanied by screaming. Mr. C. laughed so hard we had to call an ambulance. He did not die laughing, but he was close to it!

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  4. My first “apartment” was a small room in a cheaply built and dilapidated home on the West Bank of the U of MN. It has (mercifully) been bulldozed and replaced with a U building. My roommates were a gloomy Haitian, a terrified Bus Ad major trying to stay out of Vietnam, a silent kid who worked in a bakery and the landlord of the place, a spiteful man named Dudley who seethed with hate for blacks and worked as a security officer because that job let him carry a pistol.

    In cold weather (of which we had a lot), the pipes froze and the hot water heat was shut down. We tried to keep the temperatures livable by boiling water on the stove and running the oven with the door left open. It was often cold enough in the house that we saw our breath. There was no TV. The bakery kid brought free bread home each day. I was so poor that I ate peanut butter/honey sandwiches three times a day.

    The tone of the place was set by Dudley, the most bigoted and malignant man I’ve known. He dated a bank clerk who was religious but lacked impulse control. When they went to bed the house rocked as his bed hit the walls. About an hour later, the bank clerk would phone Dudley (we DID have a phone!) to discuss killing herself for her sins, and I got to hear every word he spoke to talk her out of it, though he was too bored and insensitive to say much.

    I was lonelier than I have ever been (a strong statement) and I didn’t have a job except being a grad student. I had an FM radio. A local magazine printed the classical music schedule for a station that was a sort of precursor to KSJN, and I planned my day around hearing music I adored. I fell in love with flyfishing for trout that year, reading a seductive book about it and lying on my bed practicing flycasting, waving a pencil instead of a flyrod. Flyfishing fantasies and the Scholar Coffee House got me through that year.

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    1. SNORT!
      The combination of being religious and lacking impulse control describes a brother-in-law perfectly. He causes me to want to commit suicide when I must be around him–which is not often anymore (this is preferable to suicide).

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  5. Morning-

    I never had an apartment. In fact I’ve never really moved. I was four when Mom and Dad built this house and I got the basement, SW corner bedroom. When Kelly and I got married and took over the farm, mom and Dad moved out and I moved to the upstairs bedroom.
    That means I still have all the “memories and debris” that Dale mentions…

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    1. I am envious of your continuity. Moving is no fun, especially when you have to empty the old place of everything, down to the last pencil, wastebasket, broom, and relish jar in the fridge. Really makes it clear how much stuff you really have accumulated.

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    2. Ben, I’d love to talk with you about your perception of your physically limited universe and the extent to which it has defined your world. I have a hunch you’re a person without a lot of regrets.

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  6. The dorms where I lived as an undergraduate were kind of an extension of living at home and getting my own room or apartment was the start of making a life of my own, Of course, there were experiments with developing my own life style in the dorms including my first trips to local drinking establishments, I remember those first few years of living on my own as not being much fun because I was looking for my place in the world and not finding it very welcoming.

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  7. My first apartment was a studio apartment I shared with a friend. It was in the basement of a house near Concordia, and we had a living room/bedroom, bath, and kitchen. The sofa pulled out into a bed that we shared. The plumbing was a problem, and several times the sewer backed up into the part of the basement that we didn’t live in. When this happened, we and the owners upstairs had to, at the signal, flush the toilets in concert to clear the sewer line out to the street. I believe we each paid $50 a month to live there.

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    1. Flushing all the toilets at once to clear the line sounds like a “fix” calculated to go horribly wrong…

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  8. Best wishes to Gus on his move out into the world following college. Dale, I think your good prospective on life, that we get every day on this blog, will be a big help to Gus in his new life.

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  9. It was a cozy two-bedroom, shared with a friend. My half of the rent was $85 a month. We furnished mostly with things bought at garage sales. I remember buying a new kitchen clock at a nearby hardware store, and that was a big purchase, maybe nine or ten dollars. Still have that clock in my kitchen.

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  10. I rented an apartment upstairs from the place where I worked. It had a very ratty couch, and a working kitchen. I begged or borrowed furnishings from relatives if it was possible, and bought a few things. The first major purchase I ever made in my life-after-college was a piano. It was a one-owner upright Knabe which I still have. It’s now over a hundred years old.
    My very best wishes to Gus and to you, Dale.

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    1. One of the first things my wife and I bought when we were first married was a hoosier cabinet purchased in a poor part of town in Lafayette, Indiana for very little money. We stripped the paint off from it after using it for many years as a painted cabinet. The refinished version is still being used and is one of our favorites. We also are still using the large cast iron pot that we found in the cabinet after we bought it.

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    2. We have an upright Kimball piano that was owned by my wife’s mother. I don’t know the age of this piano. Probably not 100 years but probably over 50 years.

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      1. The piano tuner tells me that it’s always better for a piano not to have been moved much. Fewer owners usually equals fewer moves. We have only moved it twice. I only know how old because it says somewhere inside when it was built. (That and I have owned it for 41 years. How is that even possible?)

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    3. how much was the knabe? i have a little baby grand and i have a friend who had the 9 footer but it needed work and she gave it someone else who convinced her he would spend the 10 thousand to get it going again. i told her i thought i could do it for a lot less than than and she must have thought he wanted it more if he promised to spend 10,000 more on it. my guess is he sold it

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  11. Lived at home all through college, so my first apartment was paid for by my first non-college job. In other words, I didn’t have to have a roommate. My first apartment was actually the first one my Dad and I looked at when we were scoping out places. A little 410 sq. ft. efficiency in Eden Prairie. The apartment building was connected to a nursing home and the whole thing had just been refurbished, so it was nice, new, and clean. Had an indoor swimming pool with hot tub and sauna. Had a game room with a ping-pong table and pool table. It was only 2 miles from my office and since my territory was originally SW Minn, I was right there to pick up Hwys. 169, 212, 5, 7…whatever I needed to get me to my destination. When I moved in, rent was $400 a month. I moved out when it hit $600. But I really enjoyed my time there.

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  12. First apartment was during my residency for my library grad program in Chicago; there was gunfire a few blocks away every weekend night (I moved onto campus for the remainder of the semester). Second apartment was in Lowertown St. Paul, on the route for the Post Office semi trucks; at our corner there was a stop sign and a small incline for the trucks to grind their gears on all night long (I moved within a couple of months). Third apartment was a bit run-down but okay until someone started breaking into the mailboxes. The current place (upper duplex) is a great improvement, especially for my roommate, whose old building featured an apartment full of addicts who liked to party all night. Good luck to Gus, and I hope he learns a lot about being a good neighbor in his new place!

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  13. I’ve never lived in an apartment. Ever. Got married right out of HS, went to college and lived in a trailer down by the river. Started teaching and having kids and moved out of the trailer down by the river. Now I live with a religious cat who lacks impulse control in a modest house not very far from the river. Best wishes, Gus. You’ll be great and so will your students!

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  14. First “apartment” was in a fraternity house, which was more like a communal apartment house. At of of Chicago,on University Avenue, right in the midst of campus, across the street from where the first nuclear reaction was produced. Old four story mansion with front and back stairs to second floor and separate stairs from outside for servants to get to their rooms up on the fourth floor. I and two others lived in the master bedroom with a big fireplace, unheated porch, walk-in closet, walk-through bathroom shared with another room. Must have been bigger than TGITH’s 410 sq. ft. This will sound unreal but it’s true: Frank Lloyd Wright bought it from Mortimer Adler (you may have to look him up) for the fraternity, who then paid him back over a ten year span.

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  15. Second apartment was on Harvard Street right off Washington on U of M campus. Shared with a high school friend, who was flunking out until I moved in and taught him to study, quit wasting his time, plan projects, etc. He went onto a successful career as a dentist in St. Paul. Can I send him a bill. This was the typical college shared apartment. I slept on the Murphy bed. Every time my b-i-law tells the story, the apartment gets dirtier, messier, and smaller. It was nowhere near 410 sq. ft. It too is long gone, Steve, now a part of the U of M hospitals.
    Next apartment was my wife’s and my first place. It shared a bathroom with two very small apartments. How did my wife survive that? Amazing. It too is gone. Every time you drive north past the Mississippi River on 35 W you drive right through it, or rather its ghost.

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    1. I had a Murphy bed in one of my apartments at the U of Wisconsin-Madison. Thought it was the niftiest thing ever, wish I had one now. My dear departed cat would climb the springs like a ladder and then sit on the footboard at the top when it was folded into the closet-thanks for the memory, Clyde.

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      1. a little research tells me what I had was an In-A-Dor and for a mere $450 (+shipping and installation!) I could have one again….

        I shall have to see how many pennies are in the couch!

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  16. Mine was in Ames, Iowa, for summer school after sophomore year. I’d been in dorm rooms, so knew how to survive with shared bathrooms, etc. but this was the first apartment. It was furnished, if you could call it that – we were 3 girls in a one bedroom (a single and a double bed, which I got to share with Judy) in an OLD apartment house near Campustown. – Welch Ave? First cooking experiences, first time I was (partly) responsible for cleaning other than my room… I remember one day I needed cream of celery soup for some recipe and didn’t want to go to the store. I must have had my mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook, decided to make it from scratch. Was OK, just not as THICK as what I was expecting. I remember that experience being very liberating – I could do stuff from scratch!

    For some reason we had a kitten – Carole must have brought it. There’s a photo of my dad (visiting on a Sunday?) sitting on an orange couch reading the paper, with this kitten half on the couch, half on his shoulder, reading with him.

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  17. Grad school apt in Yonkers, NY. There were 3 of us and 2 bedrooms. I slept in half the big living room. The first day as we walked to campus a rat ran out of the vacant lot and across my sandal. It was a one time experience but that was plenty. Big sort of scary building. I had to go knock on the upstairs neighbors’ door at 3 AM when their bathtub overflowed and drained into our living room through the light fixtures. Experiences like that build character!

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  18. My third apartment was was a three-room unit in the center building of three brownstone buildings near Dinkytown on 4th St SE, the street made famous by Bob Dylan in that snarling song. Across the street was Ralph and Jerry’s grocery store and a head shop that sold incense and cigarette papers. The rent was astonishingly cheap for a U-area apartment ($67 monthly when I moved in), but if you saw the place you would understand. When they dug the huge ditch for I-35 (just south of the apartments), the buildings all slumped into the ground at queer angles, causing walls to warp and ceilings to realign. There wasn’t a straight or level line anywhere in those three brownstones after the freeway redesigned their world.

    All three buildings were heated by a hand-fed coal furnace that sent steam to radiators. The Bangladeshi student living directly above us didn’t know anything about steam heat, so he didn’t report it when his radiator began leaking. My erstwife and I went to her mother’s place for Christmas and had too much to drink,as we usually did there, so we stayed there instead of coming home. Good thing. All the leaking radiator water soaked into the plaster of our ceiling. When we finally got back, 80 pounds of plaster had fallen right on the mattress where we usually slept.

    Our cat was a wild-ass tuxedo kitty who acted like a bobcat. He’d scale the walls (shredding the wallpaper) or hide in a high bookcase so he could launch ambush leaps onto Kathe’s head as she passed. Pippin had her terrorized. He escaped once, got into the basement and disappeared into the vents. For several days all three apartments were haunted by spectral kitty yowls until we lured him out with food.

    See what you missed TGITH?

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  19. I never had the fun of living independently as I commuted from my parent’s home to and from the U of M for about a year. I was so envious of everyone who got to move away from home. Unfortunately, my only “ticket out” was a pregnancy at 19 (although this wasn’t deliberate at all!). For about two years, we lived in the basement, west-facing apartment without air conditioning before moving to a small duplex. My needs for nesting, however, were completely satiated twenty years later when I helped install each of my three kids in a grand total of a dozen different places they rented or bought. It was really fun to set them up nicely each time.

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  20. After high school graduation, I moved to Milwaukee to make my way in the world. I lived with my aunt and uncle and their 4 kids in a 2 bedroom duplex until I had a job and enough money to move out. I found a meagerly furnished attic, a very small attic in a very small house, rent was $70 a month. My take home pay was $44 a week. After 2 months, two high school friends joined me in the big city. We split the rent 3 ways, with one sleeping on the couch daybed, the other two on mattresses on the floor under the angled slope of the roof. The landlords lived on the 1st floor and were kind. But the woman next door repeatedly called the police because she could hear our radio and/or because the light from our kitchen shone into her bedroom window. The cops barely knew what to say on the hot summer evenings as they stood in the doorway of our attic apartment. Of course, we had no a/c, hardly any ventilation, and just one tiny little fan, somehow, we lasted the summer. During heat waves, many sweltering evenings and weekends were spent in a little theater watching Bridge on the River Kwai and then the Pink Panther. We were allowed to pay once and stay as long as we liked; we learned all of the dialog and to whistle along with Bridge on the River Kwai. I think the 3 of us lasted for about 3 months before finding a different apartment.

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  21. The first non-dorm place I lived after my parent’s house was what my then roomie and I affectionately (?) referred to as “the hovel.” It was a one-time summer rental in Grand Marais, about a block of Hwy 61 – the sort of place you might rent if you couldn’t afford a lake front cabin, but wanted something a little bigger than a motel room. It was rented for us by the summer theater where we were working, and I suspect that the playhouse board had been a little behind that year in finding housing for the hired summer help. It had two tiny bedrooms (one had a door and a functioning window, the other had neither), a 3/4 bath (the room with the other window that opened and had a screen installed), a galley kitchen and a common room. The kitchen included a gas stove that had been converted none-too-well to function on propane, making cooking an adventure (especially when the glass shattered on the oven door our last week there). Furnishings included a brown plaid hide-a-bed that was a little like sitting (or worse, sleeping) on a jungle gym. There was a small black and white TV, too – though reception could, quite literally, change with the wind. When I arrived, my roommate (the director of the shows I would be designing – who, thank heavens, was a friend, given our very close co-ed living arrangements) was stapling mosquito netting to the outside of our little hut. You may think that this detracted from the esthetic of the place, but I assure you it only added to the wonderful tar paper siding and peeling pink-ish paint. It also allowed us to sort of use a couple more windows that otherwise were without screens. And without screens, the black flies invaded (which is why we could not leave our one door open – no screen – which was a pity, because the breeze was nice with the door open…open door, black flies, breeze…closed door, stuffy, no flies). Oh – and the floors in the common room and bedrooms was sheet plywood (there was finished flooring in the kitchen and bath…mostly). Wiring for the place was hanging out in places. Base boards were optional. But it was free housing. And mostly dry. And except for the black flies, mostly varmint free. The theater was a couple blocks walk uphill and Artist’s Point was a couple blocks downhill along the harbor (past – oh my – World’s Best Donuts). Truly a slice – and thankfully one I only had to endure for 2 1/2 months. And now my old roomie and I can giggle about it. Most of the time anyway. :)

    Bon voyage and happy resettling to Gus!

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  22. Hope your time in Memphis is a grand adventure, Gus. I’m really excited for you.

    One of the advantages of having come from an abusive home is that every place that I have moved to on my own, or once I got married, with my spouse, no matter how humble the abode, it felt safe. I loved having my own place, and looking back i realize how important a comfortable, safe and, to me, esthetically pleasing home base is. I can’t really think of any place that I have lived that I actually disliked, no matter if it was furnished with ugly formica furniture or had roaches and other vermin. My “house” had always been my castle, I guess.

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    1. I also have a special feeling for each place that I have lived. They are one of the most basic parts of the history of my life and I always feel I have left part of my life behind when I leave a place that was my home even if I was only there for a couple of months.

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  23. Big news from Southern Minnesota. It’s raining! It’s coming down fairly heavy and looks like it will be enough to break us out of the long dry period that was coming close to causing heavy crop damage.

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    1. Good news for your area Jim!
      We got 3/4″ last week, finally, and it’s raining now but don’t have much yet.
      My oats crop was surprisingly good considering how hot it was; 84 bushel / acre and I just finished baling straw this morning. Lots of straw too.

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      1. I was hoping this would be a wide spread heavy rain storm. I’m afraid it is very spotty and not as heavy as I hoped it would be. Nice to hear that your oat crop was good, Ben.

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      2. My mom says that if they don’t get any rain this week, the corn crop around Luverne is done for. They are used to really good crops there.

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  24. my first place wasa big old house with all the gorgeous woodwork on portland and lake. thrift store on the corner provided dining room table for 20 bucks chairs for 5 a piece overstuffed chairs for about 10 or 15. the main feature of the house was the stereo. i was stupid enough to show everyone in a compare the stereo day that my little fischer with 35 watts sounded better than the 100 watt monstros the other guys had. the fischer had tubes and the sound was warm and wonderful but they all got to listen to stereos in their rooms and i had t listen to what the house chose. emerson lake and palmer yes fleetwood mac and wishbone ash pink floyd and the like while i was off into miles davis and mississippi john hurtwith lps at the wax museum being about 2 bucks if they were perfect. dylan stones monk joni, different as night and day. i was working at a nursing home as a janator and got to chat with all the old folks while i mopped dusted cleaned and kept up their rooms. lots of friends witht eh oldsters even though none of them like hippies too much. one of the guys started giving a girl who lived two blocks away a ride to work where they both did the evening shift and all was fine until she got mad at her boyfriend and left him taking a pound of pot as her ounce of blood he came into our house at 6am with his pistol waving and looking for his pot his girl or his girls ride. we talked him out of doing anything rash but everyone left that day. i was left holding the house and after finding second tier friends who wanted to park their motorcycles in the house i had to call it quits. drugs sex and rock and roll were all there was man. i was elated to be on my own and blazed a few really stupid trails but thats where i started learning. when will it stop? i keep blazing trails and some turn out to be really stupid. and i even enjoy emerson lake and palmer and yes today when i hear them. all things in their time. rock on gus

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    1. Crazy stuff tim.
      But the music! My older brother had Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Jethro Tull, and I learned ELP, Yes and Pink Floyd myself.

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  25. I feel a little guilty reporting that my first apartment was not a disaster and that some of my oldest and closest friends derive from that experience. It was 1968. I had been living in the dorm on the University of Minnesota campus for two years, so I was already accustomed to living without personal space when I was offered the opportunity to move in with one of my classmates in the studio arts department. The apartment was upstairs at 305 Cedar Avenue, right on the West Bank, right above an import/gift store and next store to Savran’s bookstore. My parents considered it a firetrap and I suppose it was, but it’s still there, as part of Midwest Mountaineering. The apartment was owned by Mrs. Ostby, who lived somewhere in the far northern suburbs, possibly Anoka. In the two years I lived there, I never met her. We communicated by phone, mostly to let her know that something needed fixing. Usually, that meant we would fix it and deduct the cost of materials from our rent, which, incidentally, was $55 a month, and that included heat and parking. The apartment was two main rooms– neither one a bedroom as such– plus a small kitchen and a bathroom. There was a skylight in the main room, which gave rainy days an especially piquant flavor. There were four apartments connected by a common hallway. The ones across the hall were occupied by graduate students who were friendly but mostly kept to themselves. The front apartment on our side was occupied by three guys (and various girlfriends) who constituted our social core. Our two apartments were really extensions of each other. If we were home, the outer doors stood open and we moved freely between them. There was a balcony on the back of the building and a ladder that went up to the roof. On many warm summer nights, we would adjourn to the roof with a case of Old Potosi – about $4.00 a case– to watch the activity on Cedar Avenue. Cedar/Riverside in those days was an entirely different place. The Triangle Bar was in its heyday, but there were still remnants of the skid row that Washington Avenue had been, like the gospel mission on Cedar and Riverside, and vestiges of Snoose Boulevard, like Dania Hall.
    I met Robin while I was living at 305 Cedar, so that’s the only apartment I lived in as a single guy. I’m grateful that she got a chance to experience it too, because I don’t think I could ever adequately convey to her what made it so special.

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    1. You are reminding me of one of my favorite U of M tales because the man involved lived right in that area. He was in dentistry school and his girlfriend worked at the hospital with my wife. For Valentines Day she gave him a card that said on the outside “You just gotta be my valentine.” on the inside it showed a pregnant woman. He opened and laughed. She said, “I’m not kidding.”
      They’ve had a great marriage, several kids, and have lived in many parts of the world.

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    2. Bill, you lived there before I moved to Minnesota, but I did visit the West bank when Savrans and the Triangle Bar were still operating so I can sort of guess what it was like when you lived there.

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    3. That sense of “we’re all in this together” eludes us once we become established, I think. I certainly hope young people still have that feeling. GOD I sound old!

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    4. As we discussed, your apartment was in my old stomping grounds when I lived on the West Bank, Bill. The area was in transition from lower-middle class workingman’s playground to student playground. The Triangle was a rough bar, as was the one on the corner of Cedar & Riverside. Four guys from that bar mugged me one night because they were drunk but not as drunk as they wanted to be, and because I looked like a student.

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  26. That’s a great story. Despite our youth and free spirit, four out of five of us formed marriages based on our relationships from that time and place. I think it speaks to an underlying readiness to get on with life that might not have been apparent to the casual observer.

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    1. They were good times, were they not? those days in cheap apartments around the U, or wherever, our lives ahead of us but living in the moment. My wife and I lived in Prospect Park for most of that time, which was a wonderful place to live. In an old converted house that looks about the same today. Ah, me.

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  27. It’s so different from the world our kids face. When Robin and I were first married, we were both finishing up college. With a part-time job apiece, we could pay rent, groceries, utilities, and our tuition.

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  28. One of my husbands apartments in Madison, WI had plumbing issues, too. They put those continual blue toilet cleaners in one of the toilets in a house he and his roommates rented, and when they did, the water out of the kitchen faucet was blue, too,

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  29. Best, best wishes to Gus!

    Fun stories from everyong. I had a sense this would be a rich topic.

    I moved here from Connecticut after college (wanted to go somewhere other than home and I knew 4 people here). I found my first apartment in about a day with no job and no references. I’m not sure what the basis for qualifying renters was in those days.
    The apartment was $133/month – seems expensive compared to some described above, As with Linda and her kitchen clock, I was excited to have a couple of bucks left over one month so I could by a floor mop (I do NOT still have that mop).

    My first home was on Grand Ave, St Paul, near Hamline, overlooking a Red Owl parking lot. I had little furniture but somehow got a huge and hideous hide-a-bed up 3 floors and covered it wih a 70s flowery sheet. I also got a formica table and vinyl covered chairs. I decided that the chairs would look classier if the metal parts were black instead of the brassy-coppery-color-of-nothing-else-but-formica-kitchen-sets. I spray painted them black IN my kitchen, not knowing anything about the rules of spray painting. When I finally moved out, I found evidence of overspray inside the cabinets.

    I had only an AM clock radio until my father mailed out my stereo. I was so happy when it arrived as I discovered classical music and then Garrison and Jim Ed..

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  30. The first place I lived by myself (24) was also really special to me, as PJ and Jim mentioned. I had left San Francisco to move down on the coastside about 45 minutes south of The City on Hwy. 1 – tiny duplex on a dirt road-boulevard that had huge eucalyptus trees between the two sides of the street. It smelled wonderful. My first unfurnished place, so a boyfriend helped me out with a few pieces, and I came home from school one day to find a stuffed chair on my doorstep – donated by a friend of a friend, I guess. It was so exciting to be able to decide EVERYTHING. I had brick and driftwood shelving for books, made a work table from crates and a hollow core door, found a bed frame at a garage sale… Heaven.

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  31. I’m jealous of the prices you all paid for your first places. My first apartment (after college) was $630 a month, utilities included. It was beautiful, clean and spacious. My first apartment in college was $350 a month, utilities included, and furnished. It was nice, once we got the landlord to replace the carpet. My worst apartment is the one I just moved out of. It was a basement, the windows leaked, the fridge didn’t work right, and it flooded. I’m so happy to be out of there!

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