Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back to the U of M

So, you've read about it on this blog at least a million times...

The BSU at MSU
which is now the
BCM at U of M!

One of our first stops on our tour of Memphis was the place where Michael and I met. 

And where, 20 YEARS AGO TODAY, he gave me 2 roses, one symbolizing friendship and the other symbolizing love.  We had been best friends for 6 months, and from that friendship, true love had blossomed.


Ain't that sweet?

The building was closed and locked tight when we arrived that day, so we had to settle for giving the boys a tour by peeking through windows.  We pointed out the spot where their dad gave me the aforementioned flowers and the board where we pinned daily notes for each other.  The ping pong table, where we did much of our courting, was gone, and the "pit" where we had Bible study every Monday night was mostly floored in.  Ah, progress... it did not seem like the same place, yet, it was as if no time had passed at all.  In my mind's eye, I could see images of Michael and me and the whole BSU crew sitting around talking, praying, eating, studying (yes, we actually did that), and playing spades (yep, we did a little too much of that).

After we relived our glory days, we visited my dorm.  Mynders Hall was one of four dorms where I lived, and it was my favorite.  It was an old, but well-cared-for, building, replete with Victorian charm.  Living there made me feel more ladylike, I suppose.  I had a beautiful, second-floor room, which overlooked the courtyard.  I had a private bath, too.  Really nice.

This is the WORST picture ever taken of me.
Please ignore the washed-out lady,
who's having a bad hair day,
standing behind the sign.

Then we headed for the University Center.  We wanted to shop at the bookstore, which was located in the UC basement when we were students.  Not now!  We looked in horror at the place where steps used to take us down to it.  The steps were concreted over!  Buried!  Our steps were gone!  How were we to get to the bookstore and adjoining snack shop where we bought Jolt Cola?!?  We had promised our kids some Memphis gear and a sip of Jolt so we had to get to the bottom of this problem and that building.  We went inside, hoping to find an elevator, or at least some other steps.

Stepping through the sliding glass doors into the remodeled UC felt like stepping into a futuristic movie.  It had the whole metal-and-glass motif- all very sleek and modern.  And there were coffee shops and cafes and Dunkin' Donuts stores throughout the place. We were like, "Dude, where are the 1970's sofas and Frogger arcade game machine?  And how does one get DOWNSTAIRS to the Jolt Cola and Memphis gear?"

We were completely rattled and must have looked like a couple of old fogies wandering about aimlessly- especially after a gaggle of high school seniors filed into the lobby for their prospective-students campus tour.  We thought about claiming that Orville is a Doogie Howser kid so we could join that tour and hopefully find some Jolt Cola in that newfangled place.  We decided that would be wrong, though, so we kept at the wandering around strategy.  At some point, all those young eyes started rolling at us.  We finally gave up the search because we were feeling tired and...


To escape all those eyes, we high-tailed it to the back doors, and when we stepped out, we saw a new building.  Or at least a new-to-us building.  It was, in fact, the new, non-basement, above-ground bookstore, which just happened to be named in honor of the man who served as University President while we were students.  This place was making us feel older and older with each step we took.

We each took a guess as to how many coffee shops and Dunkin' Donuts stores this building would house as we stepped inside the first set of sliding doors.  The second set of doors, to the actual bookstore, were locked.  At last!  Memphis gear- straight ahead!  And maybe, just maybe, Jolt Cola!!  But we would not be able to access it for another 30 minutes. 

We stood with our faces against the glass doors, dreaming of Jolt, until we noticed the people working inside.  Realizing that they were pointing at us and rolling their eyes, we walked over to a map of the campus to plot our next move.  Michael slipped his glasses down to the tip of his nose and moved in as close to that map as humanly possible.  While he squinted at the tiny words and symbols, I said things like, "Oh honey, look.  They put in a parking a garage." 

I'm not kidding.

That's when the bookstore doors opened, and a very young co-ed approached us.  She asked if she could help us, to which I replied, "Oh, we're alumni.  We're just taking in all the changes." 

With raised eyebrows and a very slow nod of her head, she responded through a forced smile, "Yes, I could tell." 

I wanted to give her a lecture about how one day she would return to campus, trying to find the Dunkin' Donuts store where she and her husband had enjoyed their first creme filled together, only to find it knocked down and replaced with some techno-cafe.

But I asked about Jolt Cola instead.

Evidently, that is a thing of the past, too.  It was like Marty McFly asking for a Tab.  And then a Pepsi Free.

*crickets chirping*


So, we moved on.  We wandered around campus, pointing out how this was different and how that was the same while snapping pictures like tourists.  That really helped us look like we belonged.      

I have to admit that I really did like the addition of tiger statues, each painted in a different motif, around campus.  We asked the boys to pick a favorite and we took each boy's picture in front of his selected tiger.  Orville chose one truly representative of Tiger Spirit!
Orville with a Memphis blue tiger!
Go, Tigers, GO!

Wilbur, however, chose a tiger in his favorite color.
Our apologies as we did not see the
signs until after snapping this picture.
As much as I didn't like all the fancy buildings, floored in BSU pit, concreted-over Jolt Cola-selling bookstore, and Dunkin' Donuts shops at every turn, it was good to be back at a place where people cheer for the CORRECT TIGERS!

And I won't put down anyone's team, but if you live where I do, you know what tigers I'm talking about.  Tigers who are also eagles?!?

That just confuses me.


Sorry about that.

An if it's not them, then it's those Cajun Tigers with their faux French words.

Oh, oops.

There I go again.  :)

But, you got me.

I really did like the 47 Dunkin' Donuts shops.  It was just so frustrating because  NONE OF THEM WERE OPEN. 

I bet they didn't sell Jolt Cola, either.

We ended our time on campus by walking through the foreign languages building, where Michael took most of his classes; the education building, where I took most of my classes; and the admin building, where I worked in the registration office.  I didn't take pictures of these buildings but I did capture the beauty of the nearby fountains....

Well, I took a picture of part of one of the important buildings.
The admin building is in the background.
If I had turned just a little more to the left,
you could see the window of the office where I worked.

I sat on the nearby benches clicking away for quite some time.
Evidently, taking pictures of water makes me feel less conspicuous.

And more at ease with change.

It took my mind off the Jolt Cola situation, too.

Eventually, we made our way back to the finally-open bookstore and bought the boys some Memphis pencils.  They didn't want a shirt or hoodie or pants or decal or pennant or anything else... except for a HUGE Memphis Tiger plush toy that cost close to a gazillion dollars.

The pencils were a good compromise, I think.

After that, we made our way back to our car, pencils in hand, but sans Jolt Cola.  Our campus adventure had finally come to its end.

It isn't exactly the campus I remember,
but it is a beautiful place.

Go (not Geaux) Tigers!

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