Blast From The Past – College Crash Pads

This morning I was on my way to work and Worse Than I Thought by The Critics came on my iPod. I immediately thought back to Johnathan’s birthday one year in college when some of us decided to surprise him by having Myles (lead singer of The Critics at the time and previously of Jolly Napier – one of our favorite bands ever) show up to his apartment and do an impromptu concert in his living room. This memory cracked me up, because I remember it clearly – Johnathan knew we were trying to surprise him, so he made it obvious he knew. You know, the whole “Geez, I wonder if there are any friends hiding in the dark in my apartment right now?” thing. He was laying it on thick. He opened the door to his apartment, we all yelled “surprise!”, he shrieked and started fanning his face (adding to his I’m-really-not-surprised-but-I’m-going-to-humor-you act), and then suddenly saw Myles and was genuinely surprised – and clearly embarrassed at his over-the-top previous reaction. It was hilarious. (Hence why I was cracking up on my drive to work.) It was a fun night. We ate cake and ice cream. Myles sat on the couch with his guitar and took requests for a while.

Johnathan lived in Royal Crest apartments off Tech Farm Road. We lovingly referred to his apartment as “Royal Crap”. It was straight out of the early 80s, complete with dark wood paneled walls. It was not aesthetically pleasing, to say the least, but it was still such a great place. I took many mid-afternoon naps on Johnathan’s couch on days when I wanted to stay in Ruston for something at night and didn’t want to drive home to West Monroe. I ate many bowls of ice cream over there. Large bowls. Johnathan always bought huge buckets of ice cream and we didn’t skimp on serving sizes when at his apartment. We watched lots of movies and Friends episodes. I remember rushing to Johnathan’s apartment after an intramural flag football game during the final season of Friends and I seem to remember that we were locked out and ended up missing that episode.

Jennifer had a great apartment, too, over on East Reynolds. I lived in that complex briefly and it was fun to have Jennifer living just around the corner. To this day I can’t hear a song from David Crowder Band’s Illuminate album without having a flashback to playing old school Nintendo late at night in Jennifer’s living room. We’d play Super Mario Brothers or Super Mario Brothers 3 with the TV muted and David Crowder playing loudly. I also can’t hear Eminem sing “I’m sorry, Mama, I never meant to hurt you” without thinking of Jennifer’s hispanic neighbor singing that (complete with his I’m-not-from-Louisiana accent) as he walked up the stairs and Jody busting out laughing. Jennifer had a great couch for napping, too. She had the best couch ever. That thing was like a bed.

Janie was always a great hostess. She rented an actual house with a couple of roommates. Janie would invite a large group of us to her house – 808 Marie – also known as “Bob Marie” – and she’d cook a big meal for us. How she afforded to feed six or eight friends with large appetites while in college, I’ll never know. We’d all sit around the table like civilized people and eat an honest to goodness meal – lasagna or roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. Then we’d always play games afterward. I remember once a really quiet guy named Ryan came to a game night at Janie’s. We played a game called 1313 Dead End Drive. Once we were ready to move on to a different game, Ryan quietly got 1313 Dead End Drive back out and set it up again. I remember once when the ABS planned reverse trick-or-treating in the dorms, Janie offered up her house for making/painting our costumes. I remember that Keith was running around the house scaring us that night, knocking on windows and running. Someone got brave – either Jennifer or Brooke, I think – and met him outside with a pitcher of water. Surprise! Janie rarely even went to the ABS, but she was friends with lots of us. The best was when you’d end up spending a night at Janie’s because you’d usually wake up to sausage and homemade waffles.

Brooke and Emily occasionally had us at their apartment, but it rarely turned into a late night. Brooke would get tired usually between 9:00-9:30 and would start brushing her teeth. That was our cue – go home, folks! I do have two particular memories at their apartment. Once when a large group of us gathered there before starting our own photo scavenger hunt (we were good at entertaining ourselves), the neighbor’s dog ran inside. I think his name was Cal, but Brooke was yelling, “No, COW! Get out! This is not your house, Cow!” I also remember one night with Doug, Julie, and Brooke when we stayed up visiting way past Brooke’s usual bed time. Doug ended up making predictions about all of our futures and wrote them down, sealed them in envelopes, and instructed us not to open them until we were engaged to be married. Brooke and Julie have opened theirs fair and square, but I finally just opened and read mine several years ago. Doug was wrong about my future. Good thing he’s not a psychic!

One of my earliest memories of Jody was when we were playing the board game Risk at Doug’s apartment at the beginning of Jody’s freshman year. Jody’s turn immediately followed Adam Owens’ turn and Adam was hesitant to make a certain move because he thought Jody would overtake him. Jody assured him she wouldn’t, so he made the move. Jody immediately made the move to overtake Adam and he reminded her that she promised she wouldn’t. Jody’s reply – “This is not a Christian game!” That’s when I knew Jody would be a funny, feisty character. I also remember leaving Doug’s apartment one night and instead of saying, “It was fun”, he accidentally said, “I was fun!” That quote is still in rotation when we’re all together. In fact, Brooke and I said it to each other a few weeks ago when we parted ways.

Goodness, Ruston is a charming place. I’ve got so many good memories there. Thanks for the memories, friends. And thanks for the naps on your couches.

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