I recently made a ten-hour walking tour of the college I graduated from. I had briefly driven around campus a few time before but never got out of the car. It was fifty years ago this month that I had my first exposure to Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana. Needless to say that a LOT has changed since that time both to me and the campus I once walked through daily.
When I stepped foot on the campus in the late summer of 1965 I was a skinny naive country boy who had never had a conversation with anyone much different than me. They simply didn’t exist in my world up until that time. I was never challenged to think outside my box that was already built around me. My progression to a guy who “questions everything” was a gradual thing that happened over the years but the five years I spent there was very enlightening.
Now on to the changes in the campus. One of the most astonishing changes was the almost total absence of green space at least compared to when I was a student there. Even the street that I most often used to get from my room at Fowler Courts to the campus is no longer there! Fowler Courts were a bunch of single story quonset hut type buildings that were probably build just after World War II. The shocker came when I found out that the dormitory that replaced my old dorm has also been torn down and is now First Street Towers which are more multi-room apartments than they are like my 10ft x 12ft dorm room that I shared with my buddy Bob.
I must admit that I had hoped to retrace my steps that I traveled so many times but soon found that to be almost impossible. First off things just weren’t where I remembered them and secondly there were a lot of new building blocking my path. Even though my dorm has been replaced twice over the building that housed the cafeteria where I worked 40+ hours per week was still there but repurposed and totally reconfigured into a child development center. But even the building itself brought back some pleasant memories. I still have a hard time convincing myself that fifty years have passed since those days. I can’t understand how that happened.
Click on any picture from my 2015 visit to see a larger slideshow…
2 thoughts on “You Can’t Go Home Again…”
I know your feeling. I lived in Court 6 (1266 for one year and 1270 for 4 years), and have only fond memories. I was extremely naïve when I came to Purdue, but left a much more emboldened and wiser person. Doing things like testing the Fowler Courts go-kart race entry by driving it around the Courts, and stealing the Fuzzy Duck from Fowler House during the house annual Fuzzy Duck casino party (I have a picture for proof – we held it for ransom) was great.
Thanks, Roger, for the wonderful memories. I was in 1242 for five years and worked in the Fowler House cafeteria for all that time. I, like you, grew up there.