This is 292 Monmouth Avenue, in Monmouth Oregon, a sleepy little college town. This is where, nearing the end of my extended adolescence, I not only lived on December 15th, 1976, but also celebrated my 25th birthday.
It was an unusually warm day for December, a Wednesday if I remember correctly. We had installed a volleyball net just to the right of the house and by mid afternoon we had a pick up game going. We had the doors and windows open and were playing a party tape on the reel to reel. I’m certain the neighbors hated us. We also had a basketball hoop in the parking lot and a ping-pong table under the carport.
City employees were also installing a new sidewalk to replace a couple stretches where the concrete was crumbling. After they left, we couldn’t resist the temptation to write in the fresh concrete and left a number of messages, many of which are not fit for publication in a family oriented blog such as this one.
I was virtually finished with college at this point and would start student teaching the next semester. It would seem that I should have had classes to study for, but, but most of them, were “Education” classes that really didn’t have a traditional final exam.
On learning it was my birthday, one of my friends deemed that my birthday theme should be “25 and still alive”, which someone memorialized into the concrete.
The first time I was inside this house was for a keg party when it was occupied by a group of college students. The house was owned by the same people who owned the adjacent apartment house and the apartments featured a swimming poll that is located in the backyard of the house. I remember that after this party, there were a few pieces of furniture bobbing around in the pool. I think this may have produced the vacancy that allowed my roommates to move in.
I moved in shortly afterwards and became the fifth resident.
During the period I lived there it was known as the “Dead House”. This was due to the fact that everyone that lived there belonged to the same intramural mushball team, the Dead Babies. (70’s humor)
I won’t be explaining the details of much of the activity except to say that we had a lot of fun. We celebrated the bi-centennial daily.
It’s a little hard to fathom this was all 40 years ago. The last Time I was in Monmouth was in 2005, to view the graduation ceremony of a good friend of mine’s daughter. I couldn’t resist the urge to walk down the street to take a peek. Most of what was written on the sidewalk was still legible enough to read, and I wondered how many people had WTF moments trying to decipher some of them.
Myself, just looking at the sidewalk to me back to an era in my life that now seems impossibly care-free. (I picture my 62 VW Van parked in front of the house.) Going to college was not such a huge financial burden back then, and I do think the sense of freedom and removal from the “real world” contributed to my education as much as the formal parts. It’s hard to absorb some things if your main concern is if you have enough money to put food on your table. Sometimes, just having fun is it’s own justification.