“I’m Greg Morgan and this is my brother Wes. We’re in room 234 Mahoney Hall.” Greg was more anxious checking into the dorm room on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida than I was. He wanted to get a head of things to avoid looking like a lost Freshman. I was more confident that answers would present themselves. The irony is that we were entering Freshmen together because I was held back in first grade at St. Luke. I flunked first grade! A devastating life event that gave me the opportunity to take life as it comes. A significant consequence would be that my brother and I would be college roommates and Freshman together. Registration for classes, academic advising and the specifics of the meal plan are details that everyone will need to navigate soon enough, I thought. True enough.
The Morgan family Cutlass Supreme pulled into the parking lot yesterday afternoon with Joe Cocker blasting from the 8-track tape player. “She came in through the bathroom window/Protected by a silver spoon/But now she sucks her thumb and wanders/By the banks of her own lagoon.” It kept playing as the car trunk and the rear doors were open for us to unload all of those personal possessions we figured we couldn’t live without in college. We weren’t alone in managing the most critical piece of logistics – where we would place the sound system speakers, turntable and receiver in that spartan dorm room for two that shared a connecting bathroom with two strangers.
“Didn't anybody tell her?/Didn't anybody see?/Sunday's on the phone to Monday/Tuesday's on the phone to me.” Greg does an amusing imitation of Joe Cocker’s spastic gestures and head movements. That made it easier to break the ice with suite mates Macy Orville Teeter from New Orleans and Stephen Gibbons from someplace in Delaware. Steve Manzi from Long Island and Mike Cropanese from New Hampshire, roommates across the hall from 234, were quick to use the theatrics as a conversation starter because we all needed to share the use of the dolly as we unloaded our cars.
“She said she'd always been a dancer/She worked at 15 clubs a day/And though she thought I knew the answer/Well I knew what I could not say” Cocker’s voice reverberates against the windows of the residence hall – most of which were closed to allow the AC a chance to cool those rooms this warm August day. “Didn’t anybody tell her?/Didn’t anybody see? Sunday’s on the phone to Monday. Monday’s on the phone to me…oh yeah.”
Our Monday would be the beginning of our college careers in the library where they orchestrated final registration for classes. The library would function as a normal hub for the studious after this process and orientation but Greg and another guy from Mahoney Hall – David Drimer from Jamaica Queens - NYC (wherever that is) would later laughingly refer to the library as the “registration building….you know the place where they keep the books.”
We were settling in and getting a sense of the campus when we caught only highlights of the national news footage of Richard M. Nixon waving goodbye and stepping onto a presidential helicopter after resigning from office. It was important news with national and international import but only tangentially relevant to self-involved entering freshmen on the campus of the University of Miami on warm evening in Coral Gables, Florida.
Coming soon maybe – Jet Set Typesetting with George and Vivian; Hired in NYC; Morgan Studio; Liberal Arts, Fine Arts and Business School