Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Allen Hall

I was downtown yesterday, as in State & Lake. That's as downtown as downtown gets. I wanted something from University Book Store, and for some reason, I blanked on the Hilldale location, which is cool. Everybody in town should walk through the intersection at State & Lake on occasion.

When I first moved here, The Towers and The Statesider (2 private dorms really close to State & Lake), were called Allen Hall.

At that time, the national drinking age was 18 for drinking all 'beverages'. The old tradition in Wisconsin was that you could drink at 18, but it was 3.2 beer. During the Vietnam war, the public demanded that 18 year old's be given the right to drink. The reasoning was, 'Old enough to die in Vietnam, old enough to drink.' So, here in Wisconsin, the taps at the student union started serving real beer.

When I moved here, you could get a beer at the student union if you looked old enough, and practically speaking, most people over 16 looked old enough. So, almost anybody could go up to the bar and get beer. A pitcher of beer cost a dollar, and the deposit on a pitcher was a dollar. Watch somebody get up, put their coat on, and stumble away from an empty pitcher on their table, and you could cash it in for a pitcher of beer for yourself.

I've digressed.......

Allen Hall was a residential facility for "challenged" people back then. Ok, challenged is too politically correct, call a spade a spade. They were crazy people. Like most crazy people, they were supposed to take "meds." Most took them of course. Then these 'challenged', medicated people would cruise over to The Memorial Union and get a pitcher of beer. And why not? They were old enough. It was only a 3 block walk, and 3 rather short blocks at that.

As you may have correctly surmised, the combination of meds and beer got them more than a little looped. What do looped crazy people act like? Great mental image, isn't it?

So, the University of Wisconsin decided to start carding people not for a drivers license, but for a student or staff ID. It was said that it was a membership organization, which it is, I have a life membership to the union, anyone can buy one. That was the beginning of carding people, in the early winter months of 1980.

Now they card you for age and membership.

Was it a fun place? I went there a lot, as did all my friends. I guess the answer is yes. Did we ever push those heavy wooden tables together in front of the band stand and dance on the tables. Yes, we really did dance on the tables.

One of the things that I thought of was "experience", in the context of being a cab driver

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