The very first place I ever lived in Madison, is a place on Lake Mendota about 3 blocks from the Memorial Union. It caught fire recently. In order for the insurance company to proceed with fixing the damage, the fire department has to finish their investigation into the cause. There are many things in life I've never cared about, such an investigation is on that list. Since I'd like to live there again, all of a sudden it's interesting. So far, as of mid day today, no public announcement.
My interest in this place started a couple of weeks ago. For some odd reason, a thought flashed through my mind, I wonder if I could get into Loth? So, I drove over to the neighborhood, parked, and rang the doorbell. This kid came to the door and took me to the kitchen where I met about 4 people who said come to dinner on Thursday, so I did, and that started the process of coming to a total of 3 dinners. After the 3 dinners they have a house meeting, and decide if somebody can live there or not. I was all set to attend the 3rd dinner and got an email from the house saying they'd had a fire and to get back to them in 3 to 6 months.
The more I've thought of it, in spite of the changes I'd have to make to my life, the more attractive the idea of living there has become. And the more attractive living within a few blocks of campus has become. I'd REALLY love to walk down to the Union with this laptop in a bag, sit at a table in the 2nd floor reading room, plug it in, and write.
What was Loth like when I lived there before?
There were a couple of Iranian's who lived there, a brother and sister. They came from a privileged family, part of the Shah of Iran's aristocracy. These days if you said Shah of Iran, most people would say, WHO? Back then, there was this guy called the Shah who pretty much ran Iran, he was buddies with the American military, and the middle east was a fairly quiet place. The sister attended East High School, I don't recall her name. The brother was a Math major at the university who claimed he was a Marxist revolutionary. He lead Marxist study groups, and went around the house demanding new people attend these study groups. I told him I wasn't interested, and he told me he'd see to it that people wouldn't like me as a result of my refusal to attend.
My thinking then was their parents shipped them off to the United States, to prevent the Shah's secret police from making them disappear for being anti government. I'll bet the guy is a big shot at an American insurance company or something like that these days. He should be just getting ready to retire. I wonder if he's ever told his colleges at work about his Marxist study groups? Probably not.
I recall a little of a single Loth house meeting. The primary issue was noise and partying. There was this guy from up north someplace who was small, about 5' 5". He liked playing the music loud and throwing parties that mostly only he came to, in the living room. There was a guy who lived directly upstairs from the living room who was tall, well over 6', and he objected to the noise keeping him awake. The little guy claimed that unless the music was obnoxiously loud he couldn't have a good time. I don't recall a result. And this has brought back a number of Co-op memories that I haven't thought about in many many years.
The first time I ever seriously shared a room was in North Campus Co-ops, in a house called Bag End. I shared a room with a fellow from St. Louis named Rob Tanaka for a year. We were the odd couple for sure, he was a 4.0 student, and I had a job and wasn't a student. He lived in the bottom bunk and I lived in the top, and we were pretty good friends. The houses in North Campus were set up in 4 halls, each hall had 2 singles and 2 doubles, room selection was on the basis of seniority. Now that I think of it, there were 2 housemates I should have married while I had the chance. A lady from New Mexico named Sue, and a conducting major (music) named Doug. All in all, the finest group of people it's ever been my privilege to share a building with. The bathrobe Doug gave me for Christmas finally self destructed a couple of years ago, I failed to read the hint into the gift at the time.
Xanadu had a huge living room that adjoined a big dining room, and was a huge open dance floor when the ICC Halloween party was held there every year. These were big parties, 100's of people would show up. Not long after one Halloween a fellow showed up at a house meeting who wanted to throw for profit beer parties, he was a friend of somebody. Steve Lurie spoke most eloquently and his words came back to me when I was remembering that Loth house meeting over the living room parties mentioned above. Steve said, "This is my home!" He went on to say a lot about he didn't want drunks doing what drunks do where ever in our house, but the "This is my home!" comes back to me over and over. First, last, and always, it's home. Needless to say, we did not approve those for profit beer parties. And Xanadu was a home, 364 days of the year, with the exception of Halloween. We had no choice about that either, it was decreed by the ICC (Inter-Cooperative Council).
I now feel remiss about that Loth house meeting of years ago, but it's consistent with me in a house meeting. I should have stood up and been counted and sided with the tall fellow who wanted to be able to sleep. At house meetings I usually avoid taking a side or a stand, as it's not worth somebody not liking me.