Wednesday, November 18, 2009

College: Some of the best years of my life

The years were 2001-2004. I was attending Greenville College down in southern Illinois, about 30 minutes away from St. Louis. Greenville was a small town, it had a population of 7,000 people, that was including the college that had about a thousand kids and the federal prison. It was not the type of town I was used to, growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. It was my first time living on my own and it was going to be a great experience. I ended up meeting a lot of people but became great friends with 6 other guys who would end up being my roommates. The first year we all lived in separate dorms but hung out a lot, but the second and third year we had an apartment all to ourselves and created a lot of stories together. We lived in a place called the POD's. So people started calling us the POD boys.

This was no ordinary group of random guys just put together, we all had our role. We were all transfer students so we started school somewhere else before coming to Greenville. We all had very different backgrounds, for example, we had a missionary kid who grew up in Argentina and spoke fluent spanish. We had a Mexican/Spanish guy(me) and a Puerto Rican Pastor's kid who didn't speak a lick of spanish. We had a Korean kid who liked to point out our racism and gamble, we had a hick from the back woods of Virginia who thought he tough but had no muscle. We had a sports nut, and a guy who had the capability to make a bad first impression even though he was one of the nicest guys, he just liked to speak his mind. It being a small town and all we got bored a lot and would try to find creative things to do with our time. So this weeks blog is going to be entertaining and possibly a guide for you younger people with some of the things we came up with.

Most of us POD guys wanted to form something of a Fraternity but only with the fun stuff. So we decided to form what we called "the family". "The Family" was our secret group that would cause havoc on campus or try to get things stirring. For example, like a mob or mafia I thought it would be a good idea to have people in power in our back pockets. So, we decided to make friends with the President of the school and his wife. They were really cool people and would have us over for dinner once a semester so that we could fill him in on "The Family's" activities. See, if he knew about it there really wasn't much trouble we could get into if we got caught, but we never did so it was all good.

One rainy fall day, we decided the campus needed to be rocked with a scandal so we created one. In the middle of the night some of us guys went out with a screwdriver and flashlights and we hit up the freshman parking lot. What did we do you may ask? Well we went to all their cars and stole their license plates. That's dumb you say? You're dumb! Actually, how many of you could identify your license plates if they were stolen? I bet not many of you. It was a fun night of ducking security, making sure we didn't get caught. After stealing the license plates we put them all in a plastic garbage bag and left them on the steps of the chapel, which would be the center point of the most traffic the next morning. So, even though we stayed up till 4 in the morning we decided we would wake up at 8am for chapel, so we can see everyone's reaction. Ohhhh!! It was going to be sweet! We went to chapel and waited for the big announcement of all the licenses they found, and we kept waiting.....NOTHING. There was no announcement! We were so upset all that work for nothing...or so we thought.

Later that day, it being a Friday, people were getting ready to go home or out for the weekend and that is when they noticed...NO PLATES. A mass email was sent out, "HAS ANYONE SEEN THE FRESHMAN LICENSE PLATES?" Ohhhh yes, this was it! It turns out no one saw the big bag of license plates, so everyone is wondering where they at. Then an hour later, another email gets posted to everyone. "DID ANYONE SEE PEOPLE CARRYING A BIG GARBAGE BAG TO CHAPEL THIS MORNING?" HAHAHA, they think we are dumb enough to travel with the evidence in the daylight? Come on, give us some credit. Finally, another email was sent out, "IF YOU ARE MISSING YOUR LICENSE PLATE PLEASE BRING YOUR INSURANCE TO THE MAIN OFFICE TO CLAIM IT." It ended up being a great day. Everyone got the their plates back and we were the talk of the campus, the only people who knew was "the family". Eventually, at the end of the semester it was brought up again in the, "what funny things happened this year" video that the whole school got to watch.

Stories like this is what made my college years so much fun, and why I still have the great friends or "family" till this day. In upcoming episodes, I will tell you more fun stories about the college years. Like when we almost died in St. Louis or the time I got my hands on the master keys for the school. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The other side of the family tree

These Wednesdays seem to always sneak up on me. Time really does fly the older you get. So two weeks ago I wrote about my Dad's side of the family, who I actually went to visit this weekend in Memphis. It was a lot of fun and as always I ate my brains out. So this week we dive into the other side of the family tree which is my Mom's side, for those of you not paying attention.

So, my Mom's side of the family is on the other end of the spectrum. Which is great for me. My Dad's side of the family more on the strict/southern Baptist side of things, my Mom's side....not so much. Which in turn, made me a perfect in the middle type of person. So, thanks to both sides for making me perfect.

What to say about that side of the family, I will say this, it is never boring. My mom grew up with three sisters and one brother. Her oldest sister and brother where like 15 years older than her and her other two sisters so it was almost like two sets of families. Needless to say, I didn't spend a lot of time with the older siblings. However, her brother, my Uncle Kenny is a character who needs a blog or show of his own. My uncle Kenny and his wife back in the day who's name was Elane or Lane or something(like I said I didn't see them often). Anyway, they didn't mind helping themselves to a drink or two at the family functions they came to, especially Elane. Lets go back to Christmas day about 16 years ago. Elane and Kenny came to our Christmas we had every year at my Grandparent's house. They had a few drinks and Elane had a little more than the rest, Elane being a hair stylists of sorts, decided that she wanted to give my 6 year old brother a haircut. My brother didn't take kindly to this so he decided to avoid her. Now, it wasn't a big house so he didn't have to many places to hide. So, minutes later she caught up to him and then pursued a cat and mouse chase around the house between my 45 year old Aunt and my 6 year old brother. OH, and did I mention that my Aunt was holding scissors! HAHA, it was very funny watching my brother run from a bowl cut from my drunk Aunt. Meanwhile, in the TV room my uncle who at the time was heavyset and had a cane would be changing the channel from A Christmas Story the movie and the swimsuit competition they had on. Why was he switching the channels? Well, my mom would come into the room and yell "Kenny, turn that off. The kids don't need to see half naked girls!". So my uncle would change the channel until she left, then the swimsuit competition came back on, and when he really liked a girl he would twirl his cane in the air and scream WOOHOO! Those were the good ol' days.

My Mother has two sister who are close to her age. One of them is great and who we have fun with at most holidays. Her and my Uncle welcome us in with great food and fun. The other sister I don't see anymore. My Grandparents on that side of the family have passed on. They were great though. My grandma, was a smoker and in her cigarette case would always have some smokes and gum. The first thing we would do when we walked in the house to visit her would be give her a kiss and ask for some gum. Oh and her pantry was always stocked with pop, chips, and spaghetti-o's. Later in her life she had trouble walking so I never really had her cooking, but the second best was the junk food pantry. She always had great stories that she would tell us and she LOVED Macgyver! She was kind of like the oracle in the movie The Matrix. She was a wise grandma. She died when I was 14 but I would like to say that if she lived longer that she would have been one of the people in my life who I could go to about things in life and get her advice. You know stuff that I couldn't tell my parents but would like some advice from an experienced adult. I do miss my Grandma a lot, she was great. My Grandpa was on the quieter side and worked a lot so, a lot of my memories of him aren't really funny. He kept to himself in his office with his Jazz records and war stories. He was a good man who had a lot of stories that he could tell you. Like the time he was in WWII in a medical tent when that tent got blown up and blew him in the air and he lived to tell the story. Good Stuff.

I am sure that I will have many blogs about stories from this side of the family. Trust me there are many more where that came from.