Campus Memories

Campus Memories

My First Roommates
By Mike Peters (BA-68)

I came to Colorado State College in 1962, fresh out of a small mountain town where there were just 13 seniors in my graduating class, and I had no idea what life at college would be like. They had already filled the dorms, which was usually required for freshmen in those days, but if we were able to find a room off campus, that was accepted by the college.

I got the room in the basement of a house just two blocks from the campus, on 19th Street. I was first to arrive, so I claimed the back bedroom, where there was only one bed, and I wouldn’t have to share the room with anyone else. Later, I would find that was a VERY good idea.

Ivan and Bert arrived that afternoon, both coming from a small town in eastern Colorado, and both brought their oddities.

I should have suspected something when Ivan first opened his suitcase, and a miniature dachshund jumped out. He was a friendly dog, didn’t bark much, and at night would jump back inside the suitcase, which Ivan closed, and the dog would go to sleep. Next morning, Ivan would open the suitcase and the enthusiastic dog would jump out and be ready to play.

But that wasn’t the only odd thing about the two roommates. As luck would have it, we had another roommate living in the basement. Jerry was smart, athletic, friendly and not odd. That helped me through.

Other than the dog, I first noticed my roommates were odd when one day they brought home a TV antenna. Now, we didn’t need one, because none of us could afford a TV in those days, but Ivan and Bert stole if off our neighbor’s roof late at night and brought it home.

Did I mention that Ivan knitted? Yeah. That was his hobby. It’s also important to the TV antenna story.

So the two of them dismantled the TV antenna, each taking a long tubular piece, and they grabbed Ivan’s knitting needles and left the house late at night. I learned later that they were using the antenna tubes for blowguns, the knitting needles for their darts, and they were hunting pigeons under the eaves of houses in the neighborhood. They brought home about a half-dozen pigeons that night. They called them “squab,” and they cleaned the birds and we all ate pigeons (I mean “squab”) the next night. They were a little gamey.

And this wasn’t all:

There was the night the two of them left the house, were gone for a couple of hours, and returned with three chickens. I learned then that they went to a chicken farm nearby late at night, entered through one of the little chicken doors, and caught the birds. They said the chickens made a lot of noise, but they were able to get out without alerting the farmer. Jerry and I convinced the two of them not to do that again, because it was stealing. Besides, they could always get “squab” from around the neighborhood.

They also stole a length of the same neighbor’s clothesline, and fashioned a long noose by pushing the clothesline through a tube of the TV antenna, then looped it back through. That made a long-reaching noose, with which they obtained other wildlife in and around Greeley.

There were further adventures that quarter, but there’s not enough space to go into them. I can tell you that Ivan and Bert both flunked out of school after one quarter, (CSC was on a quarter system in those days, not a semester system). That was good, because I don’t know if I could have taken Ivan and Bert for a whole semester. Then, in the last days of the quarter, Ivan wanted to leave the college with a “BANG.” Literally.

So one night just before his last days at CSC, Ivan stole some more clothesline from our neighbor and went to Troxel Hall, on the far east side of campus. It was a boy’s dorm, and had a reputation for being the home of unruly students. But they had no one like Ivan.

In the middle of the night, when all were asleep, Ivan took the clothesline and tied the doorknobs in one hallway together. All of the dorm rooms had doors facing each other, and all Ivan had to do was tie the opposing doorknobs with a short length of the rope, and they couldn’t open either door.

I won’t go into detail what Ivan did then, but we can safely say that if he did it today, he’d be in jail for something. I can say Ivan was blocks away when the chaos started in the dorm.

The next morning we heard stories of a huge attack on Troxel, and how some students couldn’t get out of their rooms and how they were all awakened by the mysterious noises. The students assumed it was students from another nearby dorm that set off the attack.

Now today, I know that Ivan would be prosecuted for some type of strange action, but I think the statute of limitations has run out on dorm attacks, stealing chickens from a farmer and shooting pigeons (er….squab) with blowguns.

Ivan and Bert were gone at the end of that quarter at school, and I moved to another basement apartment, where I got some fairly normal roommates. Except for one time … and I claim no knowledge of how a goose from Glenmere was found honking loudly and walking through the halls on the third floor of one of the girls’ dorms one night. Male students were banned from the upper floors of women’s dorms at the time, so whoever got that goose to the third floor had to be cunning and resourceful. That’s all I can say.

My first quarter at CSC was a strange time of my life, and I was glad when it was over and I’d survived. But every once in awhile, when I think about it, I kind of miss ol’ Ivan.

Then & Now

Then & Now
This issue’s “Then” photo is of student-cadets in the campus Training School in 1908 and is UNC’s first-known military connection. It stands in stark comparison to the university’s latest military connection – the “Now” photo above of some of the current cadets in the ROTC program.

ROTC cadets have been a part of the UNC campus community
since the 1950s, and its predecessor – the Student Army Training
Corps – started at UNC in 1918.

ROTC was required for all male students in 1960.

Cadet numbers have varied over the years. Currently, 25 UNC
students are enrolled in the program.

For more “Then and Now” photos, visit