Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A line in the cement

I recently visited the East West Gallery at the East West Center up at the University of Hawaii. The East West Center was established to work in conjunction with the University of Hawaii to strengthen relationships and work on common concerns for the area. Before heading to the exhibit, I walked around the UH campus which is the first time that I've done so since I completed one year of an MBA program back in the Spring of 1991. Walking the campus brought back memories of my time there.

I had been up UH a couple of times for events, mainly the campus center or to see Roy Disney when he spoke at the School of Architecture building.

This was the first time I took my time and walked around campus. Luckily summer session was running and there wasn't a huge amount of students scattered across campus. It was a feeling of deja vu. My first experience from the 84-85 school year while on exchange from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and then grad school in 90-91 year.

In some ways the campus was familiar and some it was unknown. I needed to get some food so I stopped by Manoa Gardens. It used to be the big hang out with lots of drinking happened there. This trip it was quite. It's now run by Baile with healthier sandwiches and noodles available on the menu, not the heavy appetizers that had been there in the past.

Over at the Campus Center, there are three murals still there from when I first attended, but there is a Jamba Juice right there for anyone needing a smoothie fix.

Hawaii Hall, one of the original campus buildings, is looking good after renovations that happened after I did my time on campus. Next door is a new student activities building on what used to be a parking lot.

Walking down The Mall toward Hamilton library brought memories to the forefront that I haven't had in almost two decades. It was eerily quite as normally the paths are crowded with students trying to get to class. I passed by Keller hall, the home for the ICS department. Ah Professor Peterson, I will never forget you as I sat in the back of class heckling your aloha shirt. In my notebook I wrote Monday, Prof wore blue aloha shirt with white ginger pattern. Wednesday same shirt as Monday. Friday, see Monday and Wednesday's notes. Although there was the one week: Monday that had green shirt with hibiscus flowers. Wednesday...can it be?? red shirt with fern pattern. Did he have a special meeting today? Friday...ah...he went back to Monday's shirt.

After visiting the gallery to see the Sri Lankan masks, I headed over to Dole Street. Waiting at the light I could see the new Frear Hall. Back in the day it was a low rise that was all women. Today it's a big tower building. Crossing the street I looked down at the side walk and saw all the scribblings in the cement. I immediately snapped back to the night in the fall of 1984 when the cement had just been poured. It was a Friday night and the exchange students and friends had just got back from a booze cruise that sailed out of Kewalo basin. Students were all up and down the stretch in front of Johnson Hall grabbing nails and sturdy sticks to leave their mark for posterity. Time has taken it's toll on the side walk as thousands of students each day on a typical school day would walk over the scratches left behind. The sidewalk was dirty obscuring the John Hancock's left by students and many of the names were worn from the foot traffic.

I spent some time trying to find my name. I know the general area where I left it, more towards the street and more towards Gateway Hall. I was looking down and walking very slowly, every once in a while using my foot to move around debris. A few people on the side walk passed me, some glancing back over their shoulder to see what I was doing. I looked for about 15 minutes but couldn't find it. What I did find was another memory. As a collective group, the students from UMass left their notation for people to see. I was part of that group and although I couldn't find my name, I at least had something that I could point to that said I was there and it's still there for people to see almost 25 years later. I had a smile on my face as I left to catch the Route A Express bus back to my Apartment in Paradise.