Friday night dinner in the Saxe-Herrig, Woldt-Emmons dining room was the best.
We’d always pile in around 5:45 pm, just before the ladies in the white aprons and head covering would stop serving. Big Lou, Mexican Roy, Deuce, Leonard Guitar Kravitz, Grunt and Sophia would all roll in loud, hungry and drunk.
The Wayside always opened early Friday and we took advantage of beer specials that were appealing to college students looking for a bargain. We’d spend a few hours drinking and dancing, then take the short walk to the dining area before it closed at 6 pm.
Workers always grimaced when we rolled in. We wanted to sit, talk and laugh. Workers wanted to hurry home to be with their families for the weekend.
Freshman fun. My son is missing out on that.
One of my talents as a freshman at Central Michigan University was timing jokes that would make Mexican Roy blow food out of his nose. I did not get him every time, but I was proud of my 70 percent success rate.
My proudest moment came when I got Roy to blow a Whopper out of his nose at Burger King — lettuce and all.
“I hate you Terry Foster,” he’d scream at me while the rest of us rolled in laughter.
Freshman fun. My son is missing out.
The other day I helped my son Brandon bag fall leaves at the house. I felt sorry for him. He should be a freshman living in the dorm at Michigan State University, having the same fun and games his dad did at CMU.
Many parents are in the same boats. Our kids are missing the adventure of a life time. They should be laughing and joking with friends, meeting one on one with professors, and gaining their Freshman 15.
Instead, they are at home studying on line, putting up with mom and dad’s house rules. We put up a couple of Spartan banners to remind Brandon of school. But it’s not the same. He’s missing out on fun in the dorm, food fights in the cafeteria, late night games of pool and table tennis. Holding a girls hand during a brisk walk across campus.
My freshman year we formed an Intramural flag football team called the Saxe Rats because we lived in the terrace. And none of us were the second coming of Barry Sanders. We were so happy to be playing in a winner take all divisional game. However, we lost badly and I broke my thumb.
That night a bunch of us gathered in my neighbor Grunt’s room and took shots of Kessler’s whiskey. The bottle said “Smooth as Silk.” It felt like we were drinking alcohol infused sand paper. Smooth as silk my ass.
It didn’t matter that we lost that night or that I broke my thumb. I was with my boys Grunt, Hot and Juicy, the Pinckney Boys, the Zucchini Brothers and Fart Goat. They were supporting me when I was down and injured.
Freshman fun. My son does not get to experience this.
My son wanted to attend fall football games at Spartan Stadium, sit in the Izzone during basketball season, cheer on the Spartans and celebrate every University of Michigan defeat. He wanted to meet new friends in the dorm, study with students he met in class and just get away from mom and dad.
I feel him. My freshman year was filled with more fun than any year in college. We were independent for the first time although we still depended on the family for money and moral support.
I looked forward to packing up his clothes and driving him to school, shopping for supplies at Meijer and Wal-Mart. And filling his room with cool Spartan posters for his dorm room.
However, when this pandemic hit we began to debate the merits of sending him to East Lansing. We believed residence halls would become super spreaders and we did not want Brandon spreading Covid to me or my wife when he returned home for Thanksgiving break.
We knew not to send him when MSU President Samuel L. Stanley said if you don’t have to come to campus, don’t. One of my friends sent his freshman son to MSU to live in an apartment. He said his son is having a miserable time. He doesn’t know anybody, many of the fun places are closed and its not the same atmosphere many of us enjoyed our freshman year.
Brandon wakes up mid mornings, showers, returns to his bedroom and sits at his desk surrounded by Spartan posters and begins school. His outlets are afternoon drives and stops at Chic Fila, Chipotle and the apple orchard.
He doesn’t complain much, but the boy must be miserable. Now and then he blurts out that he is going to school in January no matter what we say. That of course is not true. He will go to school in January only if we say.
I want the brother out my house. I want him to experience what I experienced. I’d like to know what its like to be in an empty house with wife Abs. We have not experience much of that. We got married in the fall. Eleven months later came baby Celine, who is now a senior at Stanford.
Celine went nuts her freshman year by joining a bunch of clubs, becoming class president and Vice President of a woman’s business group. She loves going to L&L, a spot that serves Hawaiian food, and a dumpy Mexican restaurant that doesn’t even have a sign in front. But the food is delicious.
I cannot wait for the day that we load up the car and take Brandon to his dorm room on campus. Better late than never.
Hopefully that happens in January.
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