By Terry Johnson ’84
I went by the old campus today. I’ve been there several times through the years; even last Saturday when I was in Houston, but a first time thing happened today. Some workers were inside the security fencing surrounding Ara Phillips Hall. They were exchanging some glass and I noticed one individual that looked to be “the customer” of the glass vendor. I walked up to the gated fence and the guy walked over, wondering if he could help me. I introduced myself verbally through the fence. I informed him that the building used to be AP (Ara Phillips) and our conversation continued as he invited me inside the property. I stood talking to him where “the circle” once was. We had a great conversation and he pointed across Lawrence toward Gaulke Chapel (now LORO’s restaurant). I told him all about it – the history from 1953 and on. He was so intrigued.
The old Inside Out building still stands. I pointed toward it and he said that he heard it once was a “recording place”. Richard Martin would be very pleased to know that I enlightened him. He took his keys out and asked if I’d like to see inside. “Boy do I ever”, I replied. We walked over, he put the key in the door, and I walked back in time. Wow! Some of you will remember that there was some yellowish-gold carpet on the walls. I stared at it. I actually worked on the sports part of The Clarion for a Journalism class in the school year ‘83-‘84. I walked up to the entry of AP and the double-glass doors were gone. If you step inside, there’s a door immediately to the left. People live there in 16 individual apartments. I told the guys stories from this building. I told him it was the freshman girls dorm and I told him about the mailroom and the little security office. Joe Thompson or Jim Edgington may be hiding in there somewhere. I told him about “the circle”. I could just hear Dr. Jones standing there singing during a class where that big classroom was on the left.
We walked around to the other side of the building where the stairs on that side came straight down. It’s different now, with it actually being more robust stairs as an entry point to some of the apartment rooms. Some will recall the door on that side was the entry to Dr. McDonald’s Western Civ and other classes were (I understand it may be different for various eras). I thought of Dr. McDonald. My eyes got wet. The building owner could tell I was reminiscing. Oh how we all loved Brother and Sister McDonald. Truly cherished. I told him of the “apartments” over at 12th & Herkimer. Heritage Square. He had no idea of the connection.
This building owner was so nice to me and appreciated the history and my stories. I was sincerely thankful I got this opportunity. I had to run back to Houston to replace a radiator clamp on my Toyota Highlander. It was a freak thing, but perhaps not. Maybe I was supposed to come by at this appointed time when vendors were there and I actually caught someone who could let me in. Whether that’s true or not, I thanked the Lord for my time there. 1979-1984 means a lot to this ‘ole GBC’r. I’m tremendously thankful for our heritage — GBC/MACU.