Tag Archives: Alvey Hall

Throwback Thursday: MTV in the early 90’s (at Mary Washington College).

You are really getting old if you can remember when MTV was cool.  In the first half of the 1990’s, MTV had it all: weird, varying animated logos; Tabitha Soren; “MTV Unplugged,” which I still enjoy via Youtube today; “Liquid Television;” the sometimes priceless “Beavis and Butthead;” the always priceless “Aeon Flux;” and the bizarre promos featuring “Jimmy the Cab Driver.”  (The date on the embedded video below is incorrect; Jimmy was annoying his fares in the 90’s — not the 80’s.)

This was the age when non-music-video programming more or less began for the channel.  But it didn’t suck — it was actually quite good.

I think MTV’s greatness lasted until 1994 or 1995, around the time when my college career drew to a close.   We didn’t have cable in our dorm rooms at Mary Washington College … except when we did.  During my junior year, some intrepid, subversive genius had gotten into the vicinity of the Resident Director’s cable connection, and “split” it or something, in order to provide our entire floor with basic cable.  He was an anonymous hero … like Batman, except probably a lot more chill, we figured.  (He wasn’t the hero that Alvey Hall deserved, but he was the hero that Alvey Hall needed just then.)

God, did we all love it.  Frederickburg, VA, was a small, quiet town, and we didn’t have the Internet, or even cell phones.  We didn’t even have landlines in our room; we had two shared “hall phones” for local calls and a pay phone to call anywhere outside town.  (And I guess college kids today might be unfamiliar with the concept of “local” and “long-distance” calls.)

Here’s what I can’t figure out in retrospect, after 24 years …  I understand that cable can be “split;” New Yorkers do it all the time.  But … wouldn’t Batman need to lay cable down throughout the length of our dorm?  And wouldn’t he need to install cable jacks in each of our rooms?  Did he do it on a Saturday night, when we were all drunk?  How did he get in?

Maybe he came in the window.  Godspeed, Batman.












Dirty Dishes and Memory Lane

My big brother and Mary Washington College Alum, Russel Morgan, visited campus recently and took some terrific photos  — MWC has changed a LOT since 1994, but there are still many places I recognize.

The first picture is of the dining hall where I worked as a student employee — horsing around with the other kids, constantly drinking coffee and that sweet red “bug juice” punch, and adopting cookies, cheeseburgers and tater tots as staple foods.  It is also where I worked countless hours on “Dishline,” the assembly-line-like workspace where I and the other kids cleaned all the dishes that were returned.  Wow.  That was a lot of wet work.  I believe that I still smell of ketchup to this day.  I indeed capitalize “Dishline,” as it is both famous and infamous, and figured largely in the formative years of many past students.  If you attended Mary Wash and you know what being “on carts” was, then you are a “Seacobeck Alum.”

Also pictured, in the second photo, are New Hall and Alvey Hall.  (I’m certain new Hall must have been dubbed with a donor’s name in the intervening years since I graduated.)  The men and women I lived among here are among the finest I’ve ever met.  To quote the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, “I Accuse My Parents,”  “I threw some kickass parties here.”

In the third photo are Mason and Randolph Halls.  My college girlfriend (and possibly the sweetest person I’ve ever met), Kim Haun, lived in Mason.  That low-lying structure linking the two was a literal tunnel, where dorm rooms existed at the time.  (We quite creatively nicknamed it “The Tunnel.”)  Here is where I partied as a Freshman with Steve Miller.  (No, not the musician, Steve Miller — but the irony here is that my pal Steve was a huge fan of the eponymous star and played all of his albums while we sipped rum and cokes on the weekends.)  My college experience would never have been the same if Steve and his upperclassmen friends hadn’t taken me under their wing.

[EDIT — It was actually MWC Janet Walbroehl Winston who took these photos!! Russ, you scene-stealer!!!]


Seacobeck Dining Hall.


New Hall and Alvey Hall.


Mason and Randolph Halls, with”The Tunnel” in the middle.



Ball Hall.