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About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi...  (More)

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Don’t Look Back: The Madison Reunion

Uploaded: Jun 6, 2018
Next week we're headed to The Madison Reunion.

An unofficial trip to the Twilight Zone. Madison, Wisconsin and the University of the 1960’s.

But my time was the ‘70’s. A researcher died the week before I arrived, in the The Sterling Hall bombing. Vietnam War. Nixon. Protests. Tear gas. Impeachment. Bars usually placed chicken wire over televisions during the evening newscasts to protect them from flying beer bottles.

A place noted for winter and lots of snow. I was promised that UW never closed for a snow day. Until one day during my first January it snowed. I stayed under the covers until I received a call from my cousin: Did you hear? Classes cancelled. When opportunity knocks, get out of bed. Not to waste that opportunity, I walked around the empty campus. Ended up at an eerily empty student union.

But there was a movie playing at the Play Circle – a tiny theater with 35mm projectors. I, and a few others, watched Don’t Look Back- my first close up view of Bob Dylan in the documentary of his 1965 England Tour. Touting ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ over the opening credits.

There are chronicles of the era in Madison, such as the documentary movie The War at Home.

Notwithstanding the background politics, it was my opportunity to learn a helluva lot. Two published papers in 7 years. Computer Science. Danish and French. The I Ching. It was my liberation from high school and Brooklyn. I was free. Thursday night escapades at Rusty’s, a dive bar in Middleton followed by Days and Nights in DeForest.

A few of my best friends are still there. (One - my dentist at the time whom I met at the adjacent bar stool at Bob'n Gene's - got smart and purchased a winter house in Santa Barbara.)

I’ve returned to Madison many times since then, but it’s been about 7 years. I’ll report back.
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 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Jul 20, 2018 at 10:52 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Stu, who could forget a beer at the memorial Union (at Der Rathskeller or the terrace). A brat at State Street Brats, or a Gyro at Parthenon. all fond memories of a magnificent school.

Madison continues to be a magical place for me. My time there (BS Electrical Engineering, BS Computer Science, M.S. CS) taught me survival (being a lone student in a sea of 41,000 is tough), political tolerance (I was a lonely republican in an ocean of liberals there) and resilience (400 of us started in EE and 194 graduated). But it also taught me to love life (sailing with Hoofers, varsity soccer, ski trips, Badger Football, Badger Hockey, etc.)

UW Madison's allure continues, as it is still one of the most sought after schools in the Big Ten. Their programs are rated among the highest in the nation.

My family insists I bleed "Badger Red" and I agree.

On Wisconsin!

Roy Thiele-Sardina '82 & '83

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Stuart Soffer, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Jul 27, 2018 at 11:52 am

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.


Alas, State Street has changed a bit. State street now homes the homeless. You mention two of the old culinary highlights - State Street Brats and the Parthenon. Zero. I The place was empty. Lonely pre-fabbed skewers not turning, no grease dripping. I have such an aversion to that food at this point. I could not even enter the Parthenon for one of my coveted treats.

However, the Mem Union did have some mighty brats - and in the wisdom of the remodel of the Terrace, you're never more than 100' from a beer spigot / brat.

More in a blog post.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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