• Joe Pace

Granite State of Mind, #39: Hitchcock Hall, University of New Hampshire, Durham


Fresh men.

Hitchcock Hall was built in 1959 and named after Leon Whitney Hitchcock, a longtime professor of electrical engineering. There's some delightful symmetry there, given that my memories of the place are inextricably linked to a latter-day electrical engineer/rock god, my roommate Joel Mellin. The second floor of Hitchcock was our lair for the first two of our four years of undergraduate cohabitation, and I have many fond memories of that southwestern portion of the Upper Quad. There was no cable and only rudimentary internet in those days, so we watched the same VHS movies over and over again, stocked the mini-fridge with cans of Coke, made the occasional pilgrimage to C-Lot for Karl's, and even entertained a lady friend once or twice. I remember our neighbors Gregory Pothier and Brian Ballou, and Whoppah knocking out the lightposts on Quad Way. We had a third roommate for a while in the start of freshman year in 1993, but that didn't work out. I do recall him asking me how to spell "about" and chasing a pizza delivery guy down the hall in his tiger-print briefs. That's about what I remember of Norman.

We had a lot of laughs then, especially when we moved to the corner room sophomore year (one was 210 and one 222, I can't remember which). As much as we might learn in college classrooms, we do a lot of social learning in our dorms - how to put up with the quirks of others in close quarters, mainly. I know Joel endured my wound-tight ambitions, simmering temper, vague frustrations, and cheesy taste in music. But we agreed on enough that we eventually took the show up to Woodsides - though that's another story.

Hitchcock Hall was my first home away from home, my first sortie into quasi-independent living, and it also provided a boost to my collegiate political life. I served as the student senator from Hitchcock for my first two years at UNH, before being succeeded (again) by the indomitable Danna G. Young. It's funny - there's nothing inherently special about the place. It's a nondescript pile of bricks filled with nondescript dorm rooms. And yet I cherish it anyway, more for the time than the place. It isn't alone on this list in that regard.

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