Maynard G. Krebs special UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Maynard G. Krebs special UPDATE

Posted By on Sun, May 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Thanks to Mark for a link to KAIT-TV's film of the controlled demolition of the twin towers dormitories at Arkansas State.

(For those who don't get the headline, you'll just have to Google it.)

And, of course, it's already on YouTube.

UPDATE: On the jump, a reminiscence from a former dorm resident.

 

I spent my freshman year of college, 1967-68 at ASU. Not only was it my
first year in college, but it was the first year that Arkansas State
College became ASU. It was also the first year that the Twin Towers
dormitory opened. In fact, it was still under construction for the
entire time that I lived there. Sometimes the elevators worked,
sometimes they didn't. Sometimes the entire building (or buildings --
two buildings connected by a center entrance) were filled with vapors
from the solvents or glue the construction workers used. Each room had
two Murphy beds. My roommate dropped out after
the first semester, so I had the room to myself the rest of the year.

I was in that building when I heard about the assassination of Martin
Luther King, only a few miles away in Memphis. I watched the news on a
TV in the commons area on the first floor.

In the spring of '68 a tornado hit Jonesboro, killing 35 people. I was
in exactly the wrong place -- at a party in a mobile home in Nettleton,
then a suburb, now long absorbed into Jonesboro. I remember the noise
and the darkness and the trailer rocking from front to back, like a
ship. When the worst was over I jumped into my car and fled for the
safety of my dorm room, meeting the emergency vehicles coming the other
way. When I got back to Twin Towers I used a pay phone (amazingly, the
phone lines still worked) to call my parents, woke them up, told them
there had been a bad storm but I was ok. My dad seemed a little miffed
that I had awakened him to talk about a thunderstorm.

The next morning, after seeing the dreadful news on television, my dad
tried to call me back but the phone lines were jammed. He finally got
through to the only student on my floor who had a private phone. I had
given the number to my dad at some point. The kid came to my room and
got me. My dad was in tears, grateful that I was safe and apologizing
for being snippy the night before. I broke down as well. The kid with
the phone had watched this scene play out several times. He finally
departed the building, leaving word that anyone could use his phone. I
didn't have the presence of mind to think about it for years, but I
finally realized I had been crying from guilt. I had been at the very
spot where people needed help and I had thought only of my own safety,
my own hide, and ran away like a scared rabbit.

I volunteered with my ROTC unit to help with the cleanup. We couldn't do
much other than direct traffic and gather up trash, leaving the heavy
work to the grown men with the equipment. To this day, I can't remember
the scene very well, obviously blocking it out. The trailer where I had
attended the party was still intact. The one next to it was on its side.
I had been so scared and had run away so fast the night before that I
hadn't even noticed an overturned mobile home right next to my car.

Twin Towers was an ugly building in the beginning and I gather time
hadn't been good to it over the years. Still, it had been a kind of
refuge for me. I hate to see it go.


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