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October 13, 2005 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-13

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Selling out
College towns are losing some local flavor
- By eremy Davidson /Daily Staff Writer

t's a hell of a walk from Columbia, Missouri, to
Lawrence, Kansas but the drive isn't bad. The
.. speed limit is 65, but if you're not going 80, you
start to feel like Moses parting the sea. The pavement
stands out like an awkward scab across the flesh of the
gre Midwestern plains. I look at the ground of the pas-
senger seat by my friend's feet for some leftover food, but
we're all out of Doritos. We had been driving for about
an hour during the second leg of our second annual end-
of-summer road trip. At the end of the past two summers,
about two weeks before school starts, my friend and I visit
our friends around the Midwest who start school before
us. One of the great things about visiting other schools
is experiencing their campus life. Unfortunately, on our
six-college tour of the Midwest, the things that stuck out
the most were the striking similarities.
When we left Columbia, our friend was raving about how
phenomenal Buffalo Wild Wings was, and how exciting it
was to watch Cardinals games. Later that night; when we
were stricken with munchies, he suggested this sandwich
place called "Jimmy John's." Right, I thought, no big deal.
So Columbia has a couple of things in common with Michi-
gan. But do they have Blimpy Burger? What about NYPD?
Big Ten Burrito? I wasn't too worried yet. I asked him if
we could sample some of the local flavor, so he called up
Gumby's Pizza, which was famous for its "Pokey Bread." It
sounded a lot more unique than appetizing, but I was excited
to satisfy the munchies Mizzou-style. So Gumby's put me at
ease for a while and so did the next stage of our trip. .
Driving down the main strip of Lawrence was like
entering a working-class Ann Arbor. "This is more like
it," I started to think. But before I had passed two traffic

lights I saw the familiar neon signs, and started to take in
the familiar "Free Smells." Lawrence even had an Urban
Outfitters that was constructed with an all-glass front,
just like the one on State Street. Even the grocery market
had a counterpart, being owned by the same company
that owns Kroger. It was almost too much to handle. We
found a really cool old candy store, and ate lunch at this
independent Mexican restaurant (even though it had a
fairly generic menu) that at least didn't share its name
with any other restaurant I had come across.
Those were our only two stops for the first weekend.
When we got back to St. Louis (where we both live), we
drove to one of the most popular areas near Washing-
ton University, a place known commonly as "The Loop."
But driving down through The Loop - a street where
each tile of sidewalk contains a bronze star dedicated
to a famous St. Louisan, including Tennessee Williams,
Ulysses S. Grant and Chuck Berry - I noticed that some
of our businesses had been replaced. We had Jimmy
John's, Qdoba, Blockbuster and Gamestop. Corporate
contamination so close to home proved to be a bigger
problem to me. I was much more observant during our
second weekend trip.
Our first destination on our second road trip was Urba-
na-Champaign, which I found had components from
every university I had visited before. Urban Outfitters,
Qdoba, Jimmy John's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Gumby's,
Potbelly's Sandwich Works and Schnucks (a dominant
grocery chain in St. Louis) all in addition to the major
chains like Subway, Starbucks and McDonalds, which
took over the world a long time ago.

Martha Cook Building celebrated its 90th anniversary this past fall.
Right at home
With 90 years of tradition, Martha Cook
is more than an all-girl residence hail.
yEmi .y Bearm ;£AssiteEditorial Page Editor

Buffalo Wild Wings has more than 3

"Edwina," Martha Cook's newest resident, was unveiled
in September.

T an observer, the Martha Cook Building feels
more like a museum than a residence hall.
Everything from the vaulted ceilings looming
over the Venus de Milo replica to the ornate Stein-
way dominating the Gold Room conveys a certain
elegance and sense of "do not touch." To its 144 resi-
dents, however, this is home. A visit to the dining
room during mealtime or a trip upstairs reveals that
indeed, women do live here, although the hall bears
little resemblance to its University residence hall
counterparts. Lack of men aside, everything from
the relatively silent corridors to the friendly scare-
crow door decorations suggests there is something
that distinguishes Martha Cook from the rest of the
Martha Cook Building opened 90 years ago this
fall, only a semester behind the first women's resi-
dence hall, Helen Newberry. William W. Cook built
the hall as a gift to the University in remembrance
of his mother. "Much as I value intellect, I put char-
acter and womanly grace above it," he wrote. Cook
recognized the importance of higher education for
women but also hoped Martha Cook would help its
residents develop the "charm and grace and princi-
ples of American womanhood." In that respect, not
much has changed; the building is still a mixture of
the progressive and the traditional. Those who like
its small size, its traditions and its tight-knit commu-
nity come back year after year - sometimes through
graduate school - while those who don't soon move
out. Martha Cook remains an important part of its
women's lives after graduation as well; the building
is the only dormitory to have an alumnae association,
which boasts over 700 members, and the women often
remain involved with Martha Cook throughout their

lives. Former Cookies who had graduated decades
ago showed up for the Martha Cook Building 90th
anniversary celebration last month, all enthusiasti-
cally recounting their days at Martha Cook as if they
had just left the University.
One Cookie's tale: from resident
to director
Olive Chernow, former resident and hall director,
attended the reunion and exemplifies the dedication
these women demonstrate toward their hall. Cher-
now started at the University in the fall of 1943 dur-
ing the height of World War II. She spent her first
two years living in the Lambda Chi Alpha frater-
nity house, temporarily converted to women's hous-
ing because the female dorms were filled. Chernow
joined the United Service Organization in hopes of
meeting the few men who remained on campus and
also volunteered rolling bandages. "Everybody was
doing something," she said.
When the war ended in 1945, Chernow moved to
Martha Cook and.quickly integrated herself into the
social life and community. "The whole world was cel-
ebrating ... I got to see what college life was like."
Thirty years later, Chernow returned to Martha
Cook as hall director from 1973-1979, determined
to pay back all she had received from the hall dur-
ing her college years. Although relieved to be back
home, she did not anticipate the many changes the
dorm had undergone in her absence.
"I had re-entry shock," she said. "The first thing
I did was lock the door." During her time at Martha
Cook, students leaving the building after 7 p.m. had
to sign in and out, but now residents have keys to the

front door and could freely come and go.
Chernow found it a challenge for the women to
handle the many new responsibilities they had when
compared with her generation. "I was shocked to
see how much freedom they had," Chernow said. By
encouraging formal dances - even starting ballroom
dance lessons for the women who didn't know how to
dance - she did what she could to preserve the "tra-
dition of gracious living" that she remembered and
loved from her days at Martha Cook.
One of her fondest memories as director was when
President Gerald Ford came to the building for din-
ner. In her book, "My Years at the Martha Cook
Building," Chernow recounted the excitement of the
president's visit, the inspection by the Secret Service
and the red carpet she purchased especially for Ford.
During the dinner, one of the girls asked Ford if he
ever dated a Martha Cookie, and according to Cher-
now, "He replied that the last time he came to MCB
it was with different interest and different motiva-
"The residents were just as impressed with the
handsome secret service men as they had been with
President Ford," she wrote, "Later that evening, sev-
eral residents went out with the secret service men
in the group and had lots of exciting tidbits to tell us
the next day."
"Telephone conversations shall
be limited to five minutes"
Compared with other University residence halls,
Martha Cook may seem like the last holdout of the
days when the University acted in loco parentis,
serving as a guardian for young women living away

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4B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 13, 2005


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