Column: Goodbye bunnies: A tribute to Mark Twain Hall

Last spring, the juniper bushes in front of Mark Twain Hall were cut down, presumably to clear up space for the bike rack and de-clutter the handrail lining the sidewalk leading up to the building.

When the bushes were cut down, bundled and hauled off, the bunnies that used to live among them scattered forever, finding shelter all over campus, now nothing more than a memory to the residents of Mark Twain.

In similar fashion, the inhabitants of Mark Twain Hall will have their turn to scatter across campus when Twain has its turn in Residential Life’s building renovations starting this winter.

Like the bunnies, all of us Twainers, myself included, will be moving on to bigger and possibly better things.

In the meantime, the elevators are already almost completely renovated, nothing like the ticking time bombs of yesteryear, and the rest of the building is patiently waiting to be completely gutted and made over for the residents of fall 2013.

Even with all the great changes coming for Mark Twain 2.0, the old, real-metal-key-open rooms, the pool with white paint residue all over the walls, and the smiles inside the building will have to say goodbye.

For the last year and a half, the seventh floor of Mark Twain hall is all I've known. What my friends and peers prefer to call old, I refer to as antiquated. Not aging, just aged to perfection.

As a Detroit native, I’m used to these jokes. My hometown is often considered to be the bottom of the barrel when it comes to big cities (I mean, we even had Nickelback perform at the halftime of the Lions’ Thanksgiving game).

Recently, Twain has received similar jokes, but I’m pretty sure that any Twainer past or present can look back on his or her time there and remember fondly, or at least relate to, some of the following:

-The conveniently located Mark Twain Market and "Hi My Name is Fred" always working with a smile and quick conversation at the grill.

-The elevator doors that open for three seconds or less and whine when you cross the threshold.

-The mildew-stained showers that you (maybe) don't mind because you get to have a sink in your room.

-The wonder and awe you feel when you enter another dorm that has things like normal-looking windows and walls that don’t look like a white cinderblock elementary school classroom.

-The power plant waking you up in the morning, the Taco Bell located right across the street and the MKT Trail waiting for cyclists and stoners alike.

In John Steinbeck's “Of Mice and Men,” Lennie and George had a dream of settling down on a piece of land to call their own — land with a house and animals and crops. Above all, Lennie always asked George to "tell about the rabbits" — the symbolic heart of the home he hoped he would have one day.

Unlike George and Lennie, I will never be able to settle down, at least not at Mark Twain Hall. After I write this column, my time at The Maneater will be up, and by the time Mark Twain reopens in 2013, I'll be getting ready to graduate.

In the meantime, I’ll be packing up all of my possessions prior to winter break and waiting to hear where my ResLife tenure will be taking me. Next semester, Mark Twain Hall will be nothing more than another memory in the back of my mind.

But when I move on to the Missourian, magazine writing and all the other business of big-kid journalism, I sure won’t forget to tell the freshman journalism majors eating at Mark Twain Market about the rabbits.

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