Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I’m glad I took a walk to the park just before sunset while Yuriko and Lilly and Ann were on bicycles (Ann in a wee seat behind her mother). Just a little wind, a little rustling of the trees full of leaves, friendly sunlight from the west, a huge moon rising roughly south-southeast. Just a shade less than full. It will be full, more or less, to honor the 36th anniversary of Apollo XI’s landing tomorrow.

“July is dressed up and playing her tune.” Always liked that lyric. It fits this evening.

My brother Jay writes: “The reappearance of Dan Monroe -- I remember you speaking of him -- inspired me to run his name through Google, with "Alabama" added as a control. I found this, which may interest you, assuming, of course, that it hadn't already been brought to your attention.

“The article appeared in Nashville Scene late last summer. It concerns McGill Hall, a dormitory at Vanderbilt, and its reputation as a haven for nonconformist types:

‘Although this bold endeavor [the McGill Project] officially succeeded, it produced a byproduct: a group of smart, offbeat students inclined to act on their wildest, most absurd impulses. The rest of campus refers to McGill by its unofficial nickname, 'The Freak Dorm,' and its residents have been called everything from drugged-out hippies to flamboyant, cross-dressing “fags.” ‘

“Mr. Monroe is mentioned about halfway through as a former resident of McGill, presumably as a typical denizen:

‘After living in McGill, Dan Monroe moved into a house off campus, where he and other McGillites built an isolation tank and studied John C. Lilly's sensory deprivation theories. He now runs an ad agency in Alabama.

" 'Other McGillites' would include you, I assume."

I’m a little astonished that there was an article about McGill anywhere beyond campus, and that the dorm still has more or less the same reputation it did in the early 1980s. A justified reputation, I might add, and a campus asset, regardless of majority opinion. (Though I can’t recall much cross-dressing, or even rumors of it.)

I was never actually a McGillite, in that I never lived there. More of a fellow traveler. I knew a lot of people who lived there, such as Dan (in fact, I met him at a 1981 party there, which I mentioned yesterday.) There were five of us who built and operated the isolation tank from spring ’82 to spring ’83: Mike, Dan, Steve, Rich and me. Dan and Steve had previously lived in McGill; Rich and I never did; and I’m not sure about Mike.

The isolation tank is another blog for another time, I think. I don’t recall mentioning it here.



At 6:51 PM, Blogger Geof Huth said...

Hmm, McGill. It's been a long time. I, of course, was not a resident there, since I was from town, but I was most closely associated with that dorm--just as you were, just as most of my friends were.

Where else were we going to go? Old South Days?

I can't see a sensory deprivation tank (even on "The Simpsons") without thinking of that one. Can't remember if I ever entered the thing. All I remember is thinking is how crazy you guys were!


At 11:06 PM, Blogger Dan Monroe said...

Crazy? Yeah... I think we were crazy. But, you know, it was a good crazy, one that sticks with you. The Mcgill article was interesting, even if the young lady did seem to blend my words with those from some other similarly memory-impaired ex-McGillite.
On the subject of varying levels of sanity, Geof, I remember thinking you crazy - crazy in an inscrutable and excellent way. I look back and think maybe we were all somehow bizarrely sane.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your blog while looking for an isolation tank in Nashville. If you know of anyone who has one and rents time I would love to be connected!

Thank you



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