Today, if you are college bound and planning to live in the dorms, you provide the school with information about yourself that pretty much guarantees your roommate will share your interests. I feel lucky that some fifty years ago this decision was left to chance. There is so much more out there. As a freshman I arrived in Bloomington three days before my roommate. The name “Hoy” was on the door and in my first call home I told my mom, “I think my roommate is Asian.”
Steve was already a junior and he had this college thing down. I helped him unload his car, a white Barracuda with an eight track player and Led Zeplyn’s first. Our room had two desks and Steve asked if it would be ok to put one of his huge stereo speakers on my desk. The rest was academically downhill for me. My intentions, to turn a new leaf and apply myself, went out the window. But my priorities were set straight.
When we left the dorms we moved into a small, coal fueled house in town. Steve wrote a paper for me, a creative writing assignment, and chose a Sci-Fi theme. Entitled “The Fourth Dimension,” I got an “A” on it with a note from the professor that read “Very nice Mr. Dodd.” It was the best mark I got in that class.” The landlord kept the deposit because he said we had “painted the rooms hippie colors.” Who wouldn’t want a black ceiling?
Later we lived into a trailer near the Monon Railroad tracks. Steve bought a guitar and I had my drums in the back room. The Chinaboise were born. Steve was our spiritual leader but Rich was the real leader. The band merged with MX-80 and moved to the Bay Area. Steve was the best man at our wedding. Peggi and I met him in New Orleans in 1980 and drove to San Francisco in his pickup. We slept in the back of the truck. Peggi brought her sax along and rehearsed Hi-Techs songs on the way. We stopped in the Grand Canyon and Steve crawled out on the ledge (pictured above.) Peggi and I were standing behind the fence while people around were pointing at Steve. “Look at that guy out there!”
Steve is inquisitive and he loves to talk, about anything. He is so much fun to listen to. His Hoosier accent is part of the fun but it is mostly the way he connects the dots. While we were talking to him a few months back Peggi had her phone on speaker and I recorded a snippet of the conversation on my iPad. I played it for Steve when he was up here last week. We laughed.