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Carrol Vertrees: Say it isn’t so: Old school now sponsoring beer tour

Carrol Vertrees

Carrol Vertrees

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Updated: August 16, 2012 5:24PM



Leapin’ lizards! Is my world crumbling?

Is it true what they say about the little campus where many of my friends and I discovered that romance and academics mixed well if you really studied both?

Hundreds of graduates from that sin-free campus of yesteryear have received notices that our school is sponsoring — now get this — an Indianapolis Brewery Tour!

Let us stand in a big hand-holding circle and intone “Say It Isn’t So.”

It is true. A place on the tours costs $25, which is almost as much as I had when I arrived at that neat, simple place on the south edge of Indianapolis. It was called Indiana Central.

Before and some years after I matriculated (well, I can spell the word anyway) this school was linked to a church — now it is the University of Indianapolis — known as Uindy. And the link is to the Methodist Church, which has caused, I heard, even the potluck menus to change.

I was lucky — when I got there, I landed a prestigious job in the campus kitchen, for 25 cents an hour. Nobody handled much money — it was just applied to our tuition and modest rooming facilities.

My criticism is mostly in jest; that place has bloomed into a garden of excellence — partly because it has the Indianapolis identity, resulting in new buildings and new opportunities. Only one building that was there when I was remains — it is a stately place, and it stands there to beckon us home, I suspect. An identity sign that says welcome.

The brewery thing makes us grin, though. Alcohol, dancing and staying out late on romantic trysts were high on the sin list. Some guys dared to sneak their coed friends into a dorm late — they were clever enough to avoid getting caught. Usually. I thought they were brave.

There was a rumor that the divinity fellow who taught the required religion courses went out at night, hiding in the shrubbery, trying to catch after-hours cheaters. I never saw him, but it was a great story. He apparently didn’t see me, either.

Instead of dancing, there was organized activity called Folk Games. I never got the hang of it, but it was sin-free and that was the goal, I reckon. And there were wild and crazy skating parties, there in the old gym — just one big social thrill after another!

Enrollment was only a few hundred at the pre-war peak. Its campus contemporaries included Hanover, Franklin, Manchester. Now more than 5,000 study there. In my day, most of us were culturally linked, coming from rural areas and small towns. Now it is a cosmopolitan campus, still a place of values, but at home in the modern world. It has graduated with honors.

In my day, BYOB meant bring your own blanket. A fellow and his coed friend reclined on blankets, there in the meadow, presumably discussing Shakespeare, Euclid or the book of Genesis. Everyone knew, of course, that they were exploring the romance languages.

The new buildings and landscaping have covered the special spots dear to fellows like me. But the places in our hearts still talk to us, and they will be ours through our final graduation, our secrets, hidden from those who have followed us to that nice little campus. Those students have built their own memories. That is how it works. That is part of the college experience.

Old ICC turned out preachers, teachers, some pre-med students, future engineers. And there were students who did not know what they wanted to be. Kids like me. I did, though, get high marks in the romance curriculum.



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