…And we don’t want more Batmans, do we?

Scratching a 25-year-old itch

On our drive home from Michigan’s upper peninsula, we took a slightly longer route home so we could drive through Alma. I went to college at Alma College back in the — gulp — late 80s and early 90s. For the first couple years after graduating, I never missed a homecoming. But, soon, it became harder and harder to make it back. It’s been 25 years since I graduated, and I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I visited.

So getting this picture of me and my boys standing in front of the Alma College sign was a source of immense satisfaction for me.

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Alma College

We walked around the campus and I showed my boys all of my old haunts. I showed them the library — and tried fruitlessly to describe the mainframe computer system that once dominated the first floor there. I lost them somewhere around trying to describe a floppy disc.

When we walked over to Mitchell Hall, where I spend three years, I was delighted to see that the door to my old room was unlocked. It seemed so much smaller…

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Of course, as Mike, a longtime friend of mine, pointed out on Facebook, it could be that I’ve gotten bigger. So I dug up an old photo from my first week in college, sitting in that same room.

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I think Mike may have had a point.

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Pizza Sam’s

Of all of the haunts we visited — including the old Art Department — there was one place that we had to stop, and that was Pizza Sam’s. I’m telling you, I lived on the stuff in college, and I’ve never tasted pizza that tasted quite as good — Chicago, Philly, Cleveland, San Diego, Seattle… nowhere does the pie measure up to Sam’s. Believe me. I’ve been chasing that dragon for twenty-five years.

In fact, as few years back, my wife tried desperately to get one flown in as an anniversary present. As she tried to explain to the person on the other end of the phone, all they had to do was pas-bake it and FedEx it to Philly. She’d happily pay for the overnight charges.

“Wait… where do you live?” the order-taker asked.

“Philadelphia,” my wife replied.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” came the answer, “that’s outside our delivery area.”

So, after the campus tour, we headed downtown for Pizza Sam’s.

They were closed.


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But they were scheduled to open up in another half-hour. Although we were all eager to get back on the long road home, I did not come that far to miss my Pizza Sam’s fix by thirty minutes.

Twenty-nine minutes later, we returned. And mere moments later…

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We sat across from the mural painted by my college advisor, Kent Kirby.

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It’s his second-most famous wall-hanging. In the National Lampoon movie, “Animal House,” a horse winds up dead after Flounder fires a gun into the air. Right there in Dean Wormer’s office hangs a Kent Kirby collotype. He once told me that it was probably his most famous work.

After a scrumptious meal (that lived up to every flavorful memory), I asked for a pizza box for my studio. The waitress informed me that I’d have to ask the manager. He acquiesced. It now hangs among my favorite trophies in my workspace.

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