The Story of 1st South

I went to U.M.B.C. for 4 years, between 1988 and 1992. I lived on-campus in Susquehanna dorm for all 4 years. Most people escape to the apartments after a year or two to get a little more freedom. I enjoyed the fact that the dorms were filled with freshmen girls!

When I was a freshman in 1988, someone had the bright idea of painting the hall. The existing paint job was a nightmare of 70's pastels. So we came up with a plan to paint cartoon characters in a mural. One of the student-government-types pitched the idea to the U.M.B.C brass and we got paint and supplies.

A plan was laid out to incorporate something summer-like and fun, but still very Maryland. So, the hall was divided into four "sections". Starting out would be an underwater section, followed by an above the water section, then a beach section and finally, a boardwalk section. The boardwalk was to be modelled after the one in Ocean City, even ending triumphantly at a parking lot!

At first, everyone pitched in to put the base coat on. But by the second semester, all of the organizers had bolted for the apartments and the hall painting stood half-painted.

My sophomore year started with a guy named Paul moving into the room next to mine. He was a computer-science type like me, with a mild interest in art. When he heard that we had supplies and free license to paint on the walls, he was really excited. We started by painting the "Akbar & Jeff's Submarine Fleet" picture, a reference to the "Life In Hell" comic strip by Simpson's creator Matt Groening.

Unfortunately, he left U.M.B.C. at the end of my sophomore year, leaving me to finish most of the painting in my last two years. There were a few other people who helped out on the painting over the years, but most of their names escape me. Sorry!

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