The Weldon
by Ron Hogan

I can't help but be overcome with a sense of melancholy as I look around the empty walls of my comfortable Weldon 2. The sting of tears builds in my eyes as I think back on all the things that happened in this room, both good and bad. Mostly, the memories are good; memories of a time and a place that will never quite be the same again.

The thoughts flood my mind on this warm, sunny Kentucky summer morning. The windows are open and I can hear the construction workers outside, busily slaving away to construct the impressive new library that will be open for business next year. The amphitheater is almost finished now, and soon the Weldon, my beloved hall, will be next on their construction list. Today, student housing; tomorrow, offices for a steadily expanding campus.

This place has so many fond memories for me; things are constantly changing. What we cherish now will be a distant memory in a year's time. Such is the cyclical nature of life and death. Such is memory. That's why I'm writing this now; I never want to forget this time, this place, and these people.

This is the Weldon Hall of Scott Johnson. This is the Weldon Hall of Yoichiro Higuchi, Wes McGuire, James Brown, and Andy Tsuruda. This is the Weldon Hall of Hargrove and Hoskins, of Norgie and Ponchy and Tony and Bony and Bobby and a hundred others. This is the Weldon of Kyle and Spic, of Westwood and Pi Yes! Hell, even smelly-ass nasty Norman, with his month-old shitlocks and his penchant for fucking fat white women in his reeking dorm room. This Weldon is drinking contests, Madden 2000 tournaments, open doors and unity.

This is Jerry's Weldon; Jerry was our janitor for my first two years here and the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. This is the Weldon of Japanese porn, Tailiens, and The Weldon Rats. This is the Weldon of 'Horse SHIT!" and loud music; a Weldon that chipped in every year to take Jerry out to a nice dinner or buy him something at Christmas because we knew how hard he worked to keep the hall clean, how much of a friend to all of us he was, and how we didn't deserve someone who'd clean up our puke and blood and still be in the mood to trade dirty jokes and stories about court dates at 6 in the morning.

A thousand things come to mind now as I sit at the computer and the tears stream down my face. The salty essence from my eyes tastes bittersweet on my lips; the tears of someone who knows what they had and how they will never quite experience something like this again. There is pain in my heart; I can feel the passing of something beautiful, and I grieve because there will never again be an experience quite like this one, at this time, with these people.

Something beautiful in the ugliness; that was the nature of this hall. Every bad time is outweighed by thousands of good memories, and it makes me weep to think that it will never be again. I loved this place, and I know it will never mean as much to you as it does to me.

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