Twin Towers Dormitory At ASU, My Home for 4 Years, Implodes

So there it goes, my home from 1995-1999. Arkansas State University finally implodes Seminole Twin Towers dormitory. A big chunk of my college experience literally going up in smoke.

Read more about the implosion from The Herald at ASU here, Twin Towers facts and figures here, and the Jonesboro Sun’s coverage here.

Nostalgia alert! After the jump, an essay I wrote this month for ASU on my time at Twin.

I entered Twin Towers in 1995, about the time grunge was slowly dying and the Internet was quickly coming to life. In fact, it was in the dank computer lab on Twin’s first floor that I logged into my very first e-mail account: lrt00134@student.astate.edu. Didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
But a lot about life seemed unwieldy then. Entering college is a challenge for most people. You forge new relationships, paths, identities. You learn life beyond the small world you grew up in. You make decisions about your career — possibly how you will spend the rest of your life.
I did all that. And at the end of each day, I came home to Twin Towers.
I began my first semester on a lower floor with an assigned roommate from Texarkana. We got along well. I got to know some in his circle of friends. We ate regularly at the Wigwam. We dipped a toe in at the Baptist Student Union. We marveled at the low-budget genius of “Clerks” when it aired on the university TV network — the first time I’d seen Kevin Smith’s grainy, profane debut.
But sharing a small space with two Murphy beds and a bare floor was more than I could bear; it was simply too cramped. I did the math and realized that, between a little extra effort at my summer job and my scholarship, I could afford a single room on the ninth floor. So at mid-term, I signed the papers. I packed my belongings in one of Twin’s many battered wooden carts and moved up.
The ninth floor was where I called home for the rest of my four years at ASU. And I loved it. Being heavily involved in the student newspaper, I’d developed a knot of friends in the communications college, where we kept ridiculous hours at the Herald office. I toiled long and hard there, working to put these four years behind me and seize a career that would take me on to life’s real adventures.
But back home on the ninth floor at Twin, there was a whole other scene, guys I might never have met given their majors and my own. It was these guys I turned to when it was time to forget the pressures of the newspaper, journalism, my future, and just hang out, blow off steam.
We took our putters into the carpeted hallway, errant shots smashing the glass in the door to the stairwell. We made covert trips up the stairwell with fresh goods from the county line. We wasted hours playing “Goldeneye” on N64. We jealously watched MTV “Spring Break” while the Jonesboro wind whipped around the building outside.
And music, always lots of music. Having left Twin Towers a month before anyone but Shawn Fanning had heard of Napster, we blew stipend money on stacks of CDs and vinyl plucked from the dusty bins of a used record shop just beyond the train tracks. We celebrated the last gasps of relevance from the Smashing Pumpkins, pondered the paranoia of “OK Computer,” and plumbed the back catalogs of every conceivable Southern rock band.
Of course it was those friendships, those moments, those sounds that made life in Twin Towers more memorable than any number of quirks for which it notorious campus-wide. Its crumbling brick, shoddy ACs, darkened hallways and no-show elevators marked it as a hulking mess, a dormitory in decline. And in those years, 1995-1999, I suppose it was.
Still, it’s hard to see it go. So much of what happened there still echoes around me, as I’m sure it does for others. Those were good times then, despite what I’m sure I told myself at the time, when all I wanted to do was pack up, graduate, get on with my life, and leave those Twin Towers to sink in my rear view mirror.

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2 Responses

  1. Lance,
    Almost cried, as I remembered my life during those years. Years where my son left home never to return the same but also years of pride in the young man he was becoming. How blessed I am.
    Love you
    Mom

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