Changing Times

July 2006 - The times, they sure are a changin'. And I don't like it.

I know. Some changes are inevitable. Modern technology combined with federal regulations will eventually force me to replace the central air conditioning unit at my house. There's not much wrong with the old one except that it's old. That kind of change I can deal with. The kind of change I really don't like is the kind where history and tradition are discarded, all for the sake of money.

Take, for example, the recent purchase of the Rolling Rock beer brand by Anheuser-Busch. I drank my share of Rolling Rock in college. You could go to one of the taverns in town and buy a pitcher of it for about $2.50. For almost 70 years, Rolling Rock has been brewed in Latrobe, PA. But, as of August 1, Anheuser-Busch plans to brew Rolling Rock in New Jersey. The brewery in Latrobe will close unless someone buys it.

I'm disappointed because it's another Pennsylvania tradition - gone. Not long ago, Pennsylvania House furniture got sold to La-Z-Boy, which promptly moved production to China. Now, Rolling Rock will be made in New Jersey. That's just wrong!

I'm also not happy about the fact that Tetley Hall is closing and will be put up for sale by the University of Leeds. The school in northern England has used Tetley as a residence hall for about 50 years. But, I guess the place is a little run down and the University can’t or won't spend the money to fix it.

Tetley Hall, featuring several Victorian houses along with a modern block of dorm rooms, is where I lived when I spent my junior year of college studying abroad. You can walk from Tetley to the University in about 20 minutes - if you keep walking as you pass all the pubs along the way. While at Tetley, I lived on an all-girls floor. One of the girls didn't come back after the holidays and her room was taken over by John, an American grad student from Yonkers. Somewhere, I have a picture of him trying on a dress.

Tetley BittersThinking about Tetley Hall conjures up a lot of memorable moments. For instance, when two friends and I used green trash bags and caps made of cardboard to dress up as cans of Tetley Bitter for the Halloween costume dance. We won second place and some chocolates.

And, when movie night in the Junior Common Room featured Grease, the room was packed and everyone sang along to every song. "Tell me more..."

OK, one more. How about when I first hung my clothes in the so-called drying closet, which is basically a cabinet placed over some heating pipes? Your clothes will be dry in no time, my friend said. And, they were - if you consider 24 hours to be "no time."

Good times at Tetley Hall. But, the times? Well, you know.