Alumni keep plastic cups, fond memories

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:40 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The Olde Heidelberg was home to a large number of journalism students studying at MU over the years. When fire destroyed the ‘Berg, alumni reacted by sharing some of their memories.

“I may have spent more time at Heidelberg than in college.”

“I spent enough money there to put a down payment on a house.”

— Paul Wilson, bachelor of journalism, 2002

“I could tell you all the stories about my ongoing life at The Heidelberg.”

“How working as a cook led to meeting my wife, a waitress there.”

“How my J-school graduation party was there, and three years later my wife and I had our wedding practice party there.”

“How my cupboard in Chicago always holds at least one plastic ’Berg to-go cup, and how, 10 years after last working there, I still hold the phone number in my head’s automatic redial.”

“Yes, it is just life. Buildings burn down. Buildings can be rebuilt. But that place will be gone.”

— Sean Hamill, master of journalism, 1990

“As an alumni I’ve returned to The Heidelberg mostly to eat, but when I was a student, beer played a somewhat more dominant role. I distinctly remember taking a girlfriend there for pitchers before we strolled over to the Columns. She must have started tickling me because we got to laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard before or since.”

— Greg Pickens, bachelor of computer science, 1986

“I have a plastic Heidelberg cup that I still use almost every day. When I got it, it was full of beer, but now I use it for cereal. I’ve aged.”

— Lisa Kremer, master of journalism, 1992

“We used to go there all the time just because it was close, it was easy and they were open late.”

— Sherrie Voss Matthews, bachelor of journalism, 1995

“I had classes there, met new friends there, took dates there, celebrated numerous friends’ 21sts there, celebrated every birthday I had at Mizzou there and even went there to discuss the plans for my wedding with my roommate as soon as I got engaged.”

“The ’Berg was more than a hangout. Every type of conversation you could imagine probably occurred there. It was typically ridiculously overcrowded, but that never stopped more people from joining a table.”

“I know it’s stupid to be sad over losing a building, but the ’Berg was so much more than that for so many people.”

— Maria Neels, bachelor of journalism, 2002

“When I was a master’s student in 1979, I conducted my first interview for a Missourian story in The Heidelberg.”

“I would often marvel at the truck drivers who were coming off a shift and stopped by for a morning beer and the undergrads who come in to play the pinball machines. You just saw everything in that place!”

“I’d take my supper break in The Heidelberg because Tuesday night was (cheap) spaghetti night. I’m not sure I could have afforded graduate school without those economical meals.”

— Judith Sylvester, doctor of journalism, 1994

“In the mid-1990s, a group of Missouri J-school doctoral students decided we needed an informal place to kick ideas around (and kick back a few beers) among ourselves and with whatever faculty members were brave enough to join us. So Matt Reavy, Chris Allen and I started ‘Intellectual Happy Hour’ for students and faculty, held weekly (or whenever we could get our acts together) at, of course, The Heidelberg.”

“The ’Berg was the perfect inexpensive and dimly-lit spot for both bitching and brainstorming, and we did a fair amount of both. Bottoms up, ’Berg!”

— Jane Singer, doctor of journalism, 1996

“I was very saddened to hear The Heidelberg had burned. It was a focal point for so many great gatherings. I knew the people who ate there and the servers and am just glad the memories of fun times will continue.”

“Whether you were having a good day or a bad day, it was always better for visiting The Heidelberg. It will be missed.”

— Stephen Banning, master of journalism, 1993

“When I got the news, I immediately picked up the phone and called friends I went to J-school with more than 20 years ago. Everybody’s reaction was the same, a gasp and then a waterfall of memories.”

“My best memory is that my roommate and I were so broke at graduation that we couldn’t afford to buy one another gifts. We attended our last classes at the J-school, walked across the street, sold our textbooks and bought each other a beer and a plate of fries. It’s the only graduation present I remember!”

— Tanya Barrientos, bachelor of journalism, 1982

“I cannot believe The Heidelberg burned down.”

“Everything important happened to me there. Plus, each month, my parents would send me like $100 in supplemental money for food, and I’d take friends to the ’Berg for beer and appetizers. Every time. And each time my dad came to town to see me, the ’Berg was where he wanted to go — for the wings. He loved ’em. And now the ’Berg is gone! I am so sad. I will raise one tonight for the ’Berg.”

— Sara Love Durham, bachelor of journalism, 1991

“The ’Berg was my incubator during my first two years at Mizzou. I couldn’t take any journalism classes until my junior year, but I hung out there hoping the J-school would rub off on me.”

“I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I do feel for the future generations of journalists who will not have the luxury of a classic hangout right across from the best J-school there is.”

— Mark Matlock, bachelor of journalism, 1979

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