Gage Towers Memories

Pails of Paint

I graduated Mankato HIgh School in 1964 and shortly thereafter enrolled in then Mankato State.  One of my first jobs after High School was painting much of the interior of the Gage buildings, which was quite the experience.  My job was transporting paint, 5 gallon buckets, by hand, up to all the floors, since the elevators were not yet working.  I was paid $0.9 per hour at that time. They were the tallest buildings in Mankato and were expected to last forever, I supposed then. The U.S. Army needed my help in Vietnam about then, so I left Mankato for the next 50 years or so. Recently I returned to Mankato to live out my life, and I was sad to learn that Gage dormitories are to be destroyed. I knew many of the builders, some now dead,  that worked along side of me. We were so proud to be part of these buildings.  —former student Adrian Oliver

Mattress Raid

During the Minnesota Viking’s training camp in the early 1970s, the players occupied the lower floors of Gage and were supplied with Land O Nod mattresses during their stay at Gage.  As a Gage resident assigned to an upper level room, it was imperative to  arrive on campus early to raid the former Vikings’ rooms and swap your thin school-issued mattress for the more luxurious Land O Nod mattresses. When my husband Gary (who also lived in Gage) and I got married in 1972, we purchased a Land O Nod mattress for ourselves!  —Mary Quinn Kraemer ’72, ’81 and Gary L. Kraemer ’74, ’81

A Love Story, Renewed

dougjudyMy fiancée Judy Van Thomme and I met for the first time at a party near my room in A Tower 7th floor in 1981. We fell in love. Unfortunately after going to spring break in 1982 we drifted apart. I am happy to report, though, that in December 2011 we reconnected after 30 years and we are now engaged to be married. — Doug Hornick (attended ’80-’82)

When Mark Met Jenny

Mark and Jenny in Gage Hall in 1982.

Mark and Jenny in Gage Hall in 1982.

I lived in Gage A313 the 1981-1982 school year with two other guys Dan and Jack.  We were all transfer students, so we were juniors.  Dan and I each worked as bartenders, so we kept some pretty late hours on the weekends. One Saturday night in January 1982 we got back to our room after a late shift and Jack was there. I juggle, so I picked up two softballs and a shot put that I had and began to juggle. Jack wanted to try and he attempted a few times and kept dropping the balls and the shot put. He gave up and wandered off down the hall to someone else’s room. Pretty soon two young women, a short brunette and a tall blonde showed up at our door to complain about the noise. They lived in A213 directly below us and were freshmen. Dan and I were in no mood to take guff from a couple of girls after dealing with drunks at work all night so we told them to get lost in a less than gentlemanly manner. Jack showed back up and we told him what had happened and he said he had a class with the brunette that her name was Jenny and he thought she was cute. The next day, I felt bad about being mean to them, so I went down to apologize and invited them to hang out with us and have popcorn. We ate a lot of popcorn because it was cheap and everyone had one of those air poppers that made the worst popcorn because the salt wouldn’t stick. I decided that Jack and I should take them out so I set up a double date, I would take out Beth the blonde and set Jack up with Jenny. I made plans for a Friday night and then told

Mark and Jennifer Gibson in 2013, with the shot put that gave them a reason to meet 30 years ago.

Mark and Jennifer Gibson in 2013, with the shot put that gave them a reason to meet 30 years ago.

Jack—but unfortunately, Jack was also the manager of the basketball team and they had an away game that weekend, so he was not available. I took them both out myself. We went for pizza and a movie. Jenny and I wound up hitting it off and sat up all night talking.

We were married in September 1983 and will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this fall.  We still have that shot put. Our son can juggle too and will go away to college this fall.  —Mark Gibson, ’83

Sending Secret Messages

One night in the fall of 1970, as I looked out the window towards the girls’ wing, I noted a type of Morris code that seemed to be coming from one particular room.  After watching the room for a while I started to see a sequence that repeated (lights on and off).  Being the accounting-major type, I counted the repeating flashing lights and realized that the code was in fact the telephone number of the girls in that room.  Once we had decoded the flashing lights and the starting sequence we had the number and were able to call the girls and meet up with them.

It was fun to figure out the code and then meet the girls who were responsible for it.  Although nothing every materialized from the decoding, we did meet other people who became friends. Some are still friends today and have found the Facebook group for Searing Center (where I transferred to since my classes were on lower campus)!  —Gerald W. Poppe, ’75

Viking Central

Back in 1972, I interviewed the Vikings in the lobby of Gage Hall for my newspaper column. The newspaper was called The Shopper—it was an advertising newspaper. I interviewed Fran Tarkenton, Charlie West and a couple of others. I also lived in Gage Hall in 1971. —Bebe Croteau, ’72


Maverick Mentor

I lived in Gage my freshman year at Minnesota State Mankato in 2003 and had the pleasure of being a Maverick Mentor in 2008. I so enjoyed mentoring the girls on my floor and teaching them the studying and life skills I learned as a student. I couldn’t have asked for a better community in which to spend five years getting a wonderful education and making life-long friends.

Shout out to the entire Department of Social Work and Gerontology Department!   —Anne Elvecrog, ’08

Three Rooms in One Year

I was a freshman in the fall of 1965 and lived in Gage Center. During my freshman year, I lived in three different rooms because my roommates kept dropping out of school. I think the spring quarter I was on the 6th floor. Also, I don’t think they were using the other tower that first year. Bugs were still being worked out in the building we were in, too. I liked the cafeteria. I remember them having great meals. The rooms were tiny, but in the spring quarter I was in a corner room and that was nicer because there was a little more space.  —Cathy Groenke Frescholtz ’68

Looking for Toothpaste?

I was in Gage from ’73 to ’77. I was grandfathered in with a single room and was the only one with one for the last two years. Perseverance has its advantages! I think I had the first Sony Trinitron portable color TV in the dorm and that was quite a hit in the evenings in my room (it is now used by the Guthrie as a working prop for their productions based in the 70s.). Great reception up that high! Along with the hotdogger, electric teapot and mini fridge, life was good! Not to mention the quadraphonic sound system and the Crest toothpaste rendition of the milky way on the ceiling. Had to have the lights off and the blacklight on to see it. Might still be there? Stuff lasts forever.

The ’73 A 9ers, me included, staged the mass-streak down the mall in the winter time (as reported almost live by WCCO radio) and we got caught by Campus Security and the ‘Kato PD. We still don’t know who the snitch was. We all ended up back in our rooms with only a slap on the wrist. We looked pretty awkward with everyone else’s pants on, all lined up somewhere down what used to be a country road south of the stadium. And it was cold.

We were also known for taking a day’s catch of Rapidan’s finest carp and bringing them back to swim another day in the girls shower and bathtub a floor below. Needless to say, we did not get many dates from them that year.

I went from Gage to the old ‘Tornado Towers, a place I named that lives on in infamy. I was the longest surviving resident of that place too—four years. Glad to see I’ve outlived them both!   —Gary M. Lesley, ’77

Spinning a Soundtrack for Gage

As a Night Owl Supervisor, I felt for my alumni who had to come down to the cold, drafty commons to pick up their pizza delivery, sometimes in their nightwear, but we also helped keep folks safe. As a DJ at KGMA AM, I lamented that my broadcast range was barely, if even within, Gage towers, but I spun records as if thousands were listening from midnight to 3 a.m.

I recall the legend that in the 1980s Mankato Fire & Rescue only had ladders that would reach the 10th floor.  Don’t know if it was true, but it crossed my mind.

Gage was the most modern of the dorms in my time. That’s where the Vikings chose to stay.  Sounds strange, doesn’t it?  I assume Crawford and Mac are still there.  I miss them all.

“Hold the ‘vator!”  —John Macho, ’88

A Dozen Girls

My first room back in the fall of 1972 was 1022 B-Tower. There were only 12 girls who lived  on that floor that year, and we were known as the nuns because it was a no male visitation floor. No one lived on the two floors above us and no one lived on the two floors below us. Obviously, the dorms were not full back then.  —Tana Dolphay Marthaler ’80

Foodservice Romance

My husband, Jerry Bly, was the Campus Food Service Director when ARAMark  was there.  He was the Director cira 1974-1978.  I was the Gage Dorm Food Service Manager 1976-78.  I had a few other jobs with the Gage food service during my undergraduate years—the bakery, meat and salad department in the lower level.

Jerry died in 2000. We met through the food service, had a lot of fun, met some interesting people. We were married in 1982. Always had fond memories of Gage, especially for meeting my husband there.

I only worked one Vikings summer camp, it was the year of Tommy Kramer’s rookie year.  The Vikings had a tradition of tapping glasses with silverware during a meal service, this was a signal that a rookie would be called out to sing a song. I remember one when his name was called he stood on top of the table and sang “Margaritaville.”  Also each year, Jim Marshall would push a cream puff in a food service worker’s face.  He would come up to the worker and say that it smelled funny and wanted the worker to smell it to confirm that it did not taste right either.  The year I worked the training camp food service, I was the cream puff victim.  Many of my coworkers had worked previous camps and knew what was going to happen.  I will never forget it.   I was stunned and Mr. Marshall and everyone else was laughing.

I was not there when B-Tower dining room was used, that was before my time. I did live in Gage B-122 for 2 years, 1971-1973.  When I received my room assignment my freshman year, I was not aware that the Vikings lived on the first couple of floors of B Tower. Not being a sports enthusiast, I really never kept up with the Vikings games, however, I always wondered which Viking player lived in the room I lived in for those two years.

I was driving home from my job at Gage on a hot day in August 1977.  The news over the radio said Elvis Presley had died.  I remember where I was when he died and relate that memory to my time at Gage too. —Brenda Bly ’ (now employed by the Minnesota Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Services)

Friends ForeverA group of girls who lived on the 12th floor of Gage in 1999

Gage B-12th floor was the place were many young woman came together to start their new adventure into College Life in the Fall of 1999. Now, almost 14 years later, there is a group of us that are still not only in contact with each other but areA Group of girls who lived on the 12th floor of Gage in 1999. best friends. Gage Hall 12th floor will always be remembered as the place we all came together to start these friendships. —Amanda Bassett-Swanson, ’03

Parties and Pagliai’s

I was a resident of Gage “A” tower in 1976-78, and there are numerous stories that I recall fondly.   As a freshman, I wanted to room with someone I knew, and so was able to line up a room with a sophomore who went to the same high school as I did.  We were friends, and so I thought it would be easier to fit into the dorm life.  Well, that is true, except I did not realize that I would be the ONLY freshman on the 10th floor that year!   The guys on the floor were quite the eclectic mixture of personalities, and one interesting situation was the fact that the RA room  was not occupied by our RA!   Yes, since that year there were actually open rooms available, our floor RA (Rodney Brown) was actually living in the 9th floor RA room and was in charge of both A9 and A10.  So for a few extra dollars, two student were able to live in the larger RA room on our 10th floor.   Well…. That room became quite popular as a meeting place!   The guys living in the room were accommodating in their allowance of party supplies in their bathroom. I know we were in some violation of college rules, but for the most part, the parties were not too rowdy, no damage done to rooms or dorm property, and I do not recall any police or campus security stopping in to break up a party.  A great way to meet new friends, especially the girls on 11th and 12th floors above us!!

Another memory I have is related to the Gage mailboxes. In my freshman year, since I was the oldest in my family and the first one to leave home, I recall receiving almost daily letters from my Mom. Yep, in the days of “snail mail”, I would come back from class or the library, pass by the mailbox area, look in my mailbox, and voila!  A letter almost every day!   It kept me connected with family, and I also sent back a letter each week to let my family know I was doing OK and enjoying MSU dorm life, as well as progressing in my studies….yes, I did study!!   I  contacted the Alumni Association and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the door for my first dorm room mailbox, A1002, was available.  I will treasure it as a memory of my first year of college, and a connection with my Mom (who is now passed away) and her hand-written letters.

One other memorable event centered around a pizza delivery from Pagliai’s, late at night.  Just as our pizza arrived and my roomie and I were ready to chow into the double-cheese and pepperoni delicacy, the Gage fire alarm went off.  Someone, as a prank, pulled the alarm. This happened about 2-3 times each month, usually when someone came back from the bars or a party and wanted to get everyone out of bed.  Anyway, my roomie and I were not going to let a hot, mouth-watering pizza grow cold, and we were quite sure that the dorm was not on fire.  However, it was a responsibility of every RA to clear the rooms and get everyone down in the common central tower area until each floor was emptied and it was verified that there was no fire.   So my roomie and I split the pizza down the middle, tore the top of the pizza box off to use as one plate and the bottom of the box served as the other plate.  Then, we turned off the lights in our dorm room, climbed into our clothes closets, sat on the top of the drawers, shut the doors and proceeded to chow down on our pizza!  I could hear my roomie slurping and munching and proceeded to get the giggles…..  he hissed at me to “Be quiet, we will get busted!”….so I did quiet down.  The RA soon came to our room, used his master key and gave a quick scan and locked the door.  SUCCESS!   We had our pizza, hot and cheesy….and lived to tell the tale to our families years later.   My daughter, Sara, when she was younger, asked me more than once to “tell the pizza story, Daddy!” A fond memory, and glad to say, Pagliai’s still lives on, and their pizza is still wonderful!

Thanks for the memories, Gage Towers!   There are many many more: the snack bar, playing pool in the “B” tower rec area on the main floor, visiting friends on the “co-ed” floor in B tower, living on A3 and putting up with the football players who were my floormates, snowballs tossed at windows, water balloons tossed back from windows—and friends and memories made, treasures forever.  —Steven P. Weiland ’81, ’84

Butchers and Burgers

I worked in the basement of Gage for a short time.  The butcher shop for campus food service was in the basement, and I worked for the butcher preparing fresh meat for the campus cafeterias. I like to think my big claim to fame was how many hamburger patties I could make in an hour. The exact number escapes me now, but it was either 1,000 or 1,500 patties in an hour. There was a hopper for the ground beef (that I also made) and a platter that rotated, kicking out the formed patties, which were placed on a tray with wax paper squares. After graduation I was drafted and served one year in Vietnam, heavy artillery.  I went on to work in food manufacturing and paper manufacturing in production control and information systems.  I retired in June 2012.  —Thomas J. Towner ’69

Cross Tower Friendships

Here is my contribution to the Gage scrapbook. This was our freshman year, in 1998. From left to right, it’s Josh Kreimeyer, Suzie Koenigs, Amy Kienitz (Kreimeyer), and Alex Perfetti. Alex and I went to high school together. Alex’s dad worked with Suzie’s dad and Suzie was friends with Amy. Due to this connection and the girls’ brazenness to cross over from B to A tower, we made a group of lifelong friends that crossed the tower divide. We also have several marriages attributed to this beginning. Thank you, Gage Towers, for being the background for the formation of our lives!  —Joshua Kreimeyer, ’98

Memories Made

Thank you for helping me to preserve memories of attending Mankato State College in 1973. Upon my return as a Vietnam-era veteran in 1977 performing U.S. Navy service, I received my degree from Mankato State University in 1980. During my collegiate stints I served three years as an At-Large Student Senator.  —Lee Hillier ’80


At the Car Wash…in Gage A3

We had a kid who lived on Gage A3 during the 1981-1982 school year who had a classic Mustang with mag wheels. I don’t remember his name; we just called him “Cool,” because he thought he was. Our floor had the big open community shower rooms and I had headed down to take a shower one afternoon in the spring. When I walked into the shower room there was Cool with the tires off of his Mustang scrubbing them. I don’t recall if he was naked, I was because I was there to take a shower, I am sure I just showered and left.  I don’t recall having a conversation about it at all.  Did I mention he thought he was cool? —Mark Gibson, ’83