I thoroughly enjoyed Erin Peterson ’98’s “Untold History of Great Grinnell Pranks.” This will add to the record. My classmates were not inert during the 1960s. I recall [a few] events causing local consternation, and at least one wire story.
In a winter of the 1960s, an unusually heavy snowfall blanketed the campus. Being anxious to help with snow removal, a number of young students brought their shovels overnight to the Carnegie building. The next morning, the entrance to the lower level mail room was filled with ice. Many professors in offices above the mail room got to know students better as they trooped through Carnegie Hall, down the stairs, and back up again.
I first heard of the Great Silverware Caper while driving in Minneapolis about 1 a.m. in my mother’s Nash Rambler. The radio reported that “students at Grinnell College, Iowa, awoke this morning to find their dining room silverware being cleaned at the bottom of the chlorine water swimming pool.” Then-Saga Fred [Frederick Huggins Jr., then-director of Saga Food Service] dived for the silver.
It turned out that the caper was incomplete in that some silverware stored in hidden places was missed. Some considered this a blot on an otherwise creative caper.
I was witness to some of these events, but obviously not all. Those my colleagues left me out of grieved me a little at the time. Adolescent energy was expended without anyone hurt, at little cost, and with great, sputtering inconvenience to some. Perhaps those qualities make these good pranks?