Al Fresco Dining

As part of my work-study, I worked all four years at Cowles Dining Hall. At the end of the dining room facing the North Campus field were two wide floor-to-ceiling doors secured only by a wooden beam on two hooks like a frontier fort. In the spring of 1977, I proposed to my imbibing buddies — Iowa drinking age was then 18 — that after finishing mopping the floors, I leave a window open so I could get in later and open the two doors. We would then empty out the dining hall and set it up in the field.

Word spread and 30 to 40 people showed up. Halfway through emptying out the cafeteria, security arrived. Everyone ran. A group of participants was hanging around Rawson Hall when security came out of the shadows and grabbed one person. This hero was taken to the president of Grinnell. When asked who helped him, he replied, “I did it all myself.” 

Nathan Harms ’80
San Mateo, Calif.
Send memories of your favorite pranks — including photos, if you’ve got them.