Remembering: White Hall

While surveying the land for information on the former White Hall cafeteria we discovered the Great Indoorsman sharing some disturbing memories of his time living on campus during the mid-1980s. He remembers the former cafeteria all too well:
In Kirkley Hall, my old dorm at Sam Houston State, during finals week in Fall 1985, Brent, a friend with paramilitary tendencies, trapped a rat in his closet. There was a great hullabaloo as several of us ran down the hall to see what was up. Doug, my friend and RA, insisted that there couldn't be a rat in the dorm. The rat jumped from there onto the desk, grabbed onto a cord for the Venetian blinds, swung over to the top of the refrigerator, jumped to the floor, ran through Doug’s legs, and scampered across the room, where Brent attacked the rat with a broomstick. But I took out a semester’s worth of rage and frustration on the poor creature, not only killing him, but breaking off bits of his skull and teeth into the tightly-woven carpet, and splitting my Louisville Slugger in the process.

Doug was eventually promoted to Hall Director, and in August 1989, after I’d spent part of the summer camped out in his spare room, I figured the least I could do for him, to repay him for his kindness before I left Huntsville for good, was help him move from Belvin-Buchanan Dorm into his spacious three-bedroom Hall Director’s apartment at White Hall. I stuck around a few days to help him unpack, and one night saw a huge rat running across his kitchen bar. I’m not ashamed to say I screamed like a woman. But Doug didn't turn around fast enough, and didn't believe I’d actually seen a rat, or at least, he found no evidence of a rat being in his kitchen.

A month passed. I moved to Conroe, then Austin. And I heard from Doug.

It seems a few nights after I’d left another rat made an appearance. Doug called the Maintenance Department and they sent a few guys over to investigate. They found some tell-tale holes.

Then somebody got a hunch.

Doug’s apartment was one floor above the old White Hall cafeteria, which had been closed for several years.

Doug and the maintenance men went downstairs, unlocked a door to the cafeteria, and found the floor “alive—swarming, swimming with thousands of rats. It was like waves of grey and black all over that floor,” as Doug put it. It seems when the University closed the cafeteria nobody bothered to get rid of the excess food that was in storage. Doug told me it was a massive operation for the exterminators to kill all those rats, and the whole place stank for weeks.

I forget what the final tally of rats was. I think somebody calculated how many years the cafeteria had been closed with how many litters rats can produce in that many years, and came up with an astounding figure.


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