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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Seniors return to the Womb

The Womb, from the left: Liana Eisman, Anna Halpin-Healy, Anna Weissman, Stefanie Kundakjian, Justine Turbull, Leah Yacknin-Dawson and Laurel Tuggle, all ’13. Photo by Tela Ebersole.

By Yishi Liang

When walking down East Street, it is impossible to miss the colorful house that is 1005/1007, better known as The Womb. Although the house was initially nicknamed “Psycho House” by other students because of its all-female group of seven, the women managed to disprove the descriptor immediately; the Womb is the only title that accurately represents the house’s nurturing, homey space as well as the reproductive potential of the residents: Liana Eisman, Anna Halpin-Healy, Stefanie Kundakjian, Laurel Tuggle, Justine Turnbull, Leah Yacknin-Dawson and Anna Weissman (all ’13).

The housemates all agree that their landlord, Carlos Ferguson ’92, has contributed significantly to the homey feel; in addition to being a painter and printmaker, Ferguson is also a skilled carpenter—he built every one of them a bed.

Although the seven-bedroom home is generous enough to house each resident in her own room, personal space has not interfered with their ability to form a close-knit house community. The residents describe living in The Womb as their chance to live with all of their best friends.

“We don’t get out of the house until around 11 [p.m.],” Halpin-Healy said. “We leave really late because we’re having so much fun together. And we come back early.”

Being close also applies to literal physical proximity, most of which occurs in the bathroom. The ladies cite some of their fondest memories as the regular bathroom conferences, where every bathroom amenity will be occupied while a number of them congregate to talk about anything and everything.

“We like being in Stefanie’s bathroom because it’s so warm. We eat there. We sleep there,” Weissman said.

Nothing seems to be off-limits amongst the friends, especially since Turnbull’s unique ability to talk to the spirits by reading tarot cards with extreme accuracy reveals any secrets they may have.

Living in a house with all of their best friends has allowed everyone to get to know every aspect of their fellow housemates, including their bodies.

“We all walk around naked,” Yacknin-Dawson revealed. “But we’re all hot, so it’s not bad to see each other naked.”

The friends have become so comfortable with one another that many things in the house are shared, especially when it comes to food.

“Although we have labels, we don’t really respect them,” Kundakjian said. “So we’re constantly eating each other’s food.”

In addition to indulging on snacks and even fresh kale from their garden, the women enjoy making and eating home-cooked baked goods. A tradition of having birthday parties has given the group many opportunities to bake various types of cakes. They’ve also admitted that no baked good would survive six hours in the house.

But what goes in, must come out, and again, nothing is off limits to the ladies of the Womb.

“There’s a culture of pooping in this house,” Kundakjian added. “There’s a pooping log that’s been here for around two years.”

As if having single rooms, a strong community of friends, and free food was not enough, the house also includes a disco ball, lofted giggle room and a vast backyard for tanning.

On one hand, The Womb seems to resemble an actual womb—seven naked women gathered together in one space learning and growing as individuals. On the other, it is every bit the loving, wild and all-around carefree community found in Grinnell’s beloved off-campuses houses.

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    Catherine GillisApr 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I lived at 1007 East Street during the summer before my final year through graduation in May 1980. It looked nothing like this! In fact, it was so run down I am amazed it has stayed standing for three decades. To see it so colorfully transformed and to hear how closely bonded these Grinnell women are is a real joy. You are all special Grinnellians! Best regards, Catherine M. Gillis, class of 1980