The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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

The ultimate fellowship

One doesn’t have to travel far from campus to reach the fantasy universe of Middle Earth. On 1010 High Street stands a pastel green house, the humble abode of Carter Wiese, Evan Ma, Erik Dixon-Anderson, Alex Bolinger and Dan Ehrlich (all ’14). Because the house’s inhabitants reflect the characters in Lord of the Rings, they named their home The Shire.
“We have a bunch of small people and one large person, Dan. He’s Gandalf,” Wiese said.
The five friends met as first-years, when all but Ehrlich lived in Cleveland Pit. Another way they grew closer was through ultimate frisbee, since all but Bollinger have been on the team since their first year.
“We met through Frisbee, but I think proximity had to do with [becoming good friends],” Wiese explained. “We’ve kind of lived together at different points throughout college.”
Therefore, it seemed natural that the five would choose to live together. But the decision to live off campus was largely due to the fact that several other members of the Ultimate Frisbee team live on 814 High Street, a house The Shire considers their sibling.
Other than the obvious common interest of ultimate frisbee, the five living mates enjoy cooking together, playing video games and hosting barbecues on the weekends.

Cribz - Joanna Silverman
Alex Bollinger, Evan Ma, Carter Weise and Dan Ehrlich (all ’14) sit on The Shire stoop.
Photo by Joanna Silverman.

They also enjoy spending a great deal of their time out on the porch.
“We like to sit out on the stoop. We’ve had some fun nights just sitting out on our stoop, observing High Street and watching people,” Wiese said.
The inhabitants of The Shire have also had their share of unique experiences.
“One time, Dan sweated dye from the wallpaper onto his shirt,” Ma said.
Although the members see each other at frisbee practice frequently, the demand of schoolwork has made them think back to the relaxed days of summer. According to Ehrlich, four of the five friends worked on Mentored Advanced Projects on campus over the summer and had been living in the house since June.
“Since the year started, it’s been hard to have all of us in the house at the same time. Over the summer, we had a lot of free time, chilling at The Shire. I miss that life. School’s hard,” Ma shared.
Other than managing schoolwork, living off campus has also posed a number of challenges for residents of The Shire. When they first moved in, the house was fairly vacant. According to Bollinger, there wasn’t any furniture in the house, so the five had to chip in to buy beds for each of the rooms. Despite this, the group has grown to love the many quirks of living in 1010.
For instance, what says “quirky” more than mysterious street signs and canning equipment in the basement?
“We can’t return them because that would mean admitting guilt. So we have a stop sign and a handicap sign in our basement that we can do absolutely nothing with,” Wiese said.
According to Ehrlich, a conversation with the landlord on moving day revealed that the signs had been in the basement for at least eight years.
“There’s also a bunch of canning equipment in the basement. It’s kind of creepy down there,” Ma added.
The dwellers of the Shire often uncover new things about the house, such as relics of its past occupants.
“We’ve been finding remnants of their living: cigarette buds, Freesound stickers, ant infestations. There’s even an impressionism painting signed by Victor Kyerematen [’14] that was left in the house,” Wiese revealed.
The residents of The Shire have yet to develop plans on what they plan on leaving behind for future generations.
“We probably have to start thinking about leaving a legacy. But right now, we’re just trying to get a couch,” Ehrlich said.
The five friends that live in The Shire have developed an almost familial relationship, which involves water-dumping fights and collectively taking care of two rats, which have become the unofficial house pets. Through the good times and the bad times, Ma believes that the members of the house have maintained a fairly loving, yet jovial relationship.
Finally, residents of The Shire would also like to acknowledge Mark “Pookybear” Lewis ’16, who lived with them over the summer, as a member of the house.

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