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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

Pickle Haus splashes onto Elm Street

A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, housemates of Pickel Haus dive their way into the year. Photo by Tela Ebersole.

At the intersection of Sixth Ave. and Elm St. stands a large green oasis, an escape from campus life.  The residents of Pickle Haus, Carrie Sibbald, Luis Hernandez, Liza Morse, Beth Gillig and Danielle Phillips (all ’15) originally met during their time on the Grinnell swimming and diving teams, and have spent their time in their new home bonding over both the horrors and joys of living off campus.

Pickle Haus got its name through a combination of early morning snack stories, its color and an affinity for Germany.

“Liza is diabetic and she sometimes has to eat weird snacks at weird times of day to maintain her blood sugar … and once she got up at 6 a.m. and ate a pickle and she came back to my bed and smelled like pickles. The house is green and Liza ate a pickle, so it fits,” Phillips said.

As for the German spelling of the house name, the residents sought to appease a friend’s request.

“One of our friends loves Germany, so ‘haus’ is the way we decided to spell it,” Phillips said.

Although the residents feel that their house name exemplifies the atmosphere and their experiences, their neighbors and fellow classmates have given the house a different title.

A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, housemates of Pickel Haus dive their way into the year. Photo by Tela Ebersole.
A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, housemates of Pickel Haus dive their way into the year. Photo by Tela Ebersole.

“They call us the place where fun goes to die, but we reject that name,” Morse said.

The group insists that the goading of their peers comes from a place of jealousy.

“I think it’s because they secretly … want to live in our house,” Gillig said.

Still, the residents of Pickle Haus have had to withstand a number of tragedies that make their living arrangements seem less than ideal.

The first of their struggles began when the basement flooded during the summer months. The group frantically tried to rid the house of the water, and prevent it from ruining their belongings.

“We used every possible utensil in the house to move the water … at one point we were using dustpans to scoop it up and put it into trashcans,” Morse said.

They even had to enlist the help of Grinnell’s public figures and law enforcement to help manage the floodwaters.

“Our landlady is the district attorney and her partner is the county sheriff so they were here helping us … and then at one point they called the deputy sheriff who was actually on call to come and help us,” Morse said.

The group made it through the flood, but not before long, a number of unwelcome guests took up residence in the house.

“We also had a fly infestation this summer. All our windows and our glass doors had hundreds of flies on them,” Phillips said. “We would just go around and hit them and kill them. They were probably related to the flood.”

Still, more creatures continued to make Pickle Haus their home, much to the dismay of its official residents.

“I came home one day and I heard a thumping at the window and there was a bird trying to get out of the house,” Hernandez said. “The bird tried to follow me, so I ran and hid upstairs.”

With the flood, bugs and birds gone, Pickle Haus’ curse seemed to take to the plants. Morse’s collection of herbs has struggled to survive.

“I have a green thumb at home, but it turned black this year. The basil is hanging on, but everything else is dead,” she said.

Even worse, the home was robbed earlier in the semester. Some of the housemates were more affected by the hit than others.

“I was hit the hardest I think,” Sibbald said. “I have a Sleep Number bed and you can adjust how firm it is on the two sides.  When the thieves came through they took the remote. So now one side is quite a bit harder than the other. I can’t roll over in my sleep because it feels like I’m falling off a cliff.”

Through all the hardships, the group has maintained a sense of humor. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects as emblematic of their time in Pickle Haus, they have chosen to continue their fascination with Morse’s eating habits.

“I think the mascot of the house is my eating habits,” she said.

Overall, the group is happy and comfortable with their home, largely because of the distance from campus and their ability to control the party scene.

“We can choose to bring the party here if we want to, but we don’t have to,” Morse said.

The distance from campus also allows the housemates to get away from schoolwork and really relax.

“It’s nice to get away from academia. When I get done with my work I can leave campus and not think about my work anymore,” Phillips said.

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