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Cribz: The residents of 1018 East Street defy odds and continue traditions

Maddi Shinall
Residents of 1018 East pose on their front porch with some of their favorite knickknacks. Photo by Maddi Shinall.

In Jan. 2019, a man broke into 1018 East Street in Grinnell, Iowa. At the time, the home was rented by a group of then-fourth years, several of whom were on the women’s frisbee team. Then first years on the team –– Clare Roarty, Ella Mullin, Grace Duffy and Erin Ritter, all `22 –– fell in love with the house and set their sights on living there their senior year.

“Most of my memories from first year are definitely wrapped up with the people who lived here,” said Ritter. 

 The group signed the lease for 1018 along with their friend, Annie Estes `22, before spring break their second year, ensuring no one else snagged the popular home. The residents were excited to continue the legacy of 1018 and live in the home that felt foundational to their friendship. While the tenants hoped to recreate some of the experiences they had in the house their first year, they did not expect history to repeat itself in such an uncanny fashion. On Dec. 4, 2021, a man once again broke into the quaint off campus house with a yellow door. 

 Comfortable in their home, the current residents had left cellphones, wallets, car keys and wallets strewn about the house, all of which were untouched by the mysterious intruder. The man simply wandered from room to room with no apparent motive. His intrusion woke Duffy, Roarty and Ritter. The three of them communicated about the intrusion over the phone from their bedrooms.  

“I so clearly remember texting, ‘There’s a man in our house,’” Roarty said. 

“I so clearly remember reading that and just being terrified,” Duffy added. 

The residents debated the best course of action, as they were hesitant to call the police. Roarty eventually told the others that she would “take care of it,” and chased the man out of the house. 

As shocking as the break-in was, the girls spent most of the interview discussing the other, more cheerful, aspects of living together in the house. 

“One of the cool things about the house is it has a living room downstairs and upstairs, and our first year we would always come to this house for Frisbee team bonding and do what we call ‘slammers’ up in the upstairs attic living room. And then they would also host parties here and obviously I would bring Annie because she’s my best friend,” said Duffy. 

The group had originally thought that they would be split up for their third year, since they had been planning to go abroad opposite semesters, but the pandemic allowed them to all live together in Grinnell during the school year, solidifying their friendships and providing crucial support through the difficult time. 

“It is just so nice to come home to your friends,” said Roarty. 

A quintessential feature of the house are the notorious knickknacks left behind from various tenants.   

“There’s just random really strange things in most of the nooks and crannies in our house, it feels feel like a museum,” said Roarty. 

Notable items include a neon cocktail sign, a plastic leg and an abominable snowman head. These items have been fixtures of the house and are features of their first-year memories. Duffy described taking nap while wearing the abominable snowman as a freshman, and Roarty has video of her crawling around while wearing the head in the upstairs living room. The group has also added a large stuffed unicorn to the collection. The unicorn was originally gifted to Estes by the rest of the group for her 21st birthday, but has now become a permanent fixture of the living room.  

 Along with the many fond associations from first year the group has created new memories this past year: hosting Bachelor watch parties, purchasing a kiddie pool, grilling pizzas in the yard and coming together to watch shows and decompress in the living room after school.  

Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the frisbee team members have also done their best to keep the team’s traditions alive in the house. 

“We’ve done Frisbee team bonding over here, in the backyard with our fire pit and we’ve had a few basement parties last semester. So, I feel like people are coming to know the house well.” 

Next year, frisbee team members Eliza Meyer `23 and Mallory Graham `23 plan to live in the home. With any luck, the locks will do the trick and the house can remain a safe and lively home.  

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About the Contributors
Millie Peck
Millie Peck, Opinions Editor
Millie is a fourth-year English and psychology double major. Despite stewing on a witty bio for the better half of a year, she has failed to think of anything good, so will instead just lean into the fact that she is living the liberal arts dream: sharing a rainbow polka-dot house with seven roommates and a cat.  
Maddi Shinall
Maddi Shinall, Visuals Editor
Maddi is a fourth-year political science major from Iowa City, Iowa. She is likely either listening to Taylor Swift or drinking an iced chai (with oat milk) from the Grill at the moment, possibly both.
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