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

1008 High St. gets deep, shady

By Nathan Foreman

The house at 1008 High Street, known as Deep Shade, stands silently alit, as I navigate my boots across the ice. Life spills from the house into the coldness of the snow, as a tree festooned with empty beer cans stands guard over a couch and chair on the porch.

The residents of 1008 High St appear to be well-adjusted. Photograph by Joey Brown

The ascent over a small stoop and through the front door brings me to an undecorated tree inside.

“We have a big tree in the foyer. Julia got it. She has a stick collection and a tree collection. That’s the prize of the stick collection,” Tessa Cheek ’12 said.

Cheek, Julia Gerasimenko ’12, Anna Armstong ’12 and Julie Podair ’12 have known each other since their shared Tutorial first year, which focused on Pokémon. They decided to move in together while two of the residents, Cheek and Gerasimenko, were in Argentina and dragooned Dylan Naylor ’13 into living with them.

“They threatened me,” Naylor jokes, explaining that he was the only one in Grinnell who could coordinate the lease.
The residents asked Cheek to name the house, and she chose the name Deep Shade for unknown reasons. Gerasimenko recalled that the runner-up nominee “sounded like a brothel.”

A preeminent location for parties, Deep Shade lives up to its reputation. The deteriorating condition of its floors shows the wear of many years in Grinnell and the dancing feet of inebriated Grinnellians. The floor in what would be the dining room is instead the dancing room.

“When people are dancing in there, beer literally pools in the center,” Naylor said.

The floor is now supported by car jacks in the basement.
“Now it has car jacks. … Before it was just a car jack,” Naylor said.

“It seems pretty okay from the basement,” proclaimed Podair after a cursory tour of the old basement, which netted Naylor some previously undiscovered hammers. “We just doubled our hammers!”

Though the floors sag, the sense of community is tight in Deep Shade, and the five students seem well adjusted to their life off-campus. Of course, nice neighbors help. The group lamented the recent move of the family next door referred to as “Baby” and “Rico,” who were friendly with the residents. The neighbors even offered Podair job opportunities and Naylor food options.

“They cooked me like a steak dinner at three o’clock in the morning, because I was drunk and they said I needed food, so they made me like cinnamon rolls and mashed potatoes,” Naylor said.

A cabinet in the saggy-floored dining room contains some important items to have on hand. Cheek listed off the accoutrements inside:

“Glitter, bubbles, and gold spray paint… and an empty bottle of balsamic vinegar… and a gumball machine,” Cheek said.
The kitchen displays the typical scene of a busy college student’s life. A bag of popcorn sits open on the counter, not too far from a broken toaster, a casualty of an attempt by Cheek to cook a hamburger. Notably, the srichacha sauce sits at the central point between the stove’s four burners. Among the top food choices in this “dining hall” are instant foods and sweets, such as frozen pizza and cake, in addition to bread, fajitas and chorizo.

As we returned to the front room’s bright lights, Naylor began to play a keytar—a cross between a guitar and a synthesizer. The residents may also have a bluegrass band, but they seem uncertain of the name, alternating between “Agro-Crag” and a few others before landing on “Perfume of the Ancient World.”

One of the most remarkable items in the house sits oddly beside the coffee table: a “Vitamaster” massage machine. The machine uses a belt-driven cylinder of massage rollers at a pace set by turning a knob. Cheek and Gerasimenko found it for two dollars at Second Mile. It seems to function like a mechanical hot seat in the front room.

A flag with a white background and a photograph of a golden retriever sits proudly and happily in its two-dimensional place on the table. The residents recently discussed changing the house’s name to the Dog House, but they took down their flag. Obviously the sign proclaiming “Top Dog” with an arrow alone does not express the house’s love for canines enough. Still, they will always have Baby, a porcelain cherub with a burn on its throat, to keep them company as they sit in the front room.

The snow piles up past the stoop and the floor shifts like tectonic plates, but there is shelter in the Deep Shade and, possibly, a mechanical massage lying in wait for the next visitor there–which may be one of the residents.

“We only come here to party. We don’t even actually live here,” Armstrong admitted.

Tessa Cheek is Arts Editor for the S&B.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *