Just wanted to congratulate Chris Lydgate ’90 on his deep digging to create the most factual article to date discussing the prank of the century. He has come the closest to true reporting that I’ve read about the history of the MG and the night it was laid to rest in its permanent home. A box in my garage holds my prize, the stick shift knob, handed to me by one of my coconspirators, and I was told that the steering wheel was given to the school archivist Dorothy Johansen ’33, as well. [Not true, sadly—Ed.] I’m not sure why people are keeping it to themselves; when the old crowd from that night gets together, we are pretty loud and proud about the whole thing. It was QUITE a night.
I missed the building of the Hauser Library by a hair (I saw the construction in progress during a 1988 prospective visit; by the time I arrived as a first-year in 1989 the addition was completed). However, during my years at Reed I made friends with Marilyn Kierstead [library 1978–2001], then Special Collections Librarian and wife of my thesis adviser, Ray Kierstead [history 1978–2000]. I vividly remember on graduation day in May, 1993, that I was walking with Marilyn past the library when she recounted the story of the MG, and pointed to the area where the burial took place. She added a funny detail (maybe apocryphal, but maybe not?) missing from the article. According to Marilyn, the pranksters reversed normal vandalism: whereas it’s not uncommon for cars to have their hubcaps stolen, these guys took the car but left the hubcaps behind, carefully positioned exactly where they belonged in the MG’s parking space! Sounds crazy, but wouldn’t you trust a highly respectable librarian like Marilyn Kierstead? Added evidence, to my mind, that the MG really IS under the library.
With regard to the MG Midget buried under the library—that is exactly where it belongs. One of the worst experiences of my adult life is buying the Midget instead of the MGB because the B was $1000 more. Believe me, you get what you pay for. If I could have buried that car, I would have. The article calls it vintage or legendary or awesome or something, but that is very far from the truth. Try depending on one sometime. I still remember the sickening feeling of the brake pedal going suddenly all the way to the floor because the master cylinder went out. Eventually some idiot stole it, and when I got it back, it didn’t have a second gear and you could start it with a screwdriver instead of a key. I wish I’d bought the MGB instead. They’re far more beautiful than the Midget anyway. I mean, if you’re going to suffer, you might as well get something out of it.
Editor's Note: It’s a shame the pranksters didn’t bury your car instead of the car belonging to Mark Verna ’87.