Prexy's Midnight Runner

I was delighted to read “Prexy Gets Facelift” (Reed, December 2014). The historical account was nearly right, but missed a detail of supreme importance (to me, anyway). True, in 1958 the men’s dorm was removed from Prexy and the music program was installed, with piano taught in the big room, first-floor northeast corner of the building, and nearly all the rest of the rooms used for practice. However, contrary to the claim that “the building was declared unsafe as a residence,” in fact it remained a residence for years to come. There was a three-room apartment on the second floor (again, northeast corner) containing a living room with fireplace, a bedroom/study, and a full private bathroom. This apartment was occupied by the building’s student-custodian, who lived there rent free in exchange for unlocking the front door at 7 a.m. every day, locking it again at 11 p.m., and vacuuming the whole building once a week (with special attention to the piano room). I held this job my senior year, 1961–62, and oh-la-la, was that apartment ever a superchallenge to the open-door policy. It was also a challenge to the student-custodian, who could not roust himself at 7 a.m. most days, so was awakened by shouting from below and heavy rapping on the front door. Musicians, you gotta love ’em . . . and I did!

—John Belmont ’62

Overland Park, Kansas