Pete’s college experience

I went to Rowan College in the fall of 1993. I didn’t know anyone there, and I was more than 100 miles from the only home I had ever known. I was scared.

The first week of classes, some guy came to an 8AM class in his pajamas. I remember thinking that he was trying for nonconformity too hard.

Sure enough, that was Pete, and Pete was going to be my best friend.

He only spent a year at Rowan (I spent four). But in that year, he and I developed a friendship that was more like being family members than friends.

I think everyone wants to be part of a community. Some choose faith, some choose civic groups, some choose a particular sub-culture. No one wants to be alone. Pete and I (and a few others) discovered that staying up late, playing music softly, and just talking was a creative, communal experience. We spent a lot of time doing exactly that. That year was the best year of my life; I was surrounded by a group of people who cared about me and about each other. Those people are still largely in my life; hell, I married one.

In the last few years, my wife and I were lucky enough to own a house with swimming pool directly between Pete’s house and his parents’. So we saw him twice a year, and swam together when it was warm enough. He was the DJ at my wedding (just manned the iPod).

I miss him. There’s a lot I don’t understand about his choices. I wish I could have been there for him at the end.

Thanks, Jonathan, for getting in touch with me. Thanks for setting all this up. Pete was a daily part of my life for about 1/37 of it; everything I’m feeling must be magnified for you and your family.

Submitted by Erik Strohmeyer


8 Responses

  1. Erik Strohmeyer

    Oh, yes. Enclosed is a particularly pretentious picture of him.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

  2. One of the best years of my life as well. There are so many memories from our first year at Rowan and Pete was somehow involved in most of them.

    He was always willing to walk me across campus late at night to go back to my dorm (on the few occasions that I did go back to Evergreen). We also climbed trees together in the park as we had a Taco Bell picnic. Our trip to Rutgers is one I will never forget.

    I was just telling my daughter about the time Pete climbed through the heating ducts to get into your room Eric. Now that is a video I wish we still had.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

  3. Wasn’t that Joe’s room, because he left his clock/radio alarming all weekend?

    I would not be the man I am today without Pete. I learned a lot of stuff that I use all the time, including that you can learn a lot about yourself and about other people by taking long walks with them. For some reason, moderate physical activity leads to more intimate, honest moments.

    July 28, 2012 at 12:56 am

    • Hmmm…I thought it was your room. It was during that ice storm and you weren’t on campus yet. Can’t remember why we needed to get in there though. The video was erased because right after Bryan taped one of the RA’s getting in an accident in the parking lot. He didn’t want to give her the tape with “incriminating” video’s on it.

      July 28, 2012 at 1:44 am

  4. It was my room he climbed into to turn the radio off (sorry about that by the way), he went through from Erik’s room. The things I remember best are the spontaneous road trips Pete, me, and Josh made disappearing for a few days at a time… D&D in the lounge… and lets not forget my “girlfriend” Roberta who spent more time following Pete around than she did with me. College would not have been the same without him.

    July 28, 2012 at 1:49 am

  5. At some point, Pete met a guy at school named Seth Horowitz. Seth was running for student council president, and he impressed Pete greatly. So Pete decided to do whatever he could for the cause of Seth’s election.

    He created a program that could be sent as an email to people, which auto-opened and said “Vote for Seth” in dancing letters. At the time, we called it “ASCII Art”. The problem was that it was large – hundreds of times larger than a normal email over that network. The other problem is that our email network was old, even at the time. It was a VAX/VMS system named Saturn.

    But Pete sent his message to everyone on the system. And since they created an account for every student and staff member when we signed up, that is hundreds of accounts, including the college president.

    Right when he sent it, he knew it was going badly. It was supposed to send to everyone more or less simultaneously, but it grinded its way through the “A” last names, then the “B”s. After a few hours of this, Pete emailed a system administrator he knew to say that he thought that he did something to hurt Saturn. “No individual can hurt the whole system; don’t worry about it” came the reply half an hour later. Twenty minutes after that, this same admin wrote him another email that simply said, “OH, MY GOD” (“OMG” not having been invented yet).

    In the end, the email groaned its way into the “J”s, we think. Certainly I never got one. Saturn was unavailable for anyone to use that weekend. And Seth, who never knew about any of this and arguably didn’t even know who Pete Everett was, lost that election .

    July 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  6. Rich

    Huh. I always assumed that Seth Horowitz was a made-up name, or one of the unfortunate students who never claimed their Saturn accounts and therefor forfeited them to Pete’s devious machinations.

    He sent me e-mails for months from someone named Egbert, or some such silly name. He assigned me the second silliest account name he *ahem* /borrowed/ but the name is sadly lost to my lousy memory, as I really didn’t have much use for the extra account. The internet was a much lonelier place back then.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm

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