Discussion and reactions to last issue. Plus, readers share memories of their favorite spots on campus.

Yeah mon!

I fondly read Jeff Steinberg’s “Marley & Me” article (Spring 2021). I was a friend and classmate of Jeff’s when the news of Bob Marley’s passing broke, and I distinctly remember how moved and wiped out Jeff was after running the WMCX radio show that day.

Jeff was always very big-hearted; he treated a few fellow Hawks, including me, to a Rita Marley show in New York a few years later. I passed up a chance to hop onto Rita’s tour bus, but Jeff went backstage. After all, he was a part of the Marley family. Thanks for the memories!


Stomping Grounds

Readers shared their favorite places on Monmouth’s campus.

As a baseball player from 1985 to 1989, one of my favorite spots was (and still is) the field we played on—so many great memories with my amazing teammates. It was on that field that I learned many life lessons about the value of hard work and teamwork and about the importance of overcoming adversity. My education at Monmouth, and my experiences as an athlete, taught me to sit back, review a situation, make appropriate changes, and try again. The feeling of accomplishment after a setback provides the same high as the adrenaline rush that comes after hitting a home run. In fact, if it wasn’t for key influences from coaches, professors, teammates, my parents, and friends, I know I would have had a much larger mountain to climb in life.

While the baseball field was my sanctuary, my ultimate favorite spot on campus has to be the old Life and Career Advising Center (LCAC) in the Student Center. It was there that I met my best friend: Mary Lou Travis ’86, who is now my wife. It would be hard not to cite the LCAC as my favorite spot on campus given that I met my soul mate and lifelong partner there. It will always hold a special place in my heart.


Whether as a place to study for tests or to hang out in before and after class, the Great Hall was the place.


At the end of the lawn on the south side of the Great Hall is a small pond. I would often sit there for long periods of time looking at the water and watching the ducks swim; it helped me forget about my busy work and study schedules, assignments, and things that troubled me. It was always a peaceful time and never failed to reenergize me and help clear my mind. Afterward, I would take a long walk around the beautiful campus. I always look back at those times with fond memories.


Third floor of the Student Center with Monmouth SGA!


Oddly enough, it’s the women’s second-floor bathroom in the Great Hall. It was the quietest place ever—especially in the winter, when the snow was falling. It was so warm in there! I’d hang out and read in the sitting room just outside the bathroom. I always wished the closet there were unlocked (it never was) because it was the coolest two-floor closet I have ever seen. Sometimes I would imagine being the woman whose bathroom that was: gold fixtures, a sitting room. Oh, and I definitely used the scale built into the floor—even though it was off a little.


The “Old (original) Rugged Gate” in front of the Library on Cedar Avenue.


The “Old Building” of the Guggenheim Library, back in the day.


The School of Science chemistry labs! That’s where all the magic happens!


The Varsity Weight Room, of course!


Rehm is director of strength and conditioning for the Hawks.

The “classic literature” section in the old part of the Guggenheim Library, which was almost always deserted. I would pick a table by a window and just take in the atmosphere of the room: the smell of old books and paper, the decorative walls and ceiling, the old parquet floors, and the view looking out over the beautiful park. It was like going back in time for me, a romantic old soul lost in a bygone world.


The Wagstaff family. Back: William; front: May (standing); Eva, seated holding Grace in her lap; Frances; and Evelyn.

As a transfer, commuter, and first-generation student, I spent a good deal of time doing homework in the former Murray Guggenheim House, now the library. I allowed myself to be distracted as I wondered what it might have been like to work in and around the house. Comparing the grand staircase with the one used by the help, I wondered how often the original wood walls of bookshelves were hand-dusted and imagined the home-life technology of the times. Sitting in the former bedrooms, I thought about the meals that were prepared in the kitchen and the flowers that would have been placed around the room.

Outside, among the flowers and the forgotten ground scape, I thought of the greenhouse that no longer stood and the small place where the person who ran the grounds and his wife raised their family of four girls. Walking the grounds as an undergraduate brought me an immense sense of calm and peace. While I am sure others have felt this way, there are few alumni who can join me in feeling a true connection to the roots growing on those grounds.

The family that once lived in the back-corner house is mine. William Wagstaff, born in Southport, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom, in 1884, and Eva M. Wagstaff (nee Rowe), born in 1893 in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, were my great-grandparents.

My grandmother May, along with her sisters, Frances, Evelyn, and Grace, were raised there, in the shadow of this most eccentric of summer residences. While Eva helped in the big house a bit, William oversaw the grounds. For that he was paid a modest salary and provided housing. This was a typical arrangement for the times.

This was not his first job in the States. He was hired to do the same work on an estate in Connecticut immediately upon arriving at Ellis Island. Victorian Southport, U.K., was much like Monmouth County at the time, and so it is easy to understand why he might have had interest in relocating to the West End. The couple remained in the area until he passed away in 1951; at that point he was working at the Levine Estate in Deal, New Jersey. Eva lost her husband and housing in the same moment. She eventually remarried and moved nearby to the small house of her second husband in Elberon, New Jersey. The Wagstaff family members from that house in the shadows were buried down the street from the University at Glenwood Cemetery.

I am not the only family member to earn a degree from Monmouth University. The most famous was basketball star Walter Mischler ’62. But I am the only one who returned later to join Monmouth’s faculty for a brief time. The library and grounds remain my favorite spot on campus because of the family ties that I have to those spaces.