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What Happens When a Town of Fifteen Thousand Grows to Thirty Thousand in the Span of a Few Days?

You have a serious water shortage.

I think I’ve made my loyalties to my alma mater, Miami University, crystal-clear. Well, life was not always so rosy in the idyllic little college town of Oxford.

Back in the late 80’s (when most of today’s college students were just wee little babes), the town would experience a severe water shortage when the students would return in the fall. During my freshman year, resident students were given a gallon of purified water each day to use for drinking, brushing teeth, and other personal hygiene. We were asked to limit our shower time, and only flush the toilets if absolutely necessary (ewww!). This generally went on for a week or two, then somehow things would return to normal.

We were never sure exactly how this happened. First there was not enough water and then there was. During my sophomore year, they brought in the National Guard to help expand a reservoir, and suddenly, no more water shortage.

While we were certainly all thrilled that the hydro-issue had been resolved, we did have to say farewell to what had become a fond Fall tradition, linked inexorably for many of us to the “back to school” period: The Annual Oxford Water Shortage. T-Shirts were sold with “I Survived the Annual Water Shortage” and a black and white rendition of what had become the symbol–the Oxford Water Tower.


In 1998, the City of Oxford, much to the chagrin of many alums, chose to tear down the old water tower in the center of town, which no longer served much purpose. In 2000, the lovely Memorial Park was dedicated in its place, but “Meet me at the park” didn’t seem quite the same as “I’ll meet you under the water tower.”

Today’s little walk down memory lane was inspired by fellow blogger (and Miami alum) Bryan, who today celebrates his 300th post.

Cheers!

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