790. To many, it is simply a large number maybe referring to money or perhaps the start of someone's phone number, but to me, it was home for eight months. MC 790 was where I spent my freshman year; a place where time didn't exist. This room is where most of my memories from freshman year, both good and bad, were made. From performing the cup song for two hours without any cups, to the worst fallout since the atomic bomb went off, 790 was the backdrop for all of it. However, my roommate *Rose and I were not the first freshmen to live in MC and certainly not the last. 790 was other people's home as well, and we learned that lesson during orientation week.
Rose and I were in the process of moving our things into our room one night when she stumbled upon a small gold key.
"Is this yours?" she asked me. I looked over and shook my head,
"Never seen it before." I walked over to my roommate and examined the keys. It was a small gold key with a silver keychain that read: Saint Jude Protect Us. That's when I let my curiosity get the best of me. "I wonder what they open?"
Our first idea was that it unlocked our bedroom door. I went out into the hall while Rose remained inside and tried to lock our door, but the key didn't fit into the lock. We tried the bathroom door and once again it didn't budge. We really didn't know what they unlocked so Instead of turning them into our RA or the front desk; we kept them on our vanity. The key must have belonged to a freshman who lived in 790 before us, but we had no idea who they were.
As the school year went on, we forgot about the mysterious St. Jude key. It sat on our vanity among our makeup and hairbrushes for months. Until our friend, *Marc was poking around our room and spotted it.
"What's this to?" he asked, picking it up and turning it over in his hands.
"No idea. It was there when we moved in," I replied. He took this as a challenge and vowed to figure out what this key unlocked. He spent the next few days googling different facts about our key until one night he ran into our room out of breath.
"I figured it out!" he exclaimed.
"Figured what out?" Rose asked, looking up from her psychology textbook.
"The key! It unlocks a file cabinet." A filing cabinet. Something I spent all of my time around during my summer job, now seemed impossible to find. None of our friends had access to any sort at their jobs around campus, and I hadn't even seen one during my time at the university. Once again the key remained forgotten upon our vanity.
We forgot all about it until one night in April there was a knock at our door. Two seniors that we had never met before wanted to see what their first dorm room looked like before they graduated. Realizing we had a chance to figure out what the key unlocked I snatched it off the vanity and showed them to the girls. Neither of them had seen them before. After a quick picture, the two left, leaving Rose and me to wonder about this mystery key.
The key sat on the vanity until the last week of April as we began to pack up our stuff for summer vacation. Rose was tossing her makeup into her bag when she noticed the key. That's when we had a brilliant idea! We would leave the key behind in the same drawer we found it in, that way the incoming freshmen might have a chance to solve the mystery. We would write a letter to the incoming freshmen explaining what this key was, leave it and a St. Jude prayer card we found behind with it. We struggled to find the words to explain our strange attachment to this key. Maybe it was there from the very moment we moved in, but it really felt as if it were a part of 790. In the end, we went with the super cheesy route and told them that 790 was now their home and that we hoped they had a great freshman year. We also included the fact that it unlocks a filing cabinet and left our Snapchat codes for them in the hopes that they would show us how they decorated the room. The problem was we had to find a way to leave it behind without the RA's on moveout duty finding it since everything had to be removed from the drawers. So, we concocted a plan. Once Rose moved out, two days before me, I was to hide the letter in her drawer that was already deemed empty by the RA. After Rose moved out, I fulfilled my role and tucked the key, letter, and prayer card into the back of the drawer that we found it in eight months prior. I moved out two days after that and as far as I can tell the letter remained there all summer.
As sophomore continues without a word from these freshmen, I lose faith that they even cared about the key at all. To them, it's probably just some junk that the tenets before them left behind, but to Rose and me it stands for 790; our home during our freshman year at the University of Dayton and all the wonderful memories we made there. Maybe these new freshmen have their own key that symbolizes freshman year, or maybe they are over there wondering what this key unlocks just like we were one year ago.
*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity