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Piche Campus Remembered...

July 26, 2017

I was going to come back and add to this but after going through to edit and fix mistakes, I'm leaving it to stand as-is. I like the "written in the moment" feel. I wrote this using Notepad offline because there was no Internet connection at the time. Written late Sunday night and in to Monday morning 7/23-7/24/17

 

 

Well... here we go... I've been writing this history of 281 Weaver in my head my entire life, but now it's time to finally write it down. I can't possibly do this thing the proper justice. Just assume for every story told there are 2 more I'll miss. Everyone has their own memories of this place. Some longer than others. My Dad and his two sisters grew up here. It has been the stronghold of our family since 1949.

 

A house with an apartment upstairs, and later a 3 car garage with an apartment over it. Every room, every spot of land, every part... sparks a memory. As this final weekend for me on the Campus ends tomorrow I sit here typing things for my website. A concept I cooked up back in the mid 2000's mere feet from where I'm writing this up at The Weav'. I can't accurately describe the feelings of my family, and friends who also had important moments happen for them here. Relationships formed and ended. Babies made, poker games won, laughs had, tears shed, triumphs celebrated... I can only attack this beast with my tales first it starts with a brief timetable...

 

I was born in April of 1979. Soon after in early May I was brought back to 281 1/2 Weaver St. where my life began. At the age of 6 we packed up to move to Colchester where a very defiant child claimed I never wanted to move (Just wait til you get to your 30's kid). For the next decade plus, it would simply be where my grandparents lived. It was where we gathered on holidays, and basically where I saw the Piche Clan. Later it would become a part-time residence for my aunt and uncle as well. In 2004 I returned to 281 1/2 to live and soon after, got me a roommate by the name of Josh Goyet. This began a run of roommates that included Josh, Aaron Stata, Justin St. Louis, Ed Companion... and for that matter a bunch of others who needed temporary places to crash. Then when I left for Milwaukee in the summer of 2008 Ed stayed in the Weav', where his run would include roommates Cara Gorman and Laura Bailey. I liked that they lived up there. Popping up over the years as they went from dating to engaged to married to with child before their run was through earlier this year in 2017. But I'm getting ahead of myself... After I returned to Vermont from Wisconsin in 2010 I began living in the house. It was awesome to have a nice pad to move back to that only had people in it when they would come to visit which wasn't often.  I lived in the house until Spring 2013 before moving to So. Burlington to finally have my own space to decorate and spread out. Eventually when I moved to NH in 2014 and later Boston I would use the house much the way the other out-of-town family members would. Coming back for weekends or weeks on end and having a great home-base to stay at. Often our visits would overlap and create the few times my family would see each other aside from funerals.

 

So with the timeline out of the way, I turn to the memories and moments I'll never forget. I learned to walk here. I got stung by a bee for the first time in the driveway. I found out why we don't stick our fingers in light sockets. I realized the joy of getting in a Pampers box and being slid around a green shag carpet. Which reminds me, I learned to poop here. I made my first two friends here, both girls, Rachel & Heidi. I "painted" the back deck with water. I sported my first Canadiens jersey here. And all of that... was just from the first 6 years...

 

We celebrated so many Thanksgivings and Christmas's here. I remember getting Fireball Island one year and going crazy. I ate the world's best pies here and even got to help my grandmother do some cooking. Most of my favorite memories of my grandmother are from here. She passed away earlier this year which led the ball rolling towards the house selling and I didn't have the website then to write or vent but this woman, who should legally be a saint, was such a great grandmother. I have often given praise to my parents over the years but not enough do I mention the great parents they had. I recall watching my grandfathers face light up with joy as my young cousin Kyle dunked in to a tiny hoop over and over again as an infant. I didn't have many memories of my grandfather but the ones I do were mostly here.

 

So many great stories told my uncles here. Uncle Leo, Uncle Donald, and also my Uncle Donnie. As I said in my Uncle Leo's tribute I went hunting to hang out with them and my dad and be a part of some stories myself. It was where the family gathered, but as the family got smaller the gatherings lessened then eventually dissipated some time in the late 2000's. 

I moved in in 2004 to the apartment again over the garages and then nicknamed it The Weav' (The address is 281 1/2 thus half of Weaver is Weav'). It quickly became the place to be, as we hosted parties, wrestling watch gatherings, contests where we would toss ping-pong balls in cups for sport, video game nights, barbecues, Guitar Hero jam sessions, and anything else that needed a roof over it that we could. The event schedule was so big that it spawned TeamCite.com to keep up with it all and that span of time for me closed with PichStock in Aug. 2008 before I moved to Wisconsin and it was one of my favorite memories in all my time here. Along the way we made several love connections, producing several weddings, babies, and even some divorces... We also had an illegal gambling ring every Monday Night called the Weav' Poker Tour where our numbers got as high as 22 people but usually ranged in the 12-8 people range. So many people came through that over the years I still sometimes run in to people that only know me from that. Personally I went through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows here. Broke some hearts, and got mine broken too. I always felt safe here because my friends were always around me, and when I moved away my biggest fear was not having them by my side. The folks I met while there list, would blow your mind but I still remember meeting Danielle Dufrense there when she was all of 19ish? She has become one of my best friends since over the years and she's always quick to tell you how much The Weav' meant to her growing up. From being a place to safely crash right up to her leaving for NYC to a full moon salute from the front windows. I was glad she was there with me the other day as I went on Facebook Live to shoot a farewell Weav' video tour. I wished there had been time for one final gathering...

 

 

Anyway back on somewhat track if I may... when I came back to visit in 2009 from Milwaukee and brought two friends it was PichStock 2 and featured one of my favorite all-time pictures in Weav' history. Everyone came out for a huge poker game and we got a shot of all of us on the deck. I always loved that coming back to Vermont from wherever I was meant being back on Piche Campus (As I named it because of it's two different buildings and it being an institute of higher learning of course). Eventually after my attempts at making it work in Wisconsin went south, I moved back east. Returning for yet another Pichstock welcoming me home. I was very moved by all of the Pichstock efforts as people came from all around to be a part of at least one of them here and there along the way. In fact Pichstock 1 was so good that when I went to leave again in late 2013 I didn't want to try and match it. I knew that you really should only get one send-off jam like that in a lifetime and I was lucky enough to get 2 more versions when I returned to visit and later move back. 

 

As I settled in to the house I felt comfortable when no one from the family was in town but when they came in I'd look to crash elsewhere. I even lived for a short time down on River Street in an area of Winooski where my family owned and built houses back in the day. In fact my Dad's grandparents lived across the street from where I was, but the family had since sold it off. That time-frame also saw me stay in some very unique places which is a story I'll save for another time...  Eventually after a couple years of all this I decided I needed my own pad and moved in with a friend in So. Burlington. until moving to NH about a year later.

 

Well I feel all over the place now. But at least the confusion dried the tears for a bit. Yup. Sitting and writing while having a good cry... I learned that here too. I learned I had ADHD and how do deal with it. I learned to take the high road here. To fight strong and proud for what you believe in. To appreciate family. To always be there for others. I learned to erase some of the hate that consumed me for years here. I once turned the basement of the house in to a comedy cellar knock-off known as the Giggle Basement. I watched countless shows, sports, and news moments that shaped my life here. From Peanuts cartoons to Game of Thrones binge watched in a 2 week span last summer. I lived in the Weav' when I started up with Talking Trash the sports talk TV Show. We created "the radio show" here. I ran my brief Thunder Road racing career while I lived here. UVM beat Syracuse while I lived here and after coming home from those magical days I returned here to place the articles about it on my walls for the first time. 

 

 

Other quick hit notes: The first time and last time I ever threw up happened here. I love that my friends Ed and Laura had a child while there and he had my first room as his first room. I love that the bathtub Mary became the unofficial mascot of the Piche Campus. I LOVE that so many other people had big and/or fun moments and memories here. It helps the legacy of the place be more than just the Piche surname. 

 

I have to thank everyone who ever had a memory here or made me living here happen or matter... yes that's almost all of you. I've moved a ton in my life... I've had to say good-bye to lots of places and people over the years... this one ranks the hardest to say good-bye too. It was always home.

 

A home is more than walls, roofs, driveways, and yards. It's the people that hang stuff on those walls, take shelter under those roofs, drive cars up that driveway, and play in that grass that make it what it is. I'm so glad I had this rock in my life for so long. As sad as I am, I know this is for the best for all involved. My aunts and Dad and have done a great job maintaining it over the past few years and it's time for them to put that responsibility down and enjoy not worrying about a place in which none of them live. Reaping a financial gain in the wake of their memories. And no matter how small our branch of the Piche tree gets, we will always have our legacy on this street. From the church where we were baptized, married, and later laid to rest... Weaver St., and all of Winooski will always have Piche's to thank for brickwork (My grandfather and his brothers were all local masons), and building not just buildings, but good times along the way. As hipsters take over our city remind that douche with the concert t-shirt, ironic beard, and micro-brew IPA that this town was built by folks like my family and I'll always be proud of that. It might be the one thing I'd actually come to blows with someone about so don't try me outside of McKees some night because I'm sure I can round up a posse right quick to smoke you like a Hillshire Farms turkey you hoser! 

 

I made a mistake in the opening paragraph. For every story I've told, there will be 200 more I missed. The timetable and impact of this place was that great and wide-ranging. As I leave tomorrow I know I'll do so through watery eyes. Positives will come from this. It is not the end of the world... but it is the end of an era... and it's the only era I've ever known.

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