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June 2017


Dear Abbot Pennings,

“Rumor has it there is a Matchbox car embedded in one of the walkways on campus. If this is true, where might I find it?”

Cathryn Siolka ’19


Dearest Cathryn,

As I read your inquiry, I found myself wondering how it is that this exact question has not been sent my way sooner! The rumor that you reference is indeed a fact.  For quite a long time, this tiny toy car could indeed be discovered embedded within the cement on Baer Mall – to the delight of each new cohort of students as they, in their turn, discovered it.

You may have remarked that this walkway, which leads the visitor to Main Hall after entrance at the arch, is embellished with a pattern of diamonds. Who knows how this model vehicle found its home – embedded there in the first diamond, to be exact. But one must suspect an act of levity perpetrated by one of our own students was involved and, since Baer Mall was installed in 1993, we may suppose the, ahem, vehicular installation took place at that time.

It was much more recently, in October of 2015, that a renovation of the mall occurred. You will now find our dear college’s signature fleurs-de-lis within each of the diamonds in the walkway – and, the little car has vanished.  

Wouldn’t it be delightful to know who might have placed it there to begin with, and when? I am sure that the, let us say, statute of limitations has run out on this incident and so perhaps one of my readers would be willing to shed some light. 

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898. 

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