Inside (Our House) Voices: “SPU Stories” with the Browns and the Stubberts
Take a break from the news and walk down memory lane with the Browns and Stubberts as they share beloved memories of their time at Seattle Pacific University.
Amanda Stubbert: Welcome to the SPU Voices Podcast, where we tell personal stories with universal impact. This episode is Inside Voices and boy, are we inside. We’re all inside our homes right now. So I’d like to introduce you to my producer, Kyle. Say hi, Kyle.
Kyle Brown: Hello.
Amanda: And I’d like to introduce Kyle’s wife, who is also in quarantine with him. Say hi, Erin.
Erin: Hi guys.
Amanda: I’m your host, Amanda Stubbert. And I’d also like to introduce you to my husband. Say hi, Corbett.
Amanda: So we’re in two different homes right now, recording over Zoom, and we thought we’d just give you a little inside peek into the stories that we live with because all four of us are SPU alums. So I thought I’d start with just our best SPU story. I know we all have them.
My most embarrassing moment of all time was during a class at SPU. I went to a different school my freshman year, but transferred in as a sophomore.
And anyone who’s done that knows that even though you’ve only had one year of college, you come in with a little bit of a chip on your shoulder that you are not a freshman, like everyone thinks that you are.
So I went into my first psychology class, which is a survey class. Everyone who was going to even think about being a psychology major had to take it, and you got to meet all the different professors and they gave you a little peek into their expertise. So Dr. Les Parrott was giving a speech about what his classes are all about, and he asked for a volunteer, and I volunteered out of a class of probably 80 first-year students. And me being a sophomore, of course, I volunteered because I am older than everyone in this room.
So he brought me up and we were doing that thing where you say one word and then I say the first thing that comes to mind. So dog, house, cat, dog. And we went through many, many, many words. And then he said guild. And I said, “What?” And he repeated, “Guild.” And I thought, “Okay,” and I’m thinking, “Guild?” I was picturing all these men marching off to the factory ready to go to work with their hard hats and their lunch boxes. So I said, “Men,” and there was this huge eruption of laughter. Every person in the classroom was laughing. And in that moment, I replayed it in my head one more time and I realized that he hadn’t said guild, he had said, guilt. And I replied men. He said, “If I keep talking to you, I might have to start charging you,” and sent me back to my seat. That was the end of the chip on my shoulder for the rest of my time at SPU.
Kyle: That’s awesome. That’s a really good one, poor Les.
Amanda: No, I think he loved it. I think he loved that very much and probably told that story to some of his other professor friends. I should ask him if he remembers that. All right, Corbett, you want to go?
Corbett: Sure. My freshman and sophomore year I lived in Fifth Ashton, and we were all pretty tight and really got to know each other well by our sophomore year. And there were a couple of guys that thought it would be a great idea to play Africa by Toto for 100 hours straight, on repeat.
“There were a couple of guys that thought it would be a great idea to play Africa by Toto for 100 hours straight, on repeat.”
And so they cranked it up during the day and locked their door so nobody could turn it off and then just turned it down and slept with it as it was going on repeat all night long. It was fun at the beginning and then everybody just started hating it. And so the 100 hours hit four days later and everybody freaked out. It was pretty late, I think it was 11 or 12 o’clock, and everybody’s like, “It’s over. It’s over, 100 hours.” Everybody’s screaming at the top of their lungs, “A hundred hours, a hundred hours.” And we went out on the balcony and somebody threw something off the balcony, and everybody’s screaming “A hundred hours,” people are taking sticks and banging on the rails.
And then finally Security came up and asked us what was going on. But everybody just kept screaming at him: “100 hours!” He had no idea what was going on or why we were so excited until he just left and asked us to be quiet. So yeah, that was one of many very strange things that we did on Fifth Ashton.
Amanda: Why Africa?
Corbett: It just seemed to be the right song at the right time. It’s still the right song. I get a little bit of a tick every time I hear that song because it reminds me of that 100 hours. But yeah, it’s fun.
Amanda: All right, let’s go inside our other house for other voices. Kyle and Erin, what are your best SPU stories?
Erin: Well, my best SPU story doesn’t really have a beginning, middle, and end, but it was mostly just an experience, I guess. My friend group — we were all theatre majors, all six of us — and at the end of our sophomore year we decided we were all going to live in one house together. So six women, one house, one bathroom. We’re all taking the same classes all together, so there’s no escaping each other and everyone else was like, “This is a terrible idea, you guys are going to hate each other, you shouldn’t do this.” And we, very stubbornly, were like, “No, we’re going to do it. We’re going to have fun, it’s going to be great.”
And we did, and we just fully leaned into like, “Yes, we are a family,” and we had family meetings, and we ate dinner together every night. Everyone was able to take one night a week to cook because there were six of us. And then on Sunday we had leftovers. It was just a wonderful experience where we just became really close friends and a couple of us are still roommates to this day and hanging out. It was just a wonderful way that we got to prove everyone wrong that, “Yes, you can see people 24 hours a day and still love them.” Which may be a good lesson for right now.
“Yes, you can see people 24 hours a day and still love them.”
Amanda: The real question is, Erin, did you ever within that house play a song for 100 hours straight?
Erin: No, we did not commit that cardinal sin, so maybe that was the key all along.
Corbett: Oh, you were missing out. Trust me.
Erin: And we nominated two of our roommates to be like, “Okay, you’re going to be the father and you’re basically the mom.” And we had our roles and everything. I was not a parent figure at all. I was very much an annoying child in that household.
Amanda: Another thing these two couples have in common is that we both met at SPU while we were students there, and I know our “how we met” stories are a little bit different. The one thing we have in common is that the females are a little bit older than the guys. The “how we met” story, I’m dating myself with this reference, but it was kind of a, When Harry Met Sally. We kept running into each other, crossing paths about once every three or four months, for over a year before we really hung out. But I think our first date is really what’s important here because our first date was a piece of SPU history.
Corbett: Oh yeah, it was the very first dance that was ever sanctioned by SPU, not on SPU property. We had to be off of the property.
Amanda: And it had to be a ballroom dance.
Amanda: Swing dance because that was …
Corbett: Swing dance.
Amanda: Pretty hip back in the 90s.
Corbett: Yes. So I had met Amanda a few times my freshman year, just randomly at different parties and things. And then we met each other during the fall of my sophomore year.
Amanda: He’s trying to skip over something that might be embarrassing.
Corbett: What are you talking about?
Amanda: Someone had asked me out on a date and basically stood me up. And I called a mutual friend, the only mutual friend we had in common. And I said, “I can’t believe he stood me up again, when he calls back, I want to be out somewhere.” So basically I was asking if she would go out for coffee with me so I could be gone when he called back. And no, she was too busy. She was already doing something else. So instead, she called Corbett and said, “This girlfriend of mine just got stood up so you need to call her and cheer her up.” Unbeknownst to me, of course.
Amanda: But he did call because he’s such a sweet guy.
Corbett: Yeah. I didn’t know who she was at that time. I wasn’t putting the pieces together that I had met her before. So, right when I started the phone conversation I told her, “Hey, I’m really sorry that I have some other place to be, but I’m sorry, I heard the story …” And then we just started talking. But then we had this amazing conversation and we just kept talking and talking, and it had to have been 45 minutes later.
Amanda: Every 10 minutes, I said, “Well, I know you have to go.” And he would be like, “Oh, I have a few more minutes.” Because he wasn’t really going anywhere.
Corbett: Yeah, that was a little fib there. But yeah, we ended up having a great conversation and ended it with like, “Hey, we ought to have coffee sometime and get to know each other,” and got off the phone and then didn’t see her again for, I don’t know, three, four months.
Amanda: But then we ended up going to the dance together, and you don’t have to take our word for it, we were on the cover of the paper. We were on the cover of The Falcon dancing because they were covering this big, momentous occasion.
“We were on the cover of The Falcon dancing because they were covering this big, momentous occasion.”
Corbett: Yes, I’m wearing a hideous cardigan. I don’t know why I had a cardigan on, but apparently that was super cool back in the 90s.
Amanda: Yes. He was facing the camera, my back is to the camera. We can put this photo online. And the best part was, the photographer was a buddy of his and he couldn’t remember what my name was, so the caption of the photo was, “Corbett Stubbert and his companion dance the night away.”
Corbett: I still call Amanda “my companion” every now and then, just to bug her.
Amanda: All right, that’s our story. Over to you, Kyle and Erin.
Kyle: Yeah. So Erin and I met my freshman year. We did theatre at SPU and I was cast in a show, and Erin was the stage manager. I liked her. I didn’t think she really thought anything about me, even though she was my stage manager. I was like, “She just thinks I’m a freshman.” Because she was a junior at the time. So, in the Theatre Department at SPU, if you miss a cue, you’re supposed to buy your stage manager chocolate. And I missed my cue for something, and I said, “How about instead of chocolate, I take you out to lunch?”
Erin: Oh, are you going to just step past the reason why you missed your cue?
Kyle: I don’t remember the reason why I missed the cue.
Erin: Oh, well I remember. It’s because you were getting your shoulder massaged by another castmate in the hall and …
Kyle: I stand by it.
So she said yes to lunch. We went to the Subway on campus and we were there for four and a half hours, maybe five hours.
Erin: Yeah, super romantic. Who doesn’t want to be in a Subway for four+ hours?
Amanda: Because it smells so good.
Kyle: So I didn’t really think it was a date per se. I wasn’t sure. And I just remember Erin being intentionally late and walking in with her iPhone headphones in, and then her telling me two or three weeks later after we started dating that she did that on purpose so she’d seemed cool and aloof, being a little late and listening to music.
Erin: And I’ve been cool and aloof ever since.
“I’ve been cool and aloof ever since.”
Amanda: Oh, those are the two words I think of when I think of you, Erin.
Kyle: Cool and aloof. And then we started dating, and we haven’t stopped since.
Amanda: And you have a beautiful new baby to show for it.
Kyle: Yeah, we have baby Georgia, who you may end up hearing in this recording. Right now she’s sleeping, but you never know.
Amanda: You never know. All right, so let’s wrap it up with one round of a person who made your SPU experience memorable. And that can be any way you like. It can be someone who changed your life or something that was funny, fun, made it feel like home. What is that story of a person who was memorable to you at SPU?
Kyle: I’ll go first. So my person is Luke Davis, who, when I was a sophomore, I was a student ministry coordinator in Emerson and he was my RA. So we were RA, SMC partners. We hit it off right away. We actually met the year before, we were sitting in Gwinn, and there were just a smattering of people left, and he and another one of his friends came over and they sat at our table and we talked about superheroes for an hour and a half. And so Luke and I hit it off right away. You’re supposed to have one-on-ones as an RA and SMC, and they’re supposed to be an hour every week. And Luke and I always had our one-on-ones and they would last two hours, and we played video games together for those two whole hours and just locked his door.
And so we got to know each other really well. We hang out a ton now. He was in my wedding, I was in his wedding, and now he’s the assistant director of Admissions, working really hard through this time of not being able to go out and recruit students and having to figure out their plan for that. So this is both to say that he’s one of the best people I met at SPU and to give him a shout out for all the hard work he’s putting in to give more people the experience of attending SPU.
Amanda: Well, that’s awesome. All right, who’s next?
Erin: Well, I think one person from SPU who probably had the most impact on me and just how I do things now was Professor Don Yanik, and part of that is because he was one of the first and only professors who really allowed me to fail at things, which was a really hard lesson to learn, but also, I think, incredibly an important one. And I was directing, one of the student-directed one-acts, which was a really big deal my senior year.
And I kept getting things wrong and I could tell that he was disappointed. And it was really frustrating for me because I felt I was on my own. I just remember crying one time on the phone to my dad and just feeling I couldn’t get anything right.
But I was able to bounce back from it and really own my mistakes. And something really important that Professor Yanik told me was, “If you make a mistake, you’re supposed to feature it and really lean into it.” And that’s something that’s really continued to lead me through a lot of difficult decisions and mistakes that I’ve continued to make just because that’s a part of life. And that’s a lesson that I think of to this day.
“Something really important that Professor Yanik told me was, ‘If you make a mistake, you’re supposed to feature it and really lean into it.'”
Amanda: Thanks, Erin. Corbett?
Corbett: Actually, there are two professors that come to mind. One is Dr. Bob Drovdahl. I got an educational ministry degree, and I just always appreciated him as a person. I just felt I really connected with him. Just such a nice guy. I felt he was somebody I can always come to and ask questions, and just really got along with him. It felt like I really learned a lot. He just had a real solid Bible teaching, and I enjoyed that part of his classes.
The other one was Dr. Les Steele. And with Dr. Les Steele, it was just so interesting the way that he taught. And so I’ve been an executive pastor over the last 10 years and had an opportunity to teach a lot of different classes, and he just, instead of having this real set curriculum, he would just always jump in with this really fascinating question and then we would all just talk about it. Whether it was a question about theology or a question about how to run a church or just all sorts of different things, even moral questions. And we would just roundtable it. And I just found it absolutely fascinating every time that I went to his class, I was just rebooted.
And so to me, more than what I actually, sounds weird, but more than what I actually learned in the class, it was more about how to teach. And I always wanted to teach like him, and I’ve adopted a lot of what he did in the way that I teach.
Amanda: I think mine would have to be Dr. Michael Rowe. He was my mentor for psychology. I could probably tell a story about every single theatre professor, but I’ll tell this story about Dr. Rowe. Every time I tried to limit my field of study, because I already had two majors, and so a number of times I tried to narrow my perspective, really to make it easier on myself. And every single time, he would push back and say, “Why do you want to narrow things when you have so much life ahead of you? Why wouldn’t you want to learn as much as you can?”
And he would always just push back with me about, “Are you sure you want to cut that off? Are you sure you don’t want to experience basically as much of life as possible?” And that has served me so well, to really think, “What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t do something?” And so often I have chosen to jump off the bridge, if you will, and always been so happy that I did.
So thank you, Dr. Rowe, and thank you, Les Parrott, for giving me my most embarrassing moment that I’m sure will be my most embarrassing for the rest of my life. And that’s about it for us here in the Stubbert household and the Brown household. But we also want to hear from your household. How can they give us their story, Kyle?
Kyle: We’d love to hear your story. The best way to share your story with us is to make a voice memo and email it to email@example.com, and you may hear yourself on the airwaves. So please send that in. Again, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org and answer any of the three questions we just asked. Your best SPU story, how you met your spouse (if you met them at SPU), and one person who made your experience better at SPU. We’d love to hear those stories.
Amanda: All right, community, we hope you’re staying safe and sane out there in quarantine, and we’ll be back in our studio hopefully soon.