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115 Lawnview Ave.

115 Lawnview Ave.

Lauren Durham ’22 August 18, 2020

Dinners, dishes, dollars and an old stove disaster at an old student house on Lawnview.

If a group of friends are home economics majors, it’s pretty safe to say that the meals speak for themselves. It’s also likely that others will take notice.

In 1969, the five senior women of 115 Lawnview — Cecelia Hoff Farrell, Patty Gambs MacInnis, Mary Kenyon, Nancy Rice Dee and Barbara Leslie Mahoney — drew attention to their three-bedroom home with their elaborate cooking.

illustration by Kevin JohnsonMonday through Thursday, a different resident would take turns cooking. A group of housemates from down the street, including MacInnis’ brother, David Gambs ’71, and her now-husband Dan MacInnis III, joined the women around the dining room table each night.

“They would pay a dollar a night to eat with us. Cele and I were home economics majors, so we would make homemade everything — from bread on down,” MacInnis said.

In return, the guests did the dishes. Both MacInnis and Farrell joked that the guys got a good deal, but admitted the weekly donations did help lower the grocery bills.

Although most nights ended in savory success, Farrell did experience a kitchen mishap involving their old gas stove.

“It blew me across the room — my eyelashes were burnt off,” Farrell said, admitting that she waited too long to light it.

The housemates enjoyed socializing on the weekends, but one particular night in February called for a larger celebration. MacInnis got engaged on the same night Dee got married.

MacInnis recalled an interaction with her now-husband leading up to their engagement.

“We’re attending the wedding of my housemate and Dan leans over and he asks, ‘Are you thinking of anything during this ceremony?’ I looked over and I said, ‘No.’”

Hours later, he proposed, and she said “yes.”

The post-wedding reception and engagement party took place at the home that brought them together — 115 Lawnview. The next day, the housemates assessed the party mess.

“Cele and I sat on the steps, and we looked over the chaos of the leftover party supplies that are all over the house. We just looked at each other and started laughing and mutually said, ‘That was a really good time,’” MacInnis shared.

Although the home has now been torn down, Farrell and MacInnis loved walking through the student neighborhood and reminiscing during their 50th reunion in June 2019, recalling the rickety old home on Lawnview that changed their lives.

My Old House: 309 Kiefaber St.