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Fish Fry and the Freshman Experience at the Gateway Café

January 21, 2018

Cameron Swallow, wife of new Carthage President John Swallow, is on a “Welcome Home Tour” as she gets to know Kenosha. Read her newest blog post below.

Cameron Swallow enjoyed a dinner at the Gateway Cafe with Carthage sophomores Joe, Olivia, and Katie.Cameron Swallow enjoyed a dinner at the Gateway Cafe with Carthage sophomores Joe, Olivia, and Katie.

Joe Hansen met his friends Olivia and Katie early in his freshman year. They were roommates who had gone to the same high school as his roommate, so the connections happened quickly and naturally. Katie introduced them all to the Gateway Café after eating there with her parents as a freshman, and now they all consider it to be “their” place.

As we drove into the parking lot, I read the sign describing the Friday night specials and realized I was getting a two-for-one deal. Not only was I going to have dinner with three fun sophomores at “their” place; I was also going to experience my first Friday night fish fry in Wisconsin!

Does it count as a fish fry if you’re the only one at the table who orders fish? The girls got breakfast for dinner, and Joe got chicken, so I was lonely but happy with my fried filets and coleslaw. Our waitress kept asking if I wanted more fish, since the offer was “all you can eat,” but I remembered my HuHot excesses with my last group of student guides and refrained.

I learned more about J-Term classes and structure, how these sophomores were dreaming and planning for the trip abroad they wanted to take during junior or senior year. This January, they are exploring interests related to but not required by their majors: art, music, English, Spanish.

Most of the evening’s conversation was devoted to the saga they titled “Our Freshman Year Experience.” It contained several gripping chapters such as The Adventure of the Paint Chip, The Case of the Ill-Placed Television, The Dreaded Spanish Packet, and The Evil Screen.

Each story bore a lesson about either practical skills (hammers, glue) or human relations (roommate conflicts, course miscommunication). They delivered their stories with humor and optimism, confident that they had overcome the challenges and were better equipped to face the future.

It was a beautiful example of the process of growing up, the lessons learned along the way, and the friendships made and strengthened in the learning of those lessons. I thought of Andrea and Tim at Soon’s Sushi, which was “their” place when they were Carthage students. And these young people will grow up and come back with their own special memories of the Gateway Café as “their” place. I’m glad they invited me to share it with them.

See for yourself

Gateway Cafe
3619 30th Ave.
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Gateway Cafe website

Be a tour guide

Your turn! Want to show Cameron Swallow your favorite part of Kenosha? Be a tour guide.