Month: June 2012

Campus Stories, Wisconsin, Campus Radio Station–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–September 1991, part 3

In place of the former requirement to speak German for an hour a day, the suite had German meetings, which eventually would be known as Swiss meetings because Heidi was Swiss and she mostly taught us about Switzerland.  Sometimes they were called suite meetings.

Swiss meetings were whenever we could all fit them into our schedules.  Sometimes they were in the suite, and sometimes they were in classrooms which Heidi would reserve.

Once, Heidi showed us slides from Switzerland and a wagon full of little girls she had taught and brought on a field trip.  I noticed that they were all blonde, and I wondered if there were many brunettes in Switzerland.

We studied Switzerland: its division of languages, government and culture.  We also learned some German.  We learned the Swiss joke that they were a neutral country because they liked fighting too much.  We also learned some phrases in French, German and Italian.

A couple of times at the very beginning of the year, Tom and I were the only ones able to go to the meeting.  Heidi tried to teach us some German words for foods.  Then Tom asked with his characteristic grin,

“Do you know some dirty words in German, eh, Heidi?”

“Well–Yes.  There’s this word…”  She gave us the word for, well, you know, the sh– word.

I even wrote it down in my little German dictionary so I would recognize it if necessary, and not use it.  (After all, some kids in my high school had once told a foreign exchange student that the f— word meant hello.)

Then she quizzed us on the words.  Tom only remembered Sch–βe.

“I try to teach you German, and this is the only word you remember!” Heidi cried.

In another meeting, Heidi took the two of us into a classroom in the 103-year-old building of Old Main.  Here she told Tom and me the German names for countries on a map on the wall.  Tom began singing “Albania.”  And, of course, what really interested Tom was the drinking age in those places.

I had a tiny crush on Tom, but his preoccupation with drinking worried me. I was a teetotaling Nazarene, and didn’t want a guy who drank alcohol.  I’d heard nothing from Peter for some days now, though he knew where I lived and I didn’t have his number.  (I didn’t know he stopped in once while I wasn’t there.)

I began to think we were just friends at a dance and that I’d never see him again, so Tom gained prominence in my heart.  Shawn still interested me, too; I sometimes sat with him at lunch.


Three of my classes were in Old Main, and German was in Jubilee.  Old Main was a beautiful building, the one in which miscellaneous classes were held.  It went back to the days when RC was still Mission House Seminary, and German was the language spoken there.

Like almost all the buildings on campus, Old Main was said to be haunted.  There were three floors plus the basement, all with classrooms, but the third floor was the spookiest because it was the main haunt.  The stairs to it were even warped.

The second floor Honors room was said to have lights in it after dark.  The first floor had one room, 14, that seemed like it could be haunted, but its main offense was its ugly, 70s-orange-red and yellow paint.

(These colors worked much better on the outer walls than on the classroom walls.  On the outside, they were beautiful colors for the building; on the inside, they were garish.)

The legends of the ghost, passed down by the faculty, differed; some said it was a cleaning lady, some said it was a former professor.  One legend said it was a composer who died of a heart attack while composing a song: This ghostly song would play up until the point he died, then pause, then finish as it would have been written had he lived.

On the second floor, teachers sometimes wrote things on the board early in the morning, only to find them erased a few minutes later.  No one else was in the building at the time.  Chairs in a room were sometimes found all turned around.

Of course, I remember myself and the InterVarsity group turning around all the chairs in ugly room 14 once–but that was the first floor, not the second where the ghost supposedly did this.

More concrete features of Old Main: It had one large tower over an entrance.  After a rain, I sometimes stood at the bottom, looked up the face of the tower to the very top, and watched raindrops fall the long, slow drop to the ground below.

I don’t remember if this tower had a belfry, but bats did often invade the building.  In my junior year, as I sat in the Honors room during Advanced Composition with Counselor Dude, I saw a black form flit by the open doorway.  I kept watching to see what it was, until a bat flew into the room.

Several of my classmates shrieked (I think all or most of us were female in that class), but I thought it was great.  I didn’t think of the rabies threat; this didn’t come to mind until late 2004, when a teenage girl in Fond du Lac, WI nearly died of rabies from a bat scratch.

Finally, the excitement ended when the bat flew out of the room and Counselor Dude shut the door.

Another fascinating feature of Old Main was an old, German plaque on the wall on the first floor.  It went back almost to when the building was built, and had German names on it such as Muehlmeier.

This is how I learned that some buildings were named after people.  The words “geboren” (born) and “gestorben” (died) after the names showed this to be a memorial from the days when German almost became the official language of Wisconsin.

Later in the year, Latosha told us the college wanted to move radio station WVRC to Old Main on the third floor.  They told her the DJ’s late at night would be safely behind locked doors, but she said, “I’d be afraid of something poking its head in!”–meaning a ghost, of course.

This room became the A/V room.  Here, Lake TV would broadcast school announcements and, later, class cancellations, movies, and student-made music videos.

Freshman year, as Peter told me, a student accidentally played part of a porno movie.  He put in a tape of another movie recorded over the porno, but the movie wasn’t long enough to cover up the porno.

The college had dug up long strips all over campus in the year before, and put in wires to transmit the radio station to several buildings on campus.  Some of them were by the suites, now growing grass back in.  They used this method rather than a regular radio signal.

But other buildings still couldn’t get WVRC.  They were supposed to be hooked up before the end of the year, but never were.  The radio station was eventually reduced to DJ’s hosting dances around campus.

Peter and I wanted to be co-DJ’s.  He wanted to call us “Rock ‘n’ Robin”; I wanted to play Christian rock, such as Steve Taylor, Mastodon and Greg X. Volz, mixed in with secular music such as MC Hammer and Metallica.  But this never happened because the station never officially made it to the air.

I signed up to be a DJ before I started dating Peter.  I heard about it after dinner from a junior who lamented to Heidi, Latosha, Paul, Maizie and me the probability of not getting enough DJ’s.  We were walking outside Chase, the science building.  I was interested.  Heidi waved at me as if to say, “Here’s one!”  So we all walked over to the radio room, which was in Chase at that time.

We looked around at the few records there, mostly secular.  I don’t remember if there were any CD’s.  Yes, my younger readers, this was back in the Stone Age, when a record could be only a year or two old.

Latosha stuck an MC Hammer record on the turntables, playing around with the dials and switches.  She said “Testing, WVRC, testing” into the microphone.  We played around with the equipment, testing it out and playing music.

We had a great time–until Latosha discovered the broadcast switch was on.  Oh, shoot.

“The FCC requires us to say this when we finish broadcasting,” she said, grabbing a paper with the FCC spiel printed on it.  “WVRC is now ending its broadcast.  WVRC broadcasts at a frequency of….” etc., etc.  She flicked off the switch.  “That’s probably the shortest broadcast WVRC’s ever made,” she said.  I wonder if anybody heard it.

Jubilee, once a men’s dorm, was now the office building.  On one floor stood a door with a padlock and a “Caution” sign.  A flight of stairs leading to it was also blocked off with a sign.

I didn’t know where these stairs were (though Peter did, and went up them once, the rebellious spirit that he was), but I often passed the door, especially when teacher Ruth moved German class from Old Main to a conference room on third-floor Jubilee.

That door scared me.  I had to pass it to go to the ladies’ room, where I always feared something would come through the walls:

The year before I came, this door had locks and signs all over it.  It led to an old frat room, supposedly haunted.  Also behind the door had been the office of a professor who left before I came.  According to the stories, he’d say the office was haunted, but no one would believe him.

Latosha and some friends had gone into the old frat room, but it freaked them out.  There was some sort of frat symbol on the floor, and it was all dusty and dirty and had rat or bat droppings here and there.

Julie told me that in Muehlmeier in maybe 1990 or 1991, a guy supposedly overdosed on drugs and probably died.  They (whoever they were) set his body down in the hallway by the stairs.  When they came back, the body had disappeared.  (Maybe he wasn’t really dead?)

A star football player had died on the football field in a freak accident: he was hit a certain way during a routine tackle, snapping his neck or injuring his spine.  Now the field was haunted.

A student had died in the campus lake one year.  I don’t know the year, possibly in the 70s, but it was during a college picnic.  Counselor Dude was in a boat while this boy swam around.  The currents took him under, and he drowned.

This had been one of Counselor Dude’s favorite students; he was distraught.  Soon after, the school put up the “No Lifeguard on Duty–Swim at Your Own Risk” sign.

Even the Sigma suite had a ghost, Dr. Joes.  The Sigmas stole a Girl Scout sign in April 1998 from someone else who’d stolen it.  It flew off the wall, just missed the pool table, rolled in a circle on the floor three times, and lay still.  Other information, such as the significance of the number three, was a Sigma secret.

There was also supposed to be moaning in the Krueger tunnels, which were under or beside the basement and led to some other building.  I never went near the tunnels, so I never heard the moaning.

A room on the first floor of Krueger, now the RA supply room, was supposedly haunted.  On the first or second floor, probably the RA supply room, a girl–supposedly, again–hung herself.  The next year, another girl did the same thing there.

So the school no longer assigned this room to anyone, and made it into a supply room.  At least, so I was told.  Latosha once said that the stories may or may not have been true, but that Old Main was the one building she thought truly haunted.  This was also the general consensus.


Milwaukee was about an hour away.  Whenever I thought of Milwaukee in those days, I thought of Laverne and Shirley.  I thought of the way they talked and the things they did, especially in the opening credits–just like the parody in the movie Wayne’s World.  I’d see a clock from the Interstate that looked like the big clock in the opening credits.  I’d see the German-style buildings and the beautiful spires on the old, German churches.

For a South Bender who never changed clocks before, dealing with Daylight Savings time changes was a huge adjustment, especially when the sun began setting around four instead of five during winter.

“Wisconsin has an accent?” my mom cried when I talked to her on the phone a week or two after I first arrived at Roanoke.

“Oh, yeah,” I said.

And what an accent!  From town to town, from county to county, the accents differed.  And S– Well, that was the strongest one of all, especially among the older residents.  When I first came to college, I told my mom my accent was “pure,” South Bend, and that might change.

South Bend, it’s said, has no accent: We talk like TV people (other than saying “Wes-consin”).  Some have called us boring, therefore.  But I always liked the way I talked, and tried to resist the Wisconsinization of my own accent.

It didn’t work.  Despite my efforts, now abandoned, I’ve noticed the infiltration here and there of local accents.  Peter used to tease me by saying, “It’s changing!”

The basic accent is this: Purse your lips as tightly as you can and say “oh.” That’s their “o” sound.  If you say a one-syllable word with the “o” sound in it, such as “boat,” it ends up sounding like two syllables–“boa-it.”

And the word “sound”–the Canadian influence is enough that it sounds like “sonde.”  “About” sounds like “a boat.”   “Pop” is often “soda.”  The “th” in “the” is often replaced by “d.”  A “th” at the end of a word, in the strongest accents, becomes a “t.”

There’s a strong mix here between the German of the original settlers and the northern, more Canadian influence.  And then there’s the prevalence of “ya,” “once,” “der hey,” “ya shoor (sure) you betcha,” and “enso”: “Let’s go once to S–, der hey!”  “Ya der hey, enso!”

“Ya” is “yeah,” pronounced like the German “ja.”

Instead of saying, “I’m going to my grandma’s house” or “I’m going to Pick-N-Save,” you say, “I’m going by my grandma’s house,” or “I’m going by Pick-N-Save.”  The reply from non-Wisconsinites is often, “Okay, so you’re going to wave as you go by?”

Plus, the “t” sound in words is harder, more pronounced.  The long “a” sound is–well, it starts to sound more like the standard long “e” sound.

The “ar” sound is harsh and short.  The long “e” sound is more like “ih.”

“Good” has a long “oo” sound instead of the short, clipped version.

If you’ve ever heard Da Yoopers songs, supposedly done by people from around upper Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan, that’s the accent to the extreme.

They also say “boom box” instead of “jam box.”

I would also hear “rut” for “root” and “roof” instead of “ruf.”  In South Bend, we say it “root” and “ruf.”  In Wisconsin, “bag” is pronounced with a long “a” sound.

In the school library was an old book which documented the Wisconsin accents and words from city to city, and such words as “bubbler.”  This was a treasure trove for linguists.

“Brat” and “bubbler” weren’t the only new terms.  S– had “hard rolls”; Peter’s parents, who lived in K–, called sloppy joes “hot tamales.”

I later discovered that, at least in the Wisconsin city where I moved to, garage/yard sales were called “rummage sales.”  I’d always thought of rummage sales as something churches did.

Another strange term was “stop-and-go light” instead of “stoplight.”

My friends and I had our own little accents because most of us weren’t from S–.

Pearl had a Kenosha accent, which wasn’t like anyone else’s, as Sharon said once.  Hers was a little closer to Illinois, though still a Wisconsin accent.  It seemed more highbrow, somehow.  I believe she’d pronounce all three syllables of “probably.”  She wouldn’t say “really” as “rilly,” like everybody else–she’d say it “real-ly.”

Sharon, from Madison, said “room” like “rum.”

Just as you could tell someone wasn’t from Illinois if they pronounced the S, you could tell someone wasn’t from Milwaukee if they pronounced the L.  Because of this, I learned to not pronounce the L so I wouldn’t sound so much like an outsider, just as I had once learned to say “LOO-uh-vull” instead of “LOO-ee-vill” for Louisville, KY.


Cheese, dairy products, and the Green Bay Packers rule in Wisconsin.  Often, the Roanoke cafeteria even served fish with cheese on it.  Cheese on fish!  Wisconsin is also a land of Friday fish fries and brat fries.  It has a popular snack, mozzarella sticks, which I’d never seen before.  And a cheese ball is a little ball of snacking cheese, not a big ball of cheese spread.

S– is mostly white.  At Roanoke, however, there were minorities in large numbers, students from all over the world, people from different ethnic groups–even more than what I was used to back in integrated South Bend.

It was odd, though, to hear mostly foreign accents from Asian students.  I was used to Asian students who were born in this country and had South Bend accents.

I overheard that there was so little snow you’d see dirty brown (not green, brown) and wish for snow to cover it up.  This was so different from home, where there was lots of snow, so much you got sick of it.  “Spring thaw” really meant something.

To my surprise, big red squirrels, which were the only kind in South Bend, were rare here.  In predominance were little gray squirrels.

When riding through the countryside in Peter’s car, I had plenty of time to notice various things: Wisconsin had some different trees and foliage than Indiana, especially around K–, and the barn roofs were shaped like pentagons (gambrel roofs) instead of the simple triangle of Indiana and Michigan barn roofs.  This was an obvious Old World influence, probably German.

In the cities, such as K– and Milwaukee, you’d see German-style churches and split timbers.

It was strange to me that Wisconsin cars have two license plates: one in front and one in back.  Indiana cars only have one, and that’s generally put in back.  Not only that, but the Wisconsin license plates have three letters and three numbers, rather than a whole series of numbers.  It took a lot of getting used to.

People from Wisconsin go on and on about how flat Indiana is.  Well, in the northern part where I grew up, it’s hilly.

When I went to Wisconsin and Peter started driving me around, especially to K– and thereabouts, the first thing that impressed me was that Wisconsin was flat.  When I told this to Peter, he cried out, “Wisconsin is flat???!!!”

Of course, when I saw more of Wisconsin in the years to follow, I began to see that it had many hilly spots as well.  But from what I had seen so far, yeah, it was flat as a pancake, while my home in Indiana had rolling hills.

I thought the view outside the car windows was boring when it got dismal and gray in the fall and winter.  When there was dense fog, it looked like the end of the earth.

So there.

All the festivals seem to be called “fest”: Lakefest, Oktoberfest (which was, of course, German), Summerfest (huge music festival in Milwaukee).  Back home, they might be called festivals, but I think they were rarely called fests.  It must be the German influence, or Oktoberfest’s popularity at the very least.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:



And wave to the stalkers….

It’s almost become a game: Will the stalkers come today?  What will they read?  Will they show any interest at all in my posts about NVLD or my college memoirs or the rich variety of my childhood stories or anything?  Posts which are generating quite a bit of hits just in the past couple of days?

Uh–nope.  All they’re interested in is themselves and what they think might be about them.  Which is probably how they were before, too, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

Their computers and cell phones were blocked from coming here, but they’re using an RSS feed with a proxy server to check my blog.  When I check the dynamic IPs with, I get, “We are confident this IP address is the public IP address of a proxy server.”

They sure are persistent, sure are interested in reading my blog.  Why?  I wouldn’t want to read their blogs, if they had any.  They’ve already read what I think about them and what they did; why do they keep coming back for more?

[Update 6/3/14:]  IP addresses are each computer’s unique numerical address on the Web.  The more I learned about IPs, RSS feeds and blogs etc., I discovered that their AT&T cell phone naturally used a proxy server.

Yes, they were using an RSS feed, which I confirmed based on various records, but the RSS feed was not the reason I couldn’t block them.

The problem was that Blogger blocking power is limited to Toolator, which does not work for dynamic IPs unless you upgrade your account.  But upgrading your account has been impossible for some time, as the owner of Toolator has gone missing (while still taking your money).

To my amusement, after my stalkers got new cell phones/providers and I got a new phone which could surf the Net using AT&T, my own IPs began showing up exactly the same as theirs used to, with the exact same octets.  But they had new IPs now.

Switching to a self-hosted Wordpress blog also finally gave me the ability to block them no matter what kind of IP they use.  So now I block and unblock them at will, which is fun.


Orientation & Meeting a Ninja–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–September 1991, part 2


There were three days of orientation.  The first was Labor Day, which, of course, was a Monday; classes began on Thursday.  The suites’ RA, Daphne, and two guys awaited the freshmen on chairs set out in the courtyard, to help us move in.  I thought they did this to every freshman every year.

I now met my suite-mates.  It seemed like they had all been there for a few days already, though this was supposedly the move-in day.  It seemed that non-freshmen moved in earlier than freshmen did, so I expected to be able to do this myself the following year.  Tom had been there for at least a week or two because of football training.

It felt like summer camp.  I went to orientation events with the theme “diversity.”  The orientation speaker told us that all of us freshmen were new here.  Outgoing or shy, we had our friends at home whom we had made over the years at school or wherever else.

But now we were all newcomers with no friends and probably anxious.  She said that though we were diverse, if we talked to each other we’d probably find something in common with everyone.

I met people, went to their rooms to visit and get acquainted, and saw how people unlike me were like me.  I began to adjust.

This is when I met Julie, a sophomore and Muehlmeier RA.  She and her boyfriend, Darryl, loved many of the same things I did: Monty Python, Doctor Who, Black Adder, and other sci-fi or British comedy shows which I either watched or would soon discover.  They were also writers.  Both worked for the school newspaper.  More about them later.

The Muskie was the mascot.  “Go fish!  Muskies, Muskies! Eat ’em up, eat ’em up!”  the cheerleaders would cry as they moved their arms up and down, apart and together, like the jaws of a fish.

On Saturday I went to my first and last RC football game, with some new friends.  I had this erroneous idea that at college everybody would go to the football games, unlike in high school, because there was nothing else to do.

There were so many fumbles and so few points on our side that we left at half-time and didn’t return, Mona and I feeling bad about leaving.

In Mona’s or Jennifer’s room we talked about accents.  A guy asked if I’d ever heard of a “brat” (bratwurst on a bun) or “bubbler” (a drinking fountain).  I hadn’t.  He laughed.  One of the girls said I had the “TV accent.”

One day, Tom relayed a message from Daphne: “There’s an orientation party at ten to two.”  Ten to two?  Huh?  It was from ten o’clock to two o’clock?  Finally, I said, “Oh, ten till two!”  It was at 1:50.

“Didn’t I say it right?”  Tom said, confused at my confusion.

The S– dialect took some getting used to.  More about that later.

Oh, yay, a Christian college!  No more cussing, no more dirty jokes!

People probably wouldn’t like my devilish Christian rock.  When students from Olivet Nazarene University visited my church or sang at church camp, they seemed to prefer Christian Contemporary or Southern Gospel.

For a shy person who had trouble getting dates, period, let alone Christian ones, here I’d find Christian men galore!  Therefore, plenty of men here would be good husband material–I only needed to pick one.

There were probably no dances, only Christian entertainment.  Even if there were dances, they would have Christian music and certainly no dirty dancing.  There’d be no more boasting about kegger parties or how much alcohol somebody drank or how many girls somebody bedded.

I used to hear this all the time in art class senior year from the guys who sat across from me.  As I tried to ignore them, I kept thinking how wonderful college would be, that in a short time, I wouldn’t have to listen to this sort of thing from anyone anymore.

Most of the college students would be virgins saving themselves for marriage, they certainly wouldn’t be drinking underage (if at all) or going to wild parties, and they wouldn’t be making dirty jokes.

Teachers would pray before classes just like at Olivet, and they and suite mentors would also be spiritual advisors just like at Olivet.  They would help me to stay on the right track and to deal with the tough questions.  And on Sundays, I would go to the local Nazarene church.

Yeah, right.  It only took a day or two for these illusions to crash down around me like shattered glass.  I cried myself to sleep one night.

I often hear about Christian colleges that match what I’d expected, but Roanoke was not one of them, being only loosely affiliated with the U.C.C., a church I’d never heard of before.

I was spending all this extra money for a private Christian college in order to be in a Christian haven where I could easily find a Christian husband.  I felt betrayed.

There was no Christian extracurricular group on campus.  There wasn’t even a Nazarene church listed in the phone book!

In my high school, the kids did not say h–l or d–n.  Kids cussed (f–k and sh–); they never just swore.

Here at RC, they did both.  To me, it was odd to hear people my age say, “What in the h–l” instead of “What in the f–k.”  I’d figured cussing was for the young and swearing was for the middle-aged.

In January, my boyfriend would tell me a lot of people didn’t even consider it swearing when you said h–l or d–n.  I could not believe it.

Where I came from, h–l or d–n were considered swearing; how could it be otherwise when you’re applying the words for eternal torment and eternal condemnation to people and things?  Was Wisconsin really so different?

I knew no one yet; no one from my high school was there.  There was only one other South Bender on the whole campus, and I only knew his first name–I didn’t know him.  More people from South Bend would go there over the following years, but not many, and none from my high school.

I’d met my adviser, Counselor Dude, back in March on an early enrollment day for prospective freshmen.  To a shy seventeen-year-old, he was an imposing figure: pipe-smoking (already a shocking thing to find on a Christian campus), and all-around–well, imposing.

Nonchalant, apparently amused by my shyness and nervousness, but without laughing about it, barely even cracking a smile.  You could see the amusement in his eyes.  More about him later.

The school did special meals all week for us.  On Tuesday morning they played cool dance music during “Rock-and-Roll Breakfast.”  “This is a journey into sound” the dance song said as Heidi bent her knees to the beat, while I waited behind her in line.

I’d never heard the song [“Paid in Full” by Eric B and Rakim, “7 Minutes of Madness” remix by Coldcut] before: It came out while I only listened to Christian rock.  I would only hear a snippet of it during the next 9 years at least, but I did remember the repeated phrase and the beat.  The guy playing it, whom I will mention later, was in charge of the radio station.

On Wednesday the 4th from 8 to 9pm, there was a comedian in the Muskie, some guy whom nobody had heard of before.  I went with Candice and her friend Laura to see him.

He was vulgar and cussed a lot. He said any of us (men and women both) would sleep with so-and-so if offered a million dollars.  I said to Candice that this is certainly not true, and how can he get away with saying these things on a Christian campus?

His only good joke was about Wisconsin weather.  He said that no matter what the weather, if it’s not snowing, people will greet each other with, “At least it’s not snowing!”  I remembered this line over the years, and sometimes still use it.

In 1999 or 2000, I flipped to Comedy Central and saw Drew Carey doing stand-up comedy.  Not only was he terribly vulgar and cussed a lot, but he said that any of us (men and women both) would sleep with so-and-so if offered a million dollars.

What the heck?

Some time later, while working on these memoirs and going through my Orientation Week schedule, I discovered the Muskie comedian was Drew Carey!  How strange–I hated that guy’s routine, yet I now loved the shows Drew Carey and Whose Line Is It Anyway!  Of course, those shows were tame compared to his stand-up.

We had Playfair in the Wehr Center, the gym.  The name sounds like “where,” so frequently through the years people would say, “Where?” as a joke.  The speaker was a much wilder woman than the first speaker, demonstrative, with playful dress, hair, and voice.  She told us how to make friends, and gave us icebreaker games to play to acquaint us with each other.

Whenever someone broke a glass in the cafeteria, they would be applauded and cheered, especially by the jocks.  In Playfair, the speaker told us, “Around here, you get cheered if you drop a glass in the cafeteria.  But whenever you’re feeling lonely or down, instead of dropping a glass, yell out, ‘I need a standing ovation!’  And then everyone will give you one and make you feel better.”

I don’t think anyone actually did this, though they did occasionally break a glass.  Even I broke a glass once, and yes, people did applaud.

Afterwards was ice cream and hot chocolate.  I met Jennifer here.  She, a pretty blonde with delicate features, was just as shy and nice as the rest of us freshmen.  We hit it right off and had a long chat.

I went to the bathroom, and came back to find that Heidi had already left, along with almost everyone else I knew even a little.  I had to find my way back to Friedli in the dark.

I had a map but–whether because of a nonverbal learning disorder or because of freshman unfamiliarity–it confused me, so I wandered around for a while.   In the dark, I didn’t see the suites so well–even though they were right across the parking lot from Wehr.

I finally got “home” to find Heidi, her friend Paul, and Paul’s hearing-guide dog, Maizie, on the lawn.  Heidi got upset with herself for not watching out for me.  I tried to say it was all right, because getting lost so close to the suites made me laugh.  But she didn’t listen to me.

Meeting Shawn–and a Ninja

On the afternoon of Friday the 6th, “Picnic Dinner” was outside the Campus Center and on the lawn between the Center and the library.  I sat with Heidi, Nicole, an Asian woman, and a freshman named Shawn.

He went on and on about the movie Terminator 2.  The complexity of the time-travel plot made me want to see what Shawn called T2.

Shawn said, “Here I am, surrounded by foreign girls, all listening to me, when usually people don’t listen to me.  And you,” he said to me.  “You’re from France, right?”

“No, I’m from Indiana,” I said.

I think he later said I was so quiet he thought I didn’t know English very well.

“Here’s something that’s supposed to help you remember things.”  He went over to a pole and hit his head against it.

In one of these mealtime conversations, as we sat with some foreign exchange students, Shawn said, “Now I’m internationally known because you guys know me.”

My first impression–later proven to be wrong–was that he seemed like a guy I had a crush on in high school.

Just like that guy, Shawn liked Christian music, the same kind I liked (rock and metal), and sci-fi.  That guy also liked Doctor Who, so I asked Shawn if he watched it.

He said he watched it with his brother, but they didn’t show it around here.  Life without Doctor Who?  It couldn’t be!

(It wasn’t: The Wisconsin PBS stations in the area did show both it and Blake’s Seven every Sunday evening until 1992 or 1993.)

I started asking him questions, wondering if he had any other similarities to my old crush.

The others eventually left.  The two of us moved into the Campus Center lounge after dinner, standing near the doorway and talking about various things, such as Christian rock.  He did most of the talking, which was usual for him.

This was the first person like me I had found, someone who shunned cuss words and listened to Christian music, the type of person I’d expected to be far more common on a Christian campus.

Impressed, I wondered what my future was with this guy: friend? boyfriend? classmate?

I found a strange state of things in my years there: In a way it seemed less Christian than even my public high school, but in other ways it seemed easier to find Christians.  Maybe we sought each other out.

Shawn began analyzing my personality, uninvited–and was right on target, even though he’d just met me.

He told me I reminded him of his ex-girlfriend with my shy, reserved ways.  He could tell from the way I sat that I was a new, timid freshman who didn’t know anybody yet.  You could also tell the freshmen because they stared at their shoes while standing, he said.

(I thought of a time when I went to a meal with Tom, who I sort of liked already, but as he stood talking to his senior friends, I only looked at my shoes to make sure they weren’t untied.)

He tried to tell me how to change my timid ways.  Shawn said he wanted to see me at the dance tonight, saying hi to people I didn’t even know.  He wanted to see a different me.  Already he was dissatisfied and wanted to change me into someone I was not.

As a person on a Usenet forum once commented, telling a painfully shy person to start talking to strangers is like asking her to sprout wings and fly.

What Shawn said made me uncomfortable, especially since I’d felt so outgoing and proud of myself the past few days.  Just look at how many strangers I’d already chatted with since I came on campus!  Did I really need such advice?

But I didn’t know how to make him stop.  I was attracted to him with his dark hair and Irish blue eyes, so I didn’t want to walk away.

(No, I wasn’t attracted to every single guy on campus; I’m just not telling you about everybody I met.)

Shawn and I later moved outside to the drive by Grossheusch, probably so he could get to his room and do homework.

Having lied about being sick to get out of work that night for the dance, and having decided to come to the campus early because his parents bored him, another freshman drove up into the nearby parking lot near Grossh.  He told his parents he was going to campus to study, not telling them his true plans to dance.

He drove a blue Lynx, probably at least five years old, FYZ on the license plate, which he read as “Fine Young Zephyr.”  (He and his mom had this game of making words from people’s license plates, which you can do in Wisconsin.  Indiana only has numbers on its plates.)

In the first two days of classes, this young man had met Shawn in Freshman Studies.

The young man saw us.  He wanted someone to talk to, and thought I was pretty.  (Up until 1994, when a hair stylist cut several inches off and I had to grow it out again, my hair reached my waist.)  While Shawn was still giving me unwanted advice about going up to people I didn’t know, the young man came up to us and Shawn said,

“And here’s someone taking my advice, right here.”

The new guy gave us his name: Peter.  He, too, reminded me of somebody I knew in high school, though he was actually nothing like him.  Peter loved my long hair.

Peter and Shawn had Expository Writing class together, and talked a little about that.  Peter jokingly accused Shawn of “diarrhea of the mouth,” or incessant talking.  Peter kept looking at me, so I could tell he was attracted to me.

Though many times I thought a guy liked me when he did not (probably because of NVLD), a few times I knew that a guy liked me.  This was one of those times.

First he thought, “Boy, is she shy.”  Then later on he thought, “Boy, is she nice!”

I preferred Shawn, though: Peter cussed a lot and at the oddest times, which I didn’t like.  However, Peter had gorgeous brown eyes that slanted like a cat’s.  (I later found that like cats, he could even see in the dark when there was some light.)

His hair was jet-black at birth, turned blond, and was now a very dark brown which looked black when he used hair spray on his unruly locks.  When his bangs came loose to cover his forehead, he looked like a high-school boy.  When they were combed off to the side and still held by hair spray, he looked his age, almost 19.

“Have you heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?” Peter asked us.

Of course.  Everybody had.  It was a cartoon which was so popular among children that it really annoyed adults.

“You know what a ninja is?  I am one.”  He was third-degree black belt and had been studying for five years.

As Candace would say, What the heck?

He took us over to his little car and showed us the ninja staff, throwing stars and sword in his trunk.  He had made all these things himself.  Shawn picked up one of the stars.

“This is a little off-balance,” he said.  You’re a little off-balance, he might have thought, setting the tone of their relationship for the next two years.

Two young black men walked by the parking lot.  “They made fun of the way I was dressed earlier,” Shawn said.  He called to them, “Hey, is this better?”  He joined them.  (He later said he could see the “ball and chain” in my eyes, and passed me off to Peter instead.)

Peter and I looked at each other.  He walked me back to the suites as we kept chatting.  He told me he took German once.  “Are you going to the dance tonight?” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said.  “I might, just for something to do.”

He thought the dance was at 8:00, though it was really 8:30.  “If you’re not at the dance by 8:30, I’m coming to get you,” he said.  We said good-bye in German.

He went to the commuter suite, and I went to the German suite.  He knew where I lived, but I, alas, only knew he was a commuter and might be found in the commuter suite sometimes.

That evening, at the last minute I realized I didn’t know how to dress for a dance.  I’d been raised in the days when Nazarenes weren’t supposed to dance, though some did.  Recently I’d begun to think that dancing and going to movies weren’t so wrong, depending on how you did it or what movies you saw.  And even the Nazarene Church now let people make up their own minds about it.

I enlisted Latosha’s help.

We went through my closet, finally choosing a white shirt and red skort.  Latosha rolled up one or both of my sleeves halfway, and bloused my shirt by pulling it out of my skirt a bit.  She said this was the fashion.

I needed dancing shoes, since my white dress shoes were too tight for dancing all night.  My only other shoes were boat shoes, which didn’t seem proper for dancing.  (Never assume that every woman has a shoe fetish, despite the stereotype which even women believe.)

Heidi wandered in, wondering what was taking us so long. She lent me a pair of dancing shoes.  They had sole inserts, one of which kept slipping.  It gave me a bloody foot.

Latosha lent me a white, cloth headband, one of those 60s fashions which were so popular in 1991.  (Maybe Deee-Lite started it?)  I told Heidi and Latosha that it wasn’t a date, just two friends going to a dance.  Time went by so fast that it got late.

We set off, meeting Peter along the way.  He complimented our clothes.  Heidi gave me a knowing look; she could tell Peter wasn’t just a friend.

“I was just coming to get you,” he said to me.  “Frank was waiting for Heidi.  He told me so, and I said, ‘I’m waiting for someone, too.’  Where were you?”

We went in the Campus Center, which was in a straight line from the suites.  On the top floor was Bossard Hall, the cafeteria.

During meals, a stool and cash register sat by the food line door, where a Food Service worker sat to check ID’s.  She pushed a little counter-clicker if you had a meal plan sticker on your ID, or took your money if you were a commuter.

On the bottom floor was the Campus Center Lounge and TV, where you’d find Ren and Stimpy (sophomore year), MTV (which often played music videos in those days), soap operas, or game shows playing.  I heard a soap opera club would meet there every day to watch Days of Our Lives.

Now we all went into Bossard, which had been cleared of tables and darkened.  A DJ from Chicago, Mirage, played cool dance music such as “Groovy Train” by the Farm (if that song had come out yet).  He also played songs I had never expected to hear on any Christian campus, such as “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd.

Peter and I walked over to the refreshment table.  “Do you want to dance?” he said.

“I don’t know how,” I said.

“I’ll teach you,” he said.

I ignored the songs I didn’t like so he could teach me how to dance.  He said I was so good I could go on Star Search, though I felt awkward and kept watching our feet to see if I was stepping right.  He was a crazy dancer who liked to show off.

Once, we got drinks again, Mountain Dew for me, then went outside to cool off and sit.  We talked for some time.  I asked his name again.  I laughed when he told me.  I said, “When I think of the name ‘Peter,’ I think of this guy at my church who plays the saxophone, leads the music and has big muscles.”

Mist began rolling over the campus in the darkness.  Peter said it looked like a sea.  Unknown to me, he had begun to really fall for me during our first or second dance.

While dancing, I saw a tipsy Candice near the front of the cafeteria, spinning around with her arms outstretched to the song “End of the World” by REM.

I loved the music played at the dances in those days, which was usually dance and Top 40.  Rap was played as well, but Peter didn’t know how to dance to that, so we sat out during those songs.

But rap music began to take over the dances.  I remember one dance later in the semester when we sat out every song until we finally got up and left.

To my shock, in among all those secular songs and sex songs, “Addictive Love” by BeBe and CeCe Winans began to play.  Peter told me it had crossed over onto secular stations.  I wasn’t sure I liked this song about God’s love being used like a human love song, but hey, at least people realized that it was just as good as any secular song.

We danced our first slow-dance to this.  (Because of this, I’m not entirely sure if this was the September 6 dance or the next dance we went to, after we became a couple.  It was probably the latter.)

To our shock and disgust, we saw couples practically having sex on the dance floor as part of their “dance.”  This was far worse than the kind in Dirty Dancing.  About ten years later, I learned that it’s called “freaking.”

Later, we went to the Muskie Inn, a fast-food place in the room next to Bossard.  Peter got a sample of my ravenous appetite.  I wasn’t fat, though if I kept eating like that I soon would be.

He bought me some fries because I was already hungry, unlike him, and we both got some pop–or soda, as he called it.  In the future, we would often have a friendly war over words, saying “pop” and “soda” or “jam box” and “boom box” to each other as if the loudest one won.

Above the counter in the Muskie was a trophy muskie fish.  In the middle of the Muskie was a fireplace.  In the front, by the windows and opposite the counter, was a stereo TV.

All around on the walls were black-and-white and color photographs blown up and put on large, wooden mounts, depicting Muskie Inn and campus activities going all the way back to probably the 50s or 60s.

Peter and I sat in a booth along one wall.  One picture from the 50s or 60s showed students in one of these booths.  One showed students getting muddy during Homecoming or May Celebration activities.  This may have been the one with the pig.  One showed someone with a clown-painted face.

The big stereo TV had all the newest amenities, such as a digital control panel.  But you had to sit in certain places in the room to see it properly, places which centered the picture for you and weren’t on the left or right.  If you went too far in one direction, you saw red lines around everything; too far in the other direction, blue lines.

Shawn found us there and, to my discomfort, joined us.

“I see you two have hit it off,” he said.  To his relief, as I learned later.  He seemed to think I needed a weird guy “to take care of.”  He was oddly perceptive, because I did want a weird guy–probably because I loved Tom Baker’s Doctor Who so much.

After the dance, I followed Candice and her friend Laura to Krueger, where Laura lived on a floor below a noisy freshman floor (third floor) where girls stomped on their floors in the middle of the night and kept her awake.

Peter hoped to go to my suite, but I didn’t know this.  When he saw us going toward the women’s dorm, he said good-bye for the night.  Of course, he could have come with us, but I guess he didn’t know this at the time.

I still insisted to Candice and Laura that it was not a date, but then Candice said, “It took me what, a year? to find Jeff.  Laura still hasn’t found anyone yet.  You’re lucky, Nyssa: You found someone right away.”

I had a crush on Shawn despite the discomfort and even one on Tom, but you know, I did kind of like this guy Peter, after all.


Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:


A Story-Game From my Childhood: I Was a Moon in the Solar System

In my childhood, not only did I act out “Wizard of Oz,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Star Wars,” but I also invented various elaborate stories which I would act out while outside or on the school playground.  I normally played them by myself, since other people didn’t know how to do their parts “right.”

Though I do recall pretending to be foxes one winter day with Chad, Keith, Danny and another little boy, on a day when even the snow was very icy and you could barely walk on the playground without slipping.  Our “den” was one of the play tunnels, which was painted like a hollow log….

I was also mostly by myself as a child, since my brothers were much older and liked “boy” stuff, and while there were a few kids in the neighborhood, they didn’t often come over–and a few of them were too mean to play with.  But with my stories, I barely noticed that I was the only one.  I intend to write a series of posts on my different stories.  I also mention some of them in my posts about life with NVLD.

One of my stories started when I was 8 years old and in third grade.  The teacher took us out on the playground one day and assigned each of us a planet, a satellite, or the sun.  Then she had us all stand in various places based on where the sun was and where each planet was, to demonstrate to us just how large the solar system is.

I was a satellite, Nereid, and went to stand by a girl named Jessica who was Neptune.  I also remember the girl who was the sun, though I don’t remember her name; she had a pointy, knit cap with a ball on the top.  It was winter, so I was wearing a certain beige coat which I really liked, which had a hood and a cloth belt, and I wore black boots.

I was so enchanted by this game the teacher had us play, that I began acting it out by myself, whether at home, in the church basement while my dad set up the microphones, or at the playground.  In fact, I associate that old church basement–the square-shaped hallway with the drain on the floor–with these stories.

I also wrote stories about it and drew pictures, with myself as Nereid, in the same coat and boots, and with little curls in my hair that I didn’t have in real life.  Nereid had to wear a coat because she was in the outer reaches of the solar system, far from the sun.

Every such being, or heavenly body–whether planet, moon, sun, asteroid, or comet–was eight years old, just like me, and always would be eight years old.  The Asteroid Patrol was the police force.  The beings would walk on metal walkways in space, so they wouldn’t fall into nothingness.  Instead of “Martian,” beings on Mars would be called “Marslings” (as in “Earthlings”), and same for the “lings” of any other planet.  Sun-chips and star-chips, flashy bits taken from suns and stars, were used as money.


Nereid was constantly getting separated from Neptune, unlike the other moon Triton, another girl, who behaved and stayed nearby.  So on the one hand Nereid was always looking for Neptune and would be happy and relieved when she found her.  But on the other hand, she had all sorts of adventures.  I wish I could remember even half of them.

One of my classmates, Keith, also ended up in these stories, even though I don’t recall him actually playing this game with me in real life.  He had somehow ended up trapped on the planet of Mouseooine, named after Tatooine, where everybody dressed in mouse costumes (yes, like furries), and the young princess was in love with Keith–but he, typical boy, kept trying to put her off.

Venus was a beautiful girl surrounded all over her head and body with chilled silver jewelry (what showed up to Earthlings as clouds), which kept her cool near the Sun.  The ringed planets had rings either around their bodies or around their heads, depending on how I felt like drawing it that day.

Earth was a boy whom Nereid had a crush on, but he had a crush on Venus.  Earth’s creatures were like an infestation on his head, since the head was the planet itself; the other planets were fascinated by them.

Mars was a redheaded girl.  The little ball on the Sun’s hat (her sun-hat) is what provided the fire and heat of the sun.  She could take off the hat and point it at Nereid, a ray would come out of the little ball, and Nereid would then shrink to human-size, and go visit Keith on Mouseooine.  Then the Sun would use her sun-hat on Nereid again so she could go back to normal moon-size.

In middle school, I drew a daily comic strip which was, in a tragic accident, somehow lost during one of our moves in adulthood.  It was silly and bizarre, the sort of humor middle school kids might love, set in an alternative reality of my middle school, with Star Wars and other strange fashions instead of actual 1985 fashions, monsters, a woman who was literally stick-thin, a news anchor named Pretty Face who had 1985-fashionable hair and had to fend off suitors, magic, genies, a resurrected Cleopatra, a 50s-style soda shop in the air where all the kids hung out, and various other things.

In college, I found these old strips and began writing a more adult version, only I called it “Sol-Sys Blues” and based it on a version of the solar system game; the characters were now growing up.

I found two story fragments written about the solar system when I was a young child, probably no older than 12.

My mom was a cleaning lady, cleaning the houses of people at our church, and also a bank in a nearby town, and other businesses; she would take me with her.  Later, one of my brothers helped her as well, but in the beginning it was just her.

Probably when I was around 8 or 9, she started bringing home boxes and boxes of discarded form letters from the bank: usually letters which scolded for non-payment or were sent with loan coupons, letters which were blank on one side and perfect for me to write stories on.

I recall checking the Encyclopedia Brittanica at one house, probably when I was no older than 9 or 10, looking up information about the solar system, and writing stories on the old bank paper about Nereid, as my mom cleaned the house.

These are the two fragments.  Based on the references to choosing school courses, French and handwriting–which is legible (to me, at least, because it’s mine), in cursive, and full of strange little variants I had developed to make my handwriting pretty and interesting, unlike everybody else’s cursive–I must have been 12 when I wrote the first one.

I believe “earliest Hebrew” was chosen because I thought that Adam and Eve must have spoken this.  I was a very religious child, raised in the Nazarene Church, with no smoking, dancing or drinking, and with a premillennial dispensationalist, creationist theology:

Chapter 1

The Sun was the name given to all the suns, girl or boy, firstborn, middleborn or lastborn, or origin.  It was in the language of the most important planet’s inhabitants, of course, because that was the language of the solar system.

If the important planet’s inhabitants spoke more than one language, the first language ever given, or the majority languages, were given; but they all could speak all the languages in the universe!

But this particular system spoke earliest Hebrew; and so their words had to be written in English in this book.  Besides, I don’t know earliest Hebrew.

Each sun was created by God and put in the care of the galaxy ruler.  This galaxy was the Milky Way.

Our sun was, of course, named The Sun; she was a girl with brown curls for hair.  When she was three years old she had to begin her training.

First she had to know what kind of star she was.  The galaxy ruler, or garu, took a small, metallic object with a scale and put it on The Sun’s head.  The scale had three points–Large, Middle-Sized and Small.  The scale moved and the arrow pointed to “Middle-Sized.”  Under each point was a number, and under The Sun’s point was the number “8.”  That meant, when she was eight she’d stop growing.

She was given a textbook and, when she learned to read all words, she read the book whenever assigned in her school.  It was written in the fastest-writing and -reading language in the universe–Sheeshu.

The school near the middle of the galaxy for Milky-Way Students was a space station orbiting a substitute sun.  The Sun got there by riding a bullet-shaped capsule, and lived in the room she was assigned to.  Now let me tell you about her first ractul, or seven days (to her each day was 30 hours, school time):

The first day was exciting and unsure and unsettled.  The Sun had to be given a school name, Misa.  That was because every sun there had the same name!  The language was Milky Wayan, and “Misa” meant “sun on the edge of the galaxy.”

“Misa” landed in a large room with asteroid-workers everywhere.  Some of them helped her get out, and her bag of clothes and oral hygiene supplies were put on a cart that moved along a metal track leading to the office.  When the cart came back, The Sun got on it, but near the office it turned on a fork and went into the office door.  The baggage had gone into a smaller door on the side of the room.

The Sun got up and stood at the desk.  The secretary asked her questions, and this form was filled out:

school name:  ___________
from what galaxy?  Milky Way
what part?  very edge
name of system  Solar System
home room no.:  123
age:  3 years
type:  Middle-Sized
age to stop:  8
meaning of school name: ________

“So you’re a misa,” said the secretary, and wrote next to the words “school name:” “Misa,” and put its meaning in the blank for it.

“Your school name is ‘Misa.’  Here’s your form, and you have to fill out this paper.”  The secretary put a black paper and yellow pencil in front of her and told her to choose her classes.

“I can’t read this; I haven’t been taught!”

“Oh, yes; I forgot!  Now here’re your required courses:

“Math; Spelling; Writing; Reading; Universal Science and Universal Studies.”  She told the same thing to the computer, which typed everything she said.  “Now your courses to choose from are Home-ec, which prepares you to be a Sun;–”

“I’ll take that.”

“–Singing; Art; Gym; Educational Games and Job Study, which tells you better about all the jobs in the universe.  Everybody seems to like to take the last one; I’d advise it.  Choose two of those for this seven weeks.”

“Um–Job Study and–Singing.”

“Okay.  Uh–Computer, type in ‘Job Study and Singing.'”  The tiny screen of the computer got three more words on it.  It had a keyboard, but that was only used when necessary.  A switch was flipped and the computer was able to understand voice commands.  [Here is a picture of a computer which looks like your typical 1985 computer.]

“Computer–shuffle around.”  The computer mixed around the subjects and they turned out like this–Reading, Writing, Spelling, Universal Science, Math, Universal Studies, Singing and Job Study.

Then she said, “Computer, add times.”  The screen showed:

Universal Science=12:15-13:40
Universal Studies=14:05-15:30
Job Study=1:55-3:00 (1 hour 5 minutes)

“Computer, add teachers and rooms.”

[repeats the schedule on one side, and has on the other:]

Reading, HR, Mrs. Mara; rm. 123, speaks Misan
Writing, Mrs. CShCeer (kush-keer); rm. 124, speaks Sheeshu
Spelling, Mr. CShCeer; rm. 125, speaks Sheeshu
lunch, rm. 130
Universal Science, Mrs. SunCeer; rm. 122, speaks Maranoid
Math, HR, Mrs. Mara; rm. 123, speaks Misan
Universal Studies, HR, Mrs. Mara; rm. 123, speaks Misan
Singing, Miss Eeshatu; rm. 121, speaks Sheeshan
Job Study, Miss Tu-Ee Shatee; rm. 916, speaks Saturnionionun

“Computer, print.”

When the computer had printed in yellow on a black piece of paper, the secretary tore it…

[next three pages are missing]

…were trying to figure it out.  “In Sheeshu,” she said, “the letter stands for the sound ‘kuh.'”

“‘Kuh’ is no number.”

“Oh–numbers!  Then the letter could be ‘8’!  Do you have a room number with that number in it?”

“I don’t remember.  I think so.”

“Check the room number ‘128’!”

So they walked over to room 128, both dragging their luggage with them.  Misa knocked on the door, and a man opened it; they shoved the paper toward him and asked if there were any 8’s in the room number.

“No,” he said; “but your room number is 123.  Must be one of you reads Sheeshu to know this is 128!  Well, go to room 123; that’s your homeroom number!”

“Dut dut!”  Sheesheetu called, which meant several things–this time, “Good-bye” and “Thank you” at the same time.

They looked for room 123, with Sheesheetu reading the Sheeshu numbers.They came to a room numbered: [marks resembling 118] which didn’t match the sheet, which said: [marks resembling 11S] but it was “123” in Sheeshu.  They knocked, and the woman named “Mrs. Mara,” who spoke Misan especially, answered.  Lucky for them, they found their room, because after half an hour it was already nearing 8:00!

Mrs. Mara had told them to put their things in the corner of the room where others had put their own, and take out the following materials from their own luggage–textbook, pencil, pen, paper–and go to their desk.  Written in Sheeshu, the placecards were easy for Sheesheetu to read.

The others were shopping around with their eyes on the fifth floor, and should be back pretty soon.

When it was 8:01 and everyone was back in their seats, they were told to open their books to the part labeled (it was written on the board):  [Sheeshu writing]  It was the sixth section.  [scribbles meant to represent Sheeshu writing]

They were taught a few paragraphs from the first section, each sentence written differently but meaning the same.  For example: [sentences in French, English and Sheeshu]

Each book was large and written in small letters.  This was so all languages in the entire universe that ever was and ever would be would fit on a quarter of the page!

These, if you’re interested, were the Sheeshu sentences for the two sentences described in four languages:

[English-based letters]

They would be pronounced: Kuh-ee olg kuh-eye bhft.  Kuh-ee gol kuh-eye bum.

Sheesheetu, of course, had no problem reading those Sheeshu sentences!

Mrs. Mara was especially interested in Misa, because they both spoke Misan (most ancient Hebrew) as official languages.  She was concerned she couldn’t read her own language, and the rest of the class could!  So, she wrote on the board:  [scribbles representing Misan writing]

That was the way it was written at the time.  Then it was written the way Earthlings would someday write it.

By 9:20 everyone in the class could read a paragraph from every single language ever!  They took their book, paper, pencil and pen to whatever their next class would be (except for those who stayed in the same class, of course!).

Misa and Sheesheetu had Mrs. CShCeer (KUSH-keer) next, rm. 124, Sheeshu-speaker, for Writing.  Sheesheetu was her favorite student because they both spoke and read the same language.

That day they practiced making all lines and rounded lines.

Next for Misa was Mr. CShCeer; for Sheesheetu his wife, Mrs. CShCeer.  In that class the lesson was on spelling rules for Sheeshu, which was mostly used in the TB and was important to know.

At 12:10 was lunch.  Mr. CShCeer took his class to lunch.

There was a lunchroom on every floor; for the fifth floor, it was a real good restaurant that costs the cheapest monetary unit for all–the raktuluh–for each meal.  There was a real rich sun named Tuka (“rich sun on side of galaxy”) who liked to insist on using a sun-chip (the highest monetary unit of all), so eventually all meals were free.


Everyone ate in the small lunchroom for Mr. CShCeer’s class until 12:15, the time to start the next class.  Then they were all to go to the room for their next teacher’s class.  Misa couldn’t understand.

She went up to Mr. CShCeer with her shere in her hands, holding it by its two handles.  “I don’t know where to go,” she said.  “I don’t have my schedule with me.”

This was an experience!  Misa could be late to class!  And how’d she know where to go?

She met up with Sheesheetu, who was going to the lunchroom reserved for Mrs. SunCeer’s class.

“Well, let’s see if you belong in my class,” she said, leading her away.

The sphere-tray was a shere colored different colors each with two handles on its sides to carry it.  It was split down the middle, and you opened it and flattened it down, and the food and everything was put in attached boxes all over the tray.  Milk and silverware was also put there.

It was finally 3:00!  Everyone returned to HR (homeroom), but for a bit it wasn’t exactly like home because:

For one thing, everyone had half an hour to finish homework because with those just going to school it’s not easy to get a lot of homework!

For Misa, there was no homework until Universal Science.  All that was was finding the distance a certain bawling ball (slight version of “bowling ball”) would roll until it hit the gitter (gutter).  (With this study, it’s no wonder those schools turn out so many good heavenly body-bawlers!)

In Math, Misa had ten simple-simple! addition problems; for Universal Studies just to read about what different jobs there are in their galaxy; and in Job Study, to read and answer five questions about the Asteroid Patrol.

All answers were written in either pen or pencil in the book.

At 3:30, Mrs. Mara asked if everyone was done with their homework, which they were, and then took them to the rec floor–the fifth floor.  Everyone was put into the large elevator to go upstairs.  The doors were opened by a push of a button, and closed the same way.

The bawling alley was something like a bowling alley; mechanical setting of pins, ball returns; but lines marked where the gitters were.

At 5:30 they all filed into the free, mall restaurant in the south wing.

30 hours
10 hours of sleep
9 hours of after school
therefore, 10 hours of school

3:00PM-12:00AM–after school
12:00AM-7:00AM–10 hours of sleep [sic]

5:30-7:30 (at the latest)–dinner
7:30-9:30–shop or browse at mall (at 7:30 give allowance)
9:30-10:30–free time
10:30-11:30–bosketball (basketball)
11:30-12:00–free time


The following is a fragment depicting Keith’s adventures on Mouseooine, where he, like the natives, dressed in a mouse costume.  It was probably written when I was about 10.  I think they had to hide that they were Earthlings, and pretend to be from Mouseooine, probably so they wouldn’t get killed:


…”Hysterical, not histerical, isn’t it, Gary?” corrected Trera.

“Well, I say it histerical,” remarked Gary.  So both pulled until Mike was up.  She had forgotten the buttons, so she pushed the top and bottom ones, then stepped very cautiously unto the stand.  The crocodiles swam away, clicking their snouts angrily, a good dinner lost.
“Yes, King Zrooine, is who we want to see.”

We?” the messenger puzzled, then saw the four children.  “Yes.”

After hearing that, King Zrooine, a 12-year-old, asked 10-year-old Princess Zango (zayng’go), “Zango, should we send my messenger or you to tell Keith to come here?”

Keith?”  Then Zango glanced at the waiters, then replied, “If it’s so; me.”

“Then you shall be it.”  So Zango walked over to them, and jumped at the sight.

“Huh?  I thought only you were here, Keith!  Who are these people?  I never saw them before!  Oh, well; King says you may go to him.”

So Keith came and kneeled, the employees following.  “Do we have to kneel on one knee?” asked Mike, reluctantly.

“No; you’re not the one presenting the employees!” answered Keith, whispering but snappishly.

“So; Keith; I see you brought four boys with you.  What do you want?…Speak!  Don’t wait when I tell you to answer!”

“Oh…These four boys here want royal jobs.  Uh…Uh…”

“Mike Grindstone,” prompted Mike.  “Pilot.”

“Mike Grindstone, here, wants to be pilot,” replied Keith.

“I heard,” said King Zrooine.

“Uh…Uh…,”  Keith fumbled.

“Tom Sanders,” prompted Tom.  “Gun-maker.”

“Gary Lang,” said Gary.  “Navigator.”

“Trera Baker,” said Trera.  “Co-pilot.”

[missing pages]


“And so did Gary and Tom.  So come with me to the King.”

They followed, and the King said, “So?  Did all pass?”

“Yea,” answered Keith.

“And so, Keith, take them to their next stations,” said Zrooine.

“Yes, sir,” replied Keith.  So he took Mike and Trera to their starcruiser, Gary to her [sic] navigating test, and Tom to her [sic] gun-checking point.

On the way to the star cruiser, Mike asked, “Now what’s the name of this star cruiser?”

Keith put his arms out and cried, What do you care about the name?  It’s just a test!”  There, he said, “Now, Mike, you’re the pilot; climb up the co-pilot’s ladder, and stand by the controls.  Trera, you are the co-pilot, sit there.  I’ll be a passenger.”

So Mike climbed up the co-pilot’s ladder, Trera after her.  She stood by the controls, Trera held fast to the controls by her, and Keith sat in the first passenger seat.

Mike pushed a top button, a bottom button, a middle button, and a button for medium.  Then she gave a signal by pounding the controls on top to Trera, and the ship went up.

Then, when they were down, Keith said, “So, that’s all?”

“Keith!” cried Mike.  “What if I’m forced to be co-pilot?”

“And I’m the only person on the ship?”

“Oh, all right.”  So the test went in reverse.

Keith brought them to another ship, after Mike slid down her controls, and had them drive that.  Trera went in, and Mike and Keith on top.

At Gary’s place, she navigated correct, at Tom’s, her guns were correctly checked.

On their way to Zrooine’s palace, Gary said, “Sand people there–or worse!  Hurry!” as a joke.

“So!” said Mike.  “You saw Star Wars on Earth, huh?”

“On Earth?” said Keith.  “Oh, yeah.”

Trera whispered to Mike, “You dummy!  You’ll get us into trouble by-‘n’-by!”



When I was twelve and in seventh grade, I wrote a story about Earthlings going to live on Mars.  I used my already-established universe of living heavenly bodies, in this story.

The people were in some vehicles which were suddenly lifted into the air and put on Mars; they could hear around them:


“Yes, Mars, my girl, put them on you and they can live!  Trust me, I know these things!”

“Aw, but Nereid, I wanted them to be enlarged by the Sun’s sun-hat and let them live like that while I pray of God that he change my obliquity to 30 degrees and I prepare the air around me!”

“I’m Nereid, Neptune’s moon!  Would I ever steer you wrong?!”

“Well, you sure seem to steer yourself wrong a lot in that you never seem to stick with Neptune and/or Triton!”

“Yeah, well, Earth always steers me right again!  I go to him for his superior advice!”

“Ya know, I think you have a crush on him!”

“I have for the last thousand years had a crush on him!”

“Then it isn’t a crush or infatuation, it’s love!  Go after the boy!  He’s God’s pick for you!”

“But I’m shy!”

“Well, then, it’s simple!  Earth doesn’t like you yet, but what you do is go on that planet-moon picnic with him next picnic day!  Have you noticed?  You two have been paired on the schedule!  Impress him; act sweet and nicely yourself!  When he’s started to notice you, write a note a week later and put it in his mailbox–ask him to go with you!  Simple as all that!  Remember, I caught the tenth planet, Ihfundit, that way, about three of Venus’ years ago, and notice we’ve been married a year so far!”

That gave hope to the one voice, Nereid, as she said:

“See me married to Earth in two Mercury years–176 Earth-days!  For Earth, less than a year!”

Then it sounded like someone was walking away on metal.  Then the person came back, saying: “Oh!  I forgot!  Give this to the Earthlings!  Open your hand!”

“No; they’ll die if I do!”

“Then move a finger a little!  Now, you wouldn’t want those Earthlings to become Marslings just yet until they have their explanation!  Here, lings!”  And something black fell what seemed out of the space there.  Then the walking-on-metal was heard again.

Someone got the paper, which was written on in white chalk.  It must be whoever wrote it knew how to write American or something, because that’s how the words were written.  The person, Cyndy Ferraro, read out loud and very loudly so all could hear:

You lings obviously are wondering what’s happening here, so I’ll tell you.  You see, to someone small like you, the universe looks as you imagine it.  But grow to our size, and you can see the planets as people.

We used to call each other our own name, but your names for us are so nice we call each other by your names for us.

Well, you know Mars is barren.  Earth isn’t.  Mars saw you on Earth and asked God what you were up to.

When she found out, she asked God for permission to get you from Earth and be her own lings, which Earth allowed.  You can’t see us, but Mars had to put you in her hands to keep you safe.

When you’re put on Mars’ head you can build even spaceships if you want!  If you wonder how I know, that red planet told me.

Neptune’s moon besides Triton,

A scientific breakthrough!  The planets obviously were alive, though drilling like for oil or digging or such didn’t hurt them!

They were now free from planetary laws, but not from human laws, so the Bibles, until the Judgement, would always be studied.  Well, now it was 70 degrees on Mars’ equator, and everyone was put on the equator.

They found a pile of boxes, labeled in Sheeshu (a fast-writing and saying language in space), and on top was a booklet of instructions written by the planet and translated by the moon.  It told everyone about the money in the boxes, sun-chips and star-chips.

It was easy to collect in space–asteroid workers were always producing the money and sending it into space to just float around.

The universal money was also used as food and building materials, and such as that.

(Oh, if I forgot to tell you; the lings were given oxo-hats, hats that fasten to the neck with a drawstring, and have two “antlers” on the top to convert air with plant-like mechanisms in the balls.

(It was also explained how to make more of this, besides how to build a “sunbuilding” (building made out of sun-chips) in an hour because in about 90 minutes the temperature would start to drop to dangerous temperatures.

(When it was read how long they had, everyone who could, started immediately to build!)



On August 29, 1986, when just starting eighth grade, I had to write sentences to go along with vocabulary words.  I wrote:

2. Citizens of Mouseooine were noted for their steady practice of deceit when it came to the moons and planets.

6. Mouseooinelings capturing moons and/or planets was a frequent happening.  [This explains why Nereid kept ending up there with Keith.]

19.  The moon finally had triumph over the planet Mouseooine.


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