What College Kids Do With Snow–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–December 1994, Part 3

Sometime in December, possibly the weekend of Saturday, December 17 (during finals, which ended the next week), Mike’s family held a Christmas party.  They invited me, along with my friends and a lot of people I didn’t know.  Several international students were there.

At times I felt depressed because Phil was gone; at times I felt angry at Phil’s lies.  But this sorrow interlaced with joy at having fun with my friends.

When I walked into the party in the basement, Mike greeted me as “Estrella” in front of a bunch of people.  That’s when I knew he knew who was writing him “Estrella” letters in made-up Spanish.

He distorted the name in whatever way he could to find new nicknames for me, and settled on “Australia” and “Store.”  I finally had another nickname–and this one actually stuck, at least with him.  Years later, he still calls me “Store” in e-mails.

We all sang along with a player piano.  We sang Christmas songs, show tunes and popular songs, whatever people requested.

Now, normally I don’t like singing anything, especially show tunes.  But there was something about this player piano that lured even this metalhead/alternative fan.  I think Charles was there, and he was also a metalhead/alternative fan.  I think Persephone was there as well, and she never struck me as the show tune type.

I requested “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” thinking it was like the pop version done in the ’80s, but the words were all different and I had trouble keeping up.

Mike showed us his new alarm clock.  It was in the shape of a wolf dressed in jazzy clothes.

Every morning it woke him with “funky” background saxophone music and, “Hey, Hey, Don’cha know! It’s time to get up so you can get dowWWWWWWwwwwwnnnnnnnnn!!!”

Funny, yes–and potentially very annoying after the hundredth time it’s woken you out of blissful slumber.


Just before Christmas Break, on Sunday, December 18, Pearl invited us all to her hometown.  There we ate dinner at the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant and went to see her church’s Christmas cantata.

I finally got to meet her mother, who was very pretty: She looked just like Pearl, except older and with dark hair.  I also met her father.

I’d never been to the Olive Garden before, and this was the highlight of my evening.  The cantata sang beautifully.  Pearl’s mother was in the choir.

At the restaurant, all I could afford for the main dish was the pizza appetizer.  It was a small pizza, but enough for me.  Plus, we all shared the breadsticks that Mike bought.

I got a chocolate soda, a special Italian drink, not the typical American chocolate soda.  It had an odd taste, somewhat sour, but also sweet, and took a little getting used to.  Once you were used to it, though, it was good.


December 19, a Monday, was Astrid’s birthday, but that was finals week, and I left for home at 12pm.  Finals started late in the week of December 12 and ended in the middle of the week of December 19.  So the following may have happened on December 16, a Friday:

We “kidnapped” Astrid, and took her in Mike’s car to a local ice cream place (probably Culver’s).  However, there was a slight problem:

Before we removed her blindfold, and while we were in Mike’s car with her, Mike and Tara stopped their cars in a church parking lot.  Mike and Tara went outside and Mike said in a loud voice, “It’s Dr. P–‘s church!”  (Dr. P., a professor, was also a preacher.)

We all thought, Oh great, they’ve gone and given away where we are!  So we drove around in circles a little while longer to confuse Astrid.  Then we finally pulled into Culver’s parking lot and removed the blindfold.

I couldn’t get her much, having little money or opportunity to get into town, so I gave her a candy bar.  I was glad to have something to give so I wouldn’t look like a miser.

We had a fun time and the ice cream was yummy.  She seemed to enjoy herself.  Sharon’s birthday card to her had “Happy Birthday” on the front.  Inside were all these psychological questions about “Happy Birthday,” such as, “What do you really mean by that?”  It was probably the funniest of all our cards, since it was so-Sharon.

For Christmas, however, I had money to get gifts for my family and my Secret Santa recipient, Astrid.  I got her a teddy bear angel at Sonlight Books.  She named the bear Nyssa, and took her on choir tour with her that spring so she could say, “Nyssa went with us on choir tour!”


Sometime that school year, the movie Scarlett, made from Alexandra Ripley’s sequel to Gone With the Wind, finally came out.  I hated it.  It was awful, trite, and clichéd, and not at all like the book.

They even stuck a trial into it, after Scarlett killed some guy–which was NOT in the book.  I thought that was the ultimate stupidity and sell-out to what was popular in TV-movies at the time.

The book was a lot better, and better suited the characters created by Margaret Mitchell.  Someone in the bookstore said the book was stupid, but I disagreed.  I especially loved the section in which Scarlett went to Ireland and the experience changed her into a better human being.

I didn’t watch the last night of the miniseries, which showed the trial.


On December 16, Mike came over and brought some kiddie Christmas movies, such as Jack Frost and Frosty the Snowman.  My roommies and I and probably Astrid watched.

There’s something about watching a kiddie movie or even Sesame Street (as we did once or twice) with your college buddies.  I guess if you do it alone at age 21 you’re just weird, but if you do it with friends, that’s fun.

A little later, something began banging against the outside walls.  We looked out the windows: Several people were throwing snowballs at Morland House from the courtyard between the two buildings.

I believe they were aiming them at an upstairs apartment where their friends lived.  It was somehow surreal.

Mike and I went outside and threw a few snowballs at them.  Then our friends joined us, we went around the other side of the building, and we all had our own snowball fight.

Since Mike was the only man in our group, the rest of us chased him and pelted him with snowballs.  Yet we felt sorry for him at the same time.

In a wide, grassy space between the sidewalk and the trees of the lagoon, now covered with snow, someone had built a large ape’s face out of snow the night before.  We built a snowman nearby.

I remembered that Lucy Van Pelt of “Peanuts” cartoons liked making snow bunnies.  I made little snow bunnies and a snow kitty near the snowman.  Two Asian girls came by and saw us.  I’m not sure what country they were from.  Excited, they joined in.  I don’t think any of us knew them.

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: