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

April 5 was probably the first time I finally got to go back to church. I may have called up the couple who led the church, told them of my situation, and set things up so they would come get me for the evening services.

On April 26, they changed the service to morning, and came to get me for that and Sunday School.  I forget what we did while the kids were being taught their Sunday School lessons; maybe we chatted.

At long last, I didn’t need Peter to take me to church.  Each week, it was like another oasis, like the one I had at home during Spring Break.  I was to find that, after a breakup, church was generally the most comforting place to be.

One evening, I sat in the suite lounge and watched a wonderful movie: Say Anything, copyright 1989, set in Seattle, starring John Cusack (Lloyd) and Ione Skye (Diane).  It was about dating, breaking up, and getting back together.

It spoke directly to my situation.  It had tons of similarities: It was about the class of ’88, who were seniors when I was a freshman, so it was close to my generation; since I had just graduated, the graduation scenes and summer afterwards were familiar; Cusack looked so hot (handsome, not warm) in that coat; it actually mentioned The 700 Club once, and in a good way….

One character, a guitarist, wrote 63 songs about her ex-boyfriend Joe and the pain he caused her.  She tried to kill herself over him.  (This made me feel better about writing several “Peter” poems for Poetry class.)  Joe was clueless and kept playing with her mind, until she finally said no more.

Lloyd was a kickboxer, which reminded me of the movie Kickboxer which Peter had shown me.  I would’ve liked to know that Peter cried after breaking up with me the way Diane cried after breaking up with Lloyd, but all I ever saw was a dry eye.  To this day, I have no idea if Peter ever cried about it.

What Lloyd went through was so familiar: sadness, looking around at places where they’d been and remembering her, calling her several times (he called her a lot more often than I called Peter), and trying to get her to remember their love (in his case, blasting the song “Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel).

My favorite line in the whole movie was when Lloyd said to a group of loser teens, “If you guys know so much about women, how come you’re here at, like, a Gas ‘n Sip, on a Saturday night, completely alone, drinkin’ beers, no women anywhere?”  That line rocks. (They paused for a minute and then said, “By choice, man!”)

I felt so much better after seeing that movie.  I was also hopeful because of the way it ended.  Cameron Crowe, who wrote it, has written other movies which are just as sensitive and insightful.

****

The fraternity and sorority Hell Week was April 5 to 11.  Peter was pledging Zetas, while a few of my girlfriends were pledging Phi-Delts.  Pledging was an odd time to go through even for spectators, as I would note in a letter to Stefan.  Refer to that (below) for some details.

Since frat pledges had to ignore women during this week, Tom told me I should torment Peter.  I didn’t, of course.  That just wasn’t my place, and it wasn’t wise, though the thought was delicious.

One day, two Zeta pledges had to wear beanies decorated in goofy ways.  I believe one even had a propeller.  One was Peter, hehehehe.  Some girl said, “Weanies with beanies!”

****

In late spring, or maybe even before, people (including Catherine) started wearing shorts while it was still cold.  Most of them may have been soccer players just arriving at dinner from practice, but Catherine did it to encourage summer and warm weather to come.

I kept seeing this in Wisconsin: The thermometer barely hits 60, and people start wearing shorts.

Here’s an English copy of the letter I wrote in German on or around April 14 to Stefan, as part of one of my Swiss meetings with Heidi:

How’s it going?  Here things are both normal and strange.  The food’s still bad, they still show movies in the Muskie, and all that.

But last week all the frats and sororities had their ‘Hell Week’ for the pledges.  Those poor pledges had to do so many humiliating things–singing kids’ songs in the cafeteria, yelling self-degrading things to actives, “wearing” the day’s menu, putting up with actives treating them like dirt.

They couldn’t even acknowledge the existence of members of the opposite sex except in class.

If they could get through the week, they got to be actives.  Otherwise, they were no longer in the frat or sorority.  Peter’s actually a Zeta now.

…Candice moved out a while ago because one of her friends needed a roommate.  She didn’t really want to, but her friend either didn’t know or didn’t like any of the people on the list given to her, and I wouldn’t have to pay for a single room.

Latosha had to move out, so she went into the new African suite across from us in Hofer.  Now it’s just Heidi, Tom and me.

I’ve started spending more time in the suite lounge, even though it looks like a waiting room.  At least we have a nice new floor lamp and a little round table now.

Candice’s fridge has been replaced by Tom’s.  I brought my TV and my now-better-working VCR from home after Spring Break.

I like having my own room to spread out in, especially since these rooms are so small, but next year we have to have eight people to a suite!

(This explains why Shawn and I watched the lounge TV instead of the one in my room: There was no TV in my room after Candice moved out, until Spring Break.)

Heidi reviewed my German and said I always used such long sentences!  In Germany, people were now encouraged to write much shorter sentences, and I was amazed because they seemed even shorter than many American sentences.  How did they avoid writing sentence fragments?  (Undine sentences tended to be far longer than mine.)

****

After the breakup, Peter kept denying to others and even to me just how serious we had been.  As I’ve already documented, from diaries I kept during our relationship, Peter was always saying how much he wanted to marry me, and making plans of our life together and what the wedding would be like.

My mom also saw how serious he was about me, and saw his expectations, as I wrote in my diary on April 12.  On the 18th, I spoke with the lady of the couple who ran the little Nazarene church, and I wrote,

She told me something Peter’d once said that I didn’t even remember: that we planned to wait until after graduation to marry.  This had caused her to think, Good, they’re not jumping into anything.  They’re going to be patient.

So I had witnesses to how serious he had been about me, but now he was spreading the story around–and even accusing me–of being pushy about marriage.

Not only was he gaslighting me, he was smearing me, and would continue to do so for some time, hurting my chances to find a new guy, and making me very angry with him.

He even told my future boyfriend Phil lies about me, and told Phil’s mom that I was obsessed with marriage, affecting advice she gave to Phil!

I was also angry because, when we broke up, he said he would have zero time for a social life, just work and school–and here he was pledging Zetas.  And a short time later, I discovered he had a girlfriend, which he told me he would have no time for.

What a liar!  If you’re going to break up with someone, at least give her the dignity of the truth!

****

On Easter, April 19, I had traditional Easter lunch with the couple who led the church.  They had a copy of the Sunday paper and comics, which I rarely got to see while at college, so it was a big deal.  We laughed because Sally Forth ate the ears off her kid’s Easter bunny, and called it an Easter chipmunk.

In the evening, some of the internationals (including Heidi) put together a little dinner for those of us in the suites who had to stay on campus.  This was the first Easter I’d ever spent away from home, and since the break for it was only four days long, I couldn’t go home.

As I walked to the Ley Chapel basement for dinner, I saw a rabbit by Chase.  This was another big thing for me, since back home I never saw rabbits except on the outskirts of town.

****

On April 27, I met Mona S, a sophomore and a couple years older than I was.  Bible class, led by Anna, was in the Main Suite Lounge each week.  I tried going there before, but hadn’t found anyone.

This time, I went to the lounge to watch Avonlea (based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novels) on the Disney Channel.  Since the Disney Channel was not supposed to come in on our cable system, it was scrambled, but if you caught it just right, you could still watch it.  It was easiest to see in the Main Suite Lounge.

Before the show finished, the Bible study group showed up.  Anna didn’t want to disturb me, and I guess I finished watching the show.  But after that, the group was still together, so I joined them.

I was amused and amazed to be led to the Bible study group through Avonlea.

The leader, a youth leader from Anna’s church who was probably near 30, looked uncannily like Shawn.  Mona, who knew Shawn or met him shortly thereafter, agreed.

The leader, being Pentecostal, began talking about speaking in tongues as a requirement for salvation.  Mona grabbed her Bible with both hands and said, “You are so wrong!”

They then began an argument, respectful but still an argument, about speaking in tongues; Mona with the usual objections from non-Pentecostals, the leader with the usual defenses from Pentecostals (“faith without works is dead,” etc.).

Afterwards, God put the idea in my mind to strike up a conversation with Mona, starting by asking her what her denomination was, since she obviously was not Pentecostal.  She told me she’d been praying or hoping for something like this, I suppose meaning an opportunity to start a prayer group.

We decided to meet the next day at 2 to pray together in my room.  The devotional said something about a vision for the spiritual future.  This campus, though called Christian, we saw as spiritually dead and in need of a spark.  I thought it was the responsibility of those of us students who were Christians, to light that spark.

That night, I imagined the college being transformed by the time I left there.   Though the campus did not turn into a Christian campus during my time there, attitudes did change: The college became a much nicer, more pleasant place to live even as early as sophomore year.

One of the many things Mona and I talked about over the next few weeks was the concept of cell groups sparking a new Great Awakening in the country.  She had a book about the spiritual Great Awakenings in America.

The first one happened in the 18th century.  The book said that cell groups, or young people (college students, especially) meeting together to pray about the country, were the sparks which started it.

We wanted to make our own cell group in this little prayer group we were now starting with just the two of us.  In a short time, Pearl and Anna heard about our prayer group, and in the last meeting they joined us.

I was already prayer partners with Shawn, but he wasn’t in this group.  He and I stopped being prayer partners because of Mona.

I remember sitting by the lake with Mona and her best friend late in May, as they talked about the campus’s summer beauty.  I thought maybe I should spend a summer there, working or studying.

Mona even knew Peter from high school, since she was from K–.

****

It may have been around this time when Peter stopped going to newspaper staff meetings.  I don’t remember if this disappointed or relieved me, but I do know it ticked off Darryl, who had to find a replacement Photo Editor.  Darryl didn’t know his reasons.

****

In April, as you may know, the L.A. riots broke out over the Rodney King trial verdict.  I was sitting in the lounge watching TV with several people when a news bulletin broke in.  The picture of L.A. in chaos filled the screen, shocking us all.

****

During one of my adviser meetings with Counselor Dude that semester, he asked me, “Are you happy?”  I said yes, so maybe I was more content by then.

I don’t see much about Shawn in my diary from this time, so there were probably no “make-out sessions” during this month, but things sure picked up in May.

May 1992

Life at Roanoke: My College Memoirs–September 1991 through May 1995

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:

 

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