Irish Writers Class 

Now I started my second year of reading My Utmost for His Highest, in totally different circumstances now, but still desperately needing the messages it and the Bible had for me.

Pearl got a present from a relative which inspired Rachel to make up this tune:

Some little Christmas thing
Sitting on my mantel
I don’t know what it is
I got it from some corny relative
It killed my cat
What do you think about that
As the world blows up

As far as I can explain a tune in words, it was a simple, alto melody sung mostly in low notes.  The line “I don’t know what it is” sounded similar to the beginning of the Aerosmith song “Living on the Edge,” which, incidentally, came out soon after Rachel made up this song.  (I always jokingly wondered if Aerosmith stole it from her.)

“It killed my cat” ended on a higher note, “What do you think about that” on an even higher one, and “As the world blows up” even higher.

Pat Robertson actually predicted the spring/summer Flood of 1993 on or around January 5, according to my diary.

My Winterim class, Irish Writers, taught by a tall, thin teacher named Todd, was a lot of fun.  It was held from 9 to 12 each day.  We learned not only about Irish Writers, but about the Irish people.  I had no idea just how colorful they are.

Todd had been to Ireland, and showed us pictures of a man he met there.  He said the man tended to walk with his arms behind his back and his hands clasped, an Irish thing.  Todd passed around a brick of peat, which is dug out of bogs and used for fuel.

We learned about Irish history, and that the Irish are passionate about everything (including freedom, and in such a way that, until 2000, it seemed impossible to stop the fighting over it).  The Brits looked down on them, at least in previous centuries, for loving sex and alcohol so much.

We learned about stout (no, we didn’t drink it).  We read books, plays and stories by Irish writers.

James Joyce said he was no good at making things up, so his stories were based on things that really happened.  As far as I was concerned, he had little sense of plot and most of his stories were dull.

We read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man–the second time for me.  I had to trudge through that novel in high school.  It was just as bad the second time.  (What is the point of that 42-page Hellfire Sermon, anyway?)

The only part I liked was the beginning, with the stream-of-consciousness stuff about a moocow and some bird plucking out the kid’s eyes if he didn’t apologize for something: “Pull out his eyes, apologize, apologize, pull out his eyes!”  I like to repeat that now and then.

We read his collection The Dubliners, and the only stories I liked were “The Dead” and “Araby” (which I had also read in high school).  “Araby” would show up again in a Lit class junior year.

We saw My Left Foot, a filmed version of “The Dead” with Colm Meaney (from Star Trek: TNG), and a John Wayne movie, The Quiet Man, set in Ireland.  Though we didn’t like Foot, and I think we liked the movie Dead, we loved The Quiet Man.

I loved the very end of The Dead, focusing on snow falling on tombstones in a graveyard.  It reminded me of my own musings at that time whenever we passed cemeteries in a car: that the people in those graves were fortunate to not have to feel the snow or the cold, or have heartaches, or go through any more of life’s many problems.  I just hoped their souls were in Heaven.

Our first day of class, we chose or were assigned partners and days to do presentations.  I ended up with Clarissa, and we had to do the next day’s presentation on “Araby.”

Clarissa and I had no examples of past presentations to go on, and had to just make everything up, not knowing what would work and what wouldn’t.  We thought we did all right, and certainly our best from what he’d told us to do.  But afterwards, Todd told the class with a grin,

“Maybe tomorrow’s presentation will be better.”

He often did this, ripping on people and grinning at the same time.  It was the only fault in an otherwise pleasant guy who actually loved Jane Austen but wasn’t gay.

One day, I brought in some of my Irish pen pal’s letters.  I said she would talk about the noise of bombs going off and helicopters constantly flying overhead, and about the constant violence in Belfast, where she lived.

Shawn had Irish ancestry, so one day I said to him with a grin, “I understand you now.”  I explained what I had learned about the Irish.  I told him I had Scottish ancestry, which I thought meant we had a lot in common.  But I forgot that the Scots and Irish fought each other.  Shawn said, “That must be our problem, then.”


I talked to Steve about what Peter told Memadmin.  I asked if I needed to apologize to Peter for anything I did freshman year.

He said, “No, you did nothing wrong.”  Others told me this, as well, such as Julie.  “It would be good to let him know you never meant to hurt him.”  I didn’t want to say anything to Peter, though, but Steve did.  When he did say this to Peter, he got no response.  To describe Peter’s reaction, Steve thought a moment, then said, “Indifference.”

Psychological Hell as Shawn Turns Dark and Moody 

On the 5th, Shawn wanted me to come over, but I had to unpack.  He called up the next night, and said to call him when I finished my homework.  I tried, but kept getting his answering machine, so I went over there to find out what he wanted.  (It couldn’t be the usual; he said firmly that the physical stuff was going to stop!)

I found him in the lounge, watching one of the movies rotating around the dorms that month–the end of Poison Ivy.  Blech!  A few other guys and Frank, the RA, were watching it.  I came in during one of the sex scenes.  I went up to Shawn and said, “What is this?”  Another guy said, “It’s a porno.  Wanna watch?”  Um, no.

I went to the vending machines; Shawn stood by me to wait for me, but went back to watch the end of the movie.  The other guys kept making perverted comments, which angered Frank, no saint himself; one said, “Oh, you’re just mad at us because there’s a female here.”

Whatever Shawn wanted with me, I never found out; after the movie, he just sat there flipping through channels, so I got to know the remaining guy better.  He’d been in the Special Forces, and had interesting information about the Japanese mindset and the sterility of drinking urine on the battlefield to stay hydrated.  He seemed to be flirting with me; I hoped so, and hoped that Shawn would notice and get jealous.

But Shawn was persistent, asking me over again the next day.  I had to write a paper first, and didn’t finish until 9 or 9:30.  He called to ask if I still wanted to come.

He didn’t even hint that he was calling to cancel because it was getting late, and we know what happens when it’s so late.  But since he did not actually tell me this, and I can’t read minds, I did still want to go, so I went.

What was this about?  I expected it would be nothing but talk.  Part of me wanted more, but part of me just wanted to talk.

He let me in, but started reading his homework and watching TV.  (I guess he must have brought a TV from home, because I’m pretty sure he did not have one before.)  It seemed so rude.  So I started watching the TV with him and occasionally making comments, which got him to at least glance at me now and then.

Finally, he put down the book and said, “Could you do me a favor?  Could you give me a back rub?  My back is killing me.”  Back rub?  Seriously?  Those always led to more with us.  But I didn’t expect it to, this time, naive person I was.

He lay down, I sat beside him and began using the knowledge he’d given me about giving back rubs.  When I stopped, he gave me one; he tried to behave, but almost transgressed a couple of times, then stopped himself.  But then he kissed my back.

Soon, he lay down beside me, held me and told me to try falling asleep, “just to see what’ll happen.”  I put my arms around his neck, full of tenderness, and nestled my head on his neck and played with his hair.  Some things happened….

It got close to midnight, so he said I’d better be getting back to my room.  I began arranging myself as he got up, smiling, and sat in the chair.  He didn’t seem to feel guilty this time, so I was happy.

Then all of a sudden he said, “What are we doing?”

I paused, upset at this turn, and said, “Well, I know my reasons.”  I love him, that’s it.

“What are they?”

“There are some things I’d rather keep a secret.”

I was irritated, especially as the same old conversation over the same old stuff began, the hyper-analyzing.  He seemed mad at somebody, hopefully himself and not me.

He asked, “Where do you want this relationship to go?”  I couldn’t answer.

Where did I want it to go?  The hope of marriage, but only if it seemed right; the hope to go out and be a true couple, with romance and not just being some chick he fools around with on the sly; but the fear of commitment while other guys still interested me.

You can’t tell a guy you want to marry him in a couple of years, if he doesn’t feel the same: You’ll just scare him off.

He said, “I’m probably not Mr. Right.  You’ll probably meet a lawyer.”  He thought a lawyer would be well-read and my intellectual equal, unlike Shawn, who would be an engineer.  (This is funny because I ended up marrying an engineer.)

He said he was afraid of commitment.  (Well, so was I; so what?)

Once, he asked a question and I paused to form an answer.  Introverts have to think before we speak; we do not form our thoughts while speaking, like extroverts.  But Shawn snapped, “And I don’t want to wait four days for an answer.  That’s what I don’t like.”

And I don’t like people who snap at introverts for taking the time we need to think before we speak.  But unfortunately, I was not able to say this, not knowing about introversion, NVLD or the art of verbal self-defense.

He kept snapping at me like that, once because I thought he was talking about me but he wasn’t.  He said he doesn’t like it when I do that.  (Well excuse me for misunderstanding and not reading your mind!)

“I’m not a book reader like you, not so smart.”  (What?  He was a math-brain and was in the National Honor Society!)  “I don’t think I’d give you the attention you need.”  (What?  I liked spending much of my time with my friends or alone in my room, recharging.)  “A girl from Taiwan asked me, ‘Why are you so rude to her?  It seems like she has to seek you out.'”

Then came the revelations of what kept going through his head, what he would do to me if I let him, overpowering thoughts of what he could get away with if he tried, how badly he wanted to try.

(It was only our fear of offending God that kept us from going all the way; I would have allowed him, otherwise, because I was just as full of lust as he was–and from what he said, he may have started to realize this.)

He asked, “Do you do all the things we do because I force you?”

I said, “Not all of them.  I must make it hard for you to do things I don’t want.”

He said, “No, you don’t.”

He said, “I wish our friendship could be like mine with Frank or Pearl.”

I said, “It could never be that way, now.”

He thought maybe, if one day he scared me enough, I’d turn tail and run; I said, “You really think scaring me will–You’ve already scared me to death!”  I was thinking of the “Dreadful Night.”

He told me he was into one of my friends.  (Fortunately for me, she had a boyfriend and was not interested.)  What a thing to tell a girl who loves you after you’ve just been using her body and making you think you want her!

He insulted me, made me feel like some cheap whore, no better than the pop tarts.  He referred to us as “sexually active,” which I objected to–though legally, he was correct.

I no longer knew what was right or wrong, beyond the sex act itself; he told me I should read the textbook for his class, Understanding Morality.

He almost seemed to blame me for things he himself had chosen to do even when I tried to get him to go away, times when he himself chose to come over and do all these things, but I was too much in love to stop him, like now.

He called me a source of stress, but all he ever had to do was stop coming over, stop asking me over, stop starting things he knew I would not want to stop, and let me get over it; no one was putting a gun to his head and forcing him to touch and kiss me.  Sure I wanted him to, but it takes two people, and he had the right to refuse to do it anymore.

He was being such a jerk, saying such things, almost making it sound like I was to blame if it didn’t stop–then he tried to start it all over again, while telling me he felt nothing, which made me bat his hand away.

After all this scolding of me for allowing him to have his way with me, he turned creepy, tried to get me to do something in front of him which I did not want to do.  I said, “I’m not a pervert!”

He smiled and said, “Yes, you are.”

“No, I’m not!”

“Yes, you are.”  He began doing things I did not like….I told him to stop….He suggested doing to me what I did not want to do to myself….I said no….

Is this why he kept wanting me over the past few days?  He’d had time to reconsider, this was premeditated and not spur of the moment, but every night he asked me over until I finally came, after he had insisted he would not do this to me anymore.

Then he bumped my arm, which was holding a can of pop.  I said, “You’d better be careful, or my pop might spill.”

He said, “It already did.  It’s on your shirt.”

I looked down at my shirt, saw a dark blotch in the dim light, and said, “You’re dead.”

He laughed and got me something to wipe it up with.  He said, “Maybe I shouldn’t let you come over here anymore,” but with a smile, so I said, “I hope you’re just joking.”

He finally helped me sneak out around 1:30, with my long hair tucked into my coat, then told me to call him that afternoon if I wanted to talk more–which I did not.  I knew how it would go: the same as always.

It felt like we’d lost the ground we gained with that tearful phone conversation, all because he could not keep his hands to himself and I was too in love to stop him.

I spoke to Sharon about it; she said no one would care if they saw me leave, because I’m of age, so don’t worry about my reputation, which Shawn kept warning me about.  She said we should make up our minds soon, and either commit or snub each other.

This seemed to turn a corner, but not the one I’d hoped for at the beginning of Christmas Break: We went from the fun we were having before, to a new and more disturbing phase, where we did things we’d never done before, went farther than ever, while he often treated me with contempt.

The thing I did not want him to do to me, he eventually did in February, suddenly and forcefully from what I recall, taking away my innocence and filling me with thoughts I could barely control.  Not what is clinically called “coitus,” but another thing.

And even though he himself had similar thoughts and told me about them, he judged me for them when I confessed them to him.

In fact, considering his mental health history, I can’t help wondering now if something happened over Christmas Break that led to this, if he was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, and I was the unlucky one caught in it.

From January through the end of the school year, he kept going from manic hyper stages where he treated me kindly, to foul moods which ended up hurting me.

I had told Shawn so many things, including deep, dark secrets.  We usually seemed like best friends.  But sometimes, like January 10, I wondered if we were even friends.  Some weeks he’d call all the time and sometimes stop over, but I wrote on the 13th, “some weeks, like this one, he won’t call and he won’t even sit by me.”

I had hoped things would change for the better between us, but instead they got worse.  He was moody.  I was too afraid to call him or go over without being asked.

On the 11th, he was in a bad mood, so I didn’t want to sit with him at a meal; I was surprised to see him come sit with us.  But he just started writing in notebooks instead of attending to the group’s conversation.  Why bother sitting with anyone, then, especially me?

He was having troubles with his Winterim class and the two joint teachers, who he felt were against him.  At 2 or 3 in the morning, he kicked in the door of someone who woke him up with their stereo!


Shawn had told me to sit with my friends whether Peter was there or not, so on the 12th I did so.  I sat with Steve, and Peter was right across from me.  He didn’t stay long because of class, but it seemed to go well.  I stayed cheerful despite fighting to control my shaking.  Even Peter seemed cheerful.

On the 12th, I saw my old suitemate Tom checking out a display for some date rape movies.  A guy with him said, “You saw the word ‘sex,’ and you went right to it.”  Tom denied it, but I said, “Yeah, we know you, Tom.”  He gave me a kind of lecherous smile.

That night, my suitemates held a seance in the suite lounge.  Clarissa and I stayed in our room, hoping they wouldn’t call something into the suite that wouldn’t leave, and keeping our crosses nearby.

Pearl and Tara were in England for their Winterim class, which was led by my old Expository Writing teacher.  They visited such places as London, Bath and Stratford-on-Avon, and included a showing of Phantom of the Opera.  I was envious, but had no way to afford such a thing.  It did, however, make it into my story “Bedlam Castle.”

Then on the 14th, Shawn sat at my table for a minute, then, as he passed behind me on his way out, tapped me on the back.  I looked up; he smiled and said “bye”; I smiled back.  This made me feel better; kindness from him again?

Insurance Mix-Ups and Corruption in the Campus Administration 

During class, we’d have 15-minute breaks.  I’d go hang out with Derek and whoever was with him, so I was often late back.  I would bring up the time and they’d say, “Aah, so what?”

One day, we went back and Derek said to the teacher, “I see you’ve started class already.”  The teacher only smiled.

On the 14th, a girl came downstairs asking for a cigarette, so Derek went into a nearby room with equipment and said over the loudspeaker, Does anyone have a cigarette to lend this poor girl?  She came back downstairs with one, not knowing about this, and Derek said, “It worked.”


After my medical bill was submitted to my parents’ insurance company, the insurance company declined it.

Mom apparently thought the bill was submitted to the school, and just waited for them to pay it.

Only later did we discover that it had never been sent to the school.  So instead, Mom got another bill.  On or around January 14, she asked me to see the nurse about it.

On the 18th I went to the nurse, expecting to get it all resolved.  I don’t remember this meeting at all.  I do remember Memadmin calling me into her office soon after.  She said,

“I saw the maintenance crews out there salting the hill all day.”

You’ll recall that I saw no salt whatsoever on that hill.

She then said, “The nurse said she never told you the school would pay for the medical bills.”

I had written to a friend on December 7, “The school is paying for my medical expenses, the nurse tells me.  Yay!”

Did Memadmin just accuse me of lying?  Peter must have given her the impression that I lied all the time, even though I’ve always avoided lying, to the point of telling my teacher when an answer was mistakenly marked correct on my test.

After a bit of discussing, possibly even arguing, she decided to send the bill to the school’s insurance company.

Mom soon called.  A representative of the insurance company called her, and said I should tell the clinic, “The insurance is pending.”

I used that exact wording, but to the surprise of Mom and the rep, it didn’t work.  The woman I spoke to was surprised I wasn’t getting the bills myself.  (They went to my parents in Indiana.)

Mom finally decided to pay the bill and let the insurance company give her the money for it later.

One day, I got a call from another insurance representative.  He said, “Will you accept a payment of $500?  Will that be enough?”

Not only would that pay my bill, but it would compensate me for lost wages.  I said, “Yeah, that’s fine.”

For some time, I wondered if this thing beyond my control would hurt my credit rating.  (Apparently, it didn’t.)

While working for an insurance agent several years later, I learned that such mix-ups are common with medical insurance.  Many people get their bills sent to a collection agency while waiting for the insurance to pay.

As for Memadmin, some new information has come to light which may explain why she treated me the way she did, not just this time but those other times I had to deal with her and she acted like I was wrong no matter what was going on, and Peter was right–no matter what I said.  From what I recall, he was friends with Memadmin.

In maybe 2007 or so, Catherine’s second husband, Ben, who used to work Security for Roanoke in the early 90s, told me he once had to break up a marijuana-smoking group of students–and Memadmin was there, smoking with them.

Peter started smoking marijuana after he broke up with me, and he was friends with Memadmin, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he smoked it with her.

Get all buddy-buddy with Memadmin, and now your side of the story is listened to, but not your ex-girlfriend’s.  Don’t forget that he had no qualms about lying.

Meanwhile, Memadmin tried to frame Ben, saying that he was the one making obscene phone calls to the women’s dorms (explaining the rumors that the obscene phone caller used to work at Roanoke).

It was soon made obvious to those in charge that he’d been framed, but the administration was afraid he’d sue them if anything else happened, so they didn’t let him keep his job.

He told me that Memadmin considered everybody to be as corrupt as she was, so that would explain why she thought I was lying all the time.

Pregnancy Scare

On Friday the 15th, Shawn had been in a good mood for the past few days, and kept sitting with my group at meals.  Then he asked to come over and watch TV with Clarissa and me.

He brought Heavy Metal; later, he playfully scolded me for knowing there was sex in it: “You knew about it and you still agreed to watch it.  Shame on you!”

But come on, everybody knew what was in that movie!  How could he have not known?

None of us had seen it before; Clarissa and I hated it, with the breast fetish and the sex and violence, while he said it wasn’t as good as he thought it would be.

The VCR remote malfunctioned right when Clarissa tried to fast-forward through a sex scene, so Shawn tried to fix it.  (The benefits of having an engineering student for a friend: He later got some more supplies and fixed it.)

He lay beside me on my bed, as usual.  Once, while Clarissa was out of the room, he asked if I wanted to get frisky; I was trying to attract his attention with various poses, but he started moving his hand in places he shouldn’t, with my roommate right there in the room, so I had to stop him.

We flirted quite a bit.  I discreetly offered him a pop, then a brownie, because his breath was bad, but he refused.  So I offered him gum.  He said, “All right, then–Why, does my breath stink?”  I just smiled.

Once, during the movie, I was eating pretzel sticks.  He said, “Why don’t you take a handful out and eat it that way?  It wouldn’t make so much noise that way.”

I said, “You eat pretzels your way; I’ll eat ’em mine.”  So I put the bag in a different position to cut down the noise.

As usual, I got Clarissa to join me in guy-bashing every once in a while; Shawn retaliated with a remark about girls taking two people to think of one thing.  I wanted to hit him with Woof Woof, my stuffed Santa dog, but instead pinched his arm–hard.

He almost fell asleep once.  Several times, he cuddled up against me, and had me put my arm around him.  I began playing with his hair.  Clarissa got up, saw us, and gave me a funny look, so I laughed.

Around midnight, just when I thought he was leaving to go back to his room, and followed him to the suite door to say good-night, he got me into the guest room instead.

Things grew intense for three hours, with things we had never done before.  I won’t go into detail, just that while we did not “go all the way,” we did some very dangerous things.

I will say that afterwards he was calmer, sweeter, tender, not like the last time at all.  It was almost as if that scary scold session never happened.

I went to the bathroom, then found him sitting in the lounge, by a chair.  (Not in a chair, but on the floor?)

I sat beside him, and we talked for another two hours!

He eventually moved to the couch, and I soon came over.  He lay on the couch, and I sat beside him, often resting my head on the side, or on my folded arms on the cushion, putting my head close to his.

Clarissa woke up at 4am, saw us there in the lounge–him lying on the couch, me curled up on the floor with my head by his–and Shawn asked if she had a bad dream from watching Heavy Metal with us.

I can only imagine what she thought about all this.  Pearl, my prayer partner and Shawn’s confidant, and Clarissa were the two people on campus who knew the most about what was really going on between Shawn and me.

Shawn and I talked about our relationship, me wondering why he didn’t feel for me as a girlfriend, him not knowing.

But the way he behaved that night was tender, more like a lover.  He played with my hair, pulled it out over my face.  Once, he cupped my chin in his hand as I told him something.  Once, he said,

“You’ll find the right guy some day.”

I said, “How many times will I have to fall in love before I do?”

“A lot of times, love is hard to distinguish from lust.”

“I don’t think that lust applies in this case.”

I was trying to tell him I loved him.  I don’t know why I didn’t say it directly.  He didn’t understand me.

He said, “I’m going to leave now so I don’t fall asleep on this couch, and go to bed.  I’ll take that soda now, if you’re still offering it, so I have enough sugar to get back to Grossheusch without falling into a snowdrift and being found there the next day.”

I gave him my last pop.  He hugged me, saying, “Now that’s a friendly hug.”  He dozed off on the way back, and lost his can.  The next day, I found an orange streak in the snow and a stray Orange Slice can.  He slept until 5pm, so I didn’t see him again until Sunday.

He seemed in a better mood now, so much so that even Cindy noticed, smiling at me at meals, inviting me over to sit with him, exchanging smiles with me, being easy to get along with….It was enough to drive anyone crazy.  But I was too relieved by his good mood to think of that.


One day, Derek borrowed one of my textbooks.  He asked how he’d get the book back to me, and I said, “My number’s in the book.”

He was suave, a flirt, a musician and theater major, and I believe I flirted with him on occasion, so I must have done so now.  He told Clarissa I was really sexy about lending the book.

So I had her tell Shawn that, to get him to look at me differently.  He made a wry, surprised smile.

For a few days, the 24th through the 26th, there was a pregnancy scare, due to some things we did.  We knew the basic way to get pregnant, not being idiots, but  weren’t sure if certain things we did could also cause it.

I waited anxiously for my late period, while he talked to a married friend and did some research.

While he said he’d marry me if such a thing happened, neither of us wanted him to ruin his life plans because of this, and I didn’t want a marriage with love on only one side.  I was frightened.

It turned out we had not done what would cause virgins to conceive.  I also didn’t know, back then, how to determine my fertile period, though it was so late that month that something could have happened.  Apparently this fear is common among Evangelical girls who haven’t had PIV sex, the “phantom baby,” according to Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement.

When my period started–10 days late, on day 45 of my menstrual cycle–I called him to a private meeting in the suite.  I told him there was nothing to worry about.

He held me for a while as we stood, and I pressed my body against his in a hug that seemed to link us emotionally.  We decided we had gone too far, and not to do those things again–though this resolution did not last long.


I noted on the 28th that,

The other day, he used words [referring to me] such as ‘going out’ and ‘dating’ about three times, even though he tried to reassure Clarissa that we’re just friends….

She told me her mom would be staying in the guest room, and kept glancing at Shawn as if he’d be a problem.

He said, ‘Why do you keep looking at me, Clarissa?  I’m going home this weekend.  We’re just friends.  Just friends!’–smiling all the while.

Yet a depression had fallen on me, just the same, and I didn’t know why.

On the 27th, he participated in a campus event where students competed in funny little games to win money.  When the MC called him up, he misread Shawn’s last name.

Shawn was totally hyper, so I figured he did well on his class presentation.  It probably also helped that I was not “in trouble.”

He bounced off the walls, and made faces and funny gestures the whole time.  When he had to wear bunny ears during Chubby Bunnies, he made bunny shadow pictures against one of the fake walls they put up.

He kept opening his mouth so wide and tucking in the marshmallows with a technique remarked on by the MC, that the MC said, “You could stuff a compact car in that mouth.”

When he lost at Chubby Bunnies at 12 or 14 marshmallows, he hung his head.

My friends and I were in a front row; when he had to blow up a balloon until it popped, Pearl and Sharon began yelling, “Shawn!  Shawn!”

He had his glasses off the whole time, and seemed like a totally different person up there.  This was the old goofy Shawn I remembered from freshman year, the one who played jokes on me in Krueger one night, the one who played with me and flirted with me, and the one who tried to get into the shower with me back in November, not the dead serious one who was no fun.

I wrote in my diary, “I’ve got to tease him about it tomorrow.”

I wrote in a letter that Pearl and Cindy “say he’s so sweet, and that so many guys on this campus are jerks….Another funny thing is that Peter and Shawn rip on each other when the other one’s out of the room.”


On or after January 28, Cindy, Jennifer, Pearl and I all sat in Pearl and Cindy’s room, chatting.  I said, “It’s the one-year anniversary since Peter broke up with me.  But it doesn’t bother me, because of Shawn.”

This may be when Pearl and I stayed in the room while Cindy went into the hall to say good-bye to a visiting guy named Luke.  I could see them from where I sat.  Luke wanted a hug; Cindy simpered and gave him one.  They acted shy and cute.

I asked Pearl, “Is there something going on between them?

“No,” said Pearl.  “They’re just friends.”

Apparently, my skills at reading people had improved.  Soon after, Cindy and Luke started dating.  They stayed together for many years, and everyone thought they would marry.

Shawn also liked Cindy, but she–like the others in the Group–wouldn’t want to go out with him in a million years.


Anna told me one day that she found a bug in her green beans.  She almost missed it because it was long and green.  She cut into it and saw little legs.


Winterim Break was from Saturday, January 30 through Tuesday, February 2.  Clarissa and I both stayed on campus.  We were prepared with plenty of food, since I remembered last year and warned Clarissa.

We had a restful, relaxing Break, doing whatever we wanted to, whenever we wanted to.  I would go down to the Campus Center to check mail, and listen to my Walkman on the way.  I loved it.  Shawn and Peter were gone; few people were on campus.  Some of our friends were there.

Pearl and Carol went on an educational trip to England for most of Winterim, obviously arriving back in time for us to talk on the 28th.  They even got credit for it.  (This is the event which I fictionalized in Bedlam Castle.)

They saw “The Phantom of the Opera,” and visited sites important in British literature, such as Bath and Stratford-on-Avon.

The advisers were Bill (my teacher for Persuasive, Sophomore Honors and Mass Media) and Thea (who had taught my Expository Writing class).

It cost a lot of money, so I couldn’t join them, to my dismay.  When they got back, Pearl gave me a map of Bath in the time of Jane Austen.

February 1993
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: