Pearl once told me, “If you ever break down and use a cuss word, I think everyone in the cafeteria will stop what they’re doing and stare at you!”
The Muskie Inn now had slushies, so I often had a cherry one with my Sunday dinners. Also, probably after mid-November, my friends often sat in the cafeteria around the same time I got my Muskie dinners.
Either junior or senior year, the cafeteria began serving soup and sandwiches on Sunday nights, and they would have this. Junior year fall semester, and spring semester as often as possible, I liked to go sit with them and eat my Muskie burger and fries.
Mike S. often showed up as well, so I had all my best friends, including Clarissa, at a cafeteria table with me.
The cafeteria was usually deserted, so this was our time to do and say whatever we wanted. I used to like to be alone when eating my Muskie burger–it was “me” time–but I discovered how much fun it was to sit with all my best friends as well.
Mike liked to play a game with us in which he would ask, “What goes behind the Green Glass Door?” I sent him an e-mail in 1999 asking for more specifics about how the game was played (I think he’d give hints or ask questions), since I’d forgotten much of it. He replied,
I wish I could just tell you what was behind the green glass door, but that is not allowed. It is one of the rules of the game. If you don’t know what is behind the green glass door I can’t tell you. If I tell you what is behind the green glass door I would have to kill you. You would know too much information.
The truth is that I don’t remember how the game worked. I asked a friend how it worked and they got all upset with me. They told me that if I don’t know what is behind the green glass door they could not tell me. It is classified information. I wish I could help you. Sorry.
Whenever someone had to leave, the other members of the Group would say over and over, “Bye! Bye! Don’t forget to write!”
One day, my friends wondered about their bad luck with men. I had enough trouble finding dates; most of my friends had it even worse, not dating anyone for all or most of their time in college.
Tara said, “My man’s probably under a bus somewhere.” This is funny because–well, you’ll find out later.
Starting in November, our floor in Krueger did Secret Santa. I was Secret Santa for Carol. One day, I gave her a key chain which InterVarsity was selling. Each chain was made of discarded PC boards. (A PC board is this green thing with computer chips on it.) I also got one for myself. I had no idea that Carol collected key chains. Pearl told me my gift was a huge hit.
The Secret Santa for me was a girl named Jennifer (not my friend Jennifer). When she gave me French perfume, I thought she was Catherine, who had gone to Europe with Glen over Thanksgiving Break.
My door open as usual, I told Clarissa who my Secret Pal must be; laughter came from another room. Carol and a few others had overheard; they knew the true identity of my Secret Pal.
Catherine brought me some German or Swiss chocolate in a cute, child’s box with a line of cartoon figures in folk costume and panels so you could switch around who was wearing what costume. She would go to Europe again for her honeymoon–Czechoslovakia, probably, since Glen’s family came from there.
Every Friday night at 11:00, Clarissa and I watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Comedy Central. In those days, the robots watched mostly old science fiction movies, biker movies, Italian Hercules movies, strange movies about planets needing men and being run by Zsa Zsa Gabor–fun movies like that.
Catherine’s roommate, Carrie, had a best friend named Elaine. Elaine’s mom used to be a nun, and I believe her dad used to be a priest. Now, they loved each other so much they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I thought it was cute, but she, of course, considered it annoying.
Sometime that year, The Rocky Horror Picture Show came to network TV. I had never seen it, but knew a little about it because two kids in high school English used to talk about it and sing the songs.
I accidentally missed half of it, so I didn’t know what in the world was going on, or why the heck they kept cutting away from the movie to show a theater full of people watching it.
It was so annoying and distracting to hear and see the audience, and it made no sense to show them there. Like, for example, why would we want to see audience members dressing up like the characters in the drag-dance scene at the end of the movie, and dancing around to it?
I had never heard of the running “dialogue” used by audiences around the country, or the throwing of Scott toilet paper at the line “Great Scott,” or people dressing up like the characters, or any of that stuff.
All I knew was that it was a movie with a cult following, and that sophomore year I had heard an advertisement for it being played at midnight in some theater.
I hated the disgusting tablecloth scene, but I liked the rest of the movie, as much of it as I could understand.
I finally saw the whole thing in 1995, when hubby Cugan showed it to me–and recited the audience dialogue, line by line, having gone to the showings often enough to know it by heart.
Taped to his little TV, he even had a certificate of “non-virginity” (as in, from his first time going to a showing).
Smoking was now banned in many places, even in Jubilee, to Counselor Dude’s dismay. He thought pipe smoking should be a professor’s right. I think, in the end, teachers were allowed to smoke in their own offices with the door closed.
Seeing Phil in a Play
On one of the nightly performances from November 4 to 6, Pearl and I went to see the campus production of the play “The Lucky Spot” by Beth Henley. It was hilarious, and Phil O’Hara impressed Pearl and me with his talents playing the main character.
The language was rich, however. Since this was Family Night at Roanoke, and many parents didn’t know about the language, there were a lot of kids in the audience.
The parents were understandably upset, and wrote letters to the editor of the school paper. A guy named Chad, who worked for the paper, countered that kids could not be sheltered forever.
He seemed sensitive about criticism of college plays. But the parents had a right to be warned, to decide how to raise their own kids.
But back to the play itself. Phil’s character and his love interest “Sue Jack” were very volatile. In one scene, they fought and hit and then collapsed unconscious on the floor of the Lucky Spot tavern. The song “Love Hurts” began to play.
Afterwards, Pearl and I went to see Phil. The actors and actresses would always come out into the lobby so the audience members could congratulate them, so we found him there. We both told him how well he did.
To my dismay, he seemed to look and smile at Pearl the most. He later said he did this because Pearl did most of the talking, but I saw affection in his eyes when he looked at her. Still, he looked at me the same way.
On November 12, InterVarsity members and anyone else who wanted to come went to the Phi-Delt suite to watch a “mystery” movie. To my shock, this turned out to be Years of the Beast!
I did not know a movie had been made from this book, a copy of which my dad owned. I read it several years before. The movie was much different from the book, however, and in some ways cheesy.
Long before Left Behind hit it big in evangelical circles, before The Omega Code hit the screen, there were books such as Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and Years of the Beast by Leon Chambers; there were also movies such as A Thief in the Night and its sequels A Distant Thunder, Image of the Beast and The Prodigal Planet.
I already knew the Thief movies were cheesy. I don’t know what I’d think of the book Years of the Beast if I read it now, since I’m now an amillennialist, but I loved it at the time.
Seance Makes Contact
A copy of a letter written November 13 to the couple who used to run the S– Nazarene Church:
Things here are changing for the better. InterVarsity is a recognized group on campus now, and even though we’re a tiny group, we’re doing well and growing little by little. The spiritual warfare here is getting more evident. …
A German class held a seance in Old Main, not only the main classroom building but the main building with ghost legends. Of all the legends for the rest of the campus, the ones for Old Main were most likely to have some truth to them.
But now we know why the stories conflict on who the ghost is and what he does. The German class contacted four ghosts on their Ouija board! Now the question is what those ghosts really are.
One possibility was that the class made it all up without realizing it. Another possibility was that they really were ghosts. Another, far more disturbing, possibility was that they weren’t ghosts at all, but evil spirits playing with them.
They justified it as a class thing by saying they wanted to find a German ghost. One was mean, but the others were “good.”
One was a German-speaking little girl, 143 years old now. She was older than the college, and she froze to death, I believe on the site of Old Main.
One of them knew the teacher, Ruth, and spelled out her name when asked if they knew any of the living people there doing the seance.
…Peter’s dropped out of school because of money problems, but he might not need to come back if his computer business is a success.
I’ve also found a good church in S–. It’s the Evangelical Free Church, which is so alive and big that they need two morning services to fit everybody in. They even have a class for college-age singles.
The people are friendly and the pastor (or associate pastor or whoever he is) personally greets my friends and me when we come.
I asked for information about the denomination and listen closely to what the speakers and Sunday-School teachers say, and so far it’s compatible with the Nazarenes.
So I thought at the time….
I wrote this in my diary on November 12: “Odd news tonight. Jennifer and [her] Mike saw the aftermath of an accident ‘worse than in the driver’s ed movies.’ There was a van and I think a car. A state senator, Chuck Chvala, was in it.”
Also there: Georgina’s ex-boyfriend and Jennifer’s brother, named Gary; and his new girlfriend, Clarissa’s friend Diana.
“Gary was helping pull people out. The senator is very grateful, and wants to fund Roanoke or its band or something. Jennifer and, I hear, Diana are very shook up. Jennifer was crying.”
Chvala was put in a S– hospital. It misted or rained that night too, so they were soaked. Which didn’t help Jennifer any, with her mysterious illness that she’d had for at least a month.
So some Roanoke students were heroes. InterVarsity knew about it right away because we were sitting in the Phi-Delt suite lounge, having just finished watching Years of the Beast, when Jennifer and Mike got back.
New Dating Prospects: Phil and Mike
On Sunday, November 14, InterVarsity went to a Susan Ashton concert at Elmbrook Church.
At the concert, a wonderful one with just Susan sitting on a chair with a guitar, she said she’d just married a preacher. She talked about what it was like to be married to one. I thought of my friend Mike, who wanted to be a preacher–and on whom I had a crush.
At the end of the concert, she wasn’t used to doing encores, but got clapped into doing one, apparently a common thing at Elmbrook concerts.
She said she didn’t know why she chose to do “Beyond Justice to Mercy” for her encore.
She wrote it because of a rift in a friendship–she was devoted but deceived–that still wasn’t repaired. She said, you should keep trying.
I wanted to tell her that was me–Shawn and me at present, maybe Peter and me in the past. But the timing was perfect and made me think God moved her to choose it for me.
It had been so long since she sang it–too painful, I wonder?–that she had to put the lyrics in front of her.
After the concert and in the foyer, I bought a tape of her debut album from 1991, Wakened by the Wind. I loved this one, and it was good for mellow moods. It had some of my favorite songs from 1991, such as “Benediction” and “Down On My Knees.”
Copy of part of a letter to Shawn, started 11/18/93, but not finished or sent:
How are you doing these days? I don’t know if anyone’s heard from you lately, so we don’t know. Are you feeling better, we hope?
Pearl lent us her space heater because this place is so cold. It’s great, except when it turns on it’s so loud it drowns out whatever you’re listening to.
This dorm is like a prison these days–double-locked side doors sometimes, front door always locked, alarms soon to be put on the side doors so no one can go in or out past only 8PM!
The alarm occasionally got set off, scaring us all half to death.
I hate it here. If somebody’s sleeping with somebody, which is often, you can hear it through the walls. Our neighbors blast their stereos and yell and scream at the oddest hours, and keep me awake. I feel no less isolated here than in the suites.
He’d always tell me to move to Krueger so I wouldn’t be so isolated. But I liked having time to myself, and I could always go visit my friends.
Catherine’s leaving in the spring (or whenever) to live with her fiancé (husband by then), and Pearl and Sharon live in the new Phi-Delt suite. I want to try for a cultural suite next year, and maybe even my own room.
I want to go back ‘home,’ and my best living arrangement was the German suite freshman year. Sophomore year and this year are just not as good as that was. Nothing else has seemed like a ‘family,’ and nothing else has introduced so many interesting people to me.
Living in the apartments was not yet an option. But when I decided to live there, I discovered it was just as good as living in a suite, if not better.
Did I tell you they changed the name of Jubilee to Krueger (Kree-ger)? The freshmen are confused and we old-timers are in revolt…
And everyone who came here since fall of ’92 has to go to a certain number of convocations and fine arts events before they can graduate. Most of the upperclassmen are exempt, thank goodness.
The other people have to fill out these little green cards so the school can keep track for them. The commuters and older adults really seem to hate it more than the others.
Everybody here seems to be getting wisdom teeth in–Pearl, Sharon, Jennifer’s boyfriend, and now me. We can all feel the pain together.
Rachel’s boyfriend Ralph, too. I’d been getting frequent headaches and jaw pains. Somebody mentioned wisdom teeth and these symptoms, so I decided that was the cause of my pains.
My parents scheduled an appointment with our dentist for me to find out for sure, and discovered that I was right. I would have them pulled by an oral surgeon in the summer of 1994.
On the way home for Thanksgiving Break, probably on Friday the 19th, Dad drove me down past Milwaukee in the night, probably to stop in Racine and sleep.
I don’t remember if I was talkative, as I usually was at night when somebody drove me home or to Racine, or if I sat there thinking about Phil and Mike, whom I now had a crush on. (Usually I wasn’t pensive and dreamy about the scenery until the next morning, when I was driven from Racine to South Bend.)
It was amazing to think that there were two guys at Roanoke whom I could probably go out with soon–and that neither one was Shawn or Peter.
There had never been a time when I felt so certain while on the way home that there was a guy at RC who liked me and whom I liked, and who may be waiting for me to return just as I was waiting to see him again.
I don’t think I was sure about Mike, but there were definite signs from Phil. I must have forgotten about James, from lack of encouragement.
I spent my free time Thanksgiving Break playing Battle Chess on our computer. I probably did the same during Christmas Break.
Copy of part of a letter written to a penpal on 11/23/93:
So far I’ve kept on schedule with my homework. I’m also trying to read …And Ladies of the Club by Helen Santmyer.
I found it while shelving paperback novels in a section of the main reading room. I’d read about it in a book about writing bestsellers, and wanted to finally read it for myself.
Santmyer read Main Street when it came out and thought it wasn’t at all an accurate depiction of small town life. So she started writing her own book–and didn’t finish it until she was an old lady, many, many years later. Then she sold it to a publisher and it became a bestseller.
According to my day planner, I tried to read ten pages a day from November 29 until December 17. I may have finished it over Christmas Break.
That thing’s over 1400 pages long! It’s a library book, so I’m trying to read fifty pages a day this week. Then I want to do some heavy reading of it over Christmas Break, which is a whole two weeks without homework.
I want to get this thing read so I don’t have to renew it too many times, and so I can get to Pamela by Samuel Richardson.
Oh, here comes my wisdom-headache again. I’m getting my wisdom teeth in, which means pain, which means crankiness whenever the pain gets bad. I suppose you could call it our last remaining rite into adulthood, unless you count getting drunk on one’s twenty-first birthday (which I don’t intend to do anyway).
I’d read an article lamenting modern society’s lack of rites into adulthood, and the social problems it seems to cause.
I hope they don’t have to be pulled. I keep wondering what people did before they had dentists to pull wisdom teeth out.
This year’s got a better pick of guys at school. I’ve actually had trouble choosing. There’s one that likes me and keeps talking to me [in the library], but he seems so opposite to me.
He plays football, can’t read well, can’t write (his own admissions). I hate football, love to read, love to write! He seems real nice, but I don’t know if it would work.
At least I know somebody wants to date me. Now if only I could be that sure about some other guys.
Copy of part of a letter written to a penpal on 11/25/93:
Illinois is just to the left of us, a state that’s about the same size, and on its left border is the Mississippi River. The flooding went pretty far over, but didn’t reach Indiana.
A lot of people did help out that weren’t affected by the flood, including people from our area.
It’s hard for us in South Bend to imagine flooding like that, too, but some of my friends at college got a little of it. The college even put up announcements for people affected by the flood that would have trouble paying tuition.
I’d like to go to Europe, which makes me pretty jealous when my friends get to go there for class or for Band. One of my friends is in the German-speaking part of Europe with her fiancé over Thanksgiving. [That, of course, would be Catherine and Glen.]
I’m working in the school library now, which I love. It’s laid-back, a big contrast to my job last year in Food Service. That one was too fast and menial for me.
Copy of part of a letter written to another penpal (I had many) on 11/25/93, Thanksgiving Day:
Yes, I am finding plenty to keep me busy! I’m on Thanksgiving Break now, and I have homework as well as a book to read. It’s not as much homework as last year, so it’s been a pretty relaxed break. And today I get to eat the traditional turkey dinner! Yum! And stuffing and pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip…
I love this holiday. I just wish they’d play more Thanksgiving movies about Pilgrims, and not Christmas movies like Home Alone. I love seeing movies about the Pilgrims that have John and Priscilla Alden in them.
Have you read about them in Longfellow’s ‘The Courtship of Miles Standish’? My ancestry has been traced back to them, so I love the notice they get. Longfellow traced his ancestry to them, too, so he’s my cousin, in that sense of the word.
I haven’t copied any more of my diaries since summer. I just have too much else going on. I dread to think where mine will end up, too. I don’t want my parents to see them. Maybe I’ll leave them to my grandchildren.
Sharon said she’d rather leave her diaries to her grandchildren than to her children, and I thought she had a good reason, which I forget now.
Maybe it was because her children would be too close to her and possibly mad at her for how she raised them, and her grandchildren wouldn’t be afraid to sympathize with her.
I don’t think it was just because her grandchildren would be more interested in her life back in a time which to them would be quaint and fascinating, but to her children would just be out-of-date.
When would your mom be going to Milwaukee? It’s just south of S–, maybe an hour away. And a tip: The locals drop the ‘l’ in Milwaukee. That’s how they tell who’s an outsider.
Of course, with the British accent I suppose that doesn’t matter so much; they’d tell no matter what that you’re not from around there.
I love my library job. It’s easy and I can get my homework done. I might do library work after college, unless I marry some rich guy and don’t need to work. Then I’d just write.
I wanted to find library work, but never could find anything close by for library clerks. Junior year seemed too late to take on a double major, Writing and Library Science, and become a librarian, so I would have to be a library clerk, if anything. And well, Roanoke didn’t offer Library Science, anyway.
Life at Roanoke: My College Memoirs–September 1991 through May 1995
Table of Contents
- Meet the Suite
- Meeting Shawn–and a Ninja
- Campus Stories, Wisconsin, Campus Radio Station
- Campus, People, First College Boyfriend
- Dating a Ninja
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil