- 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
I wrote this in my diary on September 1:
Last night the old friends of Mom and Dad who have the college grandson stopped by. I discovered they’re still thinking of fixing us up, and the woman asked me several questions and talked about him ([he’s going to] Purdue), and showed me a picture of his brother because she didn’t have one of him. If he looks anything like his cute younger brother….
And I noticed with surprise that the man’s eyes were sky-blue! [my favorite eye color] My parents were looking all over for a picture of me they could give them. When Dad pulled out pics from 7th and 9th grade, I hurried upstairs and got a senior picture.
All this began just as Hawaii ended on channel 50 [Chicago] and the 1st part of the sequel, Hawaiians, began with cool music and a pic of a boat on the sea with Charlton Heston in it, dressed like a captain.
I don’t know whatever became of this fix-up with the grandson. I never heard any more about it.
Hawaii and Hawaiians were excellent movies, though. Hawaii was funny, with the natives doing as they’d always done and not realizing they might be doing something wrong; the missionary’s list of sexual sins only gave them new ideas: “Hey, I hadn’t thought of doing that. I should try it.”
Rudy was a movie about a college student who’d always dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame, but was small and not that good of a player. But because of his lifelong dream, he worked hard, and got to play at least once.
The crowd chanted, “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy,” when he played. Dad saw that game and remembered the chanting, though he didn’t know at the time what it was for. On September 3, I wrote this in my diary:
On the 10:00 news on [channel] 16 tonight, they talked about how hotly Rudy is selling, and showed the long-sideburned stand-in–[one of my high school classmates]!!
He’s a Notre Dame student, and the reporter was talking with him at a kitchen table, it appeared. The reporter said, ‘Don’t think he wants to be an actor. He wants to be a game-show host.’
I can just see that–and I think I remember him saying that once.
He was also the stepson of a famous South Bend DJ, one of our local gods. He was the James Dean lookalike in this McDonalds commercial when he was 19.
I probably arrived at school on Monday, September 6, because that was Labor Day and a much more convenient day for my parents to drive me to Roanoke.
On Saturday, my friends and I went outside Bossard to cool off and drink pop while the DJ played “Jump” by House Of Pain, a rap song. Because of the Irish theme of the video, which had Irish hats and buttons and dancers, Astrid and I began to dance an Irish step-dance or jig.
Since it was so much fun, I realized I liked it far more than the modern, boring sway-dancing going on in Bossard. I requested “Funky Ceili” by Black 47 so we could jig again, but the DJ didn’t play it. I don’t know if he even had it.
To my glee, James worked with me for the last few minutes of my Tuesday and Thursday shifts. I had a chance to get to know him–and possibly even more.
Though some people thought library work was the most boring, I thought it was the most wonderful. Almost anything seemed better after a year working in Food Service, but it wasn’t just that:
I could sit at the information desk and read my homework assignments, waiting for people to check out or return books. When the cart of returned books was full, I put the books in order and re-shelved them.
I loved being alone among all the books, and often found books on the cart or on the shelves which I checked out for myself. I hung the daily newspapers on racks in the main reading room (by the information desk). I loved spending time among the 800s, of course, since that’s where literature is in Dewey Decimals.
There was a third floor, a half-floor, actually, a kind of balcony extending over part of the second floor. It may not have been in use junior year, though senior year it was used for a juvenile section.
My boss, Head Librarian, was a tall, skinny woman with glasses and dark hair. I don’t remember Flora’s librarian title; she had short hair and glasses. I don’t know how old they were; probably forties. Flora was from Indiana, but had a Southern bent to her mostly Northern accent. She must have come from farther south than my hometown.
Seymour was the circulation librarian. He dealt with the newspapers and magazines. I wrote an essay on him for Advanced Writing. He was tall, mostly bald, and dark-haired, with glasses and a gentle expression.
This was a post-retirement job, taken after he got a Library Science degree. He often sat at a desk alongside the wall opposite the information desk, and above the desk was a window. People would come in and, without turning his head, he greeted them by name. Some people found this scary, but he could see their reflections in the window. He was friendly and talked to everyone he could.
Freshman or sophomore year, I went into the library and checked out a book.
Seymour asked, “Where are you from?”
“South Bend,” I said.
“Why did you come so far away from home to Roanoke?”
I came for the Writing major, and other things.
“South Bend is the home of Notre Dame football. Are you a fan?”
“No, but I still support the team.” I supported it by rooting for it, not watching the games.
Sophomore or junior year, we had the same conversation, almost word for word.
Though Head Librarian and Flora could occasionally be seen doing things around the library, much of the time I found them sitting in the office watching a TV on a wheeled stand. Sharon wondered if they had us student workers do most of the work.
They were pleasant and laid-back, not caring if student workers came in a few minutes late, and often smiled at us. The library clerk, J–, had one leg shorter than the other. She was a pleasant person, with blonde hair and glasses. When she was at the desk, she’d chat with me.
Sometimes I was the only student working, and sometimes there was someone with me. When setting up hours, you had to be careful not to schedule yourself with more than one person.
One of the heirs to a prominent local business was a schizophrenic man in probably his forties or fifties. He would come into the library to find his tutor. He talked very loudly, and as if he were a little slow mentally.
He was tall, maybe a little overweight, and dark, with heavy eyebrows. His tutor was heavy-set, dark, and mustached. I grew to recognize them both.
“Mr. Heir” would ask me if I smoked, maybe to offer me a cigarette if I did (bleh), and go outside to smoke in the entryway, the only place in the library where it was allowed. I think sometimes he even lit up in the library itself, and had to be told to move into the entryway.
Teachers put articles, test answers, books, and other things on reserve, and these reserved materials were put in a bookshelf to the left of the information desk and along the wall, with each teacher’s name pasted over separate sections. Students had to ask one of us to get the reserved materials for them, and they signed their names on long cards stuck in the material.
Because of this, I felt like I knew a lot about what was going on in the classes. Sometimes, teachers came up to the desk and talked to me because of these reserves, or because they knew me.
Flora’s husband liked to call her a lot, and always asked for her by her first and last name. Since many people just asked for “Flora,” we’d know it was her husband. It almost seemed as if he wanted there to be no mistake that she was his woman.
I didn’t know her full name at first, and had just read in the student workers’ information manual that the student workers weren’t there to go fetching people all the time. We often got calls asking to talk to people who might be in the library, so I went to Head Librarian and Flora, who were usually in the office, or to Seymour and asked if they knew who such-and-such was. They often did, and found them if they were there.
So one day I asked if they knew a Flora T–. Flora laughed and said that was she. She took the phone and told her husband I was new.
I had to read the manual on my first day, and though I probably forgot a lot of it, I knew I was supposed to answer the phone and say “library” if it was on-campus (one ring) or “Roanoke College Library” if it was off-campus (two rings). I kept wanting to say “Lib’ry!” like the British.
Sometimes Latosha came into the library and talked with me. She, of course, had her cute baby daughter by then, and sometimes brought her in. Last year, when she conceived the baby, she was living off-campus with E–; now, she’d broken up with him, and was glad to be rid of him.
(She’s on my Facebook, and now that little baby is all grown up and graduated from high school! Scary how time flies when you pass 20.)
On Wednesday, September 8, classes began. The new year excited me: What would it be like? Shawn was gone, and I didn’t see Peter anywhere.
On the one hand, it was sad to not see Shawn anymore, but on the other hand, it was a relief. Both those men were finally gone, and I was free! I could start the year off on my own terms.
I had gotten used to looking at everyone who came in or passed, wondering if it was Shawn or Peter, but now it would never be again. That was weird. A wonderful semester began, the best and happiest semester I ever spent at that school.
Though I thought about Peter during the summer, I did not want to get back together with him. On September 22, I wrote in my diary–and later told Pearl–that maybe the supposed “word” about Peter and I getting back together, referred to friendship and not romance. Though before I would have hated this thought, now it elated me.
One night, sometime before mid-October, as Jennifer and I washed our hands alone in the bathroom of Fox Valley Mall in Appleton, I asked what had become of Peter. I hesitated and took great care in bringing this up, probably because I didn’t want her to think I was still hung up on him.
She said, “He dropped out of school. He decided he didn’t need a degree for what he wants to do. Now he’s working in Radio Shack in the S– mall.”
On the one hand I wondered how the supposed “words” were supposed to be fulfilled now; on the other I felt joy and release: Peter was truly out of my life.
I rarely stayed in my room on Friday nights, and I think Clarissa often came with me. My friends had parties, or Jennifer and her new boyfriend Mike invited me to join them and others as they drove off to Jennifer’s house or elsewhere.
Jennifer and Mike weren’t together yet at the beginning of the year, though: We met him that year. He may have been a transfer student or a freshman.
I remember him sitting next to me in the back of a car full of my friends, and talking to us. I thought he had an uncanny resemblance to my World Civ teacher (and laughed like him)–though, thank goodness, he didn’t spit when he talked.
I soon discovered he liked Jennifer. I thought they started dating, but Pearl or Sharon told me he was interested in another girl and had to decide which one he wanted. This anxious triangle was soon resolved when he chose Jennifer.
Krueger was much different from the suites: The laundry room was in the basement and full of machines. The machines were now computerized, so you could run them for only as long as you needed to and no longer. The dryers and washing machines all cost 75 cents now.
I didn’t have to go outside in all kinds of weather to do laundry. I could put my bike in the laundry room, as other people did, though I never actually used it (I told people it was a bad winter).
There was a small, closet-like kitchen, and vending machines in the lounge with chips, candy and pop. Though the rooms seemed more soundproof, late at night I often heard squeaking beds, despite trying to drown them out with the fan. The dorm could get noisy at times, especially when the Pi-Kapp next door turned up sexy rap songs which I hated.
First floor Krueger had few residents, since the lounge divided it up. Big doors separated the lounge from the two bedroom wings.
The only people living on the right side (when you face the wall opposite the outside doors) were the Hall Directors, a young couple. I believe they lived in a suite of rooms, made up of at least two regular bedrooms. Opposite their door was the R.A. office.
On the left side were about six rooms. Clarissa and I were in one room, an obnoxious Pi-Kapp and her sweet roommate (who had a sex light over her bed) lived in the room to our left, and Rachel lived in the R.A. room on the opposite wall, next to the kitchen.
The Pi-Kapp’s room was closest to the left corner; Cindy had the room adjacent to theirs for a little while, before she moved in with Catherine; Carol and our Bulgarian friend lived to our right, and Catherine’s room was to their right.
Most of us had dry erase message boards attached to the doors. Clarissa got us a big, white one. We felt fashionable.
I apparently told Catherine about the “Happiness Patrol” episode of Doctor Who, a corny thing with one good part: Whenever anyone said, “I’m glad,” another said, “I’m happy you’re glad.” The first said, “I’m glad you’re happy.” Or if someone said, “I’m happy,” the second said, “I’m glad you’re happy,” and the first said, “I’m happy you’re glad.”
So Catherine and I began an amusing war on my message board: One of us would write, “I’m glad” or “I’m happy,” and the other wrote the appropriate response. Only ours extended to, “I’m glad you’re happy I’m glad” or “I’m happy you’re glad I’m happy you’re glad I’m happy you’re glad.” Sometimes this took up the entire board before we finished.
Another great thing about that corny episode: the premise that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I’m being judged by the Happiness Patrol.
Krueger lounge was big, with a piano, lots of waiting-room type couches, and a TV. You’d go down steps to the front door. Visitors had to use a phone on the outside wall to call up residents of the hall to let them in, since the doors were always locked now.
The side doors were double-locked at night so even the residents couldn’t use them. If you tried, an alarm sounded. Not only was there the S– rapist a few months before, but someone let a scary man into Krueger who caused what the R.A.’s only called “an incident.” (They refused to go into more detail.)
After they started locking the front door at all times, it was common for residents to let in whoever was going in the dorm behind them. But now, they were forbidden to do this. Each resident had to let herself in; all non-residents had to call a resident to let them in. It’s just like the safety rules at an enclosed ATM.
I don’t remember if we had a “loud floor” that year. I do know it wasn’t mine.
Astrid lived in a room on the third, top floor–and Krueger had no elevators. Astrid was Clarissa’s friend; they met sophomore year, Clarissa told her about InterVarsity, and she started coming. She eventually became part of the Group.
Over the summer, somebody donated money to build improvements on Jubilee Hall, and the name was changed to William A. Krueger Hall. So we had two Krueger Halls!
We had to say “KREE-ger” for the new Krueger and “KROO-ger” for the old–but usually, we rebelled and continued calling Jubilee “Jubilee.”
In the directory, Jubilee was referred to as WAK, or William A. Krueger Hall. I found this funny because “wak” was rap slang for (I think) “bad,” and because it sounded like “whack!”
When my schedule allowed me to sleep late in the morning, which was often, I stayed up late at night (usually till about one or two a.m.), reading and writing stories and writing papers on my word processor.
I played MTV softly, when they showed the best videos. (My roommate was deaf.) They played rock, maybe some rap, alternative, metal, and pop music, a wonderful mix that appealed to my need for variety.
I turned off all the lights except the one beside the bed, so Clarissa could sleep, the two lights giving everything a dreamlike quality. I loved this time best of all the day.
I still loved dance and pop songs. Alternative and hard rock/metal provided wonderful music during this time, such as White Zombie’s debut “Thunder Kiss ’65,” Tool’s “Sober,” Boingo’s “Insanity,” Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” Ocean Blue’s “Sublime.”
The songs “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins and a remake of “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff were my anthems for the year, because they were about happiness: “Today is the greatest day I have ever known.” “I can see clearly now; the rain is gone.”
Peter and Shawn had no more power over me. I, Mom, and even Shawn noticed that I got happy as soon as they both left Roanoke.
Now the Phi-Delts had their own suite to live in. The frats had both living suites and meeting suites now, but the sororities still had to meet in the Krueger basement.
But it was about time that at least some of the inequity was mended. People had wondered if it was a sexist thing, giving the fraternities suites to meet in and no suites at all to the sororities.
Pearl recorded an outgoing message on her answering machine in which she said she wasn’t there and as for Sharon–“Sharon? Shaaa-ron!” she called. Then she said Sharon wasn’t there, either. We would call her room just to hear the latest answering machine messages.
The Phi-Delt suite was in Hofer and right under the Sigma meeting suite. During pledging, especially during Hell Week, we could sit in Pearl and Sharon’s room and hear the whack! whack! of big, long Sigma paddles being used on pledges. They weren’t really supposed to paddle pledges–it was against anti-hazing rules or laws–but they did, anyway.
From my room, I could now see what the suites looked like from Krueger. I saw the back of Hofer and part of the front of Friedli. I believe I could see my suite from sophomore year.
I saw what the frats did to their back doors: painted them with the Greek letters of each frat. The Zeta door, for example, was black and painted with ZX. I could also see trees beyond the tennis courts, and I might have seen some of the houses on Prof Row.
My library job had the occasional perk. For one, Wesley would bring in his Expos class to do the Library Skills Workbook.
He was no longer my teacher, and would have been fair game, except–he was married now. Sigh. I’m not sure when he started dating his wife, but it must have been very recent, and a whirlwind courtship.
Another perk was, cute guys kept coming in to the library. One, a freshman, came in to get the Appleworks start-up disc for the library computers. Then he later dropped off the disc and started to go out the exit gate, but the alarm went off and locked the gate (a bar that would drop).
Flora came over (as did several others, including James). She said, “Do you have a Mead Library book?” (That was the S– library.)
“No,” he said.
“Do you have one of our books?”
“I don’t think so.”
He looked through his bag, and a guy checking out some books said, “Strip-search him.”
I said maybe it was the disc. Flora said he must have put it too close to the scanner, and let him go. It was so funny. We weren’t allowed to accuse anyone of stealing books, which was just as well because we were more likely to laugh instead.
The alarm would go off if someone took one of our books without checking it out, but unfortunately, Mead books also set off our alarm. A sign taped to the desk said to show us your Mead library books so you won’t get embarrassed.
People did this, or pushed their bags across the desk to avoid the sensor if they had Mead books. The Appleworks start-up floppy discs were given out by workers at the desk so we’d know where they were.
On Thursday the 9th, Clarissa and I hung out in Cindy’s room with her, her roommate Tamara, and Pearl. The phone rang. Cindy answered.
It was Shawn.
She didn’t recognize him at first because he sounded nothing like himself: low, soft, on the verge of crying. Usually he could get so hyper you’d want to shoot him.
He got her number from the switchboard. He’d called Pearl during the summer, but only twice, and only to ask if she wanted to take him to Great America. She happened to be planning to go with the Phi-Delts, but they all backed out, and even Shawn didn’t go. That was odd timing, as was his call on Thursday with us all there.
He had a bad summer, with everything happening at once: his brother died of cystic fibrosis, and a whole bunch of other things which I won’t describe, happened–and he hadn’t been talking.
Normally, you could not shut him up. Even Cindy, though she tried, could not get him to talk enough.
He was on the edge of another nervous breakdown. I was very worried about him, but also angry with him for how he left things between us.
Cindy told him we were in the room, so he knew I was there. Pearl and Felicia eventually left. Later on, when it sounded like Cindy and Shawn were about to hang up, I had her ask if he had my number.
“He wants to know if you want to give it to him yourself, or if you want me to do it,” Cindy said.
I was nervous and uncertain what to do, but said, “You do it.”
“Did you want him to call you?”
“Not tonight; maybe tomorrow night.”
Cindy said to Shawn, “You don’t have to do it.”
I said, “I hope he does,” and she told him.
They hung up. “It seemed like he might call you, though I’m not sure,” Cindy said.
“If he calls you again, could you tell him I don’t want to go out with him, so he shouldn’t worry?”
“Okay. Don’t take it personally if he doesn’t call you.”
“How can I not, if he calls everybody else but me?”
He told her he might come visit some time. I hoped so, since I didn’t have a picture of him–and as I wrote in my diary, “because I see him everywhere!”
Cindy, who’d moved twice in Krueger since the beginning of the year, quickly decided that the “horror stories” about her new freshman roommate, Tamara, weren’t true.
Then she had some “irreconcilable differences” with her, though Tamara seemed to like her, so she stayed with Rachel until she could get a new room.
Now she considered Tamara to be psychotic.
I liked Tamara because we both liked old movies, playing cards, and The Far Side. Cindy said Tamara claimed to have a gun to protect herself against her old roommate, who threatened to kill her–but she didn’t actually have one.
Tamara was a tall, slender girl with short, curly brown hair. I believe that, along with the gun thing, she said she didn’t drink, then would drink. This may have also applied to smoking.
I got along with her and she seemed to like me a lot, especially since we had things in common, such as nightly flossing. I believe she lived in that same room all year, though Cindy ended up moving in with Catherine.
Tamara would talk incessantly about the oddest things, though. One night, I came into the bathroom and she was there; we got to talking even as she was in a stall. She said she’d just been on a date and got stubble burn. She asked if I’d ever had that before.
To the surprise of everyone, in January she broke up with a cute, nice guy (the one who gave her stubble burn) to go out with the not-cute, obnoxious Dirk!
We couldn’t figure this out. But then, they were both a little strange.
Rachel and Ralph may have been engaged for a time, or maybe they just promised to be engaged; a bit later, they had problems and their relationship was on very shaky ground. But they withstood it, and in 1998 got married.
As far back as 1993, we expected them to get married eventually, and their troubles bothered us as well. I remember feeling in 1998 that it was about time they got married. Unfortunately, Ralph got into drugs, changed, and had affairs, so the marriage ended a short time later.
One day, I drew my signature beetle on my door’s message board. Then somebody, probably Rachel, drew a little shotgun and wrote, “Blood and guts!” I wrote a message calling her cruel, and resurrected my beetle. Then Rachel drew a can of RAID. I think this war went on for a little while.
Catherine glued or taped many small, black, hard plastic spiders to Rachel’s door, because Rachel hated spiders. It may have been a Halloween thing. Rachel apparently liked the joke, because she left them there until the end of the year.
On Saturday the 11th, Pearl and I went with Cindy and her friends to a dance, which actually played good music. There was some pornographic dancing, too, which we didn’t like to see (called “freaking”).
In our group was, to my surprise–Rick, the guy who made a date with me in the spring at “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” but never called me. I decided to get revenge the biblical way: by acting nice so he’d feel coals of fire. That’s a way of getting revenge without taking revenge.
I didn’t realize until later that his girlfriend was also with us. I think she was the same one he had broken up with, then gotten back together with, around the time he asked me out.
I did as I planned, so whether or not he remembered me and what he did, I still came out with dignity. He did appear to look at me a few times.
He kept playing with my umbrella, with a handle in the shape of a duck’s head. Once, he held a balloon and began contemplating it, so I started poking at it with my duck’s bill. He looked at the balloon like he was shocked.
(By the way, years later, somewhere between 2003 and 2005, Catherine saw him in town. He did still remember me, even though I’d barely said anything to him over the years. He wanted to know how I was doing. I have now friended him on Facebook. LOL)
Rick and Pearl sat at a table and arm-danced to “YMCA.”
This was about the time disco came back in vogue, not just the good songs but silly ones like “YMCA,” even though the 70s had been considered uncool for years–especially disco.
Pearl liked it, and I think her old classmates from high school liked it, but I didn’t know what to think.
Later on, we went to the Phi-Delt suite for something, then walked back along the Hofer sidewalk. Rick’s girlfriend felt cold. He gave her his coat, the same long, black, classy one which had caught my attention sophomore year.
I felt a twinge of jealousy, but only a twinge. I knew he wasn’t the kind of guy I wanted to date. (This is good, since they’ve now been married for many years.)
Just as in the suites, our room had a full-length mirror on the door, only this time, we couldn’t see it from our beds. The Krueger rooms were the biggest on campus. Our beds were along the wall with the door and to the right when you stand facing the outer wall; there was plenty of room between them and in the rest of the room.
Along the outside wall there was little besides a big window. I think we had the dressers along the wall to the right of this, and my TV and VCR went on top of the dresser closest to my bed along the same wall.
Along the wall to the left was a narrow, tall closet (mine), a long desk with two chairs, two sets of drawers, two overhead lights, and another small closet (Clarissa’s).
I put my usual papers in the left side desk drawers, though at the end of the year I discovered a yellowish stain across several of them that I suspected was pee. Had someone peed into the drawer before we moved in?
It could have been something else, but I had no way of knowing what. I had to cut the stains off my papers, which I didn’t want to throw away because they were full of valuable writing notes, made over many years.
Though Rachel said we weren’t allowed to leave the doors to our rooms standing open if we left, even if we went to the bathroom (which was right across the hall from our room), Clarissa and I didn’t like taking along our key cards at all hours of the day and night. I think we’d get fined if we left our door open (it was supposed to discourage stealing).
So to get around this, I developed a way of closing the door with two or three fingers stretched out to catch it just right, making it look closed, but not letting the lock catch. That way, I could go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to figure out where to put my key card without a pocket.
During the coldest days of that frigid winter, we also weren’t supposed to leave on our space heaters when we left the room. We weren’t supposed to have space heaters in the first place, but Rachel let us because the heat in the building was old and faulty. She would make us get rid of them if we left them on. Clarissa and I borrowed one from Pearl, because her suite room was warmer.
People weren’t supposed to block open the side or front doors, but did it anyway with the big doormats.
Security gave us little notes with their extensions so we could call them for a new service: night escorts around campus. Ever since the rapist incident, we were encouraged not to walk alone at night, especially if we were female, and we could call Security if none of our friends could come with us.
Rachel made different pictures all year for each of our first-floor doors, according to the season: one was a hang-up monster for Halloween, another was cute animals, and others I don’t remember.
Yes, my friend Rachel was now my RA. I don’t think she was more lenient with friends, but I also don’t think her friends gave her that much trouble. We weren’t loud and obnoxious, at least not during quiet hours. She was the RA the year before, too.
In InterVarsity, Shawn and another guy were gone, supposedly to UW-Madison; I don’t remember if we saw Dori or another guy much. Dori may have already dropped out of InterVarsity due to disagreements with Pearl.
But we did have me, Clarissa, Pearl, Sharon, Astrid, and now Mike, the brother of Wendy, who had been the pledge master.
Mike was strange, but in a lovable way. He was sweet and kind, and got along better with us women than with many men.
Anna may have shown up a few times, and a certain young black man sometimes did as well. I don’t remember if Anna’s Pentecostal friend Samuel was still at Roanoke.
We also had an Asian guy who spoke with a thick accent we could barely understand, but was kind. He was older and married.
We also had Tara, and a popular, sweet couple who later got married, Tanya and Matt. (We knew Tanya and Matt from Sophomore Honors.) Tara often helped make posters.
Finally, IV was listed in the Organizations section of the student handbook. The Statement of Mission and Campus Compact made my friends and I laugh when we read them because they didn’t seem at all true to what we saw at RC.
I think the Mission was less laughable than the Compact, though. The funniest part was the statement that “Roanoke College is a Christian community.”
There was a new lecture series requirement. This did not apply to present juniors and seniors, but it did to sophomores, so my junior friends and I narrowly missed it.
We could joke with our sophomore friends, such as Carrie, Clarissa, Astrid and Mike, because they had to follow the requirement and we didn’t. Commuters and non-trads didn’t like the requirement, because they had a hard enough time fitting in work, school and family.
I would do my laundry at all hours on Saturdays, since no one would complain and it was always open.
Roanoke-TV was channel 23, and that year the operators began to show movies for us. My TV picked up these movies in hushed tones, so Clarissa and I could barely hear them even with the sound turned all the way up.
One day, perhaps junior year, there was a family day or parents’ day. Often, many black students gathered in the Muskie to watch MTV Jams; today, many of them sat in Bossard instead during one of the meals.
A little girl yelled out, “There’s a lot of black people here!” (That part of Wisconsin was mostly white in those days, with just the occasional Hmong.) I bet her parents were terribly embarrassed.
I’m not sure when my friends started using “obnoxious” to describe not just socially boorish behavior, but annoying things that happened.
The year before, when some of my friends took World Civ, they complained that Dr. Williams’ class was too hard. I chose him anyway, possibly to avoid an 8:00 class. Others chose different teachers.
I did not regret choosing Dr. Williams. He knew history and many of its anecdotes, and though his lectures were fast, they were thorough.
Many students would just grab the textbook and start highlighting things as he lectured, rather than bothering to take notes. I may have begun to do some of this myself, later on, only underlining instead of highlighting.
Many aspects of history fascinated me. Much of it was new to me, because our textbooks described far more than White, Anglo-Saxon history:
They went into the histories of American and African civilizations, including North and South American Indians and the blacks of Africa, not just North Africa. The books recorded the civilizations of India, China, Japan, and other parts of the globe. We went all the way to 1714.
I read my textbook as I sat at the information desk in the library, since most of the time there was little else to do. Seymour thought I was a History major.
During first semester, many of the people in the history lessons were in my family tree, so I would often go to Williams after class and talk about them.
The tests were all essay questions and identifications, but you could pick and choose which ones to answer. For me, studying was mostly reading over my notes for the past several weeks, and this was enough to help me do well on the World Civ tests.
Though I had always preferred simpler, multiple-choice tests, I discovered these weren’t so bad. My test scores were A’s, except for one B+ (with an amusing note from the teacher of: “OK but you can do better”).
In my notes, on December 1, I noted, “Force a Scotsman to do anything? He fights (that explains myself [with my Scottish ancestry]).”
You may want to know what historical figures were in my family tree. According to research done by me, my aunt and uncle, and my dad, they are:
Scottish King Duncan I and his son Malcolm of Macbeth, John & Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower, possibly Viking king Rollo, and Sir Francis Drake. There are others, but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head.
GROSSNESS ALERT! If you’re eating or about to eat, please wait until later to read the following:
There was one problem with Dr. Williams, however: He spit as he lectured, and a ball of it would gather in the corner of his mouth until he licked it off. Absolutely disgusting, but true.
I knew from my friends to never sit in the first row, but I discovered on the first day of class that the second row was also bad. I spent the whole class wiping off my face and neck and wondering if I just had overactive nerves causing tingles.
The next day of class, I sat in the third row and didn’t have this problem, so I knew it wasn’t just me.
At dinner, or at lunch the day after my first day of class, we had chocolate soft-serve ice cream, and I had trouble eating my ice cream cone as I fought to keep thoughts of Dr. Williams out of my head. (Grossness puts me off my appetite.)
Within a short time, I was able to go through lunch without thinking of his spitballs, which kept me from wasting away from a lack of appetite.
Intro to Lit had its good and bad points: Many of the stories were interesting, but many were dull or depressing, such as “Death of a Salesman.”
I told Clarissa, who also had the class, that the teaching style reminded me of high school teachers. I think it was from the way the teacher spoke to us (talking down to us like children) and the kinds of assignments he gave us.
Part of it was also the journal we had to keep: It reminded me of the folders (called “notebooks”) we had to use and turn in back in junior high. (If you didn’t do your folder correctly in junior high, you’d get a bad grade. With my NVLD, I constantly got bad grades on my folders.) I was in college now, and didn’t want to be treated like a high school student anymore.
I loved “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, though the ending disappointed me. I identified with the girl, with her being a loner and the odd one. I loved the football guy’s statement that because she was different, she was special.
At the end of one of my essays, the teacher wrote, “An excellent response. You write well (I hope you’re thinking about becoming a writing or English major!).” The funny thing was, I already was a Writing major, which I would have to be by junior year if I wanted to get my major completed before graduation. I wondered if he thought I was a freshman, like many people in the class were.
The teacher was a young man with dark hair, a brown leather jacket, and a gray or black cap in the style of the 1930s.
Junior Honors was quite an adventure. I also read its assignments while working in the library. I made out a reading schedule for the semester which allowed me to read everything on time, yet without having too much to read for some books and not enough for others each day. Because of this, I was often ahead of the rest of the class (the ones who even read the books).
I almost took one of the Junior Studies classes instead, especially since one of them was about the Holocaust. In the end, though I wished I could take both Junior Honors and The Holocaust, I was glad I stuck with Junior Honors. The books were fascinating and the class was interesting. (A few books, however, were dry.)
Our first book was All Quiet on the Western Front by Enrich M. Remarque. I had always heard of it, but never read it or seen the movie.
It was terribly depressing: As I read through the books of the course, at least two of which were about the Lost Generation of the twenties, I discovered why they were called this and why they felt this way.
World War I and its horrors of the trenches had instilled a sort of hopelessness; many young people apparently turned to the parties and drinking and dancing and sex and such of the flapper generation to escape this hopelessness and horror.
This book gave a good reason why they would feel that way, as it followed Paul Bäumer’s loss of innocence in the war. Rats figured prominently, invading the trenches and doing such horrible things that I never looked at rats the same way again. I didn’t know they were scavengers of dead meat. I didn’t know they–ate the things they ate. I’d thought they were more like mice, eating cheese and such. It took a long time to get certain images out of my head.
And the war itself destroyed Paul and his personality. He could find no other place to feel at home anymore except the Front.
Next came The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, September 24 and 29. This was a bit of a relief, but not much because now we saw the effects of the war on the young people after it was already over.
Before I read it, Sharon and Pearl and others were sitting at lunch one day looking for a topic of conversation, and Sharon said, “Let’s talk about Brett.” They thought it disgusting that she would sleep with so many guys so easily, and they didn’t understand her.
On October 8, we talked about “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx. It was surprising to see this slim, white book among the others I bought for the class. We were even amused at the idea of reading it in class, this subversive treatise. I wrote a scathing review of it.
Long before anyone else read Doctor Zhivago, or at least so it seemed, it was time for me to start reading it. Since it was so long, I gave myself plenty of time to get through it before the class discussion. I liked it a lot, though parts (such as the train ride) dragged just as I expected a Russian novel to do.
(I still remembered from high school English that Fyodor Dostoevsky was paid by the word, and got very wordy. From the way Zhivago was written, it appeared to be the same thing with Boris Pasternak.) Some liked the train scene, though.
Sharon, Pearl and I called Yurii a male slut because of the way he kept going from one woman to another, calling them wives while the first wife was still living (without any sort of legal ceremony or divorce), and sleeping with the new woman while forsaking the last. Was polygamy allowed in turn of the century Russia?
This book was also a welcome change from the depressing books we’d been reading. It had been suppressed by the Communist government, and after reading it, I knew why: It had some unflattering things to say about Communism.
And it also had a rat scene.
Though the front blurb said that the book had been made into “a magnificent motion picture,” we soon learned otherwise. We rented and watched it the evening of Friday, November 5 in the Phi-Delt suite. Mike and others joined us. This was the movie with the ever-popular “Lara’s Song,” the song on my old music box.
We thought Tonia was portrayed scandalously as a silly woman, when in the book she was not. The whole story was twisted and strewed around in different ways than the book told it. We thought the movie was just awful, and decided that a person should never see the movie after reading the book.
On December 1 we talked about The Plague by Albert Camus. Yet again rats figured in the story. The concept, a modern city stricken with the bubonic plague, was fascinating, though morose. I liked the book despite its depressing qualities, and was happy when the plague finally began to abate. On page 54, I noted that Camus seemed to refer to the premise of one of his other books, The Stranger. (I read that in high school English class.)
In class, I also mentioned the proper pronunciations of the French names, which Dr. Lister tried to use (though “Rieux,” when said with the French “r,” can be hard for those who don’t know how to say it). On page 220, I noted that the night before I had dreamed about a plague. I wonder why. The scariest thing I read was on the very last page: that the plague is never truly gone, that it is only just waiting to be brought back out again.
One day, we asked, “Why do you keep making us read about rats? Are you obsessed with them?”
The teacher, a UCC pastor named Dr. Lister, said, “Rats? No, I’m scared of them, actually. I didn’t realize they’re a common theme.”
Though Dr. Lister was often considered a difficult teacher, we disagreed. Though other classes might have an almost impossible time getting an A out of him, with us he seemed much more lenient. We liked him.
Advanced Fiction Writing class was supposed to be about writing fiction, but all we really read or studied in class were true-life narratives. That’s not fiction! The teacher would have us pass around and read paragraphs from stories she brought in, which were always narratives and usually bored me to tears. I don’t have a problem with reading about other people’s lives (heck I’ve been writing about my own); she just always seemed to find the most boring ones.
I’d expected this to be one of my favorite classes, as Fiction class had been the previous year, but instead it was the one I liked least. Whenever any of us tried to write what we considered fiction, or what we wanted to write (science fiction or fantasy, for example), she wouldn’t know what comments to give about it.
The genre of the story shouldn’t have mattered: She could still have looked at structure, plot, characterization, punctuation, sentence structure, and the like. She told us she didn’t want us writing science fiction or fantasy, which was a problem because at least two or three people wanted to.
Terry was supposed to be my Fiction teacher, but he left the college before junior year began. I forget why; I think he and his wife moved.
For a final project, I handed in a revised version of “An Unwilling Time-Traveler,” a story I wrote in high school. Friends loved it. When the teacher had me come see her about it, as she did with everyone, she said that because it was science fiction she didn’t know what to say about it. She had very little helpful to say.
The teacher was definitely a sixties rebel. She may have even been at Woodstock. She sometimes wore her shortish, graying hair in two ponytails or maybe even pigtails.
At the end of the year, we were to prepare a story for publication, and have another member of the class read it. I re-wrote “Bedlam Castle,” and a classmate read it. When the teacher asked her about it, she said she didn’t quite understand it. But when asked if she would publish it as an editor, she said yes.
She also recognized it from Fiction, having been in Terry’s class with me. I was glad she read it and saw the changes I’d made, which I was proud of. I took it back and set it aside for a while, wondering what I should do with it to make it easier to understand.
On one of the first days of school, as Pearl and I walked around campus, she told me that working for the faculty secretary meant she heard campus gossip about teachers. She told me that Wesley had dated a student, and that he was now married.
A few years later, I discovered that the story was true–and that the student was a friend of mine. But I won’t reveal her name on the Net…. I will say that he still remembered her years later when I found Wesley on Facebook.
Here are some stories from Pearl’s childhood:
1) She found an old picture of herself sitting on the refrigerator, put there as a punishment. She was very small, and wore ugly, plaid, ’70s pants.
2) Her parents would tell her to behave and she’d say, “I am being have!” This became one of our catchphrases.
3) One day, Pearl looked at a guy’s yard and said it was ugly. Her parents joked that his garage door was open, he might hear, and “he’s probably in there with a rifle.”
So that became a code word between her and her dad: “rifle” meant “the person you’re talking about is right behind you.” We also adopted this in the Group.
All semester, InterVarsity taped posters to the walls of the Campus Center in Bossard and the stair well. We’d advertise meetings, special events, Bible studies, and the group itself. We spent many evenings in the RC-CAB (Roanoke College Campus Activities Board) room, which had rolls of poster paper and large and small markers.
These were special markers, not the kind you buy in the store, but gigantic markers. I loved the intoxicating, heady smell of the ink, and we had lots of fun making the posters. It was usually me, Astrid, Pearl, Sharon, maybe Mike, Tara, Clarissa, and maybe others.
We and, especially, Astrid loved to joke about putting subliminal messages in the posters: “Come to InterVarsity!” I think we may have tried this once or twice, putting in little notes like this all over the poster.
For Christmas time, we were assigned to decorate the display case in the Campus Center lounge. We decided to do a group of small posters showing the events of the birth of Christ. I designed and drew them. Sharon told me to make them simple, so I did, as much as I could.
I can remember a picture of Mary and Joseph on the donkey. I was very proud of these pictures, which Sharon and maybe others helped me color. I took pictures of them for my mom, but never did get around to getting those pictures developed, which is a pity.
We put these pictures, empty boxes wrapped up like presents, and maybe other decorations in the display case one night. It was fun to open up the glass doors and crawl into the case.
Over one summer, possibly the one of 1993, we saw a commercial by a group called the 70s Preservation Society. This guy sat at a table in a leisure suit and advertised a CD of 70s disco hits.
We all thought it a good joke: Who’d want to preserve the 70s, and why would someone be advertising disco, widely thought of as the biggest, lamest joke of the 70s? (Though I admit, some of those songs still sounded good.) Youtube did not disappoint: The commercial is here for your viewing pleasure.
On September 19, Pearl and I went to the S– Evangelical Free Church. Tara P., a member of the women’s volleyball team, was our driver. She was a member of the church, and very tall and friendly, with dark hair.
I loved the church, which was big, had beliefs much like my own, and was very lively. Everyone seemed cheerful and friendly and excited about God.
When filling out my gold registration card one Sunday, I asked for information about the church; this I received in the mail in October, and after reading it through, I decided it was much like my own church in both structure and theology.
I felt I had found my church home for S–, now that there was no longer a Nazarene church.
Sunday School was at 9:30am, and church at 10:45. There were two services, one at 8:15, but the 10:45 one was packed.
As for Sunday School, this was a college class and had three other students. Everyone there was friendly. One was a blond named John, and the others were two young women.
One kept talking to John in such a way that you could tell she liked him. John was cute, so I asked Tara about them later; she said they weren’t dating but the girl wanted to.
IV planned to go to a Charlie Peacock concert, and taped a flyer about it to the top of the information desk in the Campus Center, such as people often did with flyers. Next to it was a sign-up sheet.
Some Sigma frat brats, however, got together and wrote derogatory comments about Peacock’s last name. I had never, ever thought of his name that way before; I always thought of it as referring to the bird with the beautiful, colorful tail, not to a certain four-letter-word.
These frat boys wrote their names in the sign-up list, making us think a bunch of people were coming to the concert, then erased them or crossed them out. We were incensed at their rudeness and their feeble, immature attempts at humor. Pearl said they were doing themselves a disservice because “Charlie Peacock is really talented.”
Pearl and I and maybe one or two others went to the concert. A woman in her thirties or forties drove us there in her van.
Elmbrook was a gigantic church in Brookfield (now we call it a mega-church) with a sanctuary/auditorium that seated the whole church, which I believe held about 5,000 people. Pearl’s aunt went there, and kept longing to go out with one of the many Christian men she always saw there. This church was a popular place for Christian bands and singers to perform.
Peacock sat on the stage at a grand piano and played. He sang “Dear Friend,” to the delight of both Pearl and me. He told us about his life, and that this was going to be his last performance: he wanted to spend more time with his family. Though understandable, this depressed Pearl and me. However, it wasn’t so bad after all, because he released more albums after this.
The husband, Scott Dente, was wonderfully cute, with dark hair and a long nose. The wife, Christine, was beautiful, too, but Pearl and I didn’t want to look at her. (You can see them here.)
During their act, Scott joked about being overshadowed by Peacock on the tour. When we found them in the sanctuary, I had just bought Peacock’s CD Lie Down in the Grass in the big foyer.
I don’t remember if Christine was there, but Scott was with some other people. All I had to give him to autograph were the liner notes from Peacock’s CD. He said, “Oh, no, not HIM!” He wrote his initials and drew a little guitar.
I played this CD over and over again the next few weeks, loving its sound. It was strange, with a unique sound I’d never heard anywhere before, and fun to listen to. “Human Condition” was one of my favorite songs.
On the way home from the concert, the Michael W. Smith song “Friends” played on the van’s tape deck. I listened to the words and thought of Shawn. A tear or two escaped my eyes. Some of the words to this song are,
Friends are friends forever if the Lord is Lord of them, and a friend will not say never ’cause the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know that a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.
I kept thinking of Shawn, and how our friendship had fallen apart. He hadn’t called me after Cindy gave him my number.
I received an invitation to have dinner in Bossard with Miriam Gilbert and David Janoviak. Only certain students were invited: I think it was for Writing majors and probably English or Theater majors. Or it may have been for Honors CORE students; I really don’t remember. In any case, the partitions were put up so that we were in a small area near the Muskie and the doors to the stairs.
My fiction teacher was also there. She and, I believe, Gilbert talked on and on about the 60s, and what we students had missed by not being born in time to experience 1969.
I wasn’t sure what had happened in 1969, but I didn’t think I’d missed all that much. I saw the 60s as an unstable time with revolts against things that didn’t deserve a revolt, such as the church and moral values. Its drugs and free love were destructive.
I preferred to live in a time when my campus wouldn’t be overrun by protests or snipers or people who wanted to blow up campus buildings. (High school teachers had told us how bad things got even in South Bend schools.) Though everyone called my campus apathetic, I found it peaceful and pleasant.
Janoviak was a directing actor, had recently played Hamlet in a critically acclaimed performance, and was a former Roanoke student. I knew about his accomplishments because Counselor Dude had posted an article about him on his door. Gilbert was an English professor at the University of Iowa.
The next morning at 10:30am, they held a lecture on Hamlet. Gilbert acted as a director, and told Janoviak how she wanted him to perform the “To be or not to be” speech. She would tell him to play it pensively, comically, or with emphasis on this or that, and he would do it.
I noted that, depending on what emphasis you gave it, the same speech could have profoundly different meanings each time you said it.
I thought the presentation was fascinating, and wrote in my day planner, “’twas cool!” Many students, however, couldn’t hear it, so they thought it was awful. The bad acoustics in the Bradley auditorium were well known; I sat in one of the front rows, and could hear everything. I figured if these kids had heard what was said, they would have been just as entranced as I was.
The ice cream selection that year was disappointing. It still had some of the good flavors, but not as many and not as often.
That year or the year before, guys began wearing their baseball caps backwards. The Group hated it. We didn’t mind so much if the cap was worn properly, but backwards was just awful.
Around this time, if one of us was accused of lust, we would say, “It’s not lust! I’m enjoying his beauty.”
Whiteheart‘s album Highlands came out around this time. I had a bunch of coupons, which came with any Christian album I bought; there were enough to get Highlands for free as a cassette tape. I didn’t know the songs and had no memories, familiarity, or nostalgia attached to them yet. But in time, I would. It had an excellent mix of rock and Celtic themes. This is significant later.
On a day in early fall, perhaps in September or October, the weather had been cool, but then we had the last eighty-degree day of the year. So I wandered around the woods. It may have been my first time back there since Peter had broken up with me. Until senior year, I would only go back there occasionally.
On this particular day, I watched black water bugs play on the surface of the lake, I think I saw a bunny or two, and I know I saw the cutest baby frogs. I believe I got a little lost. By the time I got back to the Campus Center, it was after my usual dinnertime of 5 o’clock.
I tried a new thing that evening: a chicken soft shell taco from the taco bar (which was sometimes there instead of the deli bar) and guacamole. (The deli and taco bars were started before or during February 1992 because of student requests, and gave an alternative to whatever lunch or dinner choices were in the regular line. They were also meant to shorten the regular line.)
I never found the guacamole there again, but I thought it was delicious on a chicken burrito. Since I couldn’t find guacamole again, I learned that sour cream sauce was also delicious.
After that, I often went to get a chicken burrito or soft shell taco with chicken. Since my dad couldn’t eat Mexican food, and I knew very little about it besides what I had in school lunches, I had no idea that you could get chicken burritos or soft shell tacos. All I ever knew was beef with too many spices.
One night, the Phi-Delts had a party in the Pub. Sharon played pool in a kind of tournament, and Pearl and I watched her.
As she played, a drunk, tall guy, Asian or Hispanic, came over and began talking to us. He must have been older than college-age. He kept hitting on Sharon and me. Neither of us liked him because he was drunk, smoking and kind of scary. Fortunately, his sober brother watched over him.
IV Bible Study/Small Group schedules: Daniel: Astrid in her room on Mondays at 8; Exploring the Gospels: Sharon in her room on Wednesdays at 8; Job: Pearl on Wednesdays at 9.
I don’t remember much about the other Bible studies, so maybe I didn’t go to those, but I do remember Astrid’s. Only Clarissa and I went, but we loved it. I would grab a piece of Werther’s butter candy as Clarissa and I went all the way up the back stairs to the third floor and Astrid’s room.
Astrid was UCC, but conservative. Sometimes, her roommate Chloe sat nearby, doing homework. We read the chapters out loud and talked about them, then Astrid led us in a short prayer.
We loved the many and repetitious verses detailing all the different officials and different instruments played at celebrations: They were fun to read out loud. Outside of the Bible study, this would become our inside joke. Here’s an example:
And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up (Daniel 3:2, NKJV).
These officials are repeated in verse 3. Verse 5 reads:
[T]hat at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
These instruments are repeated in verse 7.
One day, the obscene phone caller struck again. Now that Clarissa and I lived in Krueger, his favorite spot, we got a call from him one day. I don’t remember much about it, just that I answered, told him very little, and hung up quickly.
One day, probably during bingo in Bossard, a girl we knew named Mona V. sat with us. She started throwing food around, probably those dry Cheerios which were put in bowls and supposed to be used for bingo chips.
One struck Frank right on his ever-bigger bald spot. Embarrassed, she didn’t want him to know she did it. She and my friends disliked him because he was a bit of a pervert, cracking crass sex jokes all the time.
As for my friend Mona S., who started a prayer group with me freshman year, she dropped out of school early sophomore year. But we kept in contact by letter.
Kids in the Hall, a Canadian comedy troupe, now provided the Group with another catchphrase: You shut one eye, look at somebody, frame her head with your index finger and thumb, start squeezing your fingers together, and say, “I’m crushing your head!”
Whenever I felt bored at meals and had drained most of my Mountain Dew, I poured a bit of salt into my cup and watch it fizz up.
Carol called Astrid “Boing-Boing” because she was bouncy like Tigger.
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
- My Friends
- Food Service and Classes
- Frustrating German Teacher
- Roommate and Campus Stories; Shawn Screws With My Head
- More Friend Stories; Friendship with Peter?
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
- Friends With Sexual Benefits: Fun at First, But Began to Destroy our Friendship
- The Secret Gets Out
- Ill-Fated Pledge Class
- We’re Dating!–No, We’re Not. Yes, We Are. ACK!
- Pat Robertson Screws Up
- Peter Turns the Screws
- Peter is PW
- Obscene Phone Caller
- Shawn Goes Animal-House on Me During my Shower
- Selective Mutism Strikes at a Zeta Party
- InterVarsity Group is Organized
- The Fire Burns Hotter; The Dreadful Night (Shawn Almost Goes Too Far)
- Accidents Will Happen
- Confronting Shawn’s Psychological Abuse
- A Proposed Cool-Off
- Poems of Werewolves and Longing
- Reading Clarissa; My Drawings of Her
- Irish Writers Class
- Psychological Hell as Shawn Turns Dark and Moody
- Insurance Mix-Ups and Corruption in the Campus Administration
- Pregnancy Scare
- Spring Classes; Crush on a Teacher; Lit Teacher Becomes My Writing Mentor; “Ugh” Poem
- Sexual Relations with Shawn: The Downward Spiral to a Crash
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