Saturday, September 26, 2009

college friends and cucumber sandwiches

I crashed North Central High School's pre-reunion party last night. My friends Carol and David graduated from there 30 years ago (my 30th reunion was this summer also). North Central is so big that Carol and David didn't meet until Purdue.

Carol and I were roommates in college. Off campus even. In fact I'd probably still be living in a dorm if not for her. Carol introduced me to so many cool people and exposed me to lots of new things. Those days seemed so much easier.

As a shy kid I was not emotionally prepared for college. I went to Purdue without a typewriter. It was not that my parents would not have gotten me one, it just never occurred to me to ask. My freshman year also started a long history of not being able to say no. Somehow I was named the representative for my floor in the dorm. Which lead to being the recording secretary for my dorm. Which required a typewriter. I learned that I could type the minutes in the student government office. Soon I was sneaking down to the office in the evening to type papers, often sitting in the almost-dark.

A punk rock band, Dow Jones and the Industrials slated Chris Clark for student government president to promote the band. Much to everyone surprise Chris won, ending a long reign of fraternity men in the post. When Chris and company went to check out the offices I was there, in the empty offices, typing. I was instantly recruited to the team and it changed my life - in a good way. And my friendship with Carol is the best thing that came out of that time.

The summer after my freshman year Mom and I were on campus to sign me up for the next semester classes (no online registration then!). I remembered where Carol was living for the summer and we stopped to say hello. She invited me to stay for a few days so I did - the good old days of sharing clothes and buying a toothbrush at the drugstore and not worrying about anything else.

Carol and I lived in four different places over the years, including a memorable semester about the popular bar, Harry's Chocolate Shop. You might think that was a cool place to live, but it was horrible. Friends would come up to use your bathroom, when the line was too long downstairs and there invariably were guys urinating under the back steps. The whole building shared a heating system, so the bar smells would waft upstairs and worse yet, they split the heating bill eight ways! We were paying as much as the bar and a huge record store/card shop in the same building. When we moved in the previous tenant asked if she could stay another month, we agreed - she never moved out! Carol and I shared my bed for the whole semester - it's funny to think about it now, but didn't seem like a big deal at the time.

Not only did Carol introduce me to so many great people, but two of my favorite meals. Cucumber, tomato and cream cheese sandwich on wheat toast is the perfect taste of summer. And baked beans on toast (or some times we'd substitute potato chips) reminds of our poor, but fun college days.

Carol moved to California almost twenty-five years ago. I rode with her for the cross-country trip. In her Pontiac Fiero. Can you imagine driving that far in such a small car? We had a great trip, and after sharing a room and clothes for so long it was a breeze.


Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff said...

The girl who couldn't say no in college??. Well I sure met my share who could say no..
Carol was a good influence on you I see. You've come out of your shell.