It was the summer of 1967. The campus during the summer months was absolutely beautiful. HWA talked about it being a picture of what the millennium would be like. You could smell the jasmine and lilac in bloom, it filled the air with its wonderful perfume. It was a day where there was very little smog and the sun was bright and warm. A perfect day for romance…But I was not prepared for what was about to take place.
Being young and single on campus presented its problems, especially considering I was not a student. With all those beautiful coeds always around it was like being in a candy store, only with one big difference. Since I was not a student I was forbidden to socialize with any of the female students. It was a law, a policy that was not to be taken lightly. The slightest disregard for it could result in immediate termination. So it was not something that I could simply laugh off and go about my business. You talk about wanting to sit down and cry, this was one of those situations. Since I did not want to be fired I restrained myself from socializing with the young ladies. I was just beginning to enjoy my job, I had no intentions of getting fired! Now that is motivation. I had it completely under control until that one fateful afternoon….
To understand and appreciate what was about to happen, I need to help you understand the setting, as well as the layout of that particular part of the campus where this strange drama would unfold.
One of the main walk ways for students going from one end of the campus, north to south, was just east of Terrace Villa and Mayfair, women’s dorms. The walk way was about eight feet wide or wider, plenty of room for several students to walk side by side. Directly west of the walkway was the sloping lawn, which went all the way down toward what would eventually become the Student Center and Auditorium. The lawn area was about four or five feet below the walk way, so the students did need to be some what careful. I do not ever recall anyone ever walking over the edge, but there was always that possibility.
I was down near the lower end of the sloping lawn area, while my supervisor was working at the upper end of the lawn area. Any students walking by would have had to look down, over the edge of the sidewalk to have seen him. For the most part he was completely out of sight unless he were to stand up. Since he was working on the irrigation system close to the wall, with the sidewalk above him, he was completely out of sight to those passing by.
Down at the other end of the lawn I ran into a problem. I was trying to locate what is know as a “hide-a-way valve”. It is a pipe in the ground with a flip up cap. When the cap was up it was possible to then screw in another pipe with a faucet on the other end. And when the watering was done it was once again removed leaving the area free from any obstructions, since the cap laid flush with the ground, the men that did the mowing could go right over the top without doing any damage to the plumbing or the mower blades. It was a novel idea that worked incredibly well. The only problem was trying to locate the valve. It was hidden away and I could not locate it. The lawn had overgrown the area and concealed the valve’s location.
Here is where the situation got just a little complicated, alright, got extremely complicated as you are about to see. I could not locate the valve, it had seemingly disappeared from off the face of the earth. So I did the next best thing. As loud as I could yell, I shouted to my supervisor at the upper end of the lawn. Since he was very familiar with the location of the valves he would be able to point to its exact location. So I yelled, “Where is your hide-a-way?” I honestly did not notice the coed’s walking by on the elevated sidewalk, honest. It was at that instant that I yelled that my eyes met theirs. They were three of the most beautiful coeds on the face of the earth. My heart melted like wax and I became limp. The three young angels stopped, looked at me and smiled. They gave me a very friendly wave. I had a sheepish look on my face, could not resist and waved back, and then they walked on. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, because I just saw paradise….only the pair of dice I saw was not real, it was about to roll up craps. The heaven I envisioned was about to turn into an all to realistic hell.
Now my supervisor, which I still hate to this day, who was at the other end of the lawn could have stood up and yelled and pointed to the valves location which was about two feet from where I stood. But noooo, he saw what was happening, stayed hidden completely out of sight and put his hand over his mouth to laughed. He may have thought it was funny but there would be a price to pay for my innocent mistake.
So you say so what? What is the big deal? It was not so much being embarrassed, because I was not, it is just that I knew what was about to happen, it would not be pleasant. For in less than an hour latter one of the other supervisors walked up to me, informed me that I was to report to the office of Building and Grounds IMMEDIATELY! No explanation was given, but I knew what was about to take place.
The young ladies were not alone, there were several men with them, and they did not appreciate at all my flirting with their women. One of the men apparently, doubtful the ladies did, turned me in to the Dean of students. He in turn raised all kinds of hell with the head of buildings and grounds. Now it was his turn to chew on me for a while..
When I got to the office, I told the secretary who I was, that I was expected. She said, Oooooh, I heard about you, one moment please. I sat there for probably ten minutes before the office door finally opened, I was motioned to come in. I noticed the carpet was soft and quit spongy, I thought I could bounce pretty good on this stuff. Then I noticed of all things a barbecue going on, only thing, it was my goose that was about to be cooked! Well, at least I did not have to worry about being bounced on the carpet….I listened to him rant and rave for what seemed to be forever talking about the virtues of being a responsible single male employee on the AC campus. He also very clearly outlined what would happen if he ever saw me again in his office for this type of violation concerning college policy. My goose would not only be barbecued, it would be flamed to a burning cinder. He asked me if I understood, then gave me about 15 seconds to explain… about four seconds into my explanation he looked at his watch, then hurriedly said he had another appointment and I needed to leave. Did he believe me, not very likely, he never listened to what I had to say. But that was OK because I knew where I stood with my God. This other little tin god’s opinion really did not matter.
You see, it was not important at AC if you were guilty or not, it was simply a matter of how well you took the abuse, I mean loving correction. It’s not that I was afraid to speak up, he never stopped talking long enough for me to do so. I was always taught never to interrupt a minister when he is on a roll.
Life on campus was always full of interesting twists and turns, and at times it made us feel like pretzels: we were always being twisted by bad administrative decisions; at times we were a bit salty because of how we were treated; and someone always chewing on us for not living up to their standard.
If by chance you are reading this and you were one of those coeds on the walkway that day, I would love to hear from you and how you viewed what happened that afternoon. And if you were one of the guys, go suck and egg!
Article by Bob W.
Blast from the past, 2012