Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thanks for the Memories...and the Asbestos

My old dorm, Pfeiffer Hall, was torn down earlier this week, and it's made me a bit nostalgic.  I have a lot of good memories connected with that building.  It was the first place I ever lived completely on my own.  The first space that was ever truly just mine.

That space was a tiny room on the second floor of Pfeiffer.  My window looked out over the sprawling front lawn that was covered with magnolias and large pine trees.  The building itself was old and musty.  The stairs creaked and groaned, and it was dark and a bit drafty.  Pfeiffer Hall was the only dorm on the tiny campus, so it housed both the guys and the girls.  It was divided into two sections with the girls' hall to the left and the boys' hall to the right..  A large sitting area with chairs, couches, and a television was in the middle.

I remember my first night in Pfeiffer Hall.  My parents helped me lug my belongings up the rickety staircase, and then I went back out to the parking lot to tell them goodbye.  After hugs and well-wishes, I returned to my room to discover I had locked myself out.  The Dorm Mother unlocked my door for me, but the next morning as I was leaving for my first day of classes my doorknob fell off in my hand.  There was no way for me to open the door and I was locked in my room.  To further complicate matters, I had no way of letting anyone know I needed help.  I had no room phone, or pager, or cell phone.  So I started yelling.  One of the other girls on the hall heard my panicked cries for help and came and let me out.  I got a new doorknob later that day.  That evening I called my parents to let them know how I was doing and tell them about my adventures so far.  Now, let me explain the phone situation.  Since I had no personal phone I used the dorm phone which was a pay phone in a closet on the main hall. I finished my call to my parents and tried to open the door to leave the phone "booth" but it wouldn't budge.  The door was stuck.  Again I started yelling, and again the girl from down the hall came to my rescue.  I was more careful after that, but I had already become known as "the girl who gets locked in places."

My two years in Pfeiffer Hall were filled with plenty of other adventures.  I was appointed Dorm Monitor my second year and was given the job of locking and unlocking all the doors.  Ironic, isn't it?  I had to yell, "Girl on the hall!" whenever I went to to the boys' side to lock the doors.  It never failed that some genius guy would try to shock me by walking out into the hall in his undies.

As Dorm Monitor I had keys to everything but the Dorm Mother's apartment and the attic.  There was a small hole in the attic door that allowed me to peek at what was inside, and I could see that the attic was filled with all sorts of cool old stuff.  My friend Sheri and I tried several times to break in, but we never had any luck.

I have so many other great memories of life at Pfeiffer Hall.  There were the nights when everyone chipped in and rented a movie (usually Twister) to watch in the main TV room.  We would all bring out whatever snacks we had, and then we'd camp out in from of the television and nosh on stale Doritos and melted globs of gummy bears.

We had water battles in the hall and snowball fights on the front lawn.  We (even the guys!) watched soap operas together, and we were all there the day Stephano and Kristen's evil plan was uncovered on Days of Our Lives.

I think the one thing about Pfeiffer Hall that sticks out the most in my mind is the Flushing Ritual.  The pipes and plumbing in that old building had seen better days, and that caused some awkward moments in the communal bathrooms.  There were instructions taped to the doors of all the bathroom stalls that read something like If someone is in the shower, please yell FLUSHING before you flush!  This was done to ensure that you didn't scald the scalp off whoever was in the shower.  When you needed to flush you yelled, "Flushing!"  When the person in the shower stepped back and yelled "Okay," you were clear to flush the toilet.  Occasionally someone forgot, and if you didn't jump back quickly enough you were showered with water heated by the fires of Mount Doom.

I miss Pfeiffer Hall, my first home away from home.  I miss afternoons studying Music Theory under the pines.  I miss singing French art songs in front of my window.  I even miss the communal microwave that always smelled like burnt popcorn.

Farewell, Pfeiffer Hall.  You were the starting point of my journey to adulthood, and the birthplace of my independence.  You will be missed.

*Thank you to Johnny Brewer for posting the above photo.

No comments: