Before you get discouraged by seeing so many words, let me just explain why I put this up here. In 1999 I was surfing the RVA site (the boarding school I went to when I was 16/17) and came upon this column, written by one of my teachers. Only to discover that it was me he was referring to in one of his anecdotes! I smiled, laughed, wiped away a sentimental tear and felt so darn good to be remembered! So I thought I'd let you enjoy as well, and maybe get a feel for what my life in boarding school was like every now and again. (and if you want to have a peek at the couple in question check out this previous post)

On Campus
with Tim Bannister

The February '99 Edition

The idea of romance at RVA sometimes sounds like a contradiction in terms, despite the relationships here that persist and become marriages (Hi, Miriches and Pumpellys). However, at the Rift these days Valentine's Day is brightened by the efforts of the sophomore classes. In addition to selling all those flattering valentines and balloons, they sell long-stem roses (delivered with a smile to your increasingly significant other), and singing telegrams. When was the last time you had "Blue Moon" sung to you and had flowers delivered to your dorm room? It's a pretty romantic day, even by RVA standards. Why, just the other day, Cupid himself graced the stage of Centennial Hall (the offspring of Jubilee Hall, in case you're wondering), and shot his little arrows straight into the heart of an unsuspecting staff member (well, okay, it was a student masquerading as a staffie, and well, maybe Cupid was a student, too, but the idea was there, and where there's a will, there's a way, which is more-or-less how romances survive here, anyhow). Ah, love - Kijabe style.

My favorite RVA love story involves the lower verandah of Kiambogo, scene of countless Late Studie romances. For those who remember, the room next to the Staff Lounge, facing downhill, used to be a photocopy room. It also had a typewriter for staff use, and the typewriter was on a desk directly in front of the window. It was relaxing to sit there and type. There was a great view of the valley from that window, and (most importantly) a view of the lower Kiambogo verandah. When this story happened, there were no security lights on the lower verandah, so it was strictly (ho-ho-ho) off-limits to couples during late Studie.

One evening, I went to type up a test, and entered through the upper door of the staffroom. As you may remember, Kenya's fluorescent lights sometimes take five or ten seconds to come on. When they did, I was standing about a foot from THE window. Sitting on the window sill was one of RVA's hottest couples (and in case they are reading this, I remember who you are, W and M... and I may yet turn you in). and they looked like one body unit. She noticed me first, after about five seconds, but he was a tad slow to respond (to me, at least). He didn't actually react until she was well into the only syllable she could scream, "MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!" Heaven knows what he thought she was trying to communicate... When he did notice me, he literally lifted off the window sill (what glutes!) and the two of them landed, still entwined, on the verandah. For the remainder of the term, she couldn't look at me without blushing. He wisely didn't even try to make eye contact. Pity they split up. They made a handsome couple. I hope I didn't discourage them.

One thing that has always interested me is the creative effort made to circumvent the couples rules without necessarily breaking them.

Like the Grade Nine couple from the Class of '91 who hired a fellow student to "chaperone" them, so they technically weren't alone as a couple (verdict - they got shut down, repeatedly). Or the groups of couples who make sure there are large (and even) numbers together at all times, so they aren't alone as couples. Not that they communicate and socialize all that much as a group, what with other distractions (verdict - shut down only if there is a staff member athletic enough to be jogging around the field). Or the station kids who don't have to be in at any particular time, so are able to visit through the Kedong windows (verdict - frequently successful, but they may have to bribe the night guards). I have often wondered why so few RVA students become lawyers, considering their creative approach to law.

Another thing that occasionally brightens the romantic mood around here is when staffies fall in love. Forgive me for this, Liz (Winterberg, in case anyone is unaware), but the RVA world needs to know how much fun it was to watch you and the Gentleman-Known-As-Scott stroll around the campus arm in arm, oblivious to the rest of the world. Or how you completely dismissed the idea of a third term research paper because you didn't feel like marking one that year. Or how all of us, posing as surrogate parents, checked this guy out pretty carefully before we put our stamp of approval on this engagement. Wish we could have been there for the big day.

Such is life. Romance, like dinosaurs, will always find a way (sorry, Mr. Chrichton). And in a place with such beautiful sunsets, and a vista of two dormant but simmering volcanoes (now, ain't that a metaphor?), romance occasionally struggles to the surface and brings a little joy and zest into the lives of us all. Happy Valentines's Day, all you wonderful alumni. Hope your life has its share of romance. Thanks for all the emails last week. Bye-bye

2 reacties:

Anonymous said...

You got caught doing the nasty with your boyfriend on Valentine's Day!!??!!!!

Deb B.

Dori said...

Okay--two things...

How do I not remember you and Winnie?! Seriously? He was hot. That I do remember!

And second...Miss Winterberg got married?! Wasn't she ancient?

Thanks, Marit! You made my day!

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