September 15, 2022

Last Word: What was your finest hour?

We asked Earlhamites to recall a memorable moment from their days on campus.

When I arrived at Earlham after growing up in Pittsburgh, I switched from ice skating to roller skating, and wore my skates everywhere, including classes. In 1985, drama professor Sears Eldredge directed “The Clouds,” and after seeing me skate, was inspired to put the entire chorus on roller skates for one scene. Sears got the idea that put-ting a bunch of actors with blue fright wigs, blue faces and padded “lady suits” on skates would be funny, and it was. We skated to the theme music to Chariots of Fire. I wrote a primer for everyone in the chorus on how to skate.


My dad and mom also both went to Earlham, and in my first year at college, my dad gave me a manila envelope he’d been saving for years. Inside were maps of back campus, with all four tunnels that you can walk on top of clearly marked, including the farthest out one, which was scary high up and long. This, plus some adventurous (foolish?) friends, was the genesis of our club called WAFTT, Where Angels Fear to Tread. We mapped the steam tunnels under campus and planned missions to explore back campus. My pick for great-est excursion would be our factory trip: we climbed up into so many abandoned buildings and slept over-night in the abandoned smokestack. I remember singing rounds inside of it in the darkness of the night. No one ever got caught or seriously injured (cuts, scrapes, shaved eyebrows), but oh, did it feel like adventure.


In 1972-73, a group from Barrett Hall used to sit at the same table each dinner. One night I secretly slipped a chicken bone into my roommate’s slice of cream pie. Discovering it, he hit me in the face with the pie. That began it all—eventually everyone at the table got hit in the face with a piece of pie. The best one was when we put a piece on someone’s chair. When he pulled it out, he saw it, laughed and bent over to pick it up. Immediately, the person sitting next to him pulled a piece of pie from under the table and hit him. It ended with all of us taking a piece, looking around the room with all eyes on us and picked someone at random and all hit them at once!


My first year, a friend of mine had inherited a shoebox full of forks “borrowed” from Saga over the course of, I don’t know, a year? Three or four of us put them into as many mailboxes as we could, from the front, in the dead of night. We didn’t tell anyone it was us. The next day we hung out and listened to people speculate about why they got a fork in their mailbox. Was it a promotion? Why them and not someone else? Why forks? We never told. (That I know of.)


Humans vs. Zombies is a game of tag that was starting to make its way around college campuses. I got it going at Earlham. It started as some friends who wanted to play a massive game of tag with a few extra rules to make it more interesting. A few of us sat down to discuss rules and find ways to get more people to play. As soon as word got around about it, people kept coming up to me asking for armbands to join in. It spiraled from there! I was not particularly good at the game. I did carry my boffer sword with me around campus for protection, but each year I would be “eaten” by an enterprising group of zombies who wanted to grab the runner of the game.


What the next Last Word? Your answer could be in an upcoming issue of the Earlhamite.

Do you have some favorite advice that you were given as a student at Earlham? Is there a bit of a story about it you can tell? (Can’t be too long, we’ve only got room for about 100 words for each response that is included in the Earlhamite.) Is there any similar advice you’d also give to current students?

What was the best advice you were given as a student at Earlham? Let us know at [email protected]. In the subject line of your email, include “Last Word.”

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