Chapter 26: The Meat Market … and Fate

Playing the Field

I was still enjoying dating casually. 

I met a tall blond guy named Mark M at Boreman Hall downtown, and we hung out. He played Hello Again by The Cars for me because I liked it.

musicnotes-tiny“Hello Again” by The Cars

The Cars – Hello Again

A guy named Ron came up to my dorm room several times throughout the semester to make out. Julie was crushing on him but he flirted with me. He was handsome in a rugged sort of way, with a 5 o’clock shadow most of the time.

Stan, a junior and fellow music major, wanted more of a relationship than I was ready for. He helped me with Written Theory, and would come up to my room. We spent some time together, and at our parting, he gave me his wallet-sized picture to keep.

I also kissed a really cute guy, Jack, from the 9th floor at Towers. Too bad he was “taken”… but apparently and to my delight, some beverage of an alcoholic nature had temporarily compromised his discretion.

Hangin' out (Lisa in blue)
Hangin’ out (Lisa in light blue)

A guy in my written theory class, Greg H, offered to help me out with key signatures because I was having a rough time memorizing them. That led to flirtation and a casual but brief relationship. This abruptly ended one time when after a rather steamy make-out in his room, he called me a “dick tease.” I was shocked. Where had that come from? I sincerely apologized for the misimpression and got out of there.

So that was the end of “Gorgeous Gregory” … the guy I’d considered pretty sharp fast fell flat.

Another snare player named Dave B took a shine to me and we did some making out but nothing else. A guy named Chris M (“teddy bear” according to my diary) from my English class expressed interest, called me, and we spent time together.

Eating ice cream

Another guy, a different Chris, invited me over to his apartment at Evansdale  and cooked me a venison dinner. I wasn’t a fan of deermeat, but the date went well and he was very nice.

All semester, it seemed there were swarms of cute guys for the picking.

I really enjoyed college life. I ate a good breakfast in the morning before classes, and attended to any other necessary matters on my own.

Mom sent letters, care packages and correspondence to sign and relay to Mr. Patteson at the WVU Financial Aid office. I replied with colorful descriptions about what was going on in my freshman music major’s world.

I rode the PRT and got around pretty well, at times catching a ride with a lucky car-owning upperclassman friend. I went to violin lessons, recitals for class credit, band and orchestra rehearsals, and logged practice hours.

Group shot
8th floor friends

Patrick, a guy from the 9th floor, had a pet snake. I went up to his room to see it, and was surprised to discover it was soft to the touch.

One day, I was there at feeding time, and the snake swallowed a live white mouse whole. This was a visual I didn’t care to revisit. (Sadly, years later, I would find out that Patrick died very young.)

Quarter for your thoughts?

One night I played my first game of Quarters up there with a guy named Perry and his friend, each funnier than the other. We put a real dent in a case of Old Milwaukee (or Old Pisswater as we called it).

Parties just seemed to find us
Parties just seemed to find us

Like other dorms, Towers was “dry”, and we were underage, so we beggars’ choices were rather limited.

We had plenty of fun with Old Pisswater and they eventually carried me down to my room to deposit me on my bed.

I slept fine that night … quite unlike my initial acquaintance with booze back in the summer of ’79 with my cousin. And I went to all my classes the next day.

Two days later, however, a hellacious headache and stomachache struck, and quite unexpectedly. I was on the downtown campus, in Oglebay Hall.

After Psych 1 class, I felt a clammy, numb sensation on top of what must have been a roaring migraine. It took me completely by surprise. I found a rest room, and made my distress known. A passerby called an ambulance.

I was rushed to the WVU Med Center, where I was immediately tested for meningitis via spinal tap. I don’t remember much besides feeling sick and alone because Mom was so far away.

The tests determined that the root of my misery was not the dreaded meningitis. They gave me a posterior shot of Demerol, which cut the awful head pain, and Student Health admitted me overnight. Because I was still a minor, Mom was contacted, and she assessed the situation with the attending doctor.

Ray and friends
Ray and friends

Our floor Resident Assistant Beverly was notified. She and Lisa stopped by bringing my pajamas, toothbrush, diary and some other necessities, which I really appreciated.

Lisa and me
Lisa and me, and a Domino’s makes three

Lisa came in Bev’s car to drive me back to Towers the next day. I went right up to my room to rest for the day. One guy I’d been seeing, the tall blond Mark from Boreman Hall, brought me flowers. Ron left me a note of concern. Patrick checked in also.

Julie, Lisa, and Andrea brought me chicken soup for lunch, and they made a run to 7-ELEVEN for more munchies. They really made me feel cared-for. Mom also called to offer me some mother-TLC over the phone. The next day, I went to the pharmacy at student health to pick up a script for headaches. It turned out to be $30 (!!) so this poor college student paid half, for half the pills.

I began to see a neurologist, Dr. Ringel, at the hospital about the headaches. As a headache patient since childhood, this was nothing new. This eventually became cost-prohibitive so the visits had to end, but I was able to get enough samples of Inderal until a prescription through my parents’ insurance could be filled.

musicnotes-tiny“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama

Bananarama – Cruel Summer

Enter Fate

On October 2, the course of my life would forever be altered. I caught a ride back to the dorm with Alice and Andrea after band practice, and tuba player John (straight brown hair with mustache from freshman orientation band video fame) was in the back seat of the car.

I was still none-the-wiser to his feelings for me. We ended up at the Towers dining hall with a few mutual acquaintances eating and talking about classes.

Lori: I’m having some trouble with unit CLX in Psych 1.
John: Oh, I’m a Psychology major; I can tutor you.
Lori: (Still quite oblivious) OK, I’m in room 1815, how about at 7?

John finally got his “in”! Little did I know I’d made this guy’s day … and set the stage for the rest of my life.

That night, I don’t know how John kept his cool during the tutoring but afterward he confided his feelings for me. I was completely blindsided—I’d no idea. I was happy being unattached and was flattered, but was really not interested.

Thirty years later, at 2014 WVU Homecoming, John admitted that he’d told a small fib that day—in front of a table full of college friends.

He hadn’t actually changed his major to Psych yet. He was still registered in Political Science at the time!

After some playful ribbing, I realized that sometimes a little lie is just plain necessary … after all,  Mom and Dad had lied about their ages. If they hadn’t, you’d now be staring at an HTTP 404 error!

Quite the cutie
Quite the cutie

Anyhow, I tried to politely let him down easy, but it would eventually prove as futile as attempting to roast marshmallows in a blizzard.

From then on, John was always there, with his puppy-dog eyes and offering to give me a ride back from practice and take me out to eat. All despite being friendzoned.

Our first unofficial “date” was on October 9 at Wings & Things (now Wings Olé), a Tex-Mex place with great burritos, shakes and fries ‘n bleu cheese.

John became that good ol’ best guy-friend you just like so much, but for whom there are no real romantic feelings.

All through the rest of the marching band season John and I were together, palling around, but he was far more “into it” than I was. John would often come up to my room, but after he left, Ron or Stan came up to take his place.

First Kiss

I remember my first kiss with John, which happened one evening in October, outside the door to my room. John still had that mustache, which I didn’t particularly find attractive, but it was a tender affectionate kiss.

John must have seen a few fireworks because he whooped and jumped and bounded all 8 flights down the stairwell. I’d detected maybe a firecracker, but it was still kind of nice to kiss him.

John’s feelings for me were so prevalent that he even told his parents about “us” and invited them down one Saturday to meet me after a football game. We all ate at the Pine Grill downtown that evening. I don’t know what sort of impression I made on these staunch Pennsylvania German folks; they were polite but reserved (that never changed).

musicnotes-tiny“Easy Lover” by Phil Collins

Phil Collins and Philip Bailey – Easy Lover

Around that time, a clarinet player in the Band named Donna had a thing for John. They’d dated briefly in the beginning of the semester, but John had seen no thrill there and cooled it.

John striking a pose
John striking a pose

However, she continued to pursue him, annoying him, and this continued even as he was beginning to get involved with me.

After morning practice the Saturday of the Boston College game, John and I were relaxing up at the Law Center on the hill before suiting up and marching down to the stadium.

John had his arms around me from behind, when Donna appeared. She demanded to know why he was with me. “Because I love her,” he replied simply.

She threw a royal raving fit and tore out of the building. John chivalrously went after her, but ended up receiving a sound smack in the puss in some “why didn’t he care” tirade.

She never bothered him again. We beat BC, the fans stormed the field, down came the goalposts, and I won the guy.

‘Stache-B-Gone (woo-hooo!)

I was extremely gratified the weekend of the WVU-Penn State game, as John made good on his promise to shave off the bloody mustache if West Virginia won.WVU 17, Penn State 14 1984

Well it was in the bag—October 27, 1984—WVU 17, Penn State 14, final.

Following the application of the Schick and Barbasol, a new attraction surged within me. This guy was pretty fine, indeed.

It was the first time I reeeeally enjoyed kissing him. With no upper-lip caterpillar distraction, his sexy smile and sparkling brown eyes were front-and-center.

I pledged WVU’s Omicron Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the honorary band fraternity that fall.

John, already a member from his days at his previous college, was my sponsoring “big brother”.

Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi

I made my own paddle (which hangs in my home office today). It had decals and white tape where people in the fraternity and sister sorority, Tau Beta Sigma, signed it.

My Kappa Kappa Spi paddle
My paddle

John of course was the first, and I even brought it home and had some family members sign it, including Mom and Dad.

I dutifully maintained a Pledge Book, and was installed into the fraternity later in the semester with the other pledges, thus adding to my already jumpin’ social life.

That November, I turned 18—finally an adult.

Unfortunately, it was too late for me to vote in the 1984 general presidential election. Once I’d registered to vote, Mom had tried to have the age requirement waived in our district on my behalf so I could participate by absentee ballot.

Though the election occurred within days of my birthday, this was not to happen. I would have to wait four more years. John arranged with Lisa and some of our friends from the 8th floor to have a little surprise party for me in Julie’s room. We had pizza and cake and a wonderful time.

Among our many demo band trips was a Pittsburgh Steelers game at Three Rivers Stadium. Now familiar with the “drill”, we loaded the eight Central Cab buses and hit the road. It was a huge facility, filled with welcoming NFL fans that roared when we did halftime.

John’s parents drove the hour or so into Pittsburgh to see the performance. (Three Rivers Stadium was leveled in 2003 to make way for the larger Heinz Field.)

musicnotes-tiny“Too Late For Goodbyes” by Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon – Too Late For Goodbyes

Trick Or Treat
Trick Or Treat

We had a lot of fun on the 8th floor. We had a big ice cream party with the 9th floor guys one night in our lounge. We also had a Tower One floor-decorating contest for Halloween, in which I played a large part. We didn’t win the pizza party, though our display was pretty good as I recall. There was a similar contest for Christmas.

A lot of our floor-mates dressed up to go Trick-Or-Treating, and the funniest costume was Bizz as a “Super Tampax”.

No comment...
Don’t ask.

Naturally, there was a lot of imbibing of various beverages with a double-digit proof rating on the sly, and plenty of dorm room wastebaskets were filled as a result.

One guy from the 9th streaked down the stairs and through the halls of our floor (probably a dare). We chased him back upstairs, whooping with laughter.

There were so many pranks, it was hysterical. One time, Ray the 9th Floor R.A.’s room was filled with newspapers (Bev was the culprit), and he and some other guys came down and dumped her in the shower. A bunch of us did the same to him. 

One girl, Leslie, was sweet but she seemed to live on the edge as a frequent carnal companion to a few of the Mountaineer football players of varying races.

Another girl, Sheila, had a nice Pontiac Fiero on campus but it was vandalized one day. She was so upset that I accompanied her to Student Health to make sure she was all right.

There was always something going on somewhere. I hung out with Bizz and Laura and a few others. Lots of pizza and nachos were consumed at all hours on a regular basis.

Chapter 27: Home For the Holidays; Bowl Bound

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4 Replies to “Chapter 26: The Meat Market … and Fate”

  1. Brad Dugan says:

    Loved the story. You and John are both wonderful folk that were destined for the partnership of life. I almost brought (and wore) my Kappa Kappa Psi and my Phi Mu Alpha paddles. I’ll tell ya… the names on there tell some wild history.
    Back in the “day” the members could use the paddles if they wanted to as a prerequisite for signing… and many of them did it for that! Crazy, huh?

    1. Definitely crazy! I’m certainly glad that the “traditional” use of pledge paddles had long since fallen out of practice by then. Thank you for your kind words. 😎

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