Being here in Tulsa brings back so many memories, some good, some bad. Lots of memories of time spent with my favorite roommate, Laura-from-Illinoise (she hated it when I'd say Illinoise and I hated it when she'd call my home state Sleazyana). Laura and I had lots of fun, great talks late into the night, our fair share of arguments, but I think my main purpose for existence my freshman and sophomore years was to make her laugh. What follows is a list of the ways I made her laugh.
1. My first semester living away from southern Louisiana was a very cold one! I about panicked when I discovered early on that the dorm heaters didn't come on till after fall break, sometime in mid-October. I thought I'd die! Never having experienced freezing sheets (especially cold since Laura thought the room was stuffy and would open the window), I'd iron my sheets to warm them right before bed then jump in. Laura complained about that when I'd left the iron on one too many times at night. But generally it made her laugh. Eventually I switched to blow drying the sheets, which made her laugh harder.
2. I didn't have an ironing board and I sure wasn't going to wear wrinkled clothes to class, so I ironed on my mattress. For some reason Laura thought this was funny. Until I left the iron face down on the mattress, plugged in. Yes, I'm the reason for auto-shut off irons.
3. Second semester freshman year, the housekeeping staff either quit or went on strike, or the school stopped paying them. Either way, the showers were pretty slimy. One morning coming out of the shower, wrapped in my towel, I slipped on the tile and cracked the back of my head on the tile ledge leading into the shower. I stood and looked in the mirror, put my hand to my head and drew it away covered in blood. So I dressed, walked down the hall and started knocking on the doors of girls who I knew had cars. Joyce answered and I asked if she had a class. Yes. So I walked away and she saw the blood covered towel. "Get back here!" She took me to the emergency room, where I got 4 stitches in the back of my head.
Some of you might be thinking right now, "That isn't very funny!" I wish I had a picture for you. When I came back to the dorm room with my head wrapped in miles of gauze, short, thick, curly red hair sticking out top and bottom, Laura cracked up. I had to walk around campus like that for a couple of days, enduring the laughter. Actually, I thought it was pretty funny, too.
4. First semester sophomore year, probably the first week or two, I was getting to know the guys in our group. One evening one of the freshmen and I were sitting under a tree in the middle of campus, just talking, and I was picking at the leaves under the tree while he talked, smelling them. I love to smell different leaves. Turns out this was a bad idea. I woke the next morning with a horrible rash on my face, in my mouth and all over my hands. Another trip to the emergency room, this time for a shot for the poison ivy. Gets me why Laura thought this was funny ...
5. It's a wonder I didn't drop out of school. I think I understood that this was my own stupidity, not the fault of the school or anyone else. Just a couple of weeks after the poison ivy incident, our group went on a canoe trip down the Illinois River (yes, I know how to spell Illinois) on a beautiful August day. Guess who didn't wear sun screen? Yes, the red headed fool in shorts. There's still a line where my socks started and my freckles end. I couldn't walk right for a week. Laura got a kick out of watching me get up and move in the morning. Almost like watching I Love Lucy at times, I guess. Guess who wears sun screen now?
6. Moving backward, there was the evening, freshman year, that I was visiting a friend down the hall while she was writing a paper. We both wondered what it would feel like to have liquid paper on one's nose. Brave me, I let her use my nose. It doesn't feel good. What feels even worse is the nail polish remover that we thought was our best bet in getting it off. Laura took pictures of that one. Ouch!
7. One evening Laura came back from class to find me studying on the top shelf of the closet and she just laughed and laughed. This was before the heat was turned on, and I reasoned that heat rises, so the top shelf must be the warmest place in the room. It was actually a very warm spot (I considered sleeping there at times) and I studied there often, hood of my sweatshirt pulled down around my face for warmth and pig slippers on my feet.
8. Probably the most amusing incident had me in the hospital over night. I don't think I've spent as much time in a hospital since college, with the exception of giving birth. One day I had a difficult time sitting and laying on my back as there was a pain in my tail bone. Try as I might, I couldn't remember falling (this was nearly a year after the split head, I think) and hurting myself, but I thought that that had to be the source of the pain. It just just hurt so badly, and there didn't seem to be another reason for it. After a couple of days I realized that there was a bump there, that the pain was worsening, so I went to the doctor.
The doctor informed me that the bump was a cyst, not yet ready to be lanced, that I'd have to come back in 2 or 3 days for that procedure. meanwhile, the pain increased and I couldn't stand, sit or lie down. And I had to go to class and do homework. Laura would come back from a class to find me kneeling upright on the floor, studying, as that was the most comfortable position for me. In fact, that last day I was probably kneeling all the time and Laura found this highly amusing. I'll say this for her - when I came to in the hospital the next day, she didn't hesitate to get me a Whopper and a shake, sparing me from the hospital food.
There are plenty of fun memories with Laura which didn't involve my pain, like building my first snow duck in the Prayer Gardens while she built a snow bear, going to recitals with her, listening to her play trumpet, watching her kick Ms. PacMan's butt in the Depot. I hope she's reading this. I hope she's still kicking Ms. PacMan's butt.
Until I write again ...