The Green Fan

One apartment. Five roommates. Countless stories.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Feet, swimming pools, & ice cream

Karleen and I used to go get ice cream, and then go to the swimming pool and put our feet in and eat ice cream in the moonlight. This was so much fun. I don't think we ever swam in the pool at our apartment complex, but we soaked our feet. Last night, I soaked my feet with Samuel and fed him Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream. I had a flashback - BIG TIME - and it occured to me that I was doing the same thing, but with a different roommate. Then he got me with the squirtgun, and good memory time was over.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Legend of Molly Sue

The following story may or may not be true. It cannot be easily proven or disproven. The characters it portrays may very well be fictional and may bear no particular resemblance to any actual person, either living or dead.


Although this blog centers around a certain apartment full of college girls and their beloved electric box fan, there is one non-roommate whose story deserves to be told here. Her name was Molly Sue.

Molly Sue had lived in the same dorm with Sheila and me, the roommate of our own beloved Carrie Beth, who may or may not have ever been mentioned heretofore in this blog by any other similar sounding name.

We were good friends, all of us, and I think I could speak for everyone that Molly Sue was the greatest. Her dry, lightning-quick wit was legendary and her sense of genuine fun, brilliant. I can recall so many deep conversations and fun times with her.

One semester Molly and I, upon finding ourselves in the same lit. class, used to compete to see who could put off starting their essays the longest and yet still receive a top grade.

The midnight hour would come and go. The phone would ring, annoying the heck out of our more sensible roommates who had long since gone to bed.


"Have you started yet?"

"No. Have YOU?"

"No. Just checking." CLICK.

So many stories could be told about Molly Sue, but really only one matters. It is THE Molly Sue Story, and I will humbly attempt it to do it justice here and now.


Molly Sue was in love with a boy named...uh...Ike. Yeah, like Eisenhower, whatever. He was also a full-time student at our school and a really wonderful guy whom we all liked very much. They were to be married during the summer after our junior year, back in her home town of...well...some big city on the Mississippi River with a famous landmark. The wedding would be a beautiful formal event, surrounded by family and friends.

Ike and Molly couldn't have been happier. They appeared to be what a solid Christian couple should be, a shining example of purity and high morals, set on glorifying God in their lives.

Then one day, Molly Sue called me on the phone.


"Yeah, uh, Sherry, could you come over? I kind of need to talk to someone and I feel like I can trust you. It's important."

It was easily apparent to me that something was dreadfully wrong. Molly was a smooth and polished orator in every situation, and her obvious nervousness was out of character. I had never heard her sound this...frightened...yes, that was it; she sounded scared out of her mind.

She was pregnant. I knew it. It had to be. She and Ike had fallen and gotten caught. My heart ached for her. How would her family take it? Her friends? What would it do to her relationship with Ike? Resolving to be strong and loving and not to abandon her in this time of need, I said I'd be right over. At that time, she lived just across the hall, a couple of doors down. I didn't have far to go.

As soon as I knocked, she opened the door and pulled me inside, closing the door tightly behind me. Molly Sue's face was flushed and her always wild, thick blond curls looked wilder than ever, as if she had been twirling and tugging them nervously for some time. Her roommate, Carrie Beth, was not home. I wondered if she knew yet.

"What's up, Molly? You look nervous or upset about something."

"Yeah, well, I am nervous. Can you keep a secret, Sherry? I mean really keep a secret. Seriously. It's really important to me."

"Of course, Molly. What's wrong?"

Her voice trembled and her long, strong fingernails (how did she type with those things, I wondered) tapped rhythmically on her dresser.

"Ok, well, I wasn't going to tell anyone this, but I just feel like if I don't, I'm going to burst. I can't hold this in all alone for the rest of the school year. It's really big."

"Tell me, Molly Sue," I said gently, trying to sound compassionate and trustworthy. How terrible this must be for her. I would be supportive. She needed me.

"Ok," she looked down, nails still clicking away, "Ike and I, well, we weren't planning to do this yet at all, but it just felt right at the time, and well..."

It was just as I had feared.  I was ready to respond well.  Oh, the fallen world we lived in!  Oh, the curse of this wretched sin nature!  Poor Holly and Ike.  They had been so committed to purity!  This was going to change the course of their lives.

"Um, well...Ike and, we got married this weekend."

"What are you talking about?"  This was not what I had expected to hear.

"We got married. We drove to Vegas and got married! For the financial aid. We went to fill out our financial aid forms for next year and realized how much more we would qualify for if we were already married, you know, two full-time students with only part-time jobs, not dependent on our parents anymore."

My mind was reeling. "You got married," I squinted at her and cocked my head slightly, "Married, married?"

She blinked, then understood.  "NO! Not like that! Ohmigosh, no," she jumped, finally stopping the drumming of her fingernails to lay her heavy hand on my arm. She had read my unspoken question loud and clear. "No. Absolutely not. No, we can't. We won't. Not until after the wedding this summer. Not until we say 'I do' in front of God and our family."

"But you're legal..."

"No! That's just it, we are only legal on paper, not in our hearts, not before God. We just did it because it seemed to make so much sense financially. You've got to help me though, because we KNOW we are legal now. You know Ike has his own apartment, no roommate. I can't go there, Sherry, I can't. We both know it, but I'm afraid it would be so easy. We are totally committed to staying pure and this is going to make it so much more difficult.

"I can't believe you did this."

We both began to giggle with nervous excitement.

"I can't believe we did it either!"

Andy and I double-dated with Ike and Molly Sue several times, both before and after we were married, and as far as I know, only a handful of people were ever let into the secret, purity was preserved, the wedding took place as planned, her family was never the wiser, and they continue to live happily ever after--or as happily ever after as any of us.

Now that's what I call beating the system.

You're my hero, Molly Sue.

That is, if you really exist and if, indeed, any of this is actually true at all. It could just be a tall tale, you know.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Passionate Lover of Jesus

This was Mary Beth's e-mail address for a number of years, Incidentally, mail sent there started coming back to me over a year ago. Sheila, do you have something current? And her e-mail address summed it up pretty well. She didn't choose this moniker to be boastful in any way. MB wouldn't think to do that. She seemed to know God and hear His voice in that intimate way that most only wish for. When she said she would pray for you about something, it was cause for celebration, because you just got the feeling that her prayers counted for double or maybe even triple.

Mary Beth was real. She was fully engaged here on earth, and fully in communion with her Savior at the same time. She taught me a lot about serving, about loving, about showing genuine care and concern. She taught me about listening to people without constantly planning a comeback.

I know this is not fair and unduly sets her up on a pedestal, but that was pretty much how I always felt about her. I had so much respect for her that she intimidated me at times--although she would laugh at such a thought.

Funny. Remember when Mary Beth started her nursing internship and got her stethoscope? She draped it, along with her hospital ID over the rear view mirror of that silver Isuzu Trooper she drove, in very much the same way that all the cool 5th year nursing students did. I distinctly remember realizing that she was proud of those things hanging there and enjoyed showing them off as a status symbol. It stuck in my memory because it was such a surprise; I had never EVER before that seen MB do anything even the remotest bit prideful. It was out of character for her, but the truth was, I was proud of her, too, so I allowed her that one quiet indulgence.

I wish I could have had Mary Beth as a nurse when I was in the hospital having babies. She became a labor and delivery nurse, you know. What an encourager she must have been in that role. Can't you just see her smile, Sheila, her dark, piercing eyes willing you to hang in there during the worst of it?

Of all the people I have lost contact with in recent years, I miss Mary Beth the most.

Alison, sorry this wasn't the humorous anecdote you were anticipating. This just fit my mood better tonight.

It was my turn to share an extended testimony at my Bible study this morning and I shared some pretty tough stuff--tougher than I realized when I was planning it out. It was the first time I've broken down in front of my new friends here in Montana and I had most of them crying, too. It took me by surprise, and I've been quiet and somewhat reflective the rest of the day.

It's good to have friends you can cry with. I didn't learn that until my last couple of years in Vancouver, just in time to say good-bye. I guess I'm glad that I can do that now. The women in this Bible study--how special they are becoming to me, and so quickly.

Crying again. Don't know why, but I don't complain. I spent too many years of my life dry, no tears to shed whatsoever. I seem to be making up for it now.

Elliana says that crying helps get the sadness out. I didn't teach her this, but she's right.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Our bathroom

Am I on a roll or what? Two posts in the same month! What can I say - Alison, you've inspired me! I thought I'd share some thoughts on our bathroom. I have to confess that I can't remember much about it, so I must be blocking how totally dirty it usually was, because, once again, I can't remember spending much time CLEANING it. I do remember that we had three girls in there (me, Sherry, and Karleen) and that it was a slow drain, and you ended up standing in about three or four inches of water when your shower was over. Not good. Of course, we had low standards, so we didn't try and fix this. Not until my mom came for a visit, and was horrified that we didn't do a little investigating in the shower drain. You see, Karleen and I had long hair (Sherry, did you have long hair then? I can't remember. I'm thinking shoulder length - is that right?) and we didn't have any fancy drain hair catcher thing. We didn't shop at Home Depot back then. Anyway, my mom gets a wire hanger, bends that thing out, and pulls out several large balls of hair. You know the kind - they looked like a family of drowned rats. Very gross. I remember thinking I hoped the last few months of college would go very slowly, because adulthood was not looking very promising. Having to clean that stuff out of my drain myself? Not promising at all.