Sunday, March 14, 2010

Part 24: Animal Farm

"No one can look back on his schooldays and say
with truth that they were altogether unhappy"

~ George Orwell

"All animals are equal,

but some animals are more equal than others"
~ George Orwell

"On the whole, human beings want to be good,
but not too good, and not quite all the time"

~ George Orwell

With all classes suspended and lots of time on our hands, we boarders soon turned to hi-jinks. The boys dorms began a series of night raids on the girls dorm, Hamilton Hall. Organized by the Seniors and Juniors, the first two were "panty raids", we would sneak over to their dorm, creep up the stairs and then run room to room, grabbing panties from dresser drawers and then race back to our dorms. The older boys would do the raiding while the younger kids created distraction in the hallways. Which really meant that we were being readily sacrificed so the upper classmen could get away with their booty. A few of us younger guys were captured and what do girls do with captured boys? A "make over" of course! We had our hair done, eyes lined, faces powdered and rouged, lip stick, finger nails and toe nails were painted. It wasn't so bad. After they took out their frustrations on us we got pampered, kissed and cuddled! We looked like drag queens and took a lot heat when we got back to the dorm, but as I told Pat Dillon: I happen to like girls in their pajamas hugging me.

The first raid was a great success, carefully planned and executed; the girls had to claim their garments at supper the following night. The second, an impromptu affair, did not go as well. The girls were prepared this time and more of the boys were "captured" and "tortured" by the girls. This time they were not as nice.

Not to be outdone by the boys, the girls launched their own attacks on the senior boys dorm. This escalation lead to an all out attack on the Hamilton Hall; water balloons, toilet paper soaked in water and eggs were our weapons. Silently circling the dorm, at the given signal, we simultaneously launched our projectiles at all open windows. Ah the humanity! The screams, the shrieks and the cursing!

After such a successful attack, our generals decided to follow up with another the very next night. We gathered up our weapons and headed out in the dark through the grass and up the hill to Hamilton Hall. We were half way up the hill when suddenly girls leaped up from where they had been hiding in ambush and began throwing water balloons at us. For a few minutes the air was thick with flying eggs, soggy toilet paper and water balloons. There was lots of screaming and yelling. Some of the water in the balloons smelled like it came out of the bottom of the rain barrels at Hamilton Hall. Some of it smelled much worse. Then all of sudden it stopped. We were out of ammo.

The girls started dragging off some of the guys as prisoners so we grabbed some girls as hostages too. With all the hullabaloo the dorm masters came out, then the assistant headmaster Ed Craig came out. Prisoners were exchanged, and a cease and desist order issued. Mr. Craig and Mr Pettitt gathered us together in the
sala and talked to all the boys in the dorm. Things were getting out of hand and people were getting hurt. Some of the staff were concerned at the waste of eggs, our ammo was their food. I felt embarrassed about that. It never crossed my mind how it might look.

Chagrined, a couple of us went and apologized the next day to Domingo and my friends in the kitchen. They listened somberly as I stumbled with the words, my head hung in shame. Then one of the cooks laughed and tousled the hair on my head and another patted me on the back. Freddie nodded his head and said "good boys". They gave us some slices of freshly baked jelly rolls and a cup of tea! All was forgiven, things were back to normal.

During the second week of Martial Law, the Department of Education issued a directive that all schools in the Philippines implement a "work oriented curriculum", wherein one day each week be allotted for civic work. In keeping with this mandate, Brent would designate Friday of each week as "Work Day". However, that first week back we had Thursday and Friday as Work Days; And so we began work on an Animal Farm.

After flag raising we reported to our home room where Mrs. Estascio gave us our class assignment. The Brent campus was always very clean. You never saw trash laying around anywhere, so any cleaning we were going to do would be outside the gate along the fence of the athletic field along Brent Road. Most of us were assigned to the Animal Farm. We would be moving rocks, digging post holes and helping to erect a fence to contain whatever animals we might have. It was good to be doing something again and the day students were glad to be out of their homes finally. Most of the parents had kept their children home and indoors for the first week of Martial Law. Some of them had not seen any schoolmates for two weeks!

The whole school turned out, tasks assigned and divided by grades. Most of the boys were doing the hauling, digging and lifting. There were "bucket brigades" of rock haulers, moving loose stones which were being collected to build an amphitheater and pond. The elementary grades began work on a garden, tilling, spading, pulling weeds and making raised beds. At noon we had lunch on the Neutral, with tables brought out from the dining room set up with platters of sandwiches, potato chips, lemonade and ice tea. After a extra long lunch we went back to moving stones. Time went quickly and the next thing we knew the dismissal bell rang. The next day was a repeat of the first, except that after lunch we were essentially done for the day, and we went about putting away the tools. By two o'clock we were ready for the weekend! By the time the dismissal bell rang most of the boarders were at the gate waiting to sign out. We were heading downtown for the first time in two weeks!

1 comment:

  1. My dormmate Joe Butler wrote me with these recollections:

    "I have some very vivid memories about these raids. Mark Murray and I participated, and I think I might have been one of the many reasons why these raids were stopped.

    As one of the youngest boarders, Mark and I were assigned to guard one of the routes back to the boy's dorm if the girls mounted a counter offensive. Mark and I strategically placed ourselves under cover by the path that led to Wieser Hall via Amos Hall (Library/Science Building). After waiting patiently, a column of girls strode by us, on their way to do damage at Wieser. We leapt out, screaming loudly as we hurled wet toilet paper at the girls. The girls screamed and ran, dispersing in all directions. We had effectively stopped the counter offensive.

    After stopping the bandits, Mark and I went on to look for more victims. We walked up the covered path towards Binsted and saw a few girls headed back to Hamilton. We lay in wait to scare the enemy. When the 3 ladies approached, we jumped out to scare them off, but this time they just stood there in a daze. Apparently, the girls knew nothing of the panty raids and were not amused. All of a sudden, I was on the ground, out cold. One of the girls picked up a boulder, ok - a big rock -(I think it was Kelly Boncan, but I don't quite remember. She was a little thing, I don't really know how she was able to pick up the rock and toss it) and tossed at the back of my head. It seemed like a long time but I think I was only out for less than a minute.

    Mark and I were ready to head back to the dorms, thinking better of scaring any more people due to the hazards of projectile igneous matter (rocks). When we got to the dorms, it was a full scale war. Shaving cream everywhere, girls and boys duking it out. As we tried to get back to our rooms, one of the girls (I think it was Kathy Duncan) tried to give me a mousse job with shaving cream. My wounds were fresh, so I protected my head and ended up smacking poor Kathy in the mouth, giving her a bloody lip. That was it! Mr. Pettit ended it and I don't remember any more raids after that night.

    It is a memory I will never forget. I think I am in one of pictures you have of all the kids planting and digging - I think I am the one with the shovel in the background. I recognize my Adidas shoes!"