July 4th: Many instructors had students ask if there is class on July 4th and be quite surprised to learn that we do work on the holiday. As I have explained to my classes, "It's not like we can call your parents and tell them to take you home for the day!"
During our orientation that I mentioned to Shirley (our liaison with Washington College) to please make sure they programmed the air conditioning to be on in the classrooms on Monday. Some years back, when the 4th also fell on a Monday, the system was set for a summer holiday weekend (meaning, basically, "off"). Unfortunately, it was not a mild weekend like we've been experiencing, but one of those hazy/hot/humid 90+ kind. Needless to say, on Monday morning the classrooms were somewhere between sauna and pizza oven; despite it being 90 degrees outside, we went out to cool off. It was not until 1:00 that Washington College got someone to show up and turn the a/c on, by which time we'd all abandoned our classrooms and were holding classes in such places as the dining hall, the office, and the basement in one of the dorms. (The Bay Ecology classes went on a field trip down to the river, as I recall.)
And, finally, the Chestertown fireworks are a July 4th tradition, with the students being taken to the stadium stands to sit and watch. One year, when the 4th was a Friday, the dance was interrupted so the students could view them, prompting one bright lad to ask, "Are the fireworks outside?"
Who Has the Kids? While my daughter Sammi was visiting over the weekend, we got to talking about memorable CTY incidents. She reminded me of one during her first year on staff, when she was an RA, and she had the girls from my class on her hall. The father of one of said girls was coming at lunchtime one Tuesday to take his daughter to a doctor's appointment. Sammi happened to walk into the office shortly before lunch.
Lucille (the office manager): Sammi, Mr. Jones is coming in shortly to pick up Sally.
Sammi: Okay, but I don't have her now.
L: Well, where is she?
S: My father has her.
L (puzzled): Your father?
S: Yes, he's got all my girls.
L (becoming distressed): What?! Why does your father have all the girls? Does the administration know about this?
S: Lucille, my father is Bob!
L: Your father is Bob?! Really? Well, I guess maybe you look a little alike.
Just to make sure Sammi wasn't making it up, Lucille checked with me that afternoon that she was indeed my daughter.
"Don't start no mess, won't be no mess." Those were the sage words of advice from Miss Joy, our very first Office Manager (both at the Goucher site and then in Chestertown). In her third CTY summer, those words were emblazoned on a sign in the Main Office and continued to hang there every summer she was with us.
In my second year, I had a girl in the class who was particularly accident-prone. She got poked in the eye by a tree branch, she cut her arm on a fence, she broke her ankle playing a game. It seemed like every other day she was going to the doctor. One evening, I walked into the office and Miss Joy was on the phone with the hospital. Turned out that my student, who had just been at the hospital that morning, was back there again.
Whoever Miss Joy was speaking with was giving her a hard time, saying that they did not have the girl's paperwork and so they could not treat her. "Now don't you tell me you don't have that child's paperwork," said Miss Joy, "because I have sent it over to you at least four times this week!... Yes, I think you should go and look for it!... Her name? She's sitting right there in front of you!... It's Farthington. Farthington!! With an F... as in..." There was a very long pause and then Miss Joy said, "Firetruck!"
When she had hung up the phone, I said, "Miss Joy, 'firetruck' wasn't the first word you thought of, was it?"
She just smiled at me and said, "Mister Bob, you know that I am too much of a lady to say what I was thinking."