Note: Another “storytime with Carol Ann” post – lengthy, but fun memories!
So….I posted a long time ago about the boarding school I attended during my high school years, Tambo. As I mentioned in that post, every day you had an hour or so of work detail to do after classes got out in the afternoons…hmmm, I should reinstate this around my own house! We actually might be able to maintain a clean house if I did. 🙂 Anyway, my favorite work detail was Kitchen Duty. Various fun cooking and prep for dinners was done…and I really liked the cook and his wife, the Johnsons! They were great people and plus, it beat being out in the hot sun working in the gardens, or laundry detail, etc. Well, to share the rest of the story and have it make sense, I have to tell you about the music situation at Tambo.
Music at Tambo was censored. You were not allowed to listen to secular or even Christian rock music. However, if someone (an older sibling/someone who loved you) sent you a cassette tape of music you were allowed to listen to the tape once – then had to turn it in to your dorm parents until the end of the school year. It was pretty funny – somehow word travelled like wildfire if anyone received a tape in the mail and a slew of bodies would cram in to the little dorm room to share in the beauty of listening to the “forbidden” music. I understand some of the rules, but this one was hard for me. Those of you who know me, know that music – all kinds – is huge in my life (maybe it had something to do with having been restricted from a steady diet of music for several years). One time I thought I could be sneaky and listen to some rock music through a ham radio that my friend had to talk to her parents out in the jungle. Her brother, nicknamed Pud, was expelled from school and she was my best friend – Bethany. Bethany and I would talk to Pud several times a week and one time we decided that it would be great if he’s play some good music for us over the radio waves. We were enjoying a great interlude to our rock music-lesslives – jamming out to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, when I heard that Mr. Locy, another dorm dad was looking for me. Yep, he was tuning in to his ham radio, getting ready for a call he had set up somewhere else in Bolivia when mysteriously he found the frequency where Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was playing. I tried to explain how cool it was that you could actually hear great music over the radio…it didn’t fly, I got off with a stern warning.
So, finally, in desperation, I began listening to whatever music was “allowed” in the dorms. You had your pick of The Gaithers and many groups like them. Not saying they’re bad, just not a typical choice for a teenage girl. However, Mr. Pittenger, my dorm dad, did have one tape that had decent music on it from a church he’d attended when he was on furlough in the states. One day I decided that it would be great to share the music with the rest of the students on Kitchen Work Detail with me…Mr. Johnson said it would be okay, so I found Mr. Pittenger and asked the great favor, “Please, Mr. Pittenger, I have to have music to listen to – it makes life so much better….” With a strong reminder how that was also one of his favorite tapes and to be careful, etc., he was kind enough to let me borrow it.
I grabbed the cassette, reported to Kitchen Duty, and plopped the tape into the cassette player in the kitchen. Everyone was enjoying the refreshing idea of working to music…when the tape finished one side. Naturally we wanted to hear the other side. Well, that day I was making syrup – when you make syrup for hundreds of students, you brew it up in a HUGE kettle! My syrup was bubbling and coming along quite nicely. I reached up to the shelf above it where the cassette player was sitting. I pushed eject. “Noooooo……” (read “no” with a very dramatic drawn out voice). Yep, you guessed it. No one told me that this was a bionic cassette player that thrust cassettes into space when you pushed Eject! The cassette (one of Mr. Pittenger’s favorites) was sent spiraling into the air. Woosh, woosh, woosh – it twisted it’s way back down to earth and plunged into the huge kettle of brewing syrup! We all looked in astonishment. I muttered things to myself silently. I grabbed some extraordinarily massive tongs and began the recovery mission. Lifting the thoroughly drenched syrupy cassette tape, I wiped off the damage the best I could.
“Mr. Pittenger, did you know Mr. Johnson’s tape player is amazing! It pops things out like a toaster! Ummm…too bad I didn’t know that ahead of time. See, your cassette – yeah, the one you really, really like, ummm….it’s, ummmm, yeah, well, it’s no longer useable.”
Mr. Pittenger was very gracious. He just shook his head and laughed. He was used to me. I was also the one who collided with him in the laundry room when I was tearing through there to get to the showers after goofing off in a flash flood we had – I thought they’d cancel study hall, they didn’t, so I was hurrying to get cleaned up…we collided, fell into the kerosene cans and were both sprawled on the floor with kerosene dripping all over and around us.
“Mr. Pittenger, ummm….see, it’s like this…okay, I’ll just go now, thanks, sorry, ummm…..”
I’m glad Mr. Pittenger survived my time in Tambo!
So, for all the many things…you may not even remember them all, but, Mr. Pittenger, I’m sorry! 🙂
Here’s a picture of the center of Tambo, near the kitchen. The gardens were always beautiful.