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Hole in the Window
Spring comes none too soon in Seattle. The winters turn gray and wet. Rarely is there more than a dusting of snow but there is drizzle, months of drizzle. And wet cold. And no sun.
During my sophomore year at the University of Washington I belonged to a fraternity, Zeta Psi and lived off campus.. The fraternity house was on Greek Row, the main street through the neighborhood in which the fraternities and sororities were concentrated. How many fraternities and sororities there were I don’t know, but there were many.
When spring arrived the area became alive with activity. The young men and women students celebrated the sun. They would lay in the grass, play frisbee, make out on the park benches, have a picnic, etc. It was like spring had banished the rain and the damp.
Sometimes this celebration got out of hand. I’ll tell you about one.
On one of the sunny spring days I was standing with a fraternity brother on the sidewalk at the side of our house. We were talking when suddenly there was a
“Huh? What was that?”
“What the hell . . .?”
And we looked up the street and saw two blocks away three guys on the roof of their four-story fraternity. They had made a sling shot out of surgical tubing and a basket and were lobbing water balloons onto the street and houses below.
Fortunately they had a puny sling shot and all of their missiles fell short of the target.
But it galvanized our group. This must have happened before, though I never experienced it. Our group responded with time-saving efficiency. First we pulled out a garbage can and started filling water balloons. In a short time the garbage can was full to the top. There must have been eighty water balloons.
While this was happening others were putting our sling shot together. Someone in the house had surgical tubing, lots of it. It is very elastic, being about as thick as your thumb. We tied it to the right and left sides of a plastic bread basket.
We were ready. I held the right band of surgical tubing. Another fellow held the left band. In the middle was the “gunner”, who pulled the basket holding the water balloon back as far as he could and then released it.
Wang went our sling shot and the water balloon sailed up and over the four-story house that was two blocks uphill. Wow! We had a brawny sling shot! Those other guys couldn’t hit our house and they were lobbing downhill from the roof of the four-story building. We were slinging balloons over the top of their building, uphill! This was great.
Now you must reflect for a moment that we were nineteen. Today I might not think it was as much fun as I did then. But, back then . . .yes, it was fun.
We settled into clearing the guys off their roof. As we got the range we were able to lob these balloons just over the ridge of the roof. I suppose if we had hit one of the guys it would have knocked him off the building. They must have come to the same conclusion because they vacated their post.
Now we just decided to pepper the side of their house. We launched balloon after balloon which struck the brick wall around the windows. Always the bricks, always the bricks.
Until … we hit a window. Now that in itself was a redeeming moment. I learned something I would not have suspected. When a window is struck with a water balloon, it does not shatter. The balloon cuts a clean hole in the glass. Imagine that!
I suppose what happens inside the room isn’t all that nice.
Well this got us fired up and we started concentrating on the windows. I think we had scored twelve when this guy walks up behind us and says,
“What’s going on here?”
“Those guys in that house up there were lobbing water balloons at us. So, we’re knocking out their windows”,
we said, laughing.
“Well, I’m the president of that house and if you don”t knock this s–t off, we are going to come down here with rocks and knock all of your windows out.”
Oh!. We hadn’t thought of that. Just a spring day when you are nineteen and away from home. The “fun” just sort of dissipated.
I think it cost our Fraternity $500 to repair the windows . . a lot of money in those days.
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