By the stories of some, the ghost of its namesake haunted the rooms and passages of Huntress Hall. In 1975, the old brick dormitory played home to its 50th class of collegiate women bustling about its three living and one service floors, providing a central location on the quad of the state system school.
Diagonally and to the right rear of Huntress Hall stood a small dwelling, a couple of decades older than its neighbour, and once a family home long since purchased by the college. Some ten students lived in this home and in two rooms to the front upstairs, one of which was a glassed in porch, lived me.
The close proximity to haunted Huntress gave me ready access to laundry. A short one-minute walk to the dorm service floor back door, throw my clothes in, head back to the house for a half hour, and return. Easy.
In late September of 1975, I followed the routine of every other laundry day, walked over and tossed in the front loading washer. The vintage machine boasted a soap spout at its top front like some overgrown snubnosed teakettle; close door, pour soup in spout – in measured proportion.
The laundry room did not meet modern code, what with no drain in the floor to whisk away the errors of the unthinking and ill skilled. The room held four washers and four dryers, and from a service point of view, met the needs of some one hundred fifty students.
She walked in right then, during the stuff’n load. Naturally curious to see who entered, I looked up into a death ray glare, the burn of eyes searing a tan onto my innocent and bewildered hide. Taken aback and defensive although unspeaking, I’m sure you can figure out how my mind at once categorised her, but I’ll leave it to imagination and decorum. She pivoted and left, and seconds later, done with phase one, so did I.
A half hour later, returning for the clothes switcheroo from washer swapped into industrial grade dryer, the room cooled on entry when I saw who pre-worked a different washer. Uh oh, and sure enough, she rendered The Look. WTF? WhaddidIdo?
Puzzled but nonetheless uncomfortable, I completed the task and hurriedly headed out for air to cool my roasted aura, returning after another half hour pause to a laundry room empty of students but chock full of bubbly, almost cloudlike, suds.
I mean Lucille Ball type suds, over six inches deep, covering the entire laundry room floor. And the suds emanated from Glare Girl’s machine. Giddy with glee, I burst into laughter upon spotting the flapping soap fill spout, where the ejaculated water spewed forth like white foamy lava, flowing down the machine, further filling the room.
Saying a prayer to the goddess of karma, she tossed some guilt back my way, so I tried to shut down the machine; no luck. Over the top and into its back workings, I shut down the water supply and cut off the plumbing comedy at the source. Retaking the slippery floor, I evaluated the liquid carnage just as Unfortunate One returned.
“You’ve got a problem!” was my nana nana boo boo toothy grinned payback to her.
She responded with a loud wail of distress, and in a semi-sadistic aha gotcha back sort of way, I suppose I enjoyed her woe. Yet, within seconds, I had tracked down a mop and bucket, and started to swab. By then it was pushing dinnertime, and students poured out of the building on their ritualistic march to the Dining Commons for their fill of college swill. On their passage, ‘you dumb f***’ looks came my way, their erroneous assumption was me what spewed soapage all over the laundry area.
With the clean up assist came the first hint of a smile. Within a week, we approached being best friends. And what followed in the coming months proved crazier than the sitcom situation on the day we first met.
(Author’s note: the story you have just read is true. No names have been given to protect my sorry arse.)