Page 108

Meads

A break in the pattern. A novelty, an exception. -Or so I presumed. MY SOUTHERN HIGH SCHOOL WAS NAMED for a Yankee philanthropist who bought 2500 acres on an island in the Currituck Sound after World War I because he loved to duck hunt. With his third wife, a Mississippi belle, Joseph Palmer Knapp settled on Mackey Island and together the couple attempted to improve the county's d ismal schools, most operating without heat, lights or running water and none in session for longer than three months of the year. The Knapps generously funded two schools, three "teacherages" to board instructors and underwrote a hot lunch program, but before any educational facility in the county bore his name (and only his), Joseph Palmer Knapp had been dead ten years. During my era at J.P. Knapp High School, the student body, all told, numbered fewer than 180-a yeasty microcosm, 180 teenagers. Athletic, social and scholastic rivalries were unrelenting, nasty, supercharged and intensely personal. C lassroom intrigue tacked onto locker room intrigue tacked onto lunchroom intrigue. A mix and match of cattiness, cruelty, behind-the-back snickers and in-the-face confrontation. All very exhausting, even for a healthy sixteen-year-old. Every few weeks or so I simply wore out under the pressure, faked sickness and slept in. I needed those breaks; I needed the oblivion and restoration of sleep. To get what I needed, I probably would have done much worse than lie to my mother, but she spared me the escalation. For reasons of her own, I now perceive, on those mornings when, instead of rising, I burrowed deeper, she did no more than check my forehead before she closed the door and left me to it. AT UNC-CHAPEL HILL, WHILE I LIVED ON CAMPUS, I lived in Parker Dorm, part of a three-dorm residence college. Innovative for its time, Parker featured suites of rooms that opened onto an open-air posterior hallway. In our suite, mine was one of the rooms that faced the hallway and courtyard. In theory, all rooms were identical, but in fact night noise divided them, two by two. The front side of the building took the brunt of street noise and panty raider pleas; the backside, the rush and jabber of co-eds on the go. Nonetheless, when I closed the books, plumped my pillow and switched off my flower-decaled bedside lamp, I slept as if sedated. T o EARN MONEY FOR A CHARTER FLIGHT TO EUROPE and summer Eurrail pass, I took a job waitressing at The Pines the spring semester of my junior year. UNC basketball coach Dean Smith frequented The Pines, so the place had cachet. It was a dark and cavernous, multi-leveled establishment, the highest level an interior balcony accessed by stairs fairly treacherous even 106

Profile for University of Idaho Library

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho