We seemed to have more than the average number of accidents. Blame it on the cobblestone brick roads, the massive cement pillars everywhere, Meg’s farm animals in the hallway, the rushes to get to classes on time. First Aid class was our top priority, but we learned that, like most everything else, on our own.
Peggy was perfect. In every way, she was the best behaved, sane, cautious, and observant. She attended all her classes, got straight As. Peg had perfect, straight teeth, not a single cavity or filling. She seemed to be the first health food nut, slender and careful, eschewed candy and treats. Peggy was our peacemaker, our logical thinker, our straight-laced arrow and the one entrusted to deliver news in the calmest fashion. It was absolutely our responsibility to alter this saint. We took our job seriously.
Meg took immediate action. She was a formidable dance partner as Peggy tells it and we all needed a refresher. Homecoming was nearing and Meg was showing some fine steps to us inside our tiny room and adjacent hall. Strong and athletic, Meg’s square dance swung Peggy against the dorm’s rock wall. Peggy’s head cracked like a pumpkin, providing us with the first in a long line of opportunities to administer aid.
Meg’s attempts to teach us how to care for our skin in the arid, harsh climate included an ice cold rinse to the face. Peg’s first try resulted in a soap-blinded, head-long, full blast crash into the cinder block shower wall. First Aid. Peggy reports that despite this failed attempt, she maintains this beauty procedure in her daily routine. And yes, 35 years later, she is still…..perfect.
Meg dallied in the distant campus common room with any of us as captive victims, but she preferred the rhyming Peg. Seconds before curfew… a forced a madcap dash, then a soldier’s crawl through low junipers to reach the dorm before the doors were bolted. Locked out could mean suspension or perhaps lashings, we weren’t sure. We would toss rocks at the immense windows until someone could sneak out and let escapees in through our beloved fire escape/alternate entrance.
There were slivers to pull. Scrapes to clean. Eyes to rinse. Torn knees to repair. And the occasional broken window. We were in it together. If it meant a trial and the stockades we would stand together. If one was at fault, then all.