Posts Tagged ‘spies’

Spies (A Boarding School Adventure)

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

spies-boarding-school-adventureOne night during seventh grade, after the lights were out in the dorm at my boarding school, my best friend and I sneaked out and grabbed a chair on the way out. We also had a plastic cup, a notepad, and a pencil. We walked across the dewy grass in the moonlight.

We stuck the chair under the window of the secret eighth grade room where they were preparing for the ninth grade banquet. (The school only went up to ninth grade.) No one was supposed to know ahead of time what the theme of the banquet was. The themes were glorious, and no expense was spared. One year it was “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” and the decorations of the banquet room looked like you had just walked into an underwater paradise with seaweed, fish, octopuses, and even sunken treasure. Clues were posted outside the banquet hall each year, to see if anyone could guess the theme. No one ever did.

But tonight we were going to find out. We were going to be spies and pick up secret information that no one else in the whole school knew.

The eighth graders got to stay up later than everyone else as they prepared for this wonderful banquet. So my friend and I climbed up onto the chair and peeked through the windows, which were sloppily blocked off with newspaper. A tiny slit gave us barely enough room to see fragments of objects and people walking by. We listed a few random words on our notepad:

  1. a box of wood
  2. suitcases
  3. orange and white checkered blanket and pink crepe paper
  4. glue and chalk
  5. a background sheet with a rocket landing on the moon
  6. books opened to outer space, universe, rockets, and moon
  7. brown paper
  8. papier mache

We put the cup up to the window and listened. We wrote down snatches of the conversation on the notepad:

  1. “Do you have the mat?”
  2. “Aunt Julie probably has a long one.” (maybe a pole to put a US flag on when you get to the moon?)
  3. “I don’t have to wear a special costume,” said a teacher.
  4. “When would you pack your suitcases to go on a rocket to the future?”

Then, before being discovered, we hurried back into the dorm, replaced the chair and the cup, and crawled into our beds.

The next day my friend and I met up at the tree house and discussed our clues that we had gathered the previous night. We were obviously looking at an outer space theme. We guessed that the students would wear space suits, but not the teachers. My original notes (now 20 years later) state that there would be underground cities on the moon. I have no idea how we jumped to this conclusion, but we kept our information to ourselves, and no one ever knew about our nighttime spying.

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Falling Through the Ceiling

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

boarding-school-2At boarding school, I always loved to play Nancy Drew, and I would go investigating with a flashlight any place that looked suspicious. Well, one day my younger sister was crying because she was homesick, so I asked her to join my adventure. I had recently scoped out a mysterious place–the attic of the girls’ dorm. No one had ever told us not to go up there, and lo and behold, the trap door was already open, and a ladder was positioned perfectly so that we had to change nothing in the room to begin our adventure.

I boldly climbed up the ladder and entered the dusty attic. I turned on the flashlight and waved it around the room to investigate if there were any bats or secret treasure. Even a trunk or chest full of old dress-up clothes would have been nice, like in the movies. But, no. It was pretty empty up there except for the dust.

There was enough room for me to stand up, and there were wooden beams across the floor. Between each beam were white rectangles separated by thin pieces of wood. When my sister finished climbing up, I told her to follow me as I leaped from beam to beam. We heard the giggles of two girls as they were playing. It seemed like we were in the same room, but they couldn’t see us because we were hidden like spies. I squatted down and looked through a crack in the floor. I could see my best friend playing dolls with another girl. I knocked on the ceiling, and they were confused. I giggled to myself.

I stood up again, jumping from beam to beam. Suddenly I accidentally stepped on a white rectangle, and CRASH! I fell through the ceiling, right onto a square metal trashcan. I knocked a clock off the wall on the way down, and it shattered on the hard floor. That floor was really hard, and it all happened so quickly that I was in shock. That split second was blurry, and I felt dizzy. One of the girls was in the living room and saw me fall through the ceiling. She laughed and went to tell our dorm mother. I knew I was in trouble. My poor little sister peered through the gaping hole at her injured sister. She must have backtracked her steps to get out of the scene of the crime. Who knows if she could be seen whistling nonchalantly as she walked to her dorm room, pretending as if nothing had happened?

I was deluged with questions from my dorm mother, all of which I answered instantly and honestly. She decided not to spank me, since my toosh was already in bad shape. Luckily I hadn’t broken any bones. However, I did not get away with it scott free. Both my sister and I had to peel potatoes for a month, and many of those potatoes had worms in them. We were just grateful that we had escaped worse punishment. For the whole month, I had to take a pillow with me from class to class to sit on, since it was too painful to sit on a hard chair. I suppose my injury punished me enough to think twice before investigating suspicious places again.

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