Christian Bible College I

From: [email protected] (Sarah3333)


o 0 o

It was 5:30 in mid November, 1965, and Danny was waiting outside the office of Sylvia Thomas, Dean of Freshmen at Christian Bible College. He had been called in after passing out drunk in his dormitory lounge the night before. It was bad enough that alchoholic beverages were forbidden at Christian Bible College. To make matters worse, this was the second time in five weeks that Danny had been caught drinking and called into the Dean's office. Five weeks earlier, Dean Thomas had placed him on probation, warning him that he faced possible expulsion if he was caught drinking again. At that time, he had promised her earnestly that it would never happen again. Now he would have to face her without the slightest excuse to explain his bad behavior.

After giving him a knowing look, Mrs. Carrington, the Dean's secretary, had buzzed into Dean Thomas's offive to let him know Danny had arrived. And for the next ten minutes, she looked up periodically from her typing to give Danny a series of stern looks which made it clear she knew why he was there.

Finally, Dean Thomas's door opened and out came her assistant, Miss. Judy Kernan, a recent graduate of CBC who had stayed on with a career in academic administration in mind. She stared down coldly at Danny and said,

"You may go in now, young man."

Danny got up, already embarrassed to be called "young man" by someone in her mid-twenties. Once again, Mrs. Carrington stopped typing and gave Danny another severe look as he got up from his chair next to her desk and walked past Miss. Kernan into the dean's office.

As the door closed behind him, he saw Dean Thomas look up with a cold glare before gesturing toward the empty chair in front of her desk. As he sat down, she said,

"I'll be with you in a minute, Danny."

For the next three or four minutes, Danny sat there and waited, his right leg jiggling back and forth nervously. With nothing else to do, he looked more closely at Dean Thomas. She was a large, but very attractive woman in her late forties who wore her black hair in a tight bun and dressed in elegant yet conservative clothes. As Danny shifted around in his chair, he noticed how her silk blouse and tight, burgundy dress suit made her seem both feminine and authoritative all at once. A strong scent of lavender perfume hung in the air and for a moment, Danny lost himself in a reverie tied to that fragrance.

Finally Dean Thomas put down her pen, pushed her papers away, and directed an angry, fixed gaze at Danny over the tops of her reading glasses.

"Young man, since you have violated the probation I imposed a mere two weeks ago, I should be expelling you as I did Jonathan Benson. Yes, Jonathan is packing his bags right now and leaving Christian Bible College for good. We cannot allow students to continue here if they get drunk and destroy school property. Didn't I tell you five weeks ago that you faced expulsion if you were ever caught drinking again?"

"Yes, Dean Thomas," Danny replied, his eyes looking away toward the floor.

"Young man, I expect you to look at me when I'm speaking to you. Do you understand?"

"I'm sorry Dean Thomas. I'm terribly sorry."

"You're going to be a lot more sorry, child, when I'm finished with you. Didn't you look me in the eye five weeks ago and promise this would never happen again?"

"Ye... yes, Dean Thomas," Danny replied, wishing he could avoid her withering gaze more than anything else in the world.

"And yet you went out yesterday and got hold of some beer and got drunk again last night, didn't you, young man?"

"Please ... Dean Thomas. I know it was wrong and that there is no excuse for what I did. Please don't expel me. My mother will kill me."

"Actually, your mother has another plan for you, young man, a plan which I whole heartedly endorse and which is obviously overdue. I'll tell you more about that in a moment. For now, I want to know how you would describe the promise you made to me five weeks ago."

"I ... I dunno, Dean Thomas ...I guess I didn't ... didn't mean what I said ... although at the time I know I did ... really I did."

"Young man, do you really expect me to believe such nonsense. I'd say you were lying to me five weeks ago when you promised you wouldn't drink again. I'd say we have a little liar on our hands, wouldn't you, Danny."

"Please, Dean Thomas, please! I wasn't lying ... really I wasn't."

"What would you call it when you tell me you won't do something and then go right ahead and do it. Young man, you've been behaving more like a schoolboy than a college freshman who can be trusted with new freedoms and responsibilities. It's schoolboy who promise the world to avoid paying the piper when they misbehave, isn't it? You made a promise to me you had no intention of keeping, didn't you? Your behavior last night is proof of that."

"Please, Dean Thomas, if you give me another chance, I swear I won't let you down."

"Why should I? You've shown me that you can't be trusted. Isn't that right, young man?"

Randy looked down guiltily for a moment before forcing his eyes back up. Finally he stammered,

"I su... suppose so, Dean Thomas."

"Would you say in light of what happened last night that your probation was an effective punishment, Danny?"

After a painful hesitation, Danny shook his head. Caught in her fixed gaze and in his own foolish behavior, he felt utterly helpless and miserable.

"So you agree you deserve a more serious punishment this time, Danny?"

Sensing the possibility that he might not be expelled, Danny's face brightened and he blurted out,

"Yes, Dean Thomas, yes ... I agree. Please isn't there some other punishment besides expulsion?"

"There is, young man, and if you were my son, you'd be home in my parlor right now getting a good dose of it. If any student ever needed an old fashioned lesson from a parental figure, it's a college boy who acts more like an eight grader."

Danny blushed noticeably and looked away again, unable to bear the embarrassment of being spoken to this way. At the same time, he knew it was all his fault and that he had no business protesting any of her remarks. In less than five minutes, Dean Thomas had made him feel more like a miserable schoolboy than an eighteen year old away at college.

"Young man, I asked you NOT to look away and I meant it. Don't make me repeat myself."

After Danny forced his eyes back to Dean Thomas, she continued.

"I have decided to give you another chance, young man, but only after the long talk I had with your mother earlier today. She convinced me to try a three part punishment which will involve a considerable change in your situation here."

"You spoke with my mother," Danny asked, his face twisted in shock and dismay.

"I certainly did, young man. Who do you think I would call to discuss your possible expulsion. We had a long talk about your behavior and she persuaded me to give you another chance. Normally, I wouldn't have relented in a second offense like this. But when she described her own plans to punish you, I agreed to give it a try."

"Her own plans ...," Danny echoed, his eyes showing real fear for the first time.

"Yes, child. You heard me correctly. Actually, your punishment is more complicated than that and only one part involves your mother. First, I have extended your probation for the rest of the school year with an immediate expulsion for any signs of drinking. Second, I will be monitoring your school behavior very closely by speaking to all of your teachers every week and reporting back to your mother every Thursday afternoon. If there are any problems in academic performance or school behavior, your mother will drive here on Friday afternoon at 5:00 and punish you in her own, effective manner."

Danny's face went red for the first time as he wondered how much his mother had told her.

"Third, we both agree you are much too immature to handle the freedom of dormitory living. I have suggested the name of an old friend of mine, Mrs. Susan Zanders, who rents a room in her house to supplement her income which is now available. Since Mrs. Zanders raised two very well behaved boys of her own, I assured your mother that she has lots of experience dealing with immature young men like you who need close supervision and a firm hand. She even did some babysitting for Tommy when her boys were way in camp in the summer. I know she will provide the kind of strict guidance you need to stay on the right path. Your mother and I discussed that point at some length and it seems we all share the same philosophy. Of course, you are free to reject this arrangement and pack your bags immediately to return home. My decision is absolutely final and I expect no backtalk or pleading, young man. Would you like another chance to stay on at CBC or will it be expulsion?"

Danny swallowed painfully and managed to nod before closing his eyes momentarily to escape her gaze.

"Your mother is on her way right now. In fact, she should have been here five minutes ago. I have also arranged for students in your dormitory to pack up all of your things in boxes even as we speak on the assumption that you would either be going home with your mother or moving into Mrs. Zander's home."

"My mother? ... is coming here now?" Danny could hardly believe his ears.

"Yes, Danny, she will be here any moment. And when she gets here, she plans to make quite an impression which we both agree should have been made five weeks ago. I only wish more parents continued to use traditional discipline into the mid or even late teens when necessary. We wouldn't have half of the problems we have on campus if they did."

Danny said nothing as his ears began to burn and slowly turned bright red. Apparently his mother had told Dean Thomas quite a lot.

"Young man, I have a storeroom in the basement which is ideal for the task at hand. I used to take my son down there now and then when his school trouble couldn't wait for the end of the day. At this hour, the only person left in the building is my secretary, Mrs. Carrington. And since she has two teenage boys of her own and handles them the same way your mother handles you, it won't be a problem with her in the building."

"What ... what do you mean?," Danny asked. By now, his whole body was flushed and butterflies were churning in his stomach. For a moment, a wave of dizziness came over him and then passed.

Just then the buzzer rang and Mrs. Carrington announced that Danny's mother had arrived.

"Send her in please, Lucy," Dean Thomas said.

As his mother entered the dean's office with a familiar, grim expression on her face, Danny sat there, immobilied by a fear which was all too visible on his face. As his mother introduced herself to Dean Thomas and sat down in another chair, Danny's throat went completely dry and his heart started pounding wildly. For a moment, he tried to plead his case.

"Mother, please, I can explain, I know I messed up and..."

"Be quiet, young man. I'm not here to listen to more lies or excuses. You will not speak unless either of us asks you a question, is that clear? I've just spent an hour driving up here and I'm going to have another hour's drive back home after driving you and your things to your new home. The last thing I have time is an insobordinate young man who is already in enough hot water. In a few minutes, I am going to teach you a lesson about responsible behavior at this college which you will remember for the rest of the semester."

As she spoke, she reached into her large purse and pulled out a smooth-backed, oval hairbrush which she placed pointedly on her lap where it attracted Dean Thomas's approving eye. Nor was she the only person to take interest. Since the office door was open with a direct line of sight to Mrs. Carringtion' desk, she too could see into the room and took notice. With this latest turn, Danny was beside himself with shame and looked down at the floor in utter misery as his face turned scarlet. Fortunately, Dean Thomas did not ask him to look up. And he remained that way, looking like a chastened schoolboy while his mother continued.

"Because this is your second offense, young man, I told Dean Thomas two good lessons would be needed, one today for your first offense and another one next Friday for your second offense. I want to make good and sure I never hear anything more about drinking for the next three and a half years. Are we clear on that, little man?"

Danny looked up briefly and nodded, his eyes already beginning to tear over as the helplessness of his situation and his own responsibility for it sank in further. He was deeply glad to be avoiding expulsion and saving his one chance for a college education. But he was also humiliated beyond measure at the punishment he had brought down on himself and the fact that two or even three members of the college staff would know all about it.

"That's more like it, young man. After two visits, we'll play it by ear from week to week. I have asked Dean Thomas to call me every Thursday afternoon for the rest of the year in case I need to drive up on another Friday and administer further discipline. I have also spoken with Mrs. Zanders and asked her to inform me of any serious misbehavior. Fortunately, she had has agreed to handle minor infractions and has convinced me she knows exactly what to do." Turning to Dean Thomas, she added.

"I'm afraid Danny's recent behavior has shown just how immature he still is. Nonetheless, I expect you will see a marked improvement starting tomorrow."

"How long has he gone since you last punished him, Ruth?"

"Hmmm ... let's see ... I'd say somewhere around seven or eight weeks ... but only because he's not living at home. Up until he left for college, he needed a firm hand about once a month or so."

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