Animal House


  • This weekend is Dad’s Weekend at Purdue University.
  • Tim is the dad of two Purdue University sorority girls.
  • Therefore, Tim is at Purdue with his daughters who plan to take him out to party at the fraternities tonight.

I don’t think he realizes what’s about to hit him.

All of this sorority and fraternity stuff is new to Tim.  He’s a graduate of Goshen College, where the most radical thing a student there could do is vote Republican.  I was in a sorority at the University of South Carolina for two years then I transferred to Penn State where I could barely afford three squares a day let alone sorority fees.  I was, however, a frequent flyer at the fraternities because I could barely afford three squares a day and, sorority or no sorority, the beer was free.

Last spring when I went to Mom’s Weekend at Purdue, I was one of the few moms who didn’t stay over and go out with her daughter(s) to the fraternities that night.  I really should have, though, if for no other reason than to provide Tim with some reconnaissance.  As a former party girl at a large university, it was incumbent upon me to have scouted things out for him, and now I feel bad, because if anyone could handle the rigor of a night out at a major university, it would have been me, not Tim.

About Tim:  When we met, Tim was a baby–well, not a baby-baby, but younger than me, and not cougar younger, but let’s just say if we had been in high school when we met it would have been weird.

I thought, of course, because I was older and had gone to a BIG girl school and had lived in a BIG girl city longer than he that I was more sophisticated, and for the most part I was right.  He was smarter than I was in stuff that mattered, though, like basic math, you know, stuff like calculating a mortgage and reconciling a checkbook, so, there’s that.

An example of this preciousness occurred the summer before we were married.  I had been asked to be a bridesmaid in a well-heeled friend’s wedding in Dayton, Ohio, and Tim went with me as my date.  Since Tim wasn’t in the wedding party but was with a member of the wedding party, there were some responsibilities he shared with me; others not, like pictures.  Once the wedding was over and we began the good-thing-I-put-Vaseline-on-my-teeth process of having about 13,456 pictures taken, it was time to get in the limo and go to the reception.  At the country club.

I, however, couldn’t find my boyfriend.  Finally, right before I was ready to hail a cab (okay, call a cab—one doesn’t hail a cab in Dayton, Ohio) he showed up back at the church.  Relieved, I hustled him inside our waiting limo.  “Where were you?”

“Well, I was hungry, so I walked over to that diner and got some supper.  Aren’t you hungry?”

I just looked at him.

“Oh,” he said.  “Cake, right? We’re going back to their house for cake.”

Bless his heart.  No, my sweet boy, we’re going to a country club for a five course dinner followed by an open-bar reception featuring a live band.  But true to his nature, he laughed at his own naïveté, fit right in, and we had a blast—and of course his absolute drop-dead-gorgeous-stunning good looks made up for just about any gaps in his urbanity rulebook.  Four months later, we danced at our own wedding—after the ceremony and in our hotel room—but it was a helluva dance.

Which brings me back to his weekend sojourn at Purdue.  I’m sure that our daughters believe that their über cool dad is going to rock every party they drag him into, watch him play a mean game of beer pong, do something utterly stupid that they’ll Snapchat to all of their friends, and throw up in some bushes somewhere before he passes out.  They may think that, but I’ve got news for them.  One, that’s not Tim, and he feels no need to make up for any chasms in his own collegiate party life, and two, he’s their daddy–he’s not their buddy.

I just hope he’s prepared to babysit some of his fellow Purdue padres who will, no doubt, party just like they did in 1984—you know, back when Tim was at Goshen College and voted for Ronald Reagan.

Ooh…such a badass…

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Following my years as an elementary and middle school teacher, I decided I wanted to spend the second half of my life just writing. Currently, I work as a technical writer for a software company, fulfilling my passion for writing and editing, and in between the times I'm trying to figure out how to put really complicated ideas into words the rest of the world can understand, I write novels. The Gym Show, published in March 2014, is my first novel. I'm already half-way through with my second novel--a title soon to be revealed. The creative side of me loves to write, but the teacher in me loves to edit, so let me help you craft your message, write your articles, mend your prose, and get people to read what you've written. Contact me at

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