By Rich Russell
When I was five or so, I started life as the Big Man on Campus when mom brought us to the daycare center at ACC. I remember: it was always fall; when I think of here, it is always in the fall. At Halloween, we would go around to the offices and trick-or-treat, and the secretaries would smile at us and distribute candy. Later, my sister and I would spend our Easter holidays here. Mom would secret us in a reading room in the library with activities or shut us up in her office or sometimes bring us to class with her. (This was before the "no visitors" policy.) Once, my sister brought this slimy goo––that in retrospect I realize must've been at least somewhat toxic––with her into mom's classroom. (This was before mom enacted the "no slimy goo in class" edict.) We sat in the back, in the very very back, and two of the college kids who also sat in the v.v. back asked my sister if they could see her slimy goo for a second. The one kid, he threw it too high up in the air and it stuck to the ceiling; mom looked frantic. The entire class plus my sister and I along with frantic-looking mom watched the goo slowly sag its heavy toxic load and drip like hot pink jelly back down onto the desk, leaving a slimy sweat stain on the ceiling. Sometimes, when I am in B-building, I sneak into the classrooms, look up at the ceilings there, searching for that ghostly adhesive mark. I need proof that it really happened: my childhood. (I have not found it yet.)
Once, when my sister and I were in mom's office while she was off at class (this was after the incident with the hot pink slime), we came up with the Chair of Horrors ride. The premise was simple: one person would sit in mom's rolling desk chair and the other person would race the rider round the room, narrowly avoiding obstacles i.e. furniture. My sister fell off the chair one time, and that's when mom closed the ride until further notice.
In the fall, when I was older, I would sit out in the quad reading Dostoevski and imagining myself in Czarist Russia. The campus has not changed much since that time (since I was little; not since the days of C.R., I mean). Theories of non-locality might suggest that there could be sub-atomic particles of the boy with the long hair reading Russian literature and the chubby kid riding around on the office chair and the daycare child marching around the campus in costume, all existing along with the current adjunct professor in this one place. When Grant looks at me in the library, he still remembers the short, pudgy kid who would hide away in the reading rooms. When I visit Taffy, it is more often to deliver grades than to solicit sugar. But there is no time here anymore for me; all of those former selves interact with this place and with the current professor; the setting consists of that one spatial element without a temporal corollary.
It is just this place. This college. Here.
Click on the subpages below to see student work from Professor Russell's English Composition II classes.