Temporary Housing

dining hall

Dining Hall for multiple dorms. Penn State. 1970’s

My husband and I were brought together by forces over which we had no control.

We came from similar ethnic and religious backgrounds from small towns that were 300 miles apart, and we met on campus during freshman year. We each had left a “loved one” back home, neither of us was looking for a commitment, nor maybe even a date.

We met while we both lived in what the University called Emergency Staging ; dorms filled beyond capacity needed temporary housing. This would assure that when incoming freshmen dropped out early, there would be rooms available for those of us who lived in study lounges, makeshift dorm rooms or in my case, the “Kitchen”. This was an employees’ dining hall that was converted into housing, complete with military style bedding, metal cabinets, portable desks, all of which accommodated 10 female students. There was a thin wall which separated us from the noise and commotion of an industrial kitchen, which resumed operation every morning at about 5 a.m.

kitchen

Emergency Staging. File photo. 1960’s

He was assigned to a study lounge in an adjoining dorm that was converted into housing for 6 male freshmen. We found each other as we shared a dining hall. We were able to commiserate over our similar circumstances. It was all very cordial.

HartranftThere was most likely an initial attraction between he and I, but it manifested as annoyance; we were quick to tease and mock one another, in a playful way.

He dropped out for a semester and I found myself missing the banter. When he returned in the Spring of that year, it resumed. As I sat one evening crying on the steps of the dorm, he walked by and stopped to talk. I had broken up months earlier with the boy back home, had been dating a lot on campus, finding it frustrating and pointless. I was ready to open up to someone, and he proved to be a very sensitive listener.

side simmons

Simmons Hall. Women’s Dorm, side steps.

We discovered a different version of each other that night, and a genuine friendship evolved; one that has lasted decades.

Maybe it was fate, maybe it was divine intervention, maybe just good karma; but that “temporary housing” turned into a lifetime of shared blessings.

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One Response to Temporary Housing

  1. Nice! A love story based on temporary housing with a permanent ending. I like that!

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