This is a Story about Jack and Dave…

I was originally just going to write a blog about Dave Robles, because he wrote a post on his blog that involved me.   I realized that I really can not do this post proper justice without including our good friend, Jack Bradley, without who I never would have met Dave.

I first met Dave Robles during the my first year at Holy Cross.  Well, I guess met is a stretch.  I first saw Dave Robles in the basement of Hanselman Hall.  I don’t know why, but we were all down there, must have been discussing some sort of First Year Program (FYP) conspiracy to take over the world.  Actually, it was more likely that it was an ice cream social for our dorm.  All FYPers lived in the same dorm, Hanselman Hall.  I watched him, the wallflower that I was, from across the room.  I did not have feelings for him, I was in awe of how comfortable he was with all of these new people.  We had not been on campus long, maybe a week or less.  That didn’t seem to phase Dave though, he was talking and paling around with the guys like they had been friends for years.  Dave was a force (maybe even THE FORCE), everyone was drawn to him.  There was a circle of four or five guys  around him.  I wanted to say “hello,” but didn’t know how.  He seemed like a super hero or celebrity.  I assumed our paths would never cross again during my tenure at Holy Cross, but I was wrong.

I saw Dave at the requisite FYP group events and field trips throughout Freshman year and still felt the same way.  He has something that I wanted: confidence, and what we now call, Swagger (or Swaggah).  He had such an ease with people and he spoke really well.  It was not until Sophomore year that our paths crossed through, one Jack Bradley.  I began speaking to Jack at the end of freshman year during one of the training sessions for Memtorship (at least I think, I’m willing to be corrected on this…OR it may have been Joanne Pierce’s FYP class).  Dave, Jack and I had all signed up to be Sophomore mentors in the FYP program.  We would live in Hanselman again, with the incoming Freshman class.  Jack and I liked talking, had some interests in common and he was always good for couple of laughs.  Well, it turns out Jack was pretty well connected in Hanselman and he would be rooming with Dave Robles in our Sophomore year.

Jack and Dave kept an open door policy in Hanselman during our sophomore year.  I lived on the fourth floor and had to walk by their room to get upstairs.  Not being much for the women, I just didn’t and still kind of don’t think women get me, so I tested the waters of this open door policy and stopped by one day.  I always thought I was super ugly, so I was not down there to get a boyfriend or any kind of sexual attention, I just wanted people with which to hang out.   Relationships never really crossed my mind, because I wasn’t cute or sexy like the other girls on campus.  I just crushed on guys like I did in high school.  What was nice about Jack and Dave was that they did not care what your agenda was.  They were okay with who I was as a person.  There are very few people in life that you come across that bring that level of acceptance to the table.

So after testing the waters, I found this dorm room to be a safe place to be me.  I laughed, cried and told stories to these guys and it was all right.  Dave was hilarious he was very open and enjoyed gospel music.  He had CD’s that he would sing along to with songs like “Shout to the Lord,” to get himself pumped up for a big test or event.  I think they sold them on TV.  Jack and I would just go along with it and soon we were singing along, too.  We were all filled with the spirit.  Dave had tons of action figures and a large cutout of Eric Cartman from South Park in the window.  We had a special way of greeting each other.  “Hiiiieeeeeeeeee” One day, Dave added a bit more to it and as I entered the door, he called out “Hiiiiieeeeee, Kara WORTH.  That is a perfect description of how I felt in that room.  I felt like I had worth.  Dave strongly believed that everyone had worth, so he would just tag it along at the end of your name.  I strongly believe it helped me get through Sophomore year at Holy Cross.

There were some crazy funny times, too.  Jack and Dave would talk about “Fighting the funk,” which involved decreasing the smell in the room with Febreeze and air fresheners.  Jack was fairly neat, but Dave kind of had a few things around.  They were two typical college age guys living in a small room, what can I say, it gets stinky.  I always thought the women’s bathrooms were worse than the mens.  There was also a day that I came down to hang out and Dave wasn’t there, he was in the bathroom showering.  He returned and told me, “Kara, you’re going to have to step outside.  I have to drop my balls.”  That, I will never forget.  Today, when things are getting to me, I think of that and it cracks me up.   Both of them introduced me to Guster (I’m not sure which one of them had more influence on this, probably Jack, because he wasn’t listening to gospel albums) and we would sit around listening to “Medicine.”  from the Goldfly album.  Jack and Dave would also do a “Word of the Week” on their dorm room bulletin board.  Here, I learned such words as “sylph,” which we constantly threw around.  It was a great programming technique for the guys on the 2nd floor of Hanselman.  I would also head down and watch Jeopardy with Jack and Dave, even though Jack beat us every single time.  There are many more stories to tell, I am sure, but my memory has grown dim with time.

Dave ran for Vice President that year for our upcoming Junior year.  Their major platform item was to get soap in the bathrooms of all the dorms.  They handed out buttons popularized by the “Got Milk?” campaign with “Got Soap?” on them.  Genius.  Dave was a great speaker, and both Kevin Long, President, and Dave won that year, and yes, we did have soap in the bathrooms for our Junior year.

Jack and I applied to be R.A.’s in our Junior years.  We both were accepted, and given assignments, but i couldn’t handle the pressure that was involved once Junior year came.  I was pretty sick with chronic stomach stuff most of the time and it got in the way of everything.  I know it disappointed people on campus (especially Jack), but sometimes you have to “follow your gut.”  Pardon the pun.  I had no choice.

Dave kind of drifted in and out of the picture for Junior and Senior years.  He was there and was always kind to me.  But, still, nothing was better than sophomore year in Hanselman.

Later, after college, when both Jack and Dave lived together in Worcester, MA, I went to visit them a couple of times.  We hung out and talked about old times.  It was fun to see them.  Now mostly, all three of us keep in touch through Facebook, our blogs and email.  Our lives are full and busy. Dave recently featured me in one of his blog posts.  Dave’s blog is about his life mixed with the sci-fi fantasy world of roaches which he and other characters interact.   I wasn’t a roach, but instead Dave’s minion.  I saved one his human friends, Adam.   Dave had sent out a status update on Facebook one day last year, saying he was looking for a minion and I replied, “Well, I certainly meet the height requirement,” so I got the job.

You don’t realize how transformative people can be, nor the effect they have on you in the moment.  I look back on those times during my Sophomore year and I felt like I belonged.  I felt like I had something special, something I’ve never really experienced in its purest form:  Acceptance.  I owe both Jack and Dave a great debt of gratitude for just being there for me.  I did not feel like the weird girl with a messed up face and braces when I was with them.  I was just Kara.  I learned how to be a better friend to others by the example they set.  And though we all live quite a distance apart, I know that we will always have a special bond because of Holy Cross and Hanselman Hall.

*The post’s title is adapted from the first line of “Jack and Diane” by John Melloncamp.

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