Living with the Devil

His nickname was Satan — and it wasn’t given to him because he liked pitchforks.The guy we referred to as the namesake of the prince of darkness was one of my suite mates my freshman year at CSC. Trouble seemed to follow wherever he went, and there was a bunch of us who served as his willing accomplices.

Within a few months of our arrival at ‘The Rock,’ we’d had eviction hearings and barely escaped being booted from our Haskell Hall suite.

By the second week of our sophomore year we had been asked (not so politely) to move on and move out. It had to be a school record for quickest mass evictions. We were lucky enough to find a dumpy summer rental on Lake Bomoseen to call home.

But we had only one car among us, which meant plenty of subfreezing mornings hitchhiking to and from campus.

Even back then, drivers didn’t like to pick up hitchhikers.

The handful of us from that rowdy group who stayed in school after our removal from campus housing grew up in a hurry. My parental support cut back because of my misbehavior and I had to get a job.

I worked almost full-time for three years at Coon’s General Store (now long gone) to pay my room and board, juggling work and classes.

At least for a year, I had to quit the college rugby team I’d help found. I learned that my actions could have severe consequences.

I learned I’d have to work harder than ever if I wanted to avoid heading home to New Jersey, ashamed at having failed in my first crack at college.

Nearly 17 years since my departure from CSC with the Class of 1990, I can trace a lot of my career success to those early days at Castleton, in and out of the classroom.

The journalism teachings of professor Terry Dalton laid the ground work for the vocation I enjoy today as a reporter with The Post-Star newspaper of Glens Falls, N.Y.

It was during the first semester of my sophomore year, as we were getting bounced from campus, that I took my first journalism class with professor Dalton.
He piqued my interest in the life of a reporter and frankly, without that faint hint that this might be what I wanted to do with my life, I might not have continued hitchhiking down Drake Road those brutal Vermont winter days.

Living less than an hour from Castleton, I occasionally return to the area to fish the Castleton River, talk to professor David Blow’s journalism classes or head to Lake Bomoseen for the day.

There’s a warm feeling as I show my kids the quaint little New England town where daddy went to college, drive past the old haunts (anyone remember Doogan’s?) and think about how much fun those college years were.

That includes those days on the second floor of Haskell Hall with a certain devilish suite mate.

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