Scav Hunt


The good, the bad, and the anodyne

Alumni confessions.

Compiled by Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93

What did you get away with in the College? That’s the question we put to alumni for this issue, not knowing what sordid tales we might receive in return.

Apparently for most of our correspondents, the answer is not very much—or perhaps a lot, and you’re keeping your own counsel. Here are a few of the infractions that alumni admitted to.



Several days into Scav Hunt, my cocaptain and I were gathering some necessary supplies (e.g., duct tape) at the Co-op. In our sleep-deprived state, neither of us realized we had walked off with the shopping cart. Apparently no store officials noticed, and the cart was returned after Scav came to an end.—Stephanie Fronk, SB’10


As a first-year, I used a particular phone booth because it had a seat. Someone once told me that if you slipped a thin strip of cardboard down the coin slot in the phone, you could make calls for free. It worked every time. Occasionally after inserting the cardboard strip and getting a dial tone, a handful of change would pour out of the coin return.

One day just after I hung up, a man from the phone company appeared and asked me if I knew of anyone who had been ripping off the phone. I told him no. Shortly thereafter the phone was replaced with a different model that couldn’t be fooled by a strip of cardboard.—Rosanne Fitko, AB’80


In 1971 I was living in Breckinridge. My friend Anne had a large room, and when her roommate moved out, the housing office allowed us to turn it into a triple. Judy and I moved in and set about decorating the new space.

We decided we needed a table. We found the perfect piece in a little-used space on the first floor. It was a lovely piece of furniture, likely one that was in the old Eleanor House before it became a dormitory. With the help of our friend Liz, we brazenly carried it through the lobby, past the woman sitting at the front desk, and up to the third floor.

We had barely set it up when we got word that Harriet, the resident head, was upset a table had been stolen. We thought we had “redeployed” the table openly. None of us thought it wise to simply confess. Harriet was talking about bringing in the Chicago police; an air of “lockdown” was spreading through the dorm.

We decided to let her know thieves had not invaded and there was no reason for fear. Following the ransom note style of the time, we cut letters out of a magazine, stating something like, “Greetings from Florida. I’ve met a really wonderful chair and have decided to stay for a while. Please don’t worry about me.” We signed the note “The Table on the First Floor.” We got the note to someone’s friend at the University of Miami and had it mailed from Florida.

Harriet was not amused, and the talk of police investigations accelerated. We returned the table in the middle of the night. Harriet never did find out.—Sue Maren, AB’75


I still have my cheerleading uniforms for both football and basketball seasons. They come in handy for Halloween.—AnnaMaria Turano, AB’92, MBA’96


While a graduate student in botany in 1947, I fell in love with my mentor professor, John R. Raper. A newly minted professor, John preferred the moniker “Red.” It fit his temperament. Red was 13 years my senior but looked like a kid just out of college. I found him uncommonly attractive. (He resembled the British movie actor Rex Harrison.)

Beyond the problem of my loving him, Red taught me to love fungi. He was, at the time, the world’s leading expert on sex in fungi. Not many folks know that fungi even have sex, but they do, in a variety of ways. In fact, it’s as if Mother Nature had made a testing ground of the fungal kingdom for all possible ways of finding a compatible mate and accomplishing sexual reproduction.

Red was married at the time. Alas, he fell in love with me. It just wasn’t done in those days—or, if it was done, the lovers must part in shame, never to meet again, as did the illicit lovers in Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter. We tried separation. It didn’t work. Some two years later, Red got divorced and married me. We built a family and worked together until his untimely death at the age of 62. By then we had discovered sex in the edible button mushroom and gone on to discover 20,000 sexes in a wood-rotting mushroom called Schizophyllum commune.—Cardy Raper, SB’46, SM’47

I’ve had a library book checked out since 2008 (though the Reg doesn’t seem aware). Don’t tell the librarians.—Anonymous, AB’09


I lived in Max Mason, along with most other transfer students. Between my third and fourth years, it was partially renovated. I ran cross-country, so I arrived a few weeks early.

I took the opportunity to move new appliances out of renovated dorm rooms and into my room, which had received no renovations. No room received a full renovation, but many received a new appliance or new furniture. I exchanged my aging refrigerator and oven for new ones and secured two new single beds, which I pushed together to make an approximately queen-sized bed. I swapped my ragged couch and beat-up coffee table. (I considered pinching the full sized Galaga video game from the basement, but that would have been too obvious.) I also gave myself free cable, courtesy of an impromptu lesson on accessing the master cable box from a cable guy (thanks dude!).

To continue having this luxurious arrangement all to myself, I had to gently ward off other students sent to see the room in case they wanted to move in. Several times I came close, but luckily nobody opted to move in.

I had a great experience at U of C, and 20 years later I still cherish it (and not because of the sweet appliances and furniture in my dorm room).—Anonymous, AB’93


Everything in Green Hall was painted khaki, including the bathrooms. The stall showers, made of metal, had many layers of khaki-colored paint on them, but the paint had bubbled so you could move it around with your finger. It was dreary and depressing. Disgusting actually. One day I purchased a small can of red paint and a brush, and in the middle of the night tiptoed down the hall, closed myself into one of the stall showers, and painted it fire engine red. It looked rather nice, I thought. Certainly better than before.

The next morning the fifth floor was all abuzz. A house meeting was called. The transgression was described. There was a call for the perpetrator. I did not confess. The cleaning crew must have scraped all day trying to get rid of the red paint. In the end it looked splotchy—as though a ghastly event had taken place in that cubicle. I avoided it. When I returned to campus the following fall the bathrooms had been modestly upgraded, and the showers were white.—Louise Frankel Stoll, AB’60, AM’61


I participated in “urban spelunking” underneath the University campus. I was told this was highly illegal, and that is why we went at midnight. It was always nice and warm and mysterious down there. We would come up from the tunnels in very unlikely locations.—Michelle Wolfe, AB’88


(Photography by Jason Smith)