Monday, October 23, 2017


The Men's Dorm Parrot

A CEI alumnus shared this story with us at a homecoming in the 90s. 
We later checked with Mrs. Sue Harris to see if she also recalled the story, 
and she verified that this did in fact happen. 

At the original Chicago location, Dr. Vennard and her family lived on a floor above the Men's Dorm.  The Vennards had a young son at the time.  

They also had a talking parrot that had been given to Mrs. Vennard on a missions trip. At first, the parrot was allowed to fly freely in the building.  But it turned out the bird had picked up some salty language earlier in its life, and was not shy about using it. It was not language that Dr. Vennard wanted her son hearing.  So the parrot was confined to the lower floor of the Men's Dorm.

The parrot's new quarters had windows just at ground level.  Not long after the parrot was relocated to the lower floor, the police arrived at the dorm.  There had been complaints from young women about wolf whistles when they walked past this religious college.  

early CEI students
At first the police were skeptical when the boys claimed it was only a parrot. But the parrot obliged with a demonstration. The boys promised to keep the parrot away from the sidewalk windows, and the police left, only issuing a warning.

Unfortunately a short while later the police were back. The boys had been unable to keep the parrot away from the windows. And this time the problem was not wolf whistles.  The parrot had learned the signal pattern of the traffic stop whistles. Traffic was snarled at the street intersection because drivers were hearing conflicting whistles, some of which were coming from the parrot.

That was the end of the parrot's residency in the men's dorm.  A place in the country was found for him, making dorm life more peaceful.  But he left a legacy of colorful stories.


Grover's Engagement

Grover Branson shared this story from the early days Vennard College.

Grover Branson told lots of stories, but this one is probably true. This was in the years just after the college had moved from Chicago to Iowa. It was the custom that when a couple became engaged, the guys in the dorm would drag the new husband-to-be into a tub filled with icy cold water. 

Grover had often helped drag unwilling victims into the cold bath, and didn't want to join their ranks.  Once his engagement was announced he knew they would be coming, so he was vigilant.  

The night when he heard steps creeping down the hall, he put his plan into action.  When the guys opened his door, they found Grover piously kneeling as if in prayer. The key words there are "as if in prayer" because Grover admitted he was not praying at all, except to be praying they would believe he was having devotions. 

They did in fact believe him, and quietly backed out of his room.  Grover said they did not try again.  Decades later, Grover continued to feel pretty clever about his escape.


The Un-Joke

Cindy Thurman Eaton and Sandy Harris

In the spring of '77 there were occurrences of cars in the men's dorm parking lot being decorated.  Cindy and I were not involved with those, except possibly to serve on one occasion as tour guides.  There was some concern about cars being damaged, and we didn't want to see that happen.  We never played practical jokes on anyone who didn't return the favor, or who didn't want to be involved. So we had no plans involving cars.

However, we did make a trip to the parking lot to specifically not play a practical joke.  We heard Bob Smith say that he and his friends were going to wait on the roof of the dorm that night, that they were going to catch the culprits, that no one would get past them.

How were we supposed to ignore a challenge like that.

At the appropriate time we arrived near the dorm, and could hear Bob and his friends talking up on the roof.  We waited until we heard them saying it was late enough that no one would be coming.  We waited a few minute more to make certain they left.

And then we put a note on Bob's car that read something to the effect of - just think what we could have done.

The next day we were confronted - did we do it.  I must point out that we never actually lied to anyone about our activities.  But it would go something like this. Bob might say, are you the ones who put that note on my car after 2 in the morning. And Cindy and I would say, we have a Theology final today; why in the world would be running around at 2 in the morning when we have to pass that test

Cindy and I think the statute of limitations has run out on pranks.  So, yes, this one was us.

1 comment:

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