Home » Family Secrets » A Smoke Bomb and a Baylor Confession

A Smoke Bomb and a Baylor Confession

Pat Neff

Photo of our beloved Pat Neff at Baylor University by Judy Graham Allen, accomplice extraordinaire.

And so, a new year is underway, and the snow falling outside my window is beautiful, white and pure.  Reminds me of that old saying, “pure as the driven snow.” Many thoughts run through my head as random fireworks explode in the area.

Hmm, “pure” – a pure mind, a pure heart…fireworks…a new year…Baylor…friends…fireworks… secrets…fireworks… love that smell of sulphur…

Oh, hell, its just plain time to make a confession after “thirty-something” years!  But, make no mistake, this is not a confession in the true sense of the word, because I do NOT regret what I did ONE. SINGLE. BIT. Nope; not even for a moment! Well … at least until I found out “thirty-something” years ago that “Allison” had gone home for the weekend.

It is important to note that I would have been described as “a good girl” or “such a sweet girl” back in my East Texas hometown of Jacksonville. The same holds true for my accomplice, Nancy, who hailed from Henderson. At first blush, both of us could have been described as “somewhat shy.” Yep, believe it or not! [Stop. Laughing. Walt!] It’s true!!

As freshmen, Nancy and I lived on the 6th floor (the top floor) of Collins Hall at Baylor University, but we were not roommates. Trouble did not follow us, but on this particular weekend night, we gleefully invited Trouble to join us for a “harmless prank.” I don’t remember the particular way we decided to bring the smoke bomb into the dorm with us, but suffice it to say, that the guy I was dating gave it to us.

Scared, but giddy, Nancy and I decided that we would light the smoke bomb in the bathroom on our wing. After all, the whole area was tiled. We watched and waited – the coast was clear.   The floor sloped a bit toward a drain in the middle of the room, so we selected that area to light the smoke bomb. At the last minute, Nancy got the idea that we should wrap one of the brown paper towels around the wick to give us more time to make our escape. Good thinking!  We lit the extended wick and retreated to our separate rooms –as a couple of “badasses”!

On one of the lower floors of Collins, a girl named “Allison” lived with Trouble.  In fact, the Dorm Mother would have said that “Allison” and Trouble were, actually, the same person.  “Allison” snuck out through the window at night (yes, we had a curfew back then), wouldn’t return to the dorm for a couple of days, and caused a lot of disruption pretty much everywhere she went. We all knew of “Allison.”

Back in my room, I waited…but not for long. My roommate, Melissa, burst through the door crying, and pretty soon everyone on our floor was out in the hall getting pretty hysterical. Oh Lord, the smoke bomb didn’t just cause “issues” in the bathroom, the smoke had invaded the ventilation system and was making its presence known throughout the whole dorm! (We didn’t have smoke alarms.)

Nancy and I could not look at each other; we had to act all girly- scared and terrified for our lives, too!  Soon, we heard tromping on the roof and clanging in the ductwork, and male voices – FIREMEN!!!  What the…THIS wasn’t part of the plan.  Of course, we had no plan because we were those “good girls from East Texas” who didn’t have experience in planting smoke bombs in…well…anything!

Suddenly, the most frightening voice EVER boomed, “I KNOW WHO DID THIS.”

The Dorm Mother was on our floor! The firemen had determined the cause of the smoke. I gasped, held my breath, and envisioned what my Mom would say when I called to tell her that I had been kicked out of Baylor – my life was O.V.E.R.

“I KNOW WHO DID THIS,” she bellowed again. “I’m going DOWN to “Allison’s” room and she will be leaving this dorm TONIGHT.


Whew, we were off the hook! I breathed once again as my heart- rate returned to normal.

And THEN… reality set in…”Allison” was going to get kicked out of Baylor! I felt like I was going to throw up!  I certainly didn’t want to confess to the “crime,” but I knew that I couldn’t let “Allison” get kicked out of Baylor for something we did! But, I didn’t want to get kicked out of Baylor either!!  For a moment, I wished we had never brought that stupid smoke bomb into Collins.  It was only a momentary regret, though, as word came back that “Allison” had actually gone home for the weekend!!!! And I…I still carry that exploit as a badge of honor!

For some reason, the Dorm Mother dropped the whole matter and no one was ever questioned. Perhaps she was irritated that she didn’t have that last reason for getting rid of “Allison,” OR perhaps she determined that a couple of girls had decided to be “bad for once,” and that wasn’t such an awful thing!

Oh, and another thing; the Baylor “adventures” continued with Judy, Jerry, Susan, Barb, Walt, Nancy, Ray, Mary Lee, Sandra, Marti, Cathleen, Brad, Alan, and how could we leave out, Steve …   “Chew the earth.”   The best part is that  “thirty-something” years later, the adventures roll on.

In addition to graduating from Baylor, I am the mom of a Baylor graduate. And let me just say that the Baylor exploits of my son, David, make me so proud that what I started, he surpassed.  In fact, he even…..“MOM, seriously….”

Ok, I’ll write about what your bro (Jonathan) did at DePaul University, when he…“Hey, you guys leave ME out of this…”

Sigh…another day, dear readers; another day I’ll sneak that “stuff” about David and Jonathan into The JoMo Journal under  “Family Secrets.”


2 thoughts on “A Smoke Bomb and a Baylor Confession

  1. I loved reading ‘The Smoke Bomb’ …aww the days of our youth. Great BU Friends memories. Walt said to you Charla, “Do you know the statue of limitations has not expired? However, Baylor will not press charges for a $1,000 donation. They do take MasterCard.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s