This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.
It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.
It might even be considered a ghost writ post.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.
Oh, by the way, my name is Rose. When I came to the University, the University’s President’s last name was Rose. He was a pompous man who bloviated about The Great Society a lot. I’ve seen University Presidents come and go. One of the scariest ones was a woman. Bonner seemed to be a real pawn of the University’s Machine, a secretive Greek student organization that virtually ran the campus. She didn’t last all that long. Since I’m a ghost maybe I shouldn’t say anything about being scary. I’m certainly not scary, but living people often scare the hell out of me.
When Tutwiler Hall was reduced to rubble, I lost my home. As I floated in the dust, I saw a cluster of nearby sorority houses, a cemetery (which was no place to live) and Bryant Denny Stadium.
I remember looking down from Tutwiler and each year observing people decorating graves with big floral arrangements shaped like “A”s during the football season. I thought, “Boy, they must be big Crimson Tide fans.” But I doubt if the deceased who were buried there were shouting “Roll Tide Roll” wherever they landed after their lives. I’ll bet that few football stadiums were built next to a graveyard, but I’ll guess that cemeteries everywhere would be decorated in support of sports teams.
I had found a home after life at Tutwiler. After I had committed suicide in my parent’s bedroom on Christmas Day, I suddenly found what was left of myself in the eleven floor hallway of Tutwiler where I’d had a room as a University student. I wandered throughout the residence hall for nearly half of a decade, submerged in the lives of women students.
I had depended on the student newspaper and gossip from the students to know what was going on in the greater world. Of course I had watched television and then, after the internet became a big deal, looked over the shoulder of students who were using their laptop computers. I guess the Tik Tok posts about sorority life on campus turned me off so much that I’d never have considered “haunting” one of the sorority houses. I’ll bet there are some tormented souls residing in them. The girls in sororities seemed as if they were putting on a brave face in spite of their alcohol fueled miserable little lives. There were sorority members living in Tutwiler for sure.
It seemed that most of the girls at Tutwiler, even when they were in the throes of premenstrual syndromes or brokenhearted over a bad romance, felt as if life was tolerable. Many just liked being away from their parents. But the sorority girls faced an oppressive level of peer group pressure. Even if they had been raped, their sisters told them to accept it. They couldn’t offend the fraternity that their house was affiliated with. I’ll admit that, since I’d never even gone out for Rush, my impressions of Greek life came from second hand accounts.
When Bryant Denny first became my home away from life, it seemed like a pretty empty place. I listened to and observed stadium workers. I missed having copies of the student newspaper and mostly all of the girls that had lived in Tutwiler. Of course, by the time the residence hall was demolished, the girls had left.
The stadium seemed huge. Some of the accommodations, the skyboxes and club areas, were new to me. When I had gone to a few games as a living breathing student in the sixties just about everybody sat out in the open. Now so much has changed. I’ve yet to fully explore the massive football facility.
I can’t imagine what it will be like when the stadium is bursting with a hundred thousand living souls during football season. I guess I’ll be finding out soon enough.