George Bedard '44
The first woman cheerleader at UNH was smuggled onto the Harvard field in a burlap bag by some band members! How's that for moxie!
Natalie Small Hague '45
When I was a junior living in Scott Hall, I had a room on the top floor, which was the third. One night I was trying to get an early sleep, but having a difficult time due to two young students giggling and smooching right under my window. 'Nuff said—I got a container of water and very neatly tossed it out the window. There was a muffled scuffle down below, but the incident never happened again. I hope this gal and her date don't read this after all these years! No harm intended, just a very necessary prank!
Rose Rogers '49
When I was in Smith Hall, one fall UNH football was playing Maine. The students created a cemetery out front of Smith and on each stone was the name of one of the Maine team. As it happens we lost the game, and as the Maine players were leaving they stopped the bus and each player got out and retrieved his stone. And then the bus went on its way.
Will Payson '53
Before I moved to my PKA Fraternity house living, as a freshman I was housed in Fairchild Hall and our housemother was Minna Hyde. The innocent prank was the painting of her name-"MINNA" on the above-ground cement cistern directly opposite her room window at the back side of Fairchild Hall. We were not alone in this prank, since some others also painted her name, as the UNH grounds staff kept painting over everyone's work. No one ever discovered who was involved in the artistry. As I recall expulsion would have been the penalty.
Charlotte Anderson Marsh '54
The most infamous of pranks wee done by engineers who would take a car apart and reassemble it in somebody's dorm room. Another prank was taking a cow up the stairs in the old music hall. The irony is that you can take a cow up and but getting it down is another story. Tom Kirkbride '53 and I went to steal apples from the orchard and a voice boomed out, "I have a shotgun of salt aimed at you." It was my last foray into crime ever.
Ruth White '55
One memory I have, and pictures to prove it, was having my single room COMPLETELY filled with rolled up newspaper while I was leading an Outing Club weekend trip. I lived at the end of the hall and the entire floor had to help kick the papers along and down two flights of stairs. The house mother at Scott Hall was as amused as everyone else !
Peter Pritchard '56
In 1954, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer was "deernapped" from Santa's team on the lower square Christmas display in Dover. Rudolph somehow found himself skiing down the slope in front of the President Robert Chandler's house.
Judson Sanderson '58
One snowy day I decided to liven up a Philosophy 101 class. I placed a well-formed, fist-sized snow ball on our professor's table next to his lectern. Everyone wondered what would happen, and we were smiling or snickering when he strode in. Though I can't think of his name after these many years, I remember he was an imposing figure, but had a good sense of humor. He plunked his notes on his lectern, then froze for a second as he fixed his eyes on that bright white object. What would he say? He lifted that ball to his arm's length high over his head and boldly said, "The 'one'!...and...the 'many'!" as he dashed it to smithereens on the floor. We all cheered, and there were no sleepy heads in class that day. (Never again will I think of philosophers as thinkers rather than men of action!)
Alice Miller Batchelor '63
When I was a Smith Hall freshman, a group played a prank on a classmate, Carol owned an obscenely HUGE collection of shoes. (This was before anyone heard of Imelda Marcos.) One day while she was out of the dorm, her entire shoe collection was gathered up and placed—one shoe per tread, like footprints—on the stairways from the bottom floor to the top, where she lived. Her reaction was a hoot!
Michael Kelley '63
Without mentioning either the dormitory or the house mother by name, there was one instance of a clever young man painting the dorm mother's windows black, so that morning never came. He also removed the rotor from her car's distributor and hung it by a string over her doorknob. When mid-morning finally came, she appeared in the hallway in her housecoat to find a very bright day indeed and an unknown object which she disposed of. Later that day, when she couldn't start her car, that same young man happened by and looked under the hood to find the rotor missing from her distributor. The light came on for her and she asked the guy to retrieve it from her wastebasket and put it back in place, which he did.
John Dydo '66
Our dorm monitor in Gibbs Hall in 1966 decided to spend the weekend at a different location, but left his car, a VW bug, parked near the dorm. One of the guys had been a VW mechanic and with our help we dismantled our monitor's car and re-assembled it in his room. Not for the surprise to occur too quickly we filled his room with crumpled newspaper floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Upon his return he started to clean out his room only to find his car buried in the papers.
Brian Mitchell '66
During orientation week in September 1962, someone, who shall remain nameless (mostly because I've forgotten it over the last 48 years) thought it would be a neat idea to paint our class numerals on the campus water tower. Paint, blue as I recall, was acquired, along with several brushes, and under the cover of darkness, around midnight, four brave souls climbed the tower and painted a five-foot-high 66 on the tower. Water towers look a lot higher from the top down than they do from the bottom up, and the last section of ladder seemed to cant OUT from the catwalk (it actually was straight up) and scared the begeezus out of all four climbers. The numerals stayed up there for quite some time before the maintenance department found someone brave enough to paint over them, not doing a very good job, either.
A second prank was played on me as President of Hunter Hall my Junior year. Starting in my sophomore year, I had a Lambretta motor scooter that I used on campus and for my weekend trip home to Salem. I was not stingy with it and frequently loaned it to just about anyone who wanted to use it. It always came back, and, getting something like 75 mpg, never seemed to run out of gas. One evening, after quiet hours, a sound quite similar to the horn on the scooter was heard, louder than one would expect even with the windows open. As I opened my third floor door to check, the scooter shot by going down the hall. The borrower had enlisted the help of three others and carried the thing up two flights of stairs to return it to me. I'm not sure how I thanked him for his largess, but the machine did NOT spend the night on the third floor, and our Senior Resident, Kay Woodward, pointed to a more appropriate parking spot, across the quad nearer Randall Hall, where it continued to be parked until I married and moved into Forest Park.
Sally Goodman Wool '66
Friends of mine (Tom Richards '64, Bruce Andrews '65, and others) in Phi Mu Delta challenged each other to "borrow" a few huge plants from the MUB and drive them to Boston. They reported that nobody stopped them or questioned them when they casually entered the building and hauled off the floor plants. To prove they'd actually done it, they placed the plants near obviously recognizable "Boston" locations, then quietly returned the plants to UNH.
Jack Goodman '67G
At our Summer Institute "Commencement" on the third floor of our then non-air-conditioned chem lecture room, Dr. Alexander Amell was passing out the diplomas. We had not received our final exam from our last course yet and I was not sure that I had passed the exam yet. I had already notified my home school district that I had completed my masters degree. I noticed that he was passing them out alphabetically and when he called Lester Gross '66G before my name of Goodman I thought that I must have somehow failed the exam. So I started to really sweat. My wife had flown out to be there that day and what was I going to say. More sweat. Then my mind decided that he must have passed out all of the G's first. But then he called Morgan Hezlep '67G and then I was really worried. He completed the list (except for me) and proceeded with his "commencement address. When he was all "finished," he proceeded to pretend that everything was completed and was just about to dismiss everyone when he said, "Oh, by the way, I have a diploma for Jack Goodman. I wanted him to realize that it was not wise for his softball team (I was the playing manager) to defeat the Chemistry faculty team in the championship game the evening before." The Summer Institute Participant Team was undefeated and the final game was the Chem Faculty teams' only loss and Dr. Amell's team "always" won. Eventually I forgave him, especially when I got my exam back with a 99% grade. One point was taken off for a misspelled word. I have great memories of our NSF Chemistry Summer Institute at UNH. (I completed 43 years teaching high school chemistry in South Bend, Indiana, and retired six years ago.
Bill Estey '68
I cannot take credit for these pranks. I hope someone will come forward and validate their authenticity. "Old Mrs. Saunders" mothered the boys of East Hall, but as nice as she was, she could not avert pranks. On March 17th, St. Patrick's Day she woke up to a green door. On another occasion, her residence area wreaked of fish. The offender was found "nailed" to the underside of her desk.
Emmett Ross '68
I lived in Hunter Hall and a very electronic savvy friend of mine, Dave Olin '68, a geology major, did, too. He had built a transmitting device that was able to broadcast along power lines up to the next transformer. Our signal would have been able to be heard on any device with an amplifier and speakers. We broadcasted several weekends late at night. I was finally brought before Dean Stevens and asked to cease.
Eric Halvorson '70
In 1966, Stoke Hall was an all-men's dorm and parietal hours were almost nonexistent, but there was a family weekend during the year and many of us welcomed "sisters" and female "cousins" for the afternoon. My roommate worked nights as a lifeguard at the pool and had access to a resuscitation dummy. After the visitation hours were over, we put Resusci-Anne in my bed, yanked her mouth agape, pulled up the covers and dimmed the lights. Then we went down and knocked gingerly on our RA's door. We had all we could do to keep from laughing as we sheepishly explained how we had brought a girl up to the room, got her drunk, and she was now passed out in my bed. His expression sank lower and lower, but he finally heaved a great sigh and said, "Let's go take a look." We went down solemnly down the hall and let him in to the dimly-lit room. He crept around the corner of the room like a thief, took a peek at Annie, and turned around to face us, his eyes wide. "You guys are in REAL BIG TROUBLE!" he hissed, not wanting to wake up the dummy. He stomped out into the hall and paced and fumed, without a word to us, wondering what his next move should be. Finally, we couldn't hold ourselves together any longer and confessed our prank to him between fits of laughter. He was madder than a hornet, of course, but eventually allowed that it was the best trick that had ever been played on him.
Alan Peterson '70
It was in my freshman year at Stoke Hall third floor, facing Sawyer Hall and Stillings Dining Hall, where I would watch students walk by. I decided to have a little fun. My old reel-to-reel tape recorder had a PA system in it and I'd put it by the screen window, disguised, and would comment on those strolling below. "Look at those sneakers. How about a little dance. Come on now." (music) "All right. Nice going." Some would get into the spirit and others would be embarrassed. The innocent victims could not tell where it was coming from. The Stoke Hall wall would get cheering and the entertainment was all in good fun. Few knew it was me and though I tried to mildly gross them out, I never had any problems. Those were the good ole days.
Diane Hober Weskalnies '71
I was the women's RA on the 6th floor of Stoke Hall during 1970-71, the second year that the hall was coed. The long wing housed the women, and the short wings housed the men, with a locked door separating them. The locked door was frequently missing that year as the 6th floor men, mostly freshmen, desperately tried to meet their female "floormates." The 6th floor women, mostly sophomores in sororities, were not so interested in these guys.
Late one Saturday night around Halloween, the men conducted a very well planned and executed raid. They removed the locked door, and armed with large jars of Vaseline, they proceeded to Vaseline the toilets and sinks in the bathroom and the hallway phones. As soon as I heard the initial commotion, I threw on my robe and headed to the closest phone to call the head RA. While on the phone, I was treated to a huge glob of Vaseline in my hair.
The men had to come back to clean up the mess. The men's RA explained how the guys just wanted to meet the women. So we hosted a party for them one evening. One of the men, not knowing who I was, told me how the RA "deserved" the Vaseline in her hair.
Sometime later, the guys and gals had a shaving cream fight. I have photos from the party and from the aftermath of the fight. This was the start of the reputation of the 6th floor men being "bad boys" who pulled pranks for several years to come. Later that same year, they pennied the 2nd floor women in their rooms, ran all the faucets in the bathroom, and called both phones.
John Gorham '72
I remember throwing water balloons at passing girls from the second story windows of the long-demolished East Hall. The "East Hall boys" got a charge out of it.
John Rottet '72
When I was a freshman in Hunter Hall, I was in Room 107 with two roommates and became friends with the three guys in Room 108. Five of us pulled a prank on the sixth, Phil Malerba '73. He always went to bed early got up early, so one night about 10 or 11 p.m., after he was already asleep, we all got together and set our alarms to go off just like it was morning. We all pretended to get up, take showers, get ready for class.....the whole 9 yards. Phil did too.....right along with the rest of us. Of course, he never looked outside, which made the whole thing even more amazing. He got dressed, grabbed all his gear and walked out the front of Hunter Hall and stopped dead in his tracks. It was pitch black outside! It didn't take him long to figure out what we had done, especially since we were all rolling on the floor laughing. He was seriously mad at us, and for good reason I suppose. I don't know how he ever got back to sleep after that, but he did and later I think he did forgive us. We all pranked on each that first year, but that one was one of the classics.
Susan Ahearn-Pierce '73
When I was a student at UNH in the early 1970s, I worked at the student radio station, WUNH. When several of us from the station were sitting at a table in the MUB one day, one person in our group mentioned the fact that he had always wondered what it would be like to get hit in the face with a pie. As soon as he said that, I looked across the table at another friend, and we knew we were going to grant his wish. We headed to the grocery store, bought a graham cracker crust and whipped cream to make the pie. We had all the ingredients we needed. Now, we had to figure out a way to lure our friend to the appointed location where we could hit him in the face with the pie.
We made up a story about one of us needing some help to move something in her room in Devine. We decided to let the guys from the radio station know about our plan, and told them to bring our friend with them when they came to the dorm. As they came across the bridge behind the MUB, our intended victim came forward, while the others stayed back. We were on the other side by the dorm, with our home-made whipped cream pie in hand. As our friend crossed the bridge, we ran up and threw the pie in his face. He was completely surprised, but did take the time to taste the whipped cream as he took it off his face. We told him he couldn't get mad at us because we were just granting his wish.
Christine Fleuriel '73
My roommate, Susan Dionne '73, and I were eating lunch in Stillings once when she had the idea to spoof the weekly reserved tables for people speaking either French or Spanish. She took a piece of paper and wrote "Pig Latin Table" on it, tented it and placed it on the table next to ours. People really took it seriously. It was very funny to watch people, in a crowded dining hall, approach the table, read the sign, and move on. It's surprising that our laughing didn't give us away.
Larry Grayshan '73
During the normal Greek antics that accompany most pledge processes in the Greek system of those days, that civic mindedness and the spirit of public service took over for the spring pledge class of 1970 to Lambda Chi Alpha. The Lambda fraternity house was nestled between two churches on the east side of Madbury Road, and conveniently across the street from a new pub. Pledges, concerned for the safety of all residents and visitors to the frat house, decided that a crosswalk, duly marked in bright yellow paint, and appropriately labeled "Caution, Drunks X-ing" in the crooked path painted across Madbury Road, was definitely an enhancement to public safety! Unfortunately, the state police and Durham police disagreed! But the artwork was in latex, and fortunately no criminal charges were filed.
A future pledge class, hearing of the above, and not to be outdone, decided to repaint the crosswalk. Unfortunately, the paint used was oil based, and a perfect match to the front door of the frat house! Officials were not as amused the second time!
Joanne Lannin '73
My roommate, Bonnie Harris Gondola '73, and I, juniors at the time, were bored one Friday night watching the Miss America pageant on the TV in the Fairchild Hall lounge. This was 1973, the height of the women's movement, so we were naturally making fun of the event. Then, one of us got the brilliant idea to create a Miss Fairchild contest and tell the freshmen that this was an annual tradition that they needed to organize and carry out. One freshman in particular, Susan Kasprak '75, had been a summer orientation counselor, so she really got into the planning of this. There was a nightgown competition and of course a talent show, among other events. The freshmen even came up with an original song and dance number about their adventures on fraternity row.
After we revealed that it had all been a hoax and wasn't really a tradition, Susan and some other freshmen decided to continue it the following year anyway. From what I understand, the Miss Fairchild Pageant actually did become a tradition at least for the next several years after we graduated.
Robin Williamson McBrearty '73
In fall 1968, my first semester, I was assigned to the 3rd floor quad at Smith Hall, which at the time a women's dorm. Our windows were located directly above the metal letters forming the name of the dorm. One Saturday night, we happened to discover that if we hung one roommate out the window by her heels, we could slide the letters in and out of their slots. So, SMITH HALL, remove the M in SMITH, Put the H in its place, remove the H from Hall and put the M in its place and voila! the dorm is re-named. For good measure, hide the extra H in the RA's laundry. The next morning, our housemother was coming up the walk and was rightfully shocked; I heard her calling the campus police so rushed back to my room; we hauled our roommate out of bed (first thing she knew that morning, she was hanging out the window in her nightgown and curlers) and restored the name. By the time the campus police arrived, everything was fine except they just couldn't understand why she was so upset.
Ken Medve '73
There were plenty of pranks played in the old dorms like Alexander and Sawyer, when you shared a hall phone or bathrooms. Common pranks were putting shaving cream on the "ear" of the phone, then telling a guy he had a phone call. Another was black shoe polish on the toilet seat. Ouch!
John LaBonte '74
One of our favorite pranks was to "penny" someone in their room. This was particularly appropriate when someone had turned you in for a violation of parietal hours or another such high crime. Once the offender(s) were in their room for the night you would wrap three or more (the more the better) pennies together making two packages. Then with the assistance of your roommate you would push as has hard as possible on the very top of the door and insert the package of pennies into the space created between the door and the casing near the doorknob. Repeating the process below the door knob, and the deed was done. There are only two ways to get the door open to get out of your room. The first is to solicit collaboration from the outside to remove the pennies. From the inside the only option is to take a screwdriver and remove the door from its hinges. Incidentally, my roommate and I ALWAYS had a screwdriver in our room.
Tom Massingham '75
I was working with a friend, Jeff, behind the bar at the Down Under Pub one busy night. Midway through the evening Jeff came down to my end of the bar and said, "There's a guy over here who wants to buy the horse and wagon." He was referring to the large plastic model of the Anheuser-Busch wagon and Clydesdales that sat behind the bar on a shelf above the empty beer mugs. I looked down the bar and didn't recognize the person Jeff pointed out as anyone I'd seen before. "Uh, no, I don't think so" was my response. The man had another beer or two, telling Jeff that he still wanted to buy the display. Jeff asked me again. "Are you crazy? No," I said. Apparently Jeff and the man continued negotiations and, toward the end of the night, Jeff said, "Now he's up to $40... $20 for each of us." In the days of 25-cent draft beers, that was a significant amount of money to a college student. I looked at Jeff and said, "What are we going to tell Nick (Gegas, the owner of Down Under) tomorrow when he sees that it's gone?" Jeff told me that he knew where there was another Clydesdale wagon display that we could get as a replacement for the one that we would sell. Forty dollars was a lot more than was in the tip tray on any night. We looked the display over and were satisfied that we could remove it easily. After everyone else left for the night, we each pocketed one of the $20 bills Jeff had collected from our customer. Jeff and I then removed the display, sending our tipsy but happy customer on his way, $40 poorer. After propping the door open so we could get back in, we headed off in search of another Clydesdale wagon. I drove us to Strafford Avenue where Jeff directed me into the side parking lot of Phi Kappa Epsilon. The house was, for the most part, dark. Jeff led me into a cellar door to the frat's bar and game room. I wasn't at all familiar with the room's layout and bumped and stumbled my way along behind Jeff, who held the flashlight. Yes, indeed, there was a plastic wagon with Clydesdales. It didn't look identical to the one we had sold, but we didn't have several to choose from. It was mounted to a board, which we detached from the bar. We carried it out to my car, slipped it into the back seat, and returned to the Down Under. We slid our "new" Budweiser display into the appropriate place behind the bar and stood back. It was smaller than the one we had sold, but it looked much better than four feet of empty space. No one ever spoke of the Anheuser-Busch display again.
Bruce Roberts '75
In the early 1970's, our resident house "mother" at Alexander Hall was a sweet older lady named Ruth. She drove a small VW Bug. One morning, after a big snowstorm, a group of us residents, using shovels and hands, buried her car with snow, so that it blended in with the surrounding plowed snow banks. When she went out later, she (obviously) couldn't find her car, and came back inside telling us that she was afraid her small car had been plowed away during the night! After demonstrating concern for a short time, we couldn't hold back any longer, and confessed to what we had done! Fortunately she was a good sport about it, and we uncovered/cleaned off the car completely.
Jon Wood '75
I think the year was 1974. I was living in Alexander Hall. Our hall director had a VW beetle. A bunch of guys from our dorm pushed the VW into the dorm. When the hall director woke up the next morning, his car was outside his room in the hallway.
Phoebe Hoyt '76, '80G
My husband and I attended UNH from 1972-1976. One night we snuck to Main Street and stole the sign of the "Outback" store. We covered the sign with paper, wrote "In Front" and replaced the sign. It was in the newspaper and I think I still have a copy of the picture in my archives.
Gail Carbonneau Linehan '76
This was a prank that my father, Lionel "Junie" Carbonneau '52 and Andy Mooradian '48 played when they were students at UNH, circa 1950. They stole a cow at night from the dairy barn, sneaked it down to one of the girl's dorms across from T-Hall, somehow got it up to the second floor and left it there.
Celeste Catano '77
I lived in Christensen during my freshman and sophomore years in 1973-1975. We would go to the roof between 4B and 4C and "accidentally" spill water buckets onto the unsuspecting students walking below on their way back from dinner at Philbrook.
My friends pulled a good one on me. They emptied most of my stuff from my room and moved in to the shower stall and put a sign up on my room door saying that I no longer lived there. I had my key and opened the door to a half empty room. They did help put everything back.
One night after have a few too many beers at a dorm party, my friends sat me in a shopping cart that had been hanging around in the Christensen lobby. They then put me in the elevator and pushed all of the buttons waiting to see how long it would take for someone to need the elevator and help me out of the cart.
Mary-Deborah Payeur Houle '78
On a hot day when I was a freshman living in McLaughlin, someone in Lord Hall started a water fight. It went on for hours between the two dorms. It was great fun but not at all appreciated by the staff and we all got in trouble...rightly so! But it was worth it!
Suzanne Fudge Sonneborn '78
When we were first year students in Williamson and bored (apparently), we would hide in the big trash can and surprise our fellow residents by popping out of the trash can when they got off the elevator on the 7th floor. The same friend and I used to bark on the way to classes. My friend's bark was a German Shepard (aka G Clef) Invariably, students walking in front of us would turn around and there would be no dog! We certainly were young and foolish but we are still best friends today!
Elizabeth Leavitt Bevins '79
During my first days of freshman year in 1974, my three roommates and I had just gotten to sleep around 1 a.m. Our room was a quad in Smith Hall and our windows were just above the front balcony. We woke up to someone calling to our roommate Valerie and some strange clomping sounds outside the window. Apparently Valerie's friend Jon had spent the summer rock climbing and was now using his climbing equipment to scale the side of Smith Hall onto our balcony. He and his friends climbed in the window and introduced themselves to the room of bemused and amused girls then left repelling down the bricks! I half expected him to scoop up Val over his shoulder and carry her off into the night!
Steve Hoarn '79
Those on the second floor of Sawyer Hall in Fall 1976 will remember a classic prank targeting a certain guy who would play the theme to the FBI television show much too often and loudly. In a carefully planned and flawlessly executed 15 minutes, while the aspiring FBI agent went down the hall to take a shower, the "crew," their names being withheld to protect them from prosecution, emptied the student's room completely—taking everything to include all furnishings and certainly all items of clothing. The reaction of the bather upon the return to his room will never be forgotten, nor the spectacle of his walk down the hall to the RA's room wrapped in a shower curtain.
Ed Kolnaski '80
We did normal pranks, such as pennying in someone, shaving cream in the bathrobe sleeves, etc. Eventually we poured baby powder in the ski cap of a friend across the hall. Back then they would sit high on your head. Well, it was put in when he was getting ready to go home for the weekend. He put his hat on in his room and walked around for a few moments before heading to the car. We all thought it would come out when he put it on or that he would feel it, but nothing. We watched him get into his car—still nothing. Just as he was about to leave, he took it off and bam! A white cloud covered him in his little VW bug. It was great! You couldn't see him at all.
Denise Boisselle Day '81
I lived on Williamson 1A for two years beginning in the fall of 1977. It was an all-girls' floor, and there were plenty of pranks. One afternoon I walked into our bathroom to find one girl's entire bedroom set up in the middle of the floor, complete with bed and dresser drawers. Another time, I came out of the shower to find both my towel and bathrobe gone. I no longer remember if the culprit was my roommate, Kathy Allard '79 or my next door neighbor, June Eastman '82. In any case, I wrapped myself up in the shower curtain and peered out the door. Seeing no one in the hall, I made a dash for my room in the corner (known as "the dungeon" in those days). Just as I passed the intersection, I heard a noise and turned to find most of my floor mates standing there—and one had just taken a picture of me.
Martha Hobby Freitag '81
The year was 1978. Sheldon and I had been friends since I had started at UNH. I had no brothers, so Sheldon unofficially "adopted" me and took great delight in teasing me as any brother would. Sheldon lived in one of the minidorms where instead of a key to open the door, the door had a push button lock. If you knew the combination, you could open the door. Most of the dorms had kitchens in them that the students could use. I loved to bake cookies and other yummy things for my friends. Sheldon had given the combination to his lock to me one time so I could drop off some cookies. As the school year ended, and the big brotherly teasing continued, I decided to tease Sheldon back. I decided to sneak into his room and rearrange all his stuff. I worked it out with my roommate Denise that I would sneak in while Denise and Sheldon were out on a date.
The night to pull the prank arrived. As soon as Denise left with Sheldon, I and my friend Sue hurried over to Sheldon's dorm and let ourselves into his room. Sheldon had a lot of record albums. Sue worked on switching the records around into different album jackets. Sheldon also loved tea and had many specialty varieties. I took his tea bags and taped them to the ceiling so that they were hanging down by the tags and string. We had brought along a bunch of old copies of The New Hampshire, the campus newspaper, and we proceeded to crumple them up until we had filled the room over waist high with paper. While we were doing this, the Resident Assistant came by to see what we were up to. I was afraid we were in trouble. When he realized it was a practical joke, he laughed and walked off, commenting on how black our hands and faces were from the newspaper ink. I began to worry that the newspaper might be a fire hazard. I decided to open the window to keep the temperature down. To finish the room, we wrapped the door with a huge crepe paper bow and hung up a sign that said, "Welcome to tea bag heaven," on it. We closed the door and headed back to our dorm. Needless to say, Sheldon was appalled and astonished when he returned. It took him less time to clean up than it had to "decorate" the room. He later teased me that the cold air through the open window had killed his jade plant. (In fact, he still reminds me of this from time to time.)
James Ambrose '82
I fell for the "5 man lift" as a freshman in Williamson Hall in 1978. Remembering that the legal drinking age was 18 then, there were plenty of organized dorm parties. After more than a few drinks at one of the first parties of the school year, one of the upper classmen announced that he was a champion at the five man lift; he could lift up 5 other people at once. I told him that was impossible, and he offered to prove it. He had me lie on the floor on my back, then 2 upperclassmen lay beside me, linking arms and crossing our legs. Two more upperclassmen then lay across the arms and chests of the three of us. Many partiers surrounded us, cheering them on. The lifting champ then stood above us, placing his hands on my beltline. At the count of 'One, Two, Three', he started to lift up, but to my surprise, instead of the five of us being lifted, only my pants came up, and he proceeded to fill them with the contents of the can of shaving cream he had hidden behind his back. A classic stunt, I have used it myself a few times in the years since!
Walter Davis '82
In Stoke Hall 3rd floor in 1974, we collected, crumpled and stuffed the room of one resident from front to back. The student took all of the newspapers and placed into the dump chute, which filled the chute up to the 3rd floor. The RAs were not impressed. We would fill large envelopes with shaving cream, slide them under the door and stomp on them, encasing room with shaving cream. Fifth floor Stoke had floor hockey games, resulting in broken hallway windows. These broken windows would be switched to other floors to avoid maintenance fees.
John Horrocks '82
Finals, junior year, 1981. Everyone on campus was holed up in the library studying quite diligently. Very quiet. My friend had positioned himself amongst the book shelves to witness the prank first hand. I used the elevator, let the doors open but didn't get off. As the doors started to close I whipped out a handheld air horn and released a 140 decibel blast. Everyone instantaneously jerked out of their chairs followed by stress-relieving laughter. Classic.
Dana Rosengard '82
It sure seems harmless looking back from 25-plus years, but it sure caused a lot of laughs, and a mess! I think it was called "popcorning." All you did was cover a dorm room door jam with newspaper, creating a wall with about two inches of space between it and the actual door. In that space, before closing in the top of the newspaper barrier, we would pour popcorn—lots of popcorn. I had a hot-air popper that came in handy for this prank. Of course that had to be done in the middle of the night while the room resident slept inside. And of course, it had to be done quietly. I know I did this a bunch of times (SUCH a prankster!) but I specifically remember doing it to Stacy Thaler '82 on the eve of her 21st birthday. Stacy, like me, lived in a single on the 2nd floor of Stoke Hall. Another Stoke 2nd floor resident, John Nay '83, assisted. No harm, no foul, no alcohol (!) involved but imagine the morning scene when Stacy wakes up, climbs down off her loft (that I built for her!), and opens her door to head down the hall to the bathroom—a WALL of popcorn cascades down on her, pooling at her feet... her ankles... her shins! A funny happy birthday message written on the wall-o-newspaper at which she now stares! All of course, while she has to go to the bathroom!
Thomas Young '82
Yesterday afternoon, 21 Oct 1980, a light rocket team from an element of the Kingsbury Brigade, US 1st MD 2nd Platoon, was ambushed by an unknown size enemy force in an area one miles northwest of Nicks Bar, in Durham Province. Recon elements returned the heavy enemy fire. During the action, a university UH-1 helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed in the College Woods area wounding all five women's softball players aboard. The aircraft was destroyed. Or maybe it was just a dumpster that was hit with bottle rockets and caught fire.
Beta Commanders and Principle Staff: Battalion CO, LTC Thomas E. Young '82; Battalion XO, MAJ Perry Williams '81; Battalion S1, 1LT Evan Berlin '82; Battalion S2, CPT James Bird '82, MSG Mark Hibbard '82; Battalion S3, MAJ Stephen Dodd; Battalion S4, CPT John Arno '82; HHC, 1LT Chris Williams '82; CPT Tom St. Martin '82. (Condensed version)
Tina Erickson '84
Chris Jeffery '84, Dan Hoffses '84, Roy Poliquin '84 and I were all trumpet majors (and a couple of stray clarinet majors) at UNH during the early '80s, and I guess it all started with that first April Fool's Day. Our trumpet professor, Bob Stibler (still teaching at UNH), was fairly anti-marching band, and was doing his best to be a very serious guy, in general. We wanted to turn that around. So the bunch of us, known as the C+ Team, (as "The A Team" was already taken and not quite an accurate description of our little team of bandits) planned for weeks. The decision was made to fill Bob's office with balloons, and also to fabricate a closet, so that when he opened his door in the morning, instead of walking into his office, he would walk into a closet full of marching band paraphernalia.
We managed to get in, after hours—never mind how—and pulled off the caper. The office was waist deep in balloons, there were fish in his little water game on the windowsill and the pictures on his storage cabinet all had captions. There was a huge closet, built from a cardboard refrigerator box, obtained from Montgomery Ward's warehouse in Newington, which was transported back to Durham on top of a tiny little Fiat. I thought we'd go airborne! What we hadn't counted on was that we had a visiting dignitary, of sorts, coming in the next day, and when he was brought around to meet Dr. Stibler, what he saw was Bob, behind his desk, wearing a marching band hat sideways, teaching us all how to make little doggies out of the balloons!
From that time on, we regularly re-decorated Bob's office, with the piece de resistance being turning it into a facsimile of the Sistine Chapel. If I'm not mistaken, he still has pictures of that one up on his cabinet. There were many C+ Team capers. To be honest, even though we're all scattered to different parts of the country, now, I'm not sure we're done, yet. We're all still in touch, and have all obtained other skills in the intervening years—keep on the lookout!
Mark Kulik '84
One day I visited some friends who lived in Smith Hall. Their room faced the front of the building. They had access through their room windows to the building front porch roof. We were sitting on the porch roof and I noticed the symmetry of the building name and realized by changing a few letters a new name would easily be composed. I switched the 'h' for the 'm' and voila! I am not sure it was ever done before (more than likely it was) but I thought it was funny. I left the 'm' on the roof of the balcony so the building staff could restore order. It took a while but it was eventually replaced. My friends told me it made it into the yearbook.
Jennifer Pokoski Palmatier '85
I'm sure others will mention this one, but here goes: as an engineering student, I was certain that my major required the most work—I think we all lived at Kingsbury Hall, studying. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought so, because several times the metal letters at the top of the building were "adjusted" to say "Kingsbury Hell."
Jeff Michaud '86
A couple of pranks done to me personally by my roommates while living in the UNH undergraduate apartments (then called the "new apartments"):
One time I was showering and my roommate Alden Beauchemin sneaked in and removed all the towels. We were in one of the lower handicap units so the only bathroom door opened into the main apartment/living room area. It wouldn't have been a problem if we didn't have any female guests but there were some, so I had to take down the shower curtain and wrap myself in it to get into the bedroom.
Another time I was asleep in my bed when another roommate who was taking some women studies class that semester also sneaked in and placed a dildo (or whatever they called it, a prop I guess the students in that class used) in my bed and then made noise to wake me up. They (all my roommates) thought that when I woke up that I would think that my private part fell off. Needless to say that was an unsuccessful prank.
I know, both lame pranks, but both ones I recall easily after 25 years.
Kurt Danis '87
Going back roughly 25 years, Merrimack Valley College was a branch of UNH in Manchester, a small community college, and a great steppingstone before advancing to the university life in Durham. At MVC, the student body was small and relatively familiar with each other. Students could always get a sense of community right in the lunch room where there were six or eight tables, a large window facing the woods, and three or four vending machines. The vending machine company did well—as we were regular patrons considering all other food sources were miles away. And the sandwich machine—you know the kind: rotating carrousel, indexed one column at a time, and for a $1.25 you could open a small sliding Plexiglas door to claim your tasty ham and swiss sandwich. One day a student left his stuff on the table, and his tape recorder looks like it might fit into this vending machine compartment. "Oh, don't do that," said one. "Oh, yeah" said another. With overwhelming accomplice support, the job was done. The Sony Walkman went into the vending machine—with only one way out—another $1.25! The perfect prank.
However, not everything went as planned. Little did we know the Walkman was going to move in such a way as to jam the carousel! That was not supposed to happen! Our friend could not record the day's class lecture as he could not retrieve his Walkman. No matter how he tried to fidget with the machine, there was no way to release the jam. Fortunately, the vending machine person was able to open the machine on the following day. Lesson learned: No more vending machine pranks!
Jeanne Fogg Quinn '88
During my freshman year in Hetzel Hall, a bunch of us were good friends with Adam, our RA. One of the friends knew the combination to Adam's dorm room, so one afternoon when we knew he was at class, we spent an hour or so crumpling up sheets of old newspapers and tossing newspaper balls into Adam's room until the room was full almost up to the ceiling. We then closed and relocked his door and wrote on the whiteboard on his door "The Globe's Here!"
Michael Auler '89
My freshman and sophomore years I lived in Congreve, third floor ("The Penthouse"). My freshman year I had two roommates, Marc Griffin and Brian Quirk '89, both fraternity pledges. We arranged the room such that I slept on a fold up roll-away cot so that we had more room. One Saturday morning, after a "real fun" Friday night, I woke up in the women's bathroom after having been rolled there by my friends while asleep.
Sophomore year I got smart and lived in a single room, same floor. One Sunday evening after a trip to visit home, I returned with my parents and grandparents who were excited to see where I lived. As we were walking up to the third floor we saw signs for a "Room Sale." Each sign became more item specific which clued me in that something was amiss and I was somehow involved. Upon reaching the third floor the main lights were out and I knew something was up. With my parents and grandparents right behind, suddenly the lights came on and the picture flashes began. To my surprise, (and my parents and grandparents' bewilderment), my entire room had been moved into the hallway and priced for a quick sale. I had to explain to my grandparents that this was, indeed, what your best friends at college do.
Tracy Farrar Grimes '89
As an incoming freshman in the fall of 1985, I lived in Hitchcock Hall in "the Quad." It was during this year the best prank of all was played on our RA (who we loved dearly!). One sunny afternoon, in the course of about 20 minutes, the RA's entire room was moved onto the grass in the quad—bed and bedding, dresser, desk with personal effects, even a rug for that homey touch as I recall was waiting for them to arrive home. We all watched with anticipation and screamed with laughter as they saw the furniture, laughed not realizing it was theirs, then the jaw dropped—then more laughter. A bunch of us helped move it all back into their room, stopping frequently for another fit of laughter. The RA took the prank well and continued to leave their door unlocked the rest of the year despite our antics.
Kim Varney Chandler '91
One afternoon while avoiding homework in Christensen Hall on 3C, a couple of us decided to play a prank on our friend, Beth Clark D'Alleva '90. We were freshmen and Beth was a sophomore who had lived on 3C for two years at that point. Somehow we got a hold of a screwdriver and took her dorm room door off the hinges. After we took the door off, we didn't know what do with such a big thing. I think we ran around the floor, laughing, trying to find a place to hide it. It didn't fit in the shower! Couldn't hide it in our rooms.
Eventually, we asked the guys on 3B if they would hide it for us. A couple guys agreed and hid the door in their room. Meantime, we waited, giggling, for Beth to come home. She, of course, knew we took it but we pretended not to know a thing. She went all around the floor asking if anyone knew about her door. We all played dumb but I know were just in laughing fits. Finally she gave in, and hung a sheet in her doorway. Later we brought the door back and reattached it. I think at that point she didn't find it humorous anymore. But over the years we have brought it up and laughed. It seems really stupid now that I'm writing it but it was just hilarious at the time.
Jeffrey Lord '91
My three roommates and I lived at Nick's Bricks. Three of us went on a trip to Montreal one weekend over April Fool's Day. Before we left, we replaced our other roommate's new bottle of vodka with water. Needless to say, he was rather livid when he found out his vodka was just watering down his drinks over the weekend!
John County '92
In 1990, a group of friends from Manchester was living at Nick's Bricks. Dan Cronin '99 (a friend and student but not living on campus) used to stay at our place a couple of times a week as he had an 8 a.m. class at McConnell. Every time Dan stayed over, he would set his alarm clock and put it next to him as he would sleep on the couch. To arise for is 8 a.m. class, he would set his alarm for 7:40, clean up for 5 minutes and drive to class. This particular night, Dan fell asleep early (while everyone was still in the living room). Andy Shaka '90, Brian Chase '92 and I decided to move the time ahead on his alarm clock two hours. So the alarm goes off at 5:40 (it says 7:40) and he gets up goes to the bathroom where I hear him say to himself, "I feel like I just went to bed." He proceeds to get into his 1985 Red Ford Escort (license plate DFC for Daniel Francis Cronin). Drives to park in the Durham Marketplace lot (as he tells later, he sees no one on the road and the parking lot is empty). He then walks to McConnell (again seeing no one), gets to the doors and they are locked. He bangs on the door and the cleaning guy says, "What are you trying to accomplish at 6 a.m.?" At that point, he knew he was had and came back to Nicks Bricks. He was not a happy camper.
John Franson '92
As a freshman at Congreve Hall, the guy in the single room next to my triple, named John DiAngelis, exited his room one weeknight to go to the men's room. He was at UNH from SDSU for the fall semester, 1988. It was around midnight, odd for me to be awake that late, and he didn't notice that I observed his trip. The hall was dead quiet, and I snuck into his room. Crouching down in his closet next to his bed, I waited for him to return. The room was dark, and I hoped he wouldn't turn on the light when he returned. Sure enough, he came whistling back, shut the door, and nestled into bed. I paused as he took a deep breath and exhaled, intent on slumbering down. Resisting laughing, I knew how funny this was going to be, in a raspy voice, dragging out his name in increasing volume, I cawed, "Johhhnnnnn....."
Well, John nearly exploded out of his bed, gasping for air, frightened and startled, fumbling over exasperating words. Meanwhile, I fell over from my crouched position, laughing and howling as John switched the light on. "DUDE, holy crap!" he shouted, also starting to laugh, "Dude, you scared the hell out of me," and "Dude, if you had touched me, I would have died, I would have had a heart attack and died!" We both laughed then, and we both still laugh today. John was a great friend with a bunch of us then, and remains a great friend now. Several of us remain in touch. We still laugh today.
Gretchen Grozier '92
After having our doorway plastic-wrapped during the night—forcing us to cut our way out of our room in McLaughlin Hall—my roommate Amy Moyer '92 and I swore revenge. We borrowed an air popcorn popper we knew was on the floor and spent a large part of the afternoon popping up batches of popcorn. Then early in the morning we got up and taped newspaper across the doorway of our friend Nichole StoykovichThomas '92. Then just before getting to the top, we filled the space between the door and the newspaper barrier we'd created with the popcorn. So when they opened their door, an avalanche occurred. It was a good prank, but it backfired a bit on me. It was about 10 years before I could stand to eat popcorn again!
MaryLynn Salerno '92
Eaton House is right next to the train tracks. Too many times we snuck into the rooms of freshmen at 3 a.m. with a flashlight and while poised right over their bed suddenly screamed, Look out! Train! and flipped the switch.
Saran Wrap is a wonder. Especially useful when the door opens into a room and is recessed into the doorframe. It is much too easy to wrap the across the doorframe and fill with packing peanuts, popcorn, whatever your fancy. Sometime simple is best, however. After a very late night, a bleary eyed friend, who was running out the door to their 8 a.m. class, literally bounced off the invisible barrier.
Is a prank still a prank if no one is there to witness it? On my 21st birthday, my friends filled my single room with 100 helium balloons while I was out at class. I came back early, however, and opened the door to a rainbow of colors; no one was around to see it. I shrieked, then laughed and then marveled that the sprinkler system was not set off.
Tricia Baker Schmitt '92
While attending UNH, I often worked several odd jobs to help pay for rent or beer money during the off-campus years. As if working the 4 a.m.-midnight shift at Store 24 didn't provide me with enough material to write a sitcom I had a couple of roommates who were mischievous and loved to play pranks, Lori Esposito '90 and Lisa Hartnett '90. My most-shocking surprise was coming home late one night from the beer-closing shift and seeing the living room of our apartment glowing and blinking — I thought they decided to bring back disco and throw a party. When opening the door, I discovered an array of signs covering every square inch of the room. Neon beer signs, "Please wait to be seated," construction tri-pods with blinking lights — there must have been close to 25 of these large signs parked in our living room. Of course, being the Type A person I am (which is why I'm the perfect person to prank) it dawned on me that this is insane and we could be thrown into the clink for such antics. I know they spent the night returning all this stuff to the rightful owners, but I'm sure my reaction was priceless — I would have to say they were my most entertaining and colorful roommates — always up to something, surprising me with stories of their escapades. Some people make stuff up to be cool, but not these two — they were the genuine articles.
Ken Woods '93
In Williamson Hall, we used to call the elevator to our dorm room floor (Floor 8), then we'd send it down to the first floor. We'd use a "special key" we made out of a coat hanger to open the elevator door, and on the top of the elevator there is control buttons (up, down, stop). We would then allow fellow students and RAs to get on the elevator, choose their floor of destination and proceed to toy with them bringing them on joy rides up and down the elevator shaft of the 10-floor dormitory to every floor destination except the one they chose. The reactions of people were priceless. They'd be angry at the elevator, think it was broken, swear and slam the walls, often resulting in getting off and taking the stairs. The hard part of being on top and controlling the elevator was not to get caught laughing at the people freaking out as they continually press their floor buttons.
Carla Cooke Balch '94
Lori Kent Hill '94 and I played a joke on our friend, Julie Pietrini '94, on April Fool's Day freshman year. She was infatuated with Cam Neeley from the Bruins. Lori and I came up with a story of how we met Cam at the local supermarket. We faked Cam's autograph and a note that said, "To Julie, Thanks for being my number one fan, Love, Cam Neeley" on a paper grocery bag and gave it to Julie. She went nuts! While jumping up and down screaming, "He wrote love! He wrote love!" she proceeded to call every person she knew to tell them exactly what he wrote. After watching this hysterical display for about half an hour, Lori and I decided it was time to tell her the truth. To our surprise, Julie still wanted to be our friend after that and still is to this day!
Nicole Barrett '95
We tied one long string around every bedroom door knob—doors were all closed and the string went from knob to knob around the dorm floor, causing everyone to be essentially tied locked into their room. It was like one big grounding—that's what happens when the freshman girls do not behave!
Melanie Decker Kelly '95
I lived in Williamson my freshman year, on a flex floor. On the other side of the fire door that separated the women's side from the men's, there was this guy who used to leave his horrendously stinky sneakers out in the hallway. It smelled so bad that even though I was all the way on the other side of the floor, I could still smell those awful sneakers. After several weeks of asking him to please keep them in his room, I'd had enough. I took his sneakers, put them into the stairwell and filled them with foamy shaving cream. He found them, eventually, and got the hint. From then on, he kept them on his window ledge.
Of course, there was also the never-ending prank of "permanent marker art on the forehead of the passed out guy/girl."
Greg Pelletier '95
In Jessie Doe Hall in '92 and '93, there were a few pranks. First, if you ever tried to open your door and it just wouldn't work, there's a good chance you fell victim to the almighty penny prank. Your door would be leaned on while placing a few pennies in between the wood door and the metal door frame. The only way out was to lean on the door until the pennies pressed in the wood enough that they would fall.
From our time off campus on Young Drive, a lot of late night TV led to the viewing of many "Act now!" commercials for free samples. Unknowing friends would get treats delivered to their parents' homes ranging from American Girl catalogs to male enhancement brochures. I still remember my friend's address down in Georgia thanks to all the times we willingly provided it for free information or product samples during the late night dialing.
Tammy Ross '95
I lived in Congreve Hall for two and a half years. During my freshman year, roommates Chris Balzer '94 and Chip Roper '94 had an uncanny ability to replicate the sound of the fire alarm using only their voices and the great acoustics in the stairwell. One particular evening, on our way back from Stillings, Chris's imitation was so convincing that people started coming out of their rooms, ready to evacuate the dorm.
Dan Cannon '96
I spent two years living at Woodside Apartments and became great friends with my roommates, Steve Parlin '95 and Michael Lim '95. Mike was a straight A student in biochemistry. I believe he finished his undergrad degree with a 3.98 GPA (due to one A-) and went on to become UNH's first student ever accepted to Johns Hopkins Medical School. So Mike was a extremely meticulous student; never missed a class and never ever late—except once.
One semester Mike, Steve and I all had class at the same and all walked together on the path that ran between the old Snively Arena and the faculty parking lot. Those who walked that path in those years will remember the outdoor shower fixtures on the side of the area. Steve and I didn't need too many walks past those before the idea of ambushing Mike crept into our heads and one brisk late fall morning Steve shoved Mike under while I pulled the chain, leaving Mike soaked and with a tough decision (for him). After serious deliberation about going to class soaking wet in order to avoid being late, he relented and headed back to the apartment to change. Steve and I are mostly sure that our prank wasn't what cost Mike his perfect 4.0 GPA, but the thought of meticulous Mike dripping wet in his class was priceless.
Paul Ramsay '96
My first year at UNH, 1992, I lived in Lord Hall. It was still all- male back then, so there was a lot of pranking and boyish behavior back then. One night, very late, my roommate and I wheeled the recycling container down to our friend's room and slowly and quietly stacked aluminum cans vertically on top of each other in the doorway of his room. We covered each row with a single strip of tape on the hallway side so that they wouldn't fall outward. In the morning, when he woke and opened his door to head to the bathroom, he was met with a solid wall of aluminum cans.
Then, when I was a resident assistant in Lord Hall the next year, one of the other RAs on staff stayed up all night studying with another resident for the free MCAT exams being offered on Saturday morning. They studied so late that when they went to sleep they slept right through their alarms and the exam! I don't know about today, but back then if you dialed an on campus number as if you were calling an off campus number (9 and then the full number) it would ring as if the call was coming from off campus. So on Monday I called my fellow RA, altered my voice a little, and impersonated a representative from the MCAT exams. I informed him that since he signed up for a free space that could have been used by someone else, but did not show, that he would actually be charged for the exam he didn't take. He was shocked, then furious! I strung him along patiently for awhile, then finally I just started laughing. There was a moment of silence on his end, and then he yelled out "Ramsay!"
William Redfern '97
One of my Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers, Bill Lavey '96, drove a Dodge Colt and we were always making fun of him for how small it was. One day a few of us decided to literally pick it up and carry it from the parking lot into the basement of the fraternity house. Knowing that he was leaving for work shortly, we turned on the headlights and windshield wipers and all hid in the basement. We let him frantically run around the parking lot looking for his car before we finally opened the door and started honking the horn.
Jeffrey Pennell '98
A time-honored prank on Devine's fourth floor was "canning." The purpose of this prank was to block up someone's dorm room doorway with empty soda cans while they were inside their room and without them knowing. For weeks in advance we would save our empty soda cans. The recycling bins would remain mysteriously empty as their contents were quietly hoarded. On the night of the canning, at around 2 or 3 a.m., after the targets of the canning were fast asleep, we would gather our hundreds of cans and, as quietly as possible, stack them in the targets' doorway. There was always an element of excitement to this because, at any time, a carelessly placed can might cause the wall of cans to come crashing down, waking the occupants of the room. After the last can was placed, we would sneak back to our rooms, being sure to set our alarm clocks early so that we would be there when the door was opened. When that happened, the negative pressure created by the door opening inwards into the dorm room would usually suck the wall of cans into the room, where it would create a deafening crash as the cans fell onto the tiled floor. But sometimes the cans would not fall and the occupants would be forced to take them down, one by one, in order to get out of their room. Not an enjoyable task first thing in the morning!
Christopher Panetta '00
It was my junior year living at the Gables. My roommate Darren Berge '01 and I needed to use our other roommate's computer but he kept locking his door, much to our dismay. One day, he forgot to lock his door. We went into his room and took out all his clothes from his closet and dresser and hid them throughout the apartment. We left a ransom note made by cutting out letters from various magazines that read, "If you want your clothes back, please let us use your computer!"
Our roommate had a good laugh about it, he got his clothes back, and we didn't have to worry about not being able to use his computer going forward.
Pamela Williams '00
I used to drive charters for Wildcat Transit, and once I had an overnight trip to UMaine with the swim team. While we were sleeping in the hotel, UMainers came by and wrote with a bar of soap, in huge letters, "UNH SUCKS" on the windows of my bus. Because it was freezing and time was short, I couldn't wash the letters off. Before the team came out, I took MY bar of soap and changed the words "SUCKS" to "ROCKS" and immensely enjoyed the looks on the UMaine students' faces when we rolled into campus that morning. Their prank backfired!
Melanie Beach '01
A friend of mine, Brett Schellenberg '02, lived in The Lighthouse for a year and came home one afternoon to find the entire contents of his bedroom arranged on the front lawn. After he found out who the culprit was he and some of his housemates did the same to the guy, except they moved all of his bedroom furniture into the bathroom.
Christina Witkowicki '02
One morning when people woke up and walked around campus they saw chalking on the sidewalks that David Gray was going to play a concert at the Whitt and tickets would go on sale that Friday. Everyone on campus was talking about it and getting excited. Students started to go over to the ticket booth to ask about specifics and the ticket people said they had no idea where it was coming from. SCOPE said he hadn't been booked and they didn't know who did the chalking (but that they would consider hiring the person because they did such a great job). There was buzz all over campus about it.
Ben Blakesley '03
It started innocently enough. Living in the Gables, I spread some chocolate pudding on the doorknob of the apartment of a friend of mine, Edward Aten '03. Fast forward.... the scene now is we're both covered in chocolate pudding and so is the entire door. Five gallons worth.
Michelle Harley Meagher '03
I was on the UNH Women's Gymnastics Team and we were required to return to campus to continue training just a few days after Christmas. Campus was pretty dead over the winter holiday, but the men's and women's ice hockey team and men's basketball team were around as well. Several of my teammates (Bethany Wagner '02, Katie Revis Carney '02 and Jen Dickson Ganly '03) were friends with the men's ice hockey team, and during my freshman and sophomore winter breaks, we decided to play pranks on them. Some of the pranks I can mention here include: soaking all their boxer shorts and putting them in the freezer; tearing off all the labels on their canned goods in the pantry; crumbling crackers in their beds; leaving tuna fish cans on their heaters; etc. I'll admit it...we were evil! But it was all in good fun. The men's team never retaliated the years I was involved in the pranks, but I heard that in a previous year they dropped some "furry creatures" into the mail slot of a teammate's house.
Justin Norton '03
The prank pulled on me freshman year could have easily been the pilot episode of Punk'd. It was a Saturday night, about three weeks into my first semester at UNH. My roommate Cam had gone out with this guy John Bowman '03 (the resident Christiansen prankster) and a couple of other guys from my floor. At about 11:15, John called me from one of those yellow call boxes next to the Christiansen entrance. He asked me if I'd seen Cam, and I replied "I thought he was out with you." John sort of nervously laughed into the phone, and he said " Some stuff just went down." "What stuff?" I asked. "Well, don't freak out, but we went downtown and had a few beers at this party, and Cam got really wasted. We were walking through the Store 24 parking lot, and Cam was stumbling around pretty good. A cop blocked off our path, and asked to see Cam's ID." Girly, high-pitched laughter really started echoing through the phone. "And Cam hit the cop in the face and ran away." All I could manage was a few expletive-laden gasps, and in the quick seconds of trying to fathom the ramifications of what my new roommate had done, some strange instincts kicked in. "Maybe I should call his parents," I suggested. "No, no, no," John quickly retorted. "Just... if Cam comes back, make sure he doesn't go anywhere." I hung up the phone, and my adrenaline was surging in a way that made me feel like I was the one who had taken a swing at a police officer. About 20 minutes later, the lock starts jangling on my door. Cam wings the door open, makes a beeline past me, and plops facedown on his bed. Of course I'm at the height of hysteria trying to ask him what happened, but all Cam gives me is a few muffled one word responses from his pillow. About five minutes later, there's a loud bang on my door. A deep, gruff voice yells out, "Durham Police." The blood in my ears has turned into Niagara falls at this point. Cam reacts by stashing himself under his bed. "Shut up so they think no one is here," he rasped at me. I shut up. Second knock, I hold still. Third knock, I couldn't stand it anymore. "Hu...hu... hold on." I squeaked as my fingertips played piano on the door knob. As I opened the door to greet Durham's Finest and likely cut short Cam's attendance at UNH, John and half of the guys on my floor came piling into my room, and they weren't exactly frowning. I was instantly the most gullible guy in Christiansen Hall.
LeighAnn Soucy '07
When I was a sophomore and an RA in Christensen (2005), my friends LeeAnn and Sam called me on my cell phone while I was up on the 8th floor doing some CS homework. When they asked me if I was in my room, I explained that I wasn't and wouldn't be for a while as I was working on a big project. I thought nothing of this phone call, as they often called wondering where in the building I was so they could find me easier. A few hours later I returned to my room to find that I had left it unlocked and that my two friends had stuck Post-it notes all over absolutely EVERYTHING I owned. There were Post-its everywhere—on every poster, picture, toiletry, book, blanket, movie, you name it Post-it noted. All I could do was laugh at the absurdity. They'd used hundreds of those sticky little pieces of paper.
The best part of the whole thing was how I would find Post-its I had originally missed for weeks and weeks afterward—inside my pillow case, under the fitted sheet and inside DVD cases and on the DVD itself. I learned a valuable lesson about locking my door and the girls had a real good laugh at my expense. Such a good, clean prank.
Richard Drenkhahn Jr. '08
My friend Kevin Rivard '06 and I decided to get back at some girls who played a prank on Kevin. (They arranged it so he sat in some whipped cream.) So we took a brown paper lunch bag and filled it with foaming shaving cream. Stuck the open end of the bag under the door and slammed the bag. The result was a room splattered with shaving cream and girls running out looking like the Stay Puft marshmallow man.
Julia Agresto '09
When I was an RA in McLaughlin Hall, the male RA on my floor had a pretty clever prank played on him by his male residents. One night after he had gone to bed, a few of the guys on the floor armed themselves with a roll of cling wrap and stretched it from one side of the door frame to the other, from top to bottom, taping it in place on either side of the door frame until the entire doorway was covered. Needless to say, he had a tough time getting out of his room when he woke up the next morning and opened his door. But while his residents may have won the battle, the war was just beginning—this prank sparked a series of others like a domino effect, beginning with my fellow RA exacting revenge on his residents by returning the favor of the cling wrap trap and challenging them for cling wrap domination!
In 1896 the college was the recipient of a gift in the form of a stuffed elk that had been shot in Corbin Park. The elk lived for many years on the first floor of T-Hall (where it made a convenient coat-rack) until it was moved to the third floor just outside of the girl's gym. Imagine the surprise of the women who lived in Smith Hall when, one April morning in 1921, they awoke to see their old friend standing peacefully among the rocks on the little rise near their dorm. As reported by The New Hampshire, "This curious sight caused much laughter and excitement among all who saw the old fellow. After standing there for several hours, under the eye of so many "fair ones," the blushing old quadruped was finally relieved of his position, and carried by workmen to his old stand."
One evening in early June 1925, the university and Durham communities were alarmed when the Thompson Hall bells began to ring at 11 o'clock at night. At 10 minutes past eleven the bell was still ringing when Henry Swallow, the genial night watchman appeared on the scene. He found the door to the belfry unlocked and discovered that some "playful students" had hung two glass cider jugs from the striking apparatus in such a way that the thing was thrown out of gear so that the striking would continue indefinitely.
In February 1926, the wildcat was voted the official college mascot. Several months later, some students heard that a farmer had captured a wildcat and they thought it would be a good idea to get the cat as a mascot to show at Homecoming. Amanda Simpson '28 told the story: Cupe Osgood, Eddie Simpson and Gil Reed climbed into Cupe's touring car and headed off to get the cat. The farmer put the cat in a wooden box, nailed some slats on the top and placed it on the back seat of Cupe's car. A short time after they had left for Durham, the cat started raising havoc in the box, producing some of the weird sounds that only a wildcat can make. The three students became extremely apprehensive about the security of the box.
Stopping for lunch in Laconia, they took to the road again when one of the three men noticed just in time that the cat had chewed away one of the slats and was half out of the box. Cupe slammed on the brakes and Ed and Gil threw a blanket over the box, shoved it back in and hoped for the best. After starting off again, Gil put his arm around the back of Cupe and jabbed him in the back of his neck; at the same time giving his best imitation of a "wild" wildcat. Poor Cupe jammed on the brakes, leaped out of the car and headed for a cornfield. Ed always said that he wasn't sure who was the wildest in the car back to Durham. Cupe and Gil didn't speak for awhile but they always remained friends anyway.
When the first UNH wildcat mascot, Maizie, died in 1927, the Student Council had her stuffed and mounted in a glass case. Don Gordon '70 recalls she was on display at Huddleston Dining Hall when he first came to campus in 1966. He and two friends, "inspired by Freshman Camp with an excess of school spirit," decided that Maizie was ill-placed and poorly lighted where she was perched on that ornamental balcony in the dining area. "Nancy Wilbur, Jane Simon and I surreptitiously entered the dining room—not to steal ice cream—but to place Maizie in a better light," wrote Gordon. "We positioned Maizie over the door leading into the room on the Fairchild side... where hundreds of student noticed her for perhaps the first time. She remained there for many weeks, presiding over our meals, discussions, flirtations, chance encounters and deep bull sessions over coffee—in short, over all the things (almost) that were part of our college life in those days." Eventually someone who was in a position to do something about it removed her to the Field House where she remained for the next 32 years. Maizie is currently housed in the Special Collections and Archives department of Dimond Library.
Polly Winer Morton '31 remembers the confusion and excitement of the night she awoke to the sound of a squealing pig, followed by men's voices as they scrambled to retrieve the pig they had put through the window of the women's dorm. In another memorable barnyard prank, the night watchman in 1951 admitted to being relieved that the strange noises coming from the music room in Ballard Hall were made by a cow and not some more menacing creature. The practice of keeping the stalls in UNH's livestock barns unlocked for easy access in case of fire had the drawback of leaving the animals vulnerable to campus pranksters. (At least once the perpetrators of a practical joke that involved an animal from the university's livestock barn were members of the faculty.)
The animals were always eventually returned to the barns unharmed, but in 1964, the university declared that taking animals for prank purposes must stop. Any future "borrowing" would be considered theft and the police would become involved. Prof. Gerald Smith, head of the division of animal husbandry, explained that there is more to UNH livestock than meets the eye. Many of the animals in the university barns are undergoing long-range experiments. Removing animals from the control environments could invalidate months of laboratory study or result in physical harm to an animal. Smith explained that he wanted to protect the students from strict punishment and the university livestock from theft. "If students want to 'borrow' an animal," he suggested, "let them go someplace and rent one."
One morning in 1936, Guy Clark, principal at the Durham Center Grammar School, was shocked to find a huge pig in his children's playpen. Adding insult to injury, he received many telephone called complaining about his keeping pigs within the town proper. Of course, town residents blamed the prank on university students. Few ever found out that Philip Wilcox, foreman at the university poultry plant, and Loring Tirrell, professor of animal husbandry, were the actual perpetrators.
The last football game of the 1939 season was scheduled against the highly-favored Harvard Crimson. One week before the game, the UNH wildcat mascot, Butch III, was discovered missing from his cage behind the Lambda Chi Fraternity house. Both Tufts (who had just lost to UNH) and Harvard were considered likely culprits, but searches for the cat in Boston and Cambridge came up empty. Three days later, an insurance salesman was surprised to find the cat in a small carrier abandoned in his garage in Woburn, Mass. Having read of the missing animal in a Boston newspaper, he called the UNH athletic department. A delegation was dispatched to Woburn and returned to Durham with the cat, which was hungry and thirsty but otherwise unharmed. Despite the fact that on top of the cage, in large letters, was written "HARVARD 60, N.H. O," Harvard denied any involvement, stating that they had enough cats at Harvard already without adding a wild one to the collection.
Summer campus construction projects for 1937 included the addition of two wings to the Hamilton Smith Library, a field house and a firehouse. At that time, the fire equipment was kept in a former barn and on the night of July 12, 1937, what should never happen to a fire department happened—the barn burned. As usual, the students pitched in to help fight the fire and a fire engine was rescued by two summer school students, John J. Lorentz and Bernard Robinson. The young men reasoned that the machine was without a home, that it would have no other duties that night, and that it owed them something for rescuing it; they therefore decided that it would be a proper conveyance to take Lorentz to visit his girlfriend in Massachusetts. They only made it as far as Newmarket, however, before being sent back to Durham by three stern state policemen.
Many cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world. Stories of apparitions roaming the halls of campus buildings—especially the older dormitories—make their perennial appearance. More temporal tricksters are also out and about. In 1951, at around 3:30 a.m. the university night watchman "Pop" Marshall was making his rounds in Ballard Hall, which was built as a rooming house in 1893, but was then being used for the arts and for student offices. Pop was startled to hear mysterious noises coming from one of the music rooms. Cautiously, he investigated until he discovered the source. There in the locked room stood a very real cow! Pop responded to the prank with good humor and submitted this poem to The New Hampshire:
"While traveling thought the campus
Winding clocks and looking wise,
You see some funny faces
And meet some funny guys,
Now your girls they are good looking
And your boys they are well groomed,
But the funniest thing I ever see,
Was a cow in the music room.
Now I'm willing to guard your property
And watch your buildings fine,
But teaching music to a cow
Is a little out of my line."
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