The Goodhue Caper
Goodhue Hall, a men’s dormitory with four stories. It was the first year of the dorm. Rooms were assigned by lottery but seniors and juniors first. Sophomores ended up on the first and second floors.
There were no cellphones in those days. And students were not allowed to have private phones in their rooms. There were public phones (not pay!) just outside the hallway in the stairwells. There were three staircases, and each floor had three phones. Again, each phone was outside the hallway, through a door, in the stairwell; but each phone had a bell that rang inside the hallway. When the phone rang, someone would answer it and then go find the person “for whom the bell rang” so to speak.
I was a goof and a geek. I tried hard to be cool but wasn’t. That term I got a C in history, a C in math (a gift), and a D in introductory microeconomics.
Another perp was Kent Paul Dolan, who is still a friend on Facebook. He left Carleton at the end of that term. He spent most of his time in the computer room (the old days of Fortran 1 and punched cards).
I don’t remember the others. One might have been Pete Campbell; another might have been Bob Henry or possibly Tom Eller. Not sure though. There had to have been at least four of us to carry it off.
Someone else organized it. I didn’t have the planning, technical, or leadership skills. We were all from the east end of the second floor of Goodhue Hall. At least three of us were sophomores.
About 3 am we went outside (likely after playing bridge in the east lounge until all hours). We sat out on the hill on the north side of Goodhue and watched. We waited until the lights went off on the fourth floor, and then we waited another 15 minutes or so.
Step 1. We went in and up to the fourth floor. At the top of each stairwell, someone (I don’t remember doing this myself but I probably participated after receiving instructions) removed the doorknobs from the doors leading from the hallways to the stairwells on the fourth floor. This was the dangerous part. If there had been a fire, the men there would have had difficulty escaping. They could have, but it still gives me the creeps. We left the doorknobs in the phone booths out in the stairwells. Then we signaled to a person on the hill that we had done step one.
Step 2. The power boxes with circuit breakers were also in the stairwells, next to the telephones (I can’t remember if they were next to the telephones for each floor or if all of them were outside the phones on the first floor). On a signal from someone with a flashlight on the hill, each of us who was inside, turned off all the power on the fourth floor. There had to be three of us, one for each stairwell; it was probably the same three who removed the doorknobs. Then we went to the stairwell windows and signaled to the person we had done it.
Step 3. On the next signal from the person on the hill, we all went to the phone on the first floor in our respective stairwell and called the phone in that same stairwell on the fourth floor.
No one could answer the phones because they couldn’t open the doors to the stairwells. Furthermore they couldn’t see what they were doing because the power was off.
We sat on the hill and watched as slowly people tried to turn on lights but couldn’t, found flashlights, then tried to get to the phones. Eventually at each stairwell, someone managed to use some sort of tool to open the door. The first time that happened, we took off.
For some bizarre (some would say sick) reason, I've always been impressed by the planning and co-ordination required to pull off a caper like this.