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I See Elsie

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Posted by Claire Mokrauer-Madden at 11:58AM   |  Add a comment

I think you have all heard of Elsie.  You may even be her friend on Facebook.  Though the fact that she has a Facebook page is ironic in that she never shows said face.

I first heard of Elsie from Bill.  He described her as 'our poltergeist'.  And truly, she isn't for the faint of heart.  See a previous blog post as a testament to that.  Initially I thought the word poltergeist was harsh on her, and it drew up memories of the horror movie of the same name, but Wikipedia calls poltergeists troubled spirits, and I think that is an accurate description of Elsie.  35 Harrington Gardens is a Victorian family home that has been converted into a few incarnations, most recently as a college campus.  Imagining it as it once may have been draws up images of Dickensian characters- Miss Havisham sitting in a green wing-back in room 8, Oliver Twist banished to the stationary cupboard for asking for more food and Ralph Nickleby making a fortune off the debts of others in Bill's office.  Of course we have our references to more modern characters, too.  We have our own cupboard under the stairs that most work study students look for Harry Potter in.

In my mind Elsie was a little girl in Edwardian London.  She lived in the house as the youngest in a large family of children, in which she was the youngest, the most indulged and, clearly, the most mischievous.  No one now knows what became of her as adulthood approached, but somehow a part of her young self seems to have been caught in the family home.  If she keeps a diary, this is what I think it said on Wednesday.

  6am- Had breakfast with Jack.  He didn't know I was there.  It was his birthday so as my present I didn't stick socks in the back of his washer to clog it up yesterday.  Feeling good about that today.

  8am- Got this week's Time Out off the doorstep.  Can't wait to read it!  I'll return it Friday.

  8:03am- Moved around the papers in the faculty pigeon holes.  Now to shift the student post...

  9am- Bill, Sarah and Claire are all in now.  Think I will start prank calling them and hanging up.

  10am- Torn between attending Contemporary British Politics and Contemporary British Fiction.  It may be too early to catch Prime Minister's Questions, so I may just sit outside and quietly knock on the door of room 1.

2pm- Bummed there was no stage combat this morning.  Made the thumping sounds on the floor anyway so that Claire would think there are students practicing fighting.  Now must eat all the chocolate hobnobs before the students come down for coffee talk.

  3:45pm- Didn't get to eat all the biscuits, was sidetracked by the possibility of going out with Intermedia.  Nick is new.  Perhaps I can cause a little havoc in his class.  Been musing about this.  Considered doing the same for Jim yesterday, but may just sit quietly in his class and take in the material.  At least I can relate to that class.

  5:40pm- Claire is out of the front office.  Now is my chance to hide her Charlton Athletic pen.

  8:20pm- Work study are locking up the building.  Time to make noises in the dark parts of the building.  Just to keep things interesting.

  8:45pm- Settling in for the night.  Will probably start by making a mess of Bill's office and then breaking some of the locks downstairs.  And if I'm really ambitious I may hide the sandwich press.

  Midnight- Cleaners are here.  Can't find any bin bags.  Hahaha!  They'll never guess where I put them.

Accurate or inaccurate as this may be, we try and stay on Elsie's good side. On a side note, does Elsie write with a hint of Bridget Jones' style?

Elsie has her own chair.  Sometimes she lets Bill sit in it.

-Claire


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