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Subject: SISTER: My Future in Ruins
Date: 10/15/1995

Bert, Mother is being entirely unreasonable. I want to go to Blackstock
College. It's a lot like her school, without actually being Cornell
College of Iowa. I don't want to be somewhere where I'm 'Professor
Lane's daughter', but I want to be near family. Grandma and Grandpa will
do nicely, I should think.

I don't want to go to Iowa State. It's fine for you, Liberty, you want
to be a horticulturalist, and you can't learn about *that* at Cornell.
But ISU is far too big for undergraduate work in the liberal arts. And
I'm sure they have small colleges near Daddy, but I don't want to live
in Chicago. Which I know means I'll have to get a real job to support my
passion for theater in the sticks, but I have made my peace with that.

Love, your sister.

Subject: re: SISTER: My Future in Ruins
Date: 10/16/1995

Honor, this would probably have gone over better if you hadn't spent all
of junior and senior high school saying that you were going to Cornell,
thatit was the best college in the world, and that I was a poopyhead
for going to the College of Agriculture.

You're right, though, it is weird. I don't think it's the money, because
you should get a faculty discount through Grandpa, and otherwise it
should be about the same. Why don't you call Dad and see if you can get
him on your side?

Love, your brother.

P.S. That poopyhead comment was more right than you know. I'm taking a
class where I have to identify spoor (wild animal shit.) I'm thinking
about either doing the forestry major or staying five years and
double-majoring, so I'm keeping my options open. I know I want to deal
with plants but maybe a greenhouse isn't the way to go.

Subject: re: SISTER: My Future in Ruins
Date: 10/18/1995

Daddy is worse than Mommy. He is absolutely insane on the issue of
Blackstock, blew up at me on the phone, went into a biting rage, quoted
*Lear* at me. I hung up the phone on him. I know you shout back, but I
can't do that sort of thing off stage. Theatrics belong in a theater,
don't you think?

Anyway, I'll give Grandpa a try.

Love, your charming and well-mannered sister

Subject: SISTER: My Hero
Date: 10/18/1995

That's Grandpa, not you, poopyhead. He talked Mommy off the ledge, and I
am allowed to go to Blackstock, provided, of course, that the Admissions
Office finds me acceptable.

Apparently the great freakout was caused by some evil professor that
Mommy and Daddy had in college. Mommy spoke obliquely since I was there,
but I think there was inappropriate intimate contact (i.e. sex!)

In any case, I am absolutely forbidden from becoming a Classics major or
taking classes from any female classics professors, but otherwise I may
pursue my education as I (and my advisor) please.

Love, your clever and persistent sister

P.S. Wash your hands!

Subject: SISTER: Welcome to the real world
Date: 10/20/1995

If there's some question about the admissions office at Blackstock
accepting you, you should apply to Cornell and ISU as backup schools.
And get a math tutor!

Love, your practical and soapy brother.

Subject: SISTER: I'm in!
Date: 04/11/1996

I got the fat letter from Blackstock today! Mommy and I will be filling
out all of the financial stuff this weekend and sending it in.

Love, your nearly-a-college-freshman sister.

Lcc: Interested Freshman 96
Subject: The Literary Magazine Wants You
Date: 9/11/1996

You are receiving this e-mail because you indicated you intend to become
an English or Classics major, or because you listed 'literary magazine'
as one of your high school extracurriculars.

Weak and Idle Theme is Blackstock College's literary magazine, and we
definitely want you to join our staff. The magazine publishes poetry and
short fiction each term, and sponsors a series of one act play readings
during winter term.

If you are interested in being a slush readerreading, copyediting,
soliciting advertising, or dramatic reading, please come to our interest
meeting Saturday at noon in rehearsal room 15 in the Music and Drama
Center. Cheese and pepperoni pizzas will be provided. (Food is 15% of
our operating budget!)

Editor, Mabel M.

Subject: Re: Finding your path
Date: 09/15/1996

Hah! I was only lost for the first two days on campus. That is the
advantage of a) going to a small, liberal arts college, as opposed to
Cyclone City and b) landing a roommate who is local. Jenny's uncle knew
Mommy in high school. I can't decide if it was or wasn't likely that I
ran into someone with connections, however tenuous, to Mommy. The town
isn't *that* small, but the people she knew probably are concentrated
around Blackstock.

I don't know how I feel about Jenny as a person. She is a MUSICIAN
MUSICIAN and sings all the time. She has four instruments in the room:
electronic keyboard, flute, saxophone, and a wind instrument I haven't
identified. But when she stops making music and starts talking, she's
pretty funny. She quotes 30's and 40's musicals, and then tells you the
plot of them. She's smart and exotic looking, but not exactly pretty,
and she is not, thank god, a morning person.

Classes so far seem easy, perhaps too easy. Maybe it doesn't help that
I'm taking Chem for Poets and Bio for Poets, but I do want to get my
distribution requirements over with right away. Grandpa assures me that
Professor Tinden is an excellent choice for Survey of English
Literature, although he thinks I should have skipped Survey and gone
straight to Shakespeare.

Tell me more about Germany. If the forest is not very big and scary, why
on Earth do they call it the Black Forest? Do the German girls
appreciate your face? You are so lucky to take after Daddy.

Love, your sister

P.S. I will be coordinating a play reading series for the literary
magazine. Apparently, everyone who worked on it has graduated, so I am
just as experienced as any of the returning students.

Subject: Monthly status report
Date: 10/01/1996


Grandpa was wrong on the question of Survey vs. Shakespeare. I am
entirely ignorant of the Elizabethans (excluding WS) and the Romantics
and Chaucer, etc. Prof. Tinden is a dream. She loves everything and she
makes me understand why she loves it and she is great, even if when I
don't like the *text*.

Science for Poets (the two courses run together in my head, since we
started in both of them with DNA) is deadly, deadly dull, but my
roommate Jenny is in the bio class, so we poke each other awake. Chem
contains a lovely young man named Seth who graciously pokes me there.
(Fear not, Mother, Seth is a Kinsey 6 who gets nauseated at the thought
of naked girls. I will not have a Liberty Of My Very Own to plague you
with.) Labs for chemistry are going pretty well, but the labs for
biology not so much. It seems that half of our specimens do not have all
of the proper organs. Someone sneaks them in there the night before we
show this to the professor and inserts the missing bits. Jenny is
considering investing in a polaroid camera.


Seth is a sophomore who is perfectly happy to hang out around girls with
their clothes on. He has introduced me to a bunch of music majors. They
do not get along with my roommate Jenny, who is also a music major.
Jenny does modern atonal music, but Seth's crowd is popular music
oriented, and never the twain shall meet. Thankfully, Jenny appears to
have found a group of people who play bridge(!) at all hours of the
night, and is quite content with their company whenever Seth, Katie,
Sarah, Michael, or Melissa is over.

There are also a group of juniors in our dorm who are Very Serious about
watching television. I drop in for a very silly show about FBI Agents
who investigate ghosts on Friday nights, and sometimes Star Trek on
Saturday afternoons. I went down Wednesday for Law & Order once, but
that's too straightforward for my tastes. No one ever talks, but there's
always food available**, and they don't mind if you bring a book.

I have joined the literary magazine, to solicit advertising and organize
the winter term playreadings (which means both reading through the play
slush pile and finding actors or readers for it.) They started the
playreadings six or seven years ago because the old advisor retired and
their new faculty sponsor was in theater. The editor is a gorgeous
senior with the entirely unfortunate name of Mabel. I am a little bit in
love with her, but so is the entire staff of the literary magazine. On
the one hand, I feel comforted that I am not, apparently, turning into a
lesbian, but on the other hand, I am jealous that they've all had more
time to orbit her magnificence.

Love, your daughter

P.S. Why is the food so much worse than Cornell? Or did I only eat
dessert at Cornell? In any case, my freshman fifteen is a *negative*

**P.P.S Please send cookies, so I have something to share.

Subject: Re: Re: Is there anybody out there?
Date: 11/12/1996

I did forget about your crazy trimester system. Good luck on your first
round of finals!

I am going to spend Christmas in France, if I can get the visa
straightened out. (I have a French classmate who thinks spending
Christmas traveling is a crime. His family all speaks high school
German, so I should be okay for five days.) We'll go to Berlin for New
Year's; he says it will be the biggest party I have ever seen.

Sadly, I am going to class for Thanksgiving. But I know a restaurant
that serves more food than you can throw a stick at for about five
marks, so a bunch of Americans are getting together to have a feast. No
turkey, though.

Is Mab your girlfriend or something? Half of your message was about her.
If you are a dyke, you should tell Dad before you tell Mom. He's in the
*theater* and if he gets mad for a minute, you can hang up on him. He'll
calm down by the time he calls back.

Love, dein Bruder

Subject: Re: Live from New York
Date: 01/15/1997

Of course, I gave you my e-mail address so you could write me, Janet! I
didn't hang out during Christmas break because I hate you and want to
run away from all of my high school friends.

I *was* upset that last day, but not with you. I had a big fight with my
dad the night before. He didn't say anything worse than usual, but I
shouted back at him. I couldn't tell you about it because it was so
stupid. He's mad because I know a girl from the Classics Department.
It's not like she's even my friend, we just work on the Literary
Magazine together. And I didn't even know Mabel was a Classics major
until the end of term, almost. They aren't labeled.

Anyway, tell me about that guy with maybe a girlfriend in California,
Nathan? Did he break up with her or what?

xoxo Honor

Subject: Monthly Status Report
Date: 2/1/1996


Modern American History is hard. We're working from multiple 'primary'
sources to put together a sequence of events (primary in quotes, because
mostly we're looking at photocopies of things the professor has gathered
for us) and then seeing how multiple histories of the same events match
up to our analyses. We don't have to get the 'right' answer, but our
answers have to make sense to a history professor, and his standard for
proof and logic is different from an English professor.

I am taking Modern American poetry with Professor Evans, as you
suggested. It is amazing, and I don't understand at all why you don't
like Modern Poetry. The attempt to say something in no more and no fewer
words than are required is really admirable, I think.

Math is pretty wretched. I found a tutor through the Student Center, and
I believe I shall scrape by with a C. Let us speak of it no more.


A girl named Linda from the literary magazine dragged me off to a
ballroom dancing class a few weeks ago, and I adore it. There's
something about the rigid nature of the music combined with the non-
verbal communication that makes me very happy. I am one of the tallest
girls in the class, so I'm obligated to be the lead. This is my only
complaint, as I'm afraid if I find somewhere proper to dance, I shall
never learn to follow.

I had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa last weekend. Grandpa invited a
bunch of his favorite students around for tea. The food was good, but I
tuned out on the conversation. Grandpa was showing them the latest
chapter from his college ghosts book. Sarah, Melissa, and Katie had a
triple on Fourth Ericson their freshman year, and they never saw
anything spooky.


The playreading series is a success. I recruited readers from Seth's
crowd, and they're all big hams. Most of the plays we've read so far
have been what was selected from spring of last year. But we've also got
a few things that are student translations of foreign or classical
works, which is exciting.

Love, your daughter

Subject: Spring Party
Date: 03/7/1996

The spring party will be the first day of reading period. Meet in front
Chester; we are carpooling to my aunt's cabin. So far we have two
drivers and three cars.

Attendees are:


Anyone else who wants in, let me know. You are especially welcome if you
can drive in slush.

Mabel M.

Subject: Feast of Dionysus
Date: 3/20/2006

I think I was the guest of an honor at an orgy last night.

xoxo Honor

Subject: Re: RE: Feast of Dionysus
Date: 3/25/2006

The literary magazine has a party at the end of winter term. We were
going way off campus, to Mabel's aunt's place, so I knew there would be
booze and maybe pot. And I know that some of the people on the literary
magazine are together, so I thought *they* might have sex, if the cabin
was big enough.

But we got there, and the first thing Mabel did was make everyone take a
shower. I was the only first year who came, so I didn't say anything
when everyone seemed to expect it. When I got out of the shower, my
clothes were gone and a dress was waiting for me. It was dead gorgeous,
like being draped in man-sized flower petals, and it fit me perfectly.
When I got to the main room, a giant fire was roaring, and everyone was
dressed *differently*, but not everyone was dressed *up*. Mabel was
wearing a distressed, deconstructed green and red dress, but it was
beautiful and obviously had been made for her to wear like that.

We ate first. It was a feast, but weird: rabbit, quail, country ham,
salted fish, oysters, nine or ten kinds of pickled vegetables (but not
pickles!), dried mushrooms, olives, and *barrels* of wine.

I drank at least my share of the wine, so I don't remember the exact
course of next events, but I do know I had sex with Mabel. The parts
involving her directly are sharp in my mind. I think I had sex with
Gregory and Ted and Sarah as well, but I'm not that sure about any of
them. Sarah and Ted are dating, so I may just remember them having sex
near me. I know I remember Alex and Sarah.

It's almost a week later and I'm still in a state of shock, but luckily
I wasn't supposed to go home for this break. Grandma and Grandpa are
content to believe that my math final combined with organizing the
playreadings have killed off all brain cells.

xoxo (but chastely) Honor

Subject: Re: MOM: Honor
Date: 25/03/1996


No, I haven't heard from Honor for a few weeks. Everything seemed fine
when I heard from her last. If she's having trouble now, ask Grandpa to
find out if there's something going on at the literary magazine,
especially with the editor. Honor thinks she's in love with her. Also,
find out if she's going to pass math. If she's not, it might be as
simple as that.

Love, Liberty

Subject: Yes, I'm alive
Date: 04/01/1996

I had really awful finals, Mom. I wanted to sleep and eat for a week, so
I did. That was all.

I promise I will give you a better status report at the end of the week,
when there is something to report. For now, I am taking Intro to Women's
Studies, the second Math Class, and International Music Theory. That
should get me through the distribution requirements, and I can figure
out my major next year.

Your loving daughter

Subject: I KNOW YE NOT
Date: 04/01/1996

{no text sent}

Subject: Re: Freaked Out
Date: 04/01/1996

I can't deal with you if you can't deal with me. I can't tell my
roommate or my mother or my brother, because they have to deal with me.
And I can't tell Seth because he *doesn't* have to deal with me. I hoped
I could tell you, but it seems not.

Go with God, Honor

Subject: Where are you?
Date: 04/20/1996

I haven't seen you for three music classes, and you haven't done
ballroom at all this term. Jenny says you still sleep in your room, but
she doesn't know when you go to meals. You're not answering your phone
messages, and you are FREAKING ME OUT.

Subject: Monthly Status Report
Date: 05/01/1996


This semester is much easier than last semester. I think I absorbed most
of the Women's Studies material by haunting a college campus in my
youth. I kept my math tutor from last semester, and having support from
the beginning means I don't head off into the wilds for no good reason.
Music Theory is a bit odd, but Seth is taking it with me (they didn't
offer it last year, and it counts for both his distribution and his
major.) This semester should be much better than last.


The literary magazine is just about wrapped up. The proofreaders are
correcting the printer's proofs, and we should distribute the spring
issue before the reading days. There's supposed to be another large
party just after graduation, and, if it's okay with you and my
grandparents, I may stay on to attend it.

I've dropped the ballroom dancing. One too many stepped on toes. I may
try my hand at fencing in the fall.

Love, your daughter

Subject: Please talk to me
Date: 05/01/1996

i need 2 talk 2 u about the spring party. i tried 2 leave an answering
machine message, but ur tape is full.



Subject: Re: Please talk to me
Date: 05/02/1996

Meet me Saturday at 7 in front of the Student Union. There's a
production of Midsummer at the Old Theater. We'll go and we'll talk

Queen Mab


Date: 05/08/1996
From: Robert Snyder, Director of Campus Security
To: William Gutheridge, Dean of the College
RE: Missing Students Honor Lane and Mabel Medeous

Freshman Jennifer Chin reported to her RA Danielle Bunde that she had not seen her roommate since the evening of Saturday, May 4. Ms. Bunde, after making a few calls to known associates of Lane, discovered that not only had no one seen Honor Lane, but also, no one had seen senior Mabel Medeous. She reported her findings to the Housing Manager, Professor Dora Simpson, at 10 p.m. that night. Professor Simpson immediately called Campus Security, and Officer Christopher Castle alerted the city police. Police came to the students' rooms and searched their belongings. The students' diaries and e-mail messages were photocopied and distributed to their respective parents, in hope that they might shed some light. One e-mail from Medeous to Lane indicated that the two were to meet on Saturday evening to see a play, but the theater in question closed down in 1987. There is no evidence that they boarded any bus near campus on Saturday or Sunday. Campus police are continuing to cooperate with city police in contacting students for further questioning. The city police have also questioned the grandparents, Professor Andrew Carter and Mrs. Susan Carter.


Subject: Honor
Date: 05/08/1996

Your sister has not been seen for the past three days. It's believed she
left campus in the company of Mabel Medeous on Saturday, and neither of
them have been located since.

Your father knows where they are. The police can't get to this place. If
he isn't back in three days, I'm going to follow him. If you worry or
you fear, listen to the record I got you the year your father and I got
divorced. Janet and Tam made out all right, and so will the Lanes now.

Love, Mommy

Subject: Mom
Date: 09/05/1996

Grandpa, I am afraid that Mom an Dad are going to do something bad to
look for Honor. The record she's talking about is by the Fairport
Convention. There's a song called Tam Lin, that's some old English
ballad. I don't see how that applies.

Begin Forwarded Message
Subject: Honor
Date: 05/08/1996

Your sister has not been seen for the past three days. It's believed she
left campus in the company of Mabel Medeous on Saturday, and neither of
them have been located since.

Your father knows where they are. The police can't get to this place. If
he isn't back in three days, I'm going to follow him. If you worry or
you fear, listen to the record I got you the year your father and I got
divorced. Janet and Tam made out all right, and so will the Lanes now.

Love, Mommy

Subject: Come Home This Summer
Date: 05/10/1996

Your sister is safe. (We think.)

Your father and I made a stupid choice. We kept you two ignorant, to try
to protect you. Your sister got trapped because she didn't know the
danger existed.

Come home this summer. The Green Thumb will be happy to hire you for the
summer, and we all need to talk.

Love, Mommy

Subject: I'm really OK
Date: 09/03/1996

I know I left very abruptly at the end of last year, and I'm sorry I
didn't write you all summer. I didn't have your parents' address, and it
only occurred to me last week that if I wrote to you at the college it
would probably be forwarded.

Anyway, I want to say again that I am sorry and I most humbly apologize
for my behavior at the end of term. I was distracted because I found out
I was pregnant, and I didn't know what to do. When I went to Mabel, she
offered to take me to St. Paul to take care of it, but when I got to the
clinic I panicked and ran. I don't remember exactly where Mabel and I
went, and nobody's seen Mabel since.

My dad found me on the streets, with a pretty bad fever. He took me home
with him to Chicago for the summer, and I made up the finals for my
courses. And I've transferred to Cornell College and I'm living with my
mother, so I can raise the baby.

I don't know who the father is, so please don't ask.

Your friend (I hope), Honor Lane