The following excerpt is ascribed to a Jacobus Scotus of the clan Sutherland, circa 1922.
The Fred referred to was the owner of a diner situated off campus on what is now the corner College Drive and Cumberland Avenue.
It catered to the culinary needs of students in the 1920s and ’30s. The poem can be found in the John Spinks Papers:
The Half-way House.
One day grown weary of the sad pretence
Of dining in the Ladies’ Residence,
I rose with quiet, dignity and said,
“I shall go out and dine this day with Fred.
“I'll eat and jest until Fred's gloomy jaw
‘Slackens into a ponderous guffaw.
“Twelve hungry weeks, have I been underfed —
“I shall go out and dine this day with Fred.”
And so I went. I crossed the narrow plank,
Flung wide the creaking doors, and gently sank
Into a metal chair which Fred provides
To meet the comfort of his guests. Besides
Myself some forty other hungry souls
Sat sadly gazing at the empty bowls,
The blobs of milk, the pools of tea, the bread
Left by a previous forty lately fed.
And Fred was 'darting round the little room
Accepting orders with facetious gloom,
Smiling his sober smile when some bright guest
Indulged his fancy with a nimble jest.
The clock ticked on and still Fred shot about.
My hunger grew, I thought that I would shout
To let him 'know how I was sitting there
Counting the minutes on a metal chair.
I ached in places I have no intention
Before this sensitive gathering to mention,
But suddenly. I saw my chance at last
And grabbed Fred's apron as he darted past,
"Coming", he said, "yah, coming," and I think
He might have come. But quick as you could wink
There comes a call upon the telephone,
And Fred darts out and leaves me there alone.
I hear his voice, “Yah,. Hesford's.. yah., all ri! "Scrambled?.. All ri’.. Yah, scrambled.. Yah..Goo!bi’…”
Back plunges Fred into the smoky womb
Of his warm kitchen with a face of gloom.
The clock ticks on, the moments slip away;
I think of calling back some other day.
But just as I am reaching for my coat,
Poor Fred emerges at an earnest trot,
Pride in his carriage, business in his eyes,
And in his right hand milk and raisin pie.
I raise my finger, smile impressively,
“Yah, coming,” Fred replies and goes his way…
It goes on for four more stanzas.