Last week, the campus was notified of a lost Levenger pen and a cash reward for its return. The news swept the ‘bier with a ferocity only true tragedy can inspire. We can officially announce that the pen was found. And while the sun continues to rise and set like before this incident, we, as journalists, wanted the full story behind the flyers that launched 1000 texts. We reached out to Alice Straus (’75), a member of our very own admissions team, for her perspective.
A proud alum, Alice has collected a sizable amount of purple items over the course of her time connected to Kenyon, totaling in over 40 years. “I purchased the matching set of fountain pen, ball point pen, and pencil in Kenyon purple when I was traveling for the Kenyon College Development Office in the late 1990s. I changed the ink color in both pens to purple, but the pencil still writes in graphite. I don’t use the fountain pen often, but the ball point pen is my daily personal writing.” The instrument had and has significant meaning to her, so when she realized that she had misplaced the pen, she wasted no time. Her description of the events are included below.
“I wrote a check at the Gambier Post Office at about 1:55pm on Wednesday October 28. I walked directly back to my office in Ransom Hall, and noticed that the pen was gone when I put my mail down on my desk. I immediately walked back along Middle Path and Chase Avenue, but did not see the pen on the ground. The clerks at the PO hadn’t seen the pen (I thought I might have left it on the counter), but they said they would put it in my mailbox if they found it when the building was cleaned that night. I walked back along the path to my office, very slowly, but still didn’t see the pen. When I walked home that night, I walked very slowly again, brushing aside all the wet, fallen leaves on either side of the path, and still didn’t find the pen. I couldn’t believe it could be buried in leaves or grass so quickly, so I thought that someone must have found it. I decided to advertise the loss of the pen the next morning, offering a reward for its return. On my way to work Thursday morning, President Decatur hailed me with my head down, digging in the leaves again on Middle Path, so I told him the story and actually asked the President of Kenyon College to look for my pen on his commute from Cromwell House. I got to work and made up the flyers immediately. Chris Ellsworth helped me laminate them, in case it rained on them in the next few days, and I spent the morning walking around the paths, posting the flyers on benches and light posts. I also sent all-stu and all-emp messages that morning. So it was only about 19-20 hours from the time I lost the pen until the whole campus knew about it.”
It is at this point that we posted about this very situation, but what Alice did after is truly an exclusive.
“A first-year student, Hannah Wendlandt, found the pen in Post Office, I think later on the afternoon I lost it. It was on the floor back by the student mailboxes, so I must have kicked it as I dropped it, since I was only in the front part of the lobby of the PO. Hannah saw the posters on Thursday, and came by the Admissions Office on Friday morning, Halloween. Everybody in the office knew I was distraught about losing the pen, so the receptionists brought Hannah into my office with big smiles. Hannah held out the pen and said she thought she might have found my missing pen. I jumped up, shrieked, and grabbed the pen from her. I was so happy and relieved to have the pen returned, I hugged Hannah with enthusiasm. We even had our photo taken with the pen! Hannah refused the reward, but I have sent her a thank-you gift nonetheless, because I am so grateful that she is a kind person. I am very happy that Gambier is still the sort of community where people don’t keep what doesn’t belong to them, where people read and act on heart-felt pleas on all-stu or all-emp, and where people care enough to stop and ask if I have found the pen or to congratulate me on its return. As I mentioned before, it confirms my belief that Gambier is a great place to live, and it gives me faith in my fellow Kenyon people.”
Well team, we’ve learned a lot through this narrative. Stay grateful, stay organized, and always keep your eyes peeled when picking up something from the post office; you might make someone’s day.