memories ....

Richard Swan

When Len Whyte and I wired the Ladies Toilet

It was towards the end of one year of school. Len and I had noticed two things key components for a prank. One was that the school bell system could be accessed from above the passage way into one of the class rooms.  We just needed a relay to close the circuit. The second key component was to notice an overhead wire running from that part of the school over the quad to above the Ladies Staff Room. You would think that two red blooded boys would have something else to notice but nerds notice nerdy things.

I actually don’t remember how we broke into the school. But I remember I had done it before and with more profane intentions. Somehow we got into the school and the ladies staffroom. Len connected up the bell end and I worked on connecting the wire and a switch so that when the flush lever on the toilet was pushed down the switch would close and the bells would ring throughout the school. We did a brief test and it worked!

The next day we stood in our nice lines for assembly in the quad. I always think of Madeline and children going two by two when I think about those assemblies. We waited impatiently to hear the flush of the toilet and the immediate crescendo of school bells. Eventually, before the assembly was over, we heard the flush but it was a squib. No bells.

I was only in class for 20 minutes after that before I got an urgent summons from the front office. Somehow the moment that one of the teachers reported strange wiring on the toilet I was the one person summoned out of a school of 1000 people. Mr. McPherson asked if there was any danger from the wiring and I assured him it was just low voltage. I was then sent off to remove the wiring. McPherson was an exceptional headmaster.

response from Len:

Yes, it's all true.  Twas a shame that we didn't have time to be more clandestine with the wiring.  Still it wasn't all wasted.  As I recollection we had also installed a separate button that WE could use to ring the bells, independently of the official button near the front office.  So, we had to content ourselves with calling break and lunch early.  It was all in connection with final muck-up assembly if I recollect.  Len


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