Helen of Chelsea (photo by LGS)
This is Helen K. She is Greek (funny enough) and she is known to many of her friends as the Greek Goddess. We got to know each other at University and have remained friends ever since. Today she is married with two kids and is a respected and popular teacher but back then………. hah!
Back then I was staying at the Ingram Court Student’s accommodation for my final year at Chelsea College. The University guarantees one year in student accommodation and a few of us all independently decided to delay taking that offer up until the final year. The idea was to be closer to college and the libraries and not have to commute in the final year. The idea was to be more focussed on studying. That was the idea but……..hah!
Well, there was some studying but there was a whole lot of other things going on too. For one thing, the place was populated by all kinds of whacky and eccentric characters. A high percentage of them were also known to lurk the corridors late at night on clandestine missions to play pranks on unsuspecting fellow residents.
The place was organised into corridors with about 12 rooms each corridor sharing common toilets, bathing facilities and a kitchen. There were 2 corridors per floor and several floors. Most of the pranks tend to be played by residents of one corridor on residents of another corridor in some form of reverting to a primitive tribal spirit. My corridor did no such thing. It was very happy to play pranks on anyone even those on the same corridor. Heck, we even had friends come round and join the fun.
In the midst of this chaos, Helen was our corridor’s mother hen. She took care of us. She was the voice of reason, “Umm, don’t you think you should leave Kate alone for awhile cause she’s having exams and play your pranks on someone else for now?” She was the one that kept the peace as best she could or at least reminded everyone toplay “nice”. She had a lot of Greek guys coming by to visit her.
Strangely, it seemed that none of them had a sense of humor and they frowned on the going ons at that place. Perhaps they felt that their Greek Goddess was being sullied by contact with us.
There was one time when I had had a very bad day and was in the showers late at night, unwinding under the stream of hot water. Unfortunately, two groups of residents decided to have a water balloon fight and stray baloons and buckets of cold water came flying over the shower room walls and drenched me. I was in a funk and in no mood to be blasted with icy water. I grabbed my soaking towel and to avoid the water fight in the corridor, made a bee line to Helen’s room. I had a towel round my waist and a wet t-shirt on. I knocked on the door and said, “Helen, I need sanctuary.”
Helen, bless her, took me in without a thought. She fussed over me; gave me a towel for my hair and placed a mug of hot coffee in my hands. I told her I was going to just sit in her room until the ruckus died down and she said that was fine. Not long after, there was a knock on the door, and Helen opened it to find one of her Greek suitors had come over to visit. She denies that they were suitors. She says they were just friends…..hah!
Anyway, this Greek guy walks in and sees me with my towel round the waist and another round my head and with a wet T-shirt, sitting in Helen’s room in the wee hours after midnight. Can you imagine what he was thinking? Well, I did! I was imagining the Greek Mafia (is there such a thing?) being informed about this Malaysian guy who shows no respect. No respect to our Greek Goddess. I was imagining getting real pally with the fishes of the Thames River.
As it turned out nothing happened, no Greek mafia appeared on my doorstep. I think Helen, bless her, managed to convice him I was harmless. Anyway, Helen, if you read this. Thanks for being the sort of friend who was willing to accept me for who I was. I was always comfortable being me with you. Thanks for staying friends all these years. Thanks also for forgiving us for all our pranks.
Helen K is our Greek Goddess…….a personification of grace and patience, of calm amidst chaos, of the mother goddess. The picture above shows further proof of her special qualities. If you haven’t already noticed it, revisit the photo and see if you can find the evidence of her magical powers.