Adventures in Housing: The boarding school dorm parents
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Welcome to our new series. We’re calling it “Adventures in Housing.” Because more and more, that’s what finding and affording a place to live has become. These will be your stories. About the workarounds and compromises. About buying, selling, renting and moving. About the dorms and shacks and money pits and houseboats and yurts and … you get the picture. Share your stories using the submissions box below. Today, we hear from a couple with a housing story, that’s actually a love story.
In the late 1970s, Bill Enos took a job at a boarding school in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He received free housing in exchange for supervision duties. “I came to the job fresh out of college and they offered me $6,500 a year to teach four classes in high school mathematics and serve as a parent in the dormitory,” he said. “I had 20 boys on the hall and keys to the basketball court on a Friday night, so life was good.”
A few years later, Margaret Enos (then Margaret Stephens) took a job teaching history at the same school and became a dorm parent to a group of freshman girls. “I think camp counselor is a good way to describe it,” Margaret said.
Bill and Margaret got to know each other in the school’s communal dining hall. “One night she asked if I would pass the salt and I did and I think our fingertips touched and angels started singing and we got married next summer,” Bill said. “I later found out that the dean’s office assigned the people to the different tables, and some matchmaking was taking place in the dean’s office,” Margaret said.
After getting married, Bill and Margaret moved into a smaller dorm where they served as dorm parents together. “Some people feel oppressed by living in small dorms,” Margaret said. “But it was perfect for us.”
“It takes a special kind of crazy to want this, I think,” Bill said. “You don’t really work at a boarding school, you live at a boarding school. Your life involves that work, of course, but it’s not something that you do, it’s something that you are.”
Click the audio player above to hear Bill and Margaret’s story.
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