Bancroft Barrington

Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Actually, no one is innocent but I changed them anyway.

When I arrived on the St Lawrence campus my parents pulled into a little parking space next door to Dean Eaton, the freshman girls dorm.  My older sister had graduated from the same university 11 years before so my father knew where they were going to drop off the baby of the family and be FREE. I had gone to boarding school for the last three years, but this was a whole bigger level of empty nesting.

When we pulled into this little parking area I saw a girl crying. Because I had been in boarding school I was ready for a drop and roll, smooches all around, wave, wave, goodbye. Get my rents on their way and let the fun begin! College. Bye mom and dad, see ya! But this girl was crying. I needed to see what was wrong. I felt sorry for her, surely she was terrified being dropped at college.

I walked up to her and the first words she said to me through tears were “Bancroft Barrington”...“Bancroft Barrington” she choked out again, “just left” and she pointed to a little itty, bitty, teeny tiny, microscopic diamond ring on her finger. This was not quite what I expected but, okay, I would just go with it. It turned out her high school boyfriend had just dropped her at school. (We would learn years later that her parents in Darien didn’t feel like driving to Canton, NY to drop another daughter at college so they paid said Bancroft Barrington one hundred dollars to make the 12 hour long round trip.)

I brought the sobbing girl, we will call her Jenny, with me to check in. My mother peered at me over her reading glasses wondering if she needed to assist with said crier. Turns out we were roommates and had 4 other roommates, in a former faculty apartment. Within minutes the 6 of us decided to throw a party, made a huge trip to the liquor store and invited everyone we knew from our home towns, knew slightly, or met that day.  Unbeknownest to me, my parents didn’t leave on my scheduled departure plan, and I ran into them again 2 hours later as we were bucket bragading cases of beer and bottles of tequila into our spanking new dorm. We got Jenny to forget about her tears for one night. We partied like it was 1999. She danced and sang atop a table. And I laughed so hard, I doubled over, banging into a chair and had a nice shiner for the first week and a half of college. 

There would be a lot of tears about Bancroft Barrington the first semester of Freshman year. I remember meeting him over Thanksgiving vacation and being thrilled by this fun, fun, fun guy. And then there was no more Bandcroft Barrington.  Like for many of us, a wonderful boyfriend from home does not always survive the college life.

Over the years we saw different boyfriends and a husband but we all were kinda like “Can we have Bancroft Barrington back?” “Jenny, where is Bancroft?” Back before the internet and cellphones kids kept in touch via the mail and calling home phones which sat in proximity to ease dropping family members.  We had no Snapchat people, communication was work.

Bancroft Barrington was a name which stuck with me. The first two words I heard when I arrived on my college campus. Occasionally I would hear about him through the grapevine.

Marissa Tomei made a movie which made me laugh and made me think of my dearest Jenny and Bancroft.  In the movie Only You Marissa decides to go looking for the mysterious Damon Bradley, a name the Ouija board told her was her soul mate when she was 11 and playing with her brother. A fortune teller concurs years later and Marrisa’s character goes on the hunt for this elusive soul mate all over Europe.

As life would have Bancroft Barrington and Damon Bradley would resurface. In their forties, after first marriages, children, and divorces, Damon, I mean Bancroft would in fact come back to us.

Today I board a plane heading to visit Jenny and Bancroft. Tomorrow I will pick up two other dearest, cherished St. Lawrence friends at the airport and we will go help the Barrington family with a joyful project they are working on.  

There will most certainly be a party, there will absolutely be dancing on the table, and with any luck I will not return with another black eye.  


Tricia Heaton