Home Cabin Staircase Promise

Freshman Move-in Day

Fifteen Years Earlier

Chaos reigns during every freshman move-in day at every college and university. Student excitement overwhelms parental anguish, misgivings, and relief. Large dorms, such as Kerr Hall at the University of North Texas with room for 1,000 residents, boil with activity, crowding the parking lots, lobbies, halls, and stairways.

Inside the rooms, students met their new closest friends as assigned by a faceless school admissions computer. Sometimes they clicked and sometimes they clashed. And sometimes they bonded immediately for a lifetime.

That was the case in Room 414 for Michael Hammersmith, and Victor Jensen, both 18. Hammersmith, from Dallas, easily carried a heavy box of clothes into his new room. Victor, typing on his laptop at one of the desks, turned and smiled. Michael watched as he stood up and up until he was a couple inches taller than him, then walked over and stuck out his hand as he put the box on the bed without sheets.

“You must be Michael.” They shook hands. “I am Victor Jensen. Please call me VJ.”

Hammersmith tilted his head slightly as he listened. “You’re a long way from home.”

“You are a smart one,” laughed VJ. “Yes, Denmark is a long way from Denton, Texas, yes? So I am a long way from where I grew up, but this will be home now. At least the next four years. And you will be my brother.”

“He already has a brother,” said a voice from behind an even bigger box than the one Michael had carried. John Hammersmith put his box down beside Michael’s. “But you can borrow him if you can stand him.”

The new arrival reached out and shook VJ’s hand. “John.”

“Look at the two of you, yes, I remember, definitely brothers as I can see when you stand together.” VJ looked back and forth between Michael and John. “Michael is slightly taller but John has muscles on his muscles and is what, four years older?”

John cocked an eyebrow. “You remember?”

VJ took one step across the small room to get back to his desk and pointed to his laptop. “Yes, on my computer I checked the dorm assignments and changed from some fat guy named Charlie with glasses and an overbite and low grades to you, Michael. And saw that you had a brother. But no father around. Is your mother here with you?”

John stood straighter, pushed his chest out, and stepped in front of Michael. “What’s going on? You changed the room assignments? Is that legal? How did you do it?”