He said it was remarkable how clean Wabash had kept its record, considering. He said there was only one time he recalled ever having to expel any students. Only a handful. For vandalism. "They threw some paint around," he said. "It was not water soluble."
"And the bell?" I asked. "What about the...?"
"The Monon Bell! A subject close to my heart."
"Yes, but do college kids really get excited about things like that anymore?"
"Well, I can say to you now that it is in our possession, having won last year's contest with consummate ease (16-7), and it will remain so. It is chained to the balcony rail in the gymnasium for all to see, which is typical of Wabash. DePauw is inclined to hide it, not being sure of its ability to keep it. We have little to worry about. DePauw's actions at best are retaliatory, which brings up a very interesting story."
Shearer then told me how, a few years ago when the bell was at DePauw, a Wabash student posing as a Mexican reporter was granted an interview with DePauw President Dr. William Kerstetter, who not only blabbed the bell's hiding place but had the director of athletics take the bogus Mexican around to see it. That night a Wabash raiding party redeemed the bell.
"I think the code name for the operation was 'Frijoles." It was a dark day for President Kerstetter, who is not known for his ability to take a joke. One of the DePauw deans called me almost hourly. "You've got to get us that bell back!' he said. I told him he had absolutely no sense of humor.
" 'But it's breaking and entering!' he said. 'A felony!'
" 'But didn't they leave money on the windowsill?' I asked. In fact they had left $1.15, which was more than enough to cover damages.
"The bell was kept in the woods nearby, where there were regular showings and an occasional dingdong. The dean finally called again. I don't want to alarm you,' he said, 'but my students are up in arms. They're coming up to Wabash en masse, 400 strong, to recover the bell.'