Shortly after we moved into Straus C. 32 freshman year, Christopher Pardeo, high-jumper extraordinaire, stretched a bring from one wall to the other, high above his photo sequence of Valery Brumel. "What's that?" I asked naively, even feet," said Pardee.
That was his goal -- the rough equivalent of a four-minute mile, a 17-foot pole vault, or a pitcher's perfect game. Last Saturday at Princeton, he became one of perhaps two dozen men in the world to clear the fabled height. The jump was one of the most prestigious athletic accomplishments in Ivy League history and amazing feat by any standard.
There was something of the leaping lamb and the bounding colt in Christopher that first year. Not only did he hurdle car hoods (including a slow-moving cab one time in the Square), but he also leaped over whole rows of parking meting. On the way to dinner in the Union, regularly did a bow-legged straddle hop ever the chest-high obelisk in front Boylston Hall.
Christopher had his own room with a double-decker bunk. With both beds free, less adventurous types probably would have found the lower bunk more convenient. But not Pardee. He deliberately chose the upper berth, I think, so that he could leap up and land on his back.
Not surprisingly, Christopher loved heights. He had probably been on the roof of as many buildings that year as the average chimney sweep. And more than once, I suspect, he visited a friend by coming in an upper-story window.
Well, that's the way he was, on the way up. Now, of course, he is a staid and dignified Eliot House senior. But such is the stuff from which myths are made. Which should suit Christopher fine. Last Saturday he finally matched his hero, Odysseus.