Last week, seniors found themselves in a temporal void, having completed their exams but left with a number of days before senior week activities got underway. Some of them worked to earn a few extra dollars, many chose to relax in the houses for one last week and make an occasional swing into Boston, while others took the opportunity to leave Cambridge for a while to visit places they didn't have a chance to see during their busy Harvard careers. A handful of seniors, who chose the travel option, split up into two cars that were slated to slither down the East coast to bask in Florida's beautiful weather. But, after both cars took a wrong turn that landed them in Philadelphia, only one kept its original agenda. Each trek turned out to be far from routine.
The journey southward took its participants on an adventure that will be forever remembered as the QUEST.
"We went on a quest to find our long-lost roommate--he's a fugitive," says Nikos Buxeda '91.
Buxeda, his roommate Evan B. Dobbins '91 and fellow North House resident David D. Berger '91 decided it was time to locate Buxeda and Dobbins's roommate from their junior year.
Their buddy, whom Buxeda wished not to name, had been asked to take this year off from school--then camped out in their suite for a couple of months last fall before his van mysteriously blew up outside Cabot House.
Shortly thereafter, Buxeda's friend embarked on a one-way voyage to Florida, leaving his hosts a list of phone numbers and addresses where he might be found--as well as most of his belongings.
"We just stored his stuff in the North House basement, Buxeda says.
But when bills for the former roommate started piling up in Buxeda's mailbox, and all efforts to locate him through unanswered letters and disconnected phone numbers had failed, the trio of seniors couldn't help but wonder where their friend was, and why he was being hounded by numerous credit agencies.
So, during the first of the two weeks between their last-ever Harvard exams and their graduation, Buxeda and company set off for Florida on an investigative search.
And at worst, they figured, they could kick back for a few days at Buxeda's grandmother's house in Orlando, Fla.
While the two-day trek southward to the Sunshine State fostered little excitement--excluding a wrong turn that steered the automobile to Philadelphia--the journey soon produced a collection of stories that the seniors will be telling at their 25th reunion.
They were thrown their first curve as soon as they reached the grandmother's house after an all-night drive along the East coast.
"There was water coming from the roof, and it was all over the floor," says Buxeda, a resident of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who had never before set foot in Florida. "The pipe had burst, so I called my grandmother right away and she flew down that day."
But leaky pipes didn't stop the seniors from pursuing their primary mission--tracking down their former roommate. After significant sleuth-work, the trio ultimately found their man.
"We were driving all over to every address he had given us," Buxeda says. "We finally found him sitting outside a house with his mouth wide open with disbelief. He was a bit surprised to see the three of us walking up."