The “Singing Super Sers” of Saint Mary’s College of Education, Marino, Dublin, are on sale in Adverts.ie. So what? you may say. Here is a bit of background information.
Last week I popped over to a friend’s house to have a quick listen to his excellent HiFi setup. The quick visit prompted me to look up a mysterious pair of vintage stereo speakers from my college days. The next day I decided to Google the Sony SS-3300 speakers for old time’s sake. They used to stand boldly on either side of the stage in the music room over 40 years ago.
Guess what? They popped up today – still in Marino!
What is more amazing is I had agreed to buy them or a similar pair of Sony SS-3300 speakers sight unseen, from the same location in April 1997 – 17 years ago.
The speakers had been water damaged in 1973 following a spillage from the student residences above the lecture rooms. The water had been cut off due to industrial action or restricted supply. Either way, a student had gone home for the Easter holidays and left his facecloth in the hand basin neglecting to turn off the tap. Sometime over the weekend, the water supply was restored and the hand basin overflowed. The water passed through the top floor and down onto the right speaker in the music room below. Oblivious to everyone, the water continued on through music room floor down into the locked curriculum art studio below and destroyed the second year students’ final year portfolios. There was consternation among the faculty staff as they were awaiting the visit of an external examiner. Furthermore, when the central heating automatically the water sodden wooden floor board buckled.
I digress. I found myself back in Marino 23 years later and I enquired about the speakers which were obviously missing in the former music room. Nearly every member of staff knew what I was looking for back then but nobody knew where they were stored – they had vanished into thin air. Enquiries were made on campus to Saint Joseph’s and Saint Patricks’s but both houses returned a blank. I was told I could make an offer for the dinosaurs when they were found. I offered £200 as I knew they were damaged and it was accepted.
Over the next few months I searched the attic high and low as we cleared out old books to comply with fire regulations and to facilitate the wiring of an external spotlight for the statue of the Blessed Virgin on the top of the building. Despite the insistence of some older members of staff the speakers weren’t in the designated place beside the rest of the discarded HiFi equipment. I can understand why. These speakers weighed a ton and Marino’s elevator, as far as I can remember, did not go all the way to the attic. My conclusion at the time was they were anywhere in the building except the attic. Over the remaining few months I fruitlessly searched (with permission) every nook and cranny in the service areas downstairs. My career break ended in August 1997 and I returned to school. However, I had to return every Saturday until Halloween to remove office furniture, etc. and I would be greeted with the latest search results. I thought it was only a matter of time before the bulky gear would be tracked down or resurface in a store room somewhere on the campus. I really believed I would eventually receive a phone summoning me to Marino to close the deal and collect the monsters. It never came!