Tuesday, May 28, 2013

fifty years later

Catching up in no particular order...

1.  My college class reunion was more amazing than I dreamed it would be. The last reunion I attended was 25 years ago -- and it was as though no time had passed for those of us who were a tight group in college.  The biggest joy, however, was reconnecting with people we knew peripherally and discovering how much we liked each other: enough to hang out together for the four days and stay in touch afterwards!  I think the fact that it was/still is a woman's college made it very special for a lot of reasons.

Mt. Holyoke has changed (for the better). On the other hand, the first thing I spotted when I walked into the dorm was this relic.  Can't remember the last time I saw one, anywhere!
The girls in the graduating class we talked to looked at us as though we were from Mars when we mentioned:
1) house mothers
2) curfews (11 on weeknights, 12 on Fri & Sun, 1 on Sat) or you got locked out of the dorm.
3) no boys above the first floor unless you were engaged and then it was door open, 3 feet on the floor 4) meals in each dorm dining room, with waitresses  
5) milk and crackers in the kitchen at 10 every night
6) studying in the smoker 
7) compulsory chapel, no matter what your religion
8) gracious living on Wed and Sunday dinner (skirts & heels, candlelight and the house mother poured coffee in the livingroom after dinner so we could learn to be gracious hostesses - LOL). Some girls put skirts on over the gymsuits they had been wearing all day.  Yes, gymsuits!
9) no overnights unless you had written permission from your parents and then you had to leave your address info with the house mother.
10) no cars on campus until senior year.
11) you didn't graduate unless you passed a swimming test.  (I flunked floating and had to retest) 
ETC ETC.  much hilarity.

Here I am with Penny, my roommate for four years.  And yes,we roomed together again for the long weekend.

On our class reunion web page, some interesting facts you may (or not) remember.

Cost of Living 1963

How Much things cost in 1963
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.24%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 1.8%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 762
Average Cost of new house $12,650.00
Average Income per year $5,807.00  (I made $4800 as a teacher, damn good at that time)
Gas per Gallon 29 cents (and a pack of cigarettes was the same price)
Average Cost of a new car $3,233.00
Loaf of bread 22 cents
Bedroom Air Conditioner $149.95
New Ford Cortina $675.00

What Events Happened in 1963
A hurricane and resulting Tsunami cause Flooding in East Pakistan Bangladesh kills 22,000
President John F Kennedy assassinated in the United States
Korea returns to Civilian Rule
Lyndon Johnson Becomes President
An earthquake in Libya destroys the village of Barce - 500 dead
Typhoon Olive with 110 MPH Winds destroyed most of the homes on the Island of Saipan
The Profumo Crisis in the UK causing resignations from the cabinet caused by war minister John Profumo having an affair with Christina Wheeler who was also involved with a Soviet Navy officer
Alcatraz federal penitentiary known as "The Rock" closes
Berlin Wall Opened For 1 Day Passes
1st Beeching Report suggests closing 25% of British Rail
The Sabin oral Polio Vaccine which is taken with a lump of sugar is given nationwide in US and UK
Kenya Gains Independence from Britain
In the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright rules that a fair trial "cannot be realized if the poor man charged with [the] crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him."
Nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Thresher sinks in the Atlantic Ocean
Pope John XXIII dies
Pope Paul VI is elected by College of Cardinals.
The Great Train Robbery takes place in Buckinghamshire, England
First US State Lottery in New Hampshire
Yugoslavia declares President Tito President for Life
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I have a dream" speech
Jack Ruby murders John F. Kennedy's suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald live on television.

There's a lot more, but that's enough for now.

Research for this year is provided by The People History.
See History By Year and Decade for more prices and information.
Find out more about the 60s (or whatever decade you like) at http://www.thepeoplehistory.com


Janet W said...

Oh my that brings back such memories. Only my women's college, Scripps, was in California, but the rules and gracious living were the same. Thanks for reminding me.

Connie Rose said...

Wow, what a hoot!

HollyM said...

What wonderful memories. I went to a coed iniversity and lived and worked off campus. I don't even remember anyone in my classes.
Reading the cost of things was quite amazing! I went in 1974 by the way.

Cathy Bargar said...

OH yeah - same rules ('parietals', were they called?) at Wellesley a few years later, except for the compulsory chapel (although it may have been another rule that I chose to completely so completely ignore that I have forgotten aout it). I loved the civilized dining rooms in each dorm, and tea every Wed with the house mother in the formal living room, and full dress (skirts/dresses required - mine were either scandalous minis or, most often, draggly full-length hippie affairs made out of Indian bedspreads or funky patchwork) luncheon on Sundays. On Wednesdays we could invite faculty members to dinner. We were required to take tennis, and were only permitted on the courts in full tennis whites (with skirts, not shorts!)

I entered Wellesley in 1969 - the height of the protests against the Vietnam war, the year of the Kent State student killings followed by the national student strike, the fall after Woodstock, with feminism in its heyday (although well before the momentous Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion) but 'The Pill' still only available to married women. I was the only girl I knew who wasn't a virgin, and I smuggled my boyfriend into my room and hid him there every weekend - the first fire drill we had, I stuffed him naked into my closet and proceeded out with my towel and my wallet, per requirements; only after I was outside did it occur to me that "oh my god, what if it is a REAL fire, and I have just consigned my true love to a fiery end - and then they will expell me and tell my parents why!"

Looking back, it seems utterly incongruous that these two world existed at the same time and place, with me keeping a solid foot in each of them. I was a rampant Free Love hippie living in a world from another time - but I happened to be an intelligent woman who believed in the value of an elite, high-powered New England-based education, and at that time the so-called Seven Sisters schools were the place to get it. The Ivy League schools weren't open to women then, and frankly I am SO glad I was barred from that choice (despite at the time swearing I would be the first woman to go to Yale - how silly I was!) I hope that Wellesley and Mt Holyoke and their sisters continue to resist the periodic forces to go coed! I have never been able to convince my daughters or anybody else of the value of a women-only college, and I am sure things are very different today, but I remain a huge supporter of the concept. But not of compulsory chapel or white shirt skirts on the tennis courts!

tiedyejudy said...

What a hoot, indeed! I only went to Junior college for a year and lived at home, so missed the dorm experience. As I recall, the only people I knew were Art majors like me, and we were all a little freaky. However, other than changing into old clothes for ceramics lab, I wore dresses or skirts to class, and I definitely had curfews and a real house mom! Sounds like your reunion was a roaring success! Hope all your scarves were appreciated!

patty a. said...

Sounds like you had a grand time! You are so lucky to still have those connections!

Bonnie Miller said...

It sounds very much like our teacher training college in the sixties in New Zealand. It was co ed though...but the dormitories were separated by the campus. Ten forty five week nights and 12:30 Friday and Saturday were the women's curfews...men had none!! How unfair was that? We had no compulsory chapel, and no gracious living, but lots of fun during the three years we spent there. We also had to sign out leaving details of where we were if we were away. As for males in the dorms...NO NO NO! There were a few girls kicked out for that very reason...and what fine teachers they would have made too.
Oh...the memories...

Del said...

Did they love the scarves? I have been wondering as I wandered. Hope things will smooth out for you soon. Love, Del

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