About the diary writer

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Kansas City, Missouri, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
In the first half of the 1960s, as Barbara McDowell, I wrote nightly entries on the pages in one-year diaries. A 1961-65 Park College Diary is a transcription of those entries beginning on January 1, 1960 when I was in high school in Iowa. Now, in 2014, you are invited to read with me the pages I wrote 50 or more years ago. I grew up on three farms within 30 miles of Iowa City. As the oldest of four daughters, I sometimes referred to my sisters as "the kids." We helped our parents, but we also had good, wholesome fun - a characteristic I took with me to Park. Park College was 300 miles from West Chester, Iowa in Parkville, Missouri, which was, at the time, a small town on the Missouri River, ten miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri. In 2000 Park College became Park University. Today Park has additional campuses across the nation. It was one of the first educational institutions in the U.S. to offer online learning. Parkville has shed its small town image with new restaurants and shops.

Education Department is in the Former Millsap Lounge - Monday, August 31, 1964

As I was leaving lunch Dr. Pai stopped me and had me go with him down to the Alumni building. The nicest surprise educationally since I've been at Park is that they have turned all of the former Millsap Lounge over to the education department. We have our own library and all-purpose room, kitchen and lounge, and three classrooms. And Dr. Pai has me working as the education department assistant. Schultzie and I spent four hours assigning freshmen to seminar groups. Dr. Miller granted Stephens use of our responsibility hours and lounge hours.

We Are Going to Have a Great Stephens Group - Sunday, August 30, 1964

As usual, I'm into the thick of things. I think we're really going to have a great Stephens group in spite of all our difficulties. They are too numerous to mention. We can only take one day at a time. My three freshman girl advisees are very nice, and I gave quite a bit of attention to each. Apparently neither of the boys is coming to Park. I helped with LLC favors tonight (I was going to cut down on social club obligations!). Flo and I "saved the day" at the freshman mixer by diluting the punch - after numerous ones had gotten straight orange "base."

Met New Dean of Women, Had a Talk with Liz - Saturday, August 29, 1964

I'm here! As usual, things have been busy since my arrival at 3:00. There was talk that they were thinking of letting Stephens use the White House, but I guess Flo, Bonnie, Judy, Janet and a transfer student will live there and be hostesses for an upper-class or senior lounge. I met Dr. Miller, the new Dean of Women, as she was walking across campus, and liked her immediately. She's very "plain" compared to what I expected. Liz and Nancy are back - I had the best talk I've ever had with Liz. We feel the same with regard to Park College, Stephens and so forth. Mom Hawkins is as nice as ever. I bumped into a lady's taillight in Cameron, Missouri - minor damage - and very minor on my car - only the rim of the right headlight dented some. I called home to say I got here safely and explained my "accident" to Mom. But it makes me disgusted - otherwise, a perfect trip.  

Packed and Ready to Take Off for Park in the Morning - Friday, August 28, 1964

Well, I think I'm just about ready to take off in the morning. We had a few frenzied moments when I couldn't find my key case with the keys to my locked trunks down at school. Then Mom looked through the purse she had when they came to get me and there they were in the bottom. I spent the day ironing and packing except for taking an hour to go to town to pick up my last check and go to the bank with that and a $469 one from Mom. I got $28 worth of clothes for $6 at Seiferts - $8 pink shorts and a $20 white swimsuit for $3 each. We washed the car at the Kwiki Car Wash, and then I finished it up at home.

We Bought a Football and a Water Gun at McLellans - Thursday, August 27, 1964

Phyllis, Virginia and I took Linda and Abbie to the show, The Carpetbaggers, tonight. At first I thought I hadn't liked it, but after more thought, I do. The McLellans store was having a Moonlight Sale (Virginia had noticed it in a classified ad in tonight's paper) so we went in to see if they had any turtles - they don't. I wonder if "the way to a man's heart" could possibly be through buying a football! Phyllis wanted it. I also got a water gun for "self defense as dorm president." I got most of my blue jumper made - including the self styled facings since I'm not lining it.

President Johnson's Choice is Hubert Humphrey - Wednesday, August 26, 1964

President Johnson announced his choice for Vice President today, Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. They both flew down from Washington (where Johnson had called Humphrey this afternoon for a last talk) to appear before the convention. Governor Hughes gave one of the seven seconding speeches for Johnson, but none of the networks covered his. We girls went to town this morning. I got some blue wool and a pattern for a slingshot jumper, two blouses for $5 - a special at Penneys - and some other things I needed. I took our typewriter and mine to the Journal office and used a pressure blower they have to clean the dirt and erasures out of them. I went over to the school to see Mom's second grade room where she will be this year in what was the high school home ec room.

Mississippi Delegates Walked Out of Convention - Tuesday, August 25, 1964

We've been watching the convention, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on other than the Mississippi walk-out because they refused to sign the loyalty oath for support of President Johnson. I mended some clothes, hemmed a skirt, cleaned another drawer, and so forth. I'm mostly just taking advantage of my last lazy summer days - it's been quite a while since I had whole ones - Fourth of July weekend and a couple of days before I started work were all.

Being Open Minded About Democratic Convention - Monday, August 24, 1964

It seemed strange not to go to work today. The Journal was late coming - guess they couldn't get along without my help! Mom, Dad and I went in to see Miss Margaret at the hospital tonight. The Claude Thomases from near Dayton, Ohio, stopped here this morning. Daddy taught him at Frenchburg. They also stopped past the school to see Daddy. I began going through some of my boxes and drawers. I shouldn't have much trouble at all getting ready to go this time. The Democratic National Convention is this week. It's nice not to feel prejudiced against them and to be really open minded for once.

In Addition to Welfare Must Think About Car Business - Sunday, August 23, 1964

Esteps, Grandma and Grandpa, Rikki and Shawn were here for dinner. I slept till 9:30 and didn't know until then that we were having company for dinner. Sometimes I fail to hear things around here. My permanent turned out well with a lot of body and not too much curl at all. Doug Hough was my only pupil on my last Sunday of teaching. I've really enjoyed the class this summer. I must think about car business now in addition to my personal welfare at college - oil changes and so forth.

Walked Out the Door as Usual After Last Day of Work - Saturday, August 22, 1964

This was my last day of work. No one mentioned the fact. I did talk to Dorothy about it on the phone. I just walked out the door as usual. I can't believe how fast this summer disappeared. A week from tonight I'll be back at Park. Daddy wrote each of us girls another $25 check for helping with the hay to use for school, so I went on another shopping spree - gray jumper, red plaid slim skirt, dark brown polished cotton skirt, black flats, hose, bras, girdle, white blouse, and orange shoe color kit. Virginia gave me my roller perm. It seems to be a good "take." Mary and Rhoda were were here.