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 years ago when I was a senior at Park. 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, on the Missouri River ten miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri, and across the river from Kansas City, Kansas. 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 United States to offer online learning.

A Group of Us "Talked Things Over" for Three Hours - Saturday, October 24, 1964

This morning Judy Jones ran off the open house stencil for me - then I took them to the education department to use the paper cutter. I also got some little stars in Parkville. Those of us on the committee have quite a few done. This afternoon Dr. Price, the consulting psychologist for the college, Dean Miller, the house mothers, and dorm and women's judicial councils "talked things over" for three hours in Hawley lounge. Evelyn went with me to see 55 Days at Peking.

An Absentee Ballot in First Presidential Election - Friday, October 23, 1964

I'm getting to like the third graders better every day. For a Friday afternoon, they really responded well to my unit today. I didn't spend the full 45 minutes with it since I went down to Beth Hudson's room to observe the art supervisor's lesson. Beth has a tough bunch - fourth grade slow learners. Holly's older sister, home from college for the weekend, came today. They a sharp family. I did such things tonight as type the open house invitation stencil and start my oatmeal box tom-tom. I voted with an absentee ballot for my first presidential election. I went down to the notary public before the bank closed at 6:00.

Southeast Principal Came to Observe Our Classroom - Thursday, October 22, 1964

I'm going to get up at 6:00 to continue my work. I've been hard at it all evening and I've got to quit. I finished my paper on "The Park College Liberal Arts Tradition" for philosophy. We went to Clardy Elementary School for a follow-up art meeting that Mrs. Bender helped conduct. Dr. Pai got lost this morning going to Southeast to observe Kathy and Mrs. Steelman, so by the time he stopped to talk to Mr. Fincher, Mr. Fincher didn't get to our room till 9:15. He said I had done very nicely.

Sat in on Two Parent-Teacher Conferences - Wednesday, October 21, 1964

Here's hoping everything is under control when Mr. Fincher, the Southeast principal, comes to observe me tomorrow. I certainly ought to be prepared - I've spent eight hours getting ready. They were having parent-teacher conferences this afternoon, so we went out to the school to work on worksheets and other things. I sat in on two of Miss Dyer's conferences - an average and an above average. I think Holly Hufford will be really nice to work with for reading. She's a very conscientious little girl.

Saw Saturn and its Rings From the Observatory - Tuesday, October 20, 1964

This is one of those nights when I haven't gotten very far very fast. Tomorrow will be parent-teacher conferences so I won't be teaching, but I should try to get some worksheets ready for Thursday and Friday. This afternoon I consented, when Dr. Pai asked me, to tutor a fifth grade girl in reading, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4:30 to 5:30 for $2 an hour. Her mother sounded very nice in a phone conversation. Judy and I went up to the observatory after supper. A group of freshmen have "reopened" it. We observed Saturn and its rings!

Who's Who Selection Committee was Chosen - Monday, October 19, 1964

The student council spent some time tonight deciding who should be on the Who's Who selection committee. Then Evelyn and I went down to the education department to read. I walked out when Evelyn and Jim got to goofing off too much to suit me. I think I'll look at my music text some, then at a few new workbook pages, and go to bed. I want to look halfway alive for my senior pictures tomorrow. I'm really accumulating a stack of Indian unit worksheets.

Took Flo to Sharlyn Marina to Get Life Preservers - Sunday, October 18, 1964

Have I ever put a lot of effort into this weekend. And I still haven't read philosophy. At least I have my reading lesson plans done for Tuesday. I do so much more outside work for my third graders than some of the other student teachers do, but I guess it is one's personal satisfaction that matters. This morning I drove Flo to the Sharlyn Marina boat docks east of North Kansas City to get life preservers for the LLC canoe trip. I guess they had a good trip, although one canoe capsized when they got to the pier at the end of the trip.

Went with Gattons to a Weston Apple Orchard - Saturday, October 17, 1964

I think I've broken all-time records. I've written a paper today that isn't due till next Friday. But since I'm not completely satisfied with it, maybe I can revise it some. It's for philosophy, about liberal arts education at Park College. Late this afternoon I went with Gattons to an apple orchard near Weston to get some apples. We also went into the town, a historical old riverport, so they could get Ellen something for her birthday. I got the colored pictures back that I began taking last spring. I took some more today, but the leaves seem to be dying fast now.

We Are Half Finished with Student Teaching - Friday, October 16, 1964

I had begun (barely) a letter to Phyllis, but I got to thinking of the different things I've been told in the last week (that I seem nervous - by my mom on the Saturday of Harvest Festival; that I look tired; that I look unhappy) and have decided that while I have the chance, maybe sleep will help change the picture. As of today, we are half finished with student teaching. I'm glad I'm so far into my unit. Kathy and Evelyn won't be starting theirs until Monday. I'm constantly amazed at the way things are forever working out and resolving themselves.  

Nikita Khrushchev Supposedly Has Resigned - Thursday, October 15, 1964

I've decided the third graders are getting tired of just straight seat work for their Indian unit, so I'm going to stimulate interest with some beads, moccasins (from Leslie), Indian corn, and some "foods" I hope to get from Bushes Market in the morning. The freshman girls up here had a birthday party for three of the girls and invited Stephens. This afternoon at 4:00 those of us in teaching of art went to Antioch Junior High to hear a lecture by a noted art educator, Maude Ellsworth. This morning I took all three reading groups. We had a lot of fun. Really. Khrushchev resigned, supposedly.

The SNEA Re-Elected Officers Tonight - Wednesday, October 14, 1964

We had an SNEA meeting tonight and re-elected officers, so I no longer have to be president. New officers are Dianna McKinley, president; Dee Morrow, vice president; Evelyn, secretary-treasurer; and Bonnie, program chairman. We had a group discussion on student teaching. There was a special meeting of the student council at the same time, but I couldn't be two places at once. It was to appoint the Who's Who selection committee. Gary inquired, after I asked him Monday night when it should be appointed, "Do you run this school?" I put up part of my Indian bulletin board after school.

Worked on "Clothing" of the Plains Indians - Tuesday, October 13, 1964

We had a house meeting tonight to get Stephens open house underway. Our theme will be "Stairway to Stephens." We've got everyone on a committee, so everything should go okay. Tonight I worked on "clothing" of the Plains Indians, cut out stencil letters for my Indian bulletin board and did an arithmetic worksheet. I got along quite well with the low and high reading groups this morning - Thursday I'll have all three. Dr. Pai seemed rather amused when, during seminar, I told about the girl who said she hated me.