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.

Two of Our Names Have Been Mentioned - Thursday, October 29, 1964

Our first of four nightly events is over - Hawley gave a fun Halloween party for Stephens and Herr House. The Stephens girls sang some "Peanuts" Halloween songs. I was going to get up at 6:00, but my alarm didn't go off, so at 6:45 I got up and madly dashed off a worksheet and reading plans for the top group which was the only one I took today. I observed in Dixie's room again. Dr. Pai asked me if Mr. Fincher had spoken to me about a job and said that he had mentioned Mrs. Steelman's and my names to the superintendent as two he was recommending.

The Indian Unit Test Results are Quite Good - Wednesday, October 28, 1964

The third graders did so well with their tom-toms that I was amazed. They are ready to finish putting the designs on them on Friday. The Indian unit test results are quite good, I think. Three missed none; half missed six or less; Connie must not have understood it, as she missed 28 of 31; Sherry only missed two; and David just five. Miracles never cease. Mr. Fike discussed teacher applications and certifications at the SNEA meeting - very worthwhile.

Dr. Pai Came to Observe This Morning - Tuesday, October 27, 1964

I have finished the last of (more than) my share of open house invitations. We had our seminar this afternoon after Dr. Pai observed Evelyn and me this morning. He didn't have much to say one way or another. Tonight I cut pieces of paper for our tom-toms. Kids at school and girls here keep asking me when we're going to make them. I am letting philosophy slide, but I don't want to get up early. I'll try to read frantically slide from 8:00-9:00.

Had School Pictures Taken at Southeast Today - Monday, October 26, 1964

Somewhere I've gotten an hour behind. This week I've been having to get up at 6:00. The student council meeting lasted quite a while tonight as we had several things to discuss. Then I went with Bonnie to the education department since we have a test in music tomorrow. We had our pictures taken at school today. I gave the test on Indians, but it was too near the end of the day and they were rushed for time. I'll give them five more minutes on Wednesday.

Made up a Test as Part of Indian Unit - Sunday, October 25, 1964

I just finished writing to Mrs. Cowan for her birthday. My correspondence (both business and personal) has been getting pushed aside. I made up a test so I could evaluate the third graders as part of the Indian unit. The LLCs had our picture taken this afternoon. Later Terry cut my hair some, so the afternoon went in a hurry. For three weeks now we've been having cafeteria meals instead of sack lunches on Sunday night.

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.