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, 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.

Seem to Have Become Known for Ambition - Monday, September 21, 1964

It seems as if I have become known for my ambition. But many Park students are very dedicated in many things, one way or another. At the student council meeting tonight we aired the current week's problems. I had the spelling lesson today and had to admit to my first "teacher's goof." I had "road" instead of "rode" on the board. One of my students, Jeri, gave me a cattail from her grandmother's farm. That compensates for three strung acorns Kathy got from one of hers the other day.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Nickel Has a New Puppy to Replace Dammitt - Sunday, September 20, 1964

I'm getting tired and a little depressed - not because of my own problems this time but because of those of others. Evelyn and I went down to the education library tonight. I started doing some of our programmed text music theory book. Some of our varnish remover got on the tile floor and ate away a big spot. It sticks out like a sore thumb. We went down to see Nickel beat the freshmen in a basketball game they challenged them to. Dammitt II (Too) that Nickel has since Dammitt died is the cutest little puppy.

Spent Five Hours Removing Varnish and Painting - Saturday, September 19, 1964

I spent five hours today in the education department library removing varnish and painting. We're getting the tables and book rack fixed up. Evelyn, Bonnie, Diane and Dr. Pai also helped part of the time. At 1:00 I took Evelyn, Mary Sue, Sheri, and Diane down to Jack's to talk about flowers for Harvest Festival. Then Evelyn went with me to North Kansas City. I got my glasses tightened and bought a large brown and black purse to have for student teaching. Liz just heard on the radio that Park beat Tabor 3-0!

Same Name, Room, Bottom Bunk, Desk and Closet - Friday, September 18, 1964

Well, one week of student teaching is done already and there are only nine left. I pronounced the spelling words and had a phonics lesson. I also went to observe a young second grade teacher. In fact, I'll bet she's younger than I am. Jan Kendall and Beth Hudson are teaching at Southeast. There is a Larry McDowell, a transfer student from New York, here. He's in Stephens (oh, I made the cardinal error - I should say the cottage). We can't get over the coincidence that he has the same room, bottom bunk, closet and desk that I did! According to Nic's "Town Talk" column, Dave Vanderbilt is being transferred to Dayton, Ohio. Thus another man walks out of my life.

Chose Not to Go to an LLC Meeting Tonight - Thursday, September 17, 1964

The third graders took Iowa Tests of Basic Skills this morning. As I sit and observe these classes, I nearly fall asleep and keep yawning with my mouth shut. Evelyn, Kathy and I get back on Tuesday and Thursday just in time for music class. If we'd been there two minutes sooner today, I would have had to present my song (I had played it on the piano Tuesday). For the first time ever that I can remember, I sat in the dorm and didn't go to an LLC meeting. I just can't become involved in that this year. I may be lucky to remain sane now!

Taught the Third Graders Their Spelling Lesson - Wednesday, September 16, 1964

Stephens girls went up to the cottage tonight and got our "Stephens Cottage" sign back. It's now hanging out our lounge window. They were supposed to have a new name chosen for themselves, but they "fizzled out" on us. Suggestions: Hougland's Hole; Circumstance Cottage! I taught the third grade class their spelling lesson this afternoon. Miss Dyer said I did very well. Some of the slower ones failed to respond to my own directions at the end for them to write their complete list of words. I think I'm really going to like working with Miss Dyer and this class.

Looking for Tangible Results in Student Teaching - Tuesday, September 15, 1964

Today I observed a second grade class to see their reading groups. We're supposed to observe on the next higher and lower grade levels. I have a full and busy schedule but I love the challenge of what can have more immediately tangible results than some things I've applied my energies toward. There's an erroneous assumption floating around that I have a lot to do with the dress regulations committee. I merely acted as the go-between for the Sunday Evening Forum and student council. Dean Miller tracked me down in Alumni just before music to tell me to have it announced that the old regulations are in effect temporarily. Mostly new members were at tonight's SNEA (Student National Education Association) meeting.

Observed Miss Dyer Teach Her Third Graders - Monday, September 14, 1964

The student council met tonight and spent time drawing up a dress regulations committee. We also discussed "Hell Week." I can remember all of us spending long hours discussing the same proposed aspects last spring, Dr. Schurr included, and now it's all over. It's strange how everybody's big plans for what could be done over the summer fell through. My first day at Southeast was very successful. Miss Dyer seems to be an excellent third grade teacher. I think I'll really learn a lot from her. I only observed today. I'm going to present a unit on Indians during October.

Sunday Evening Forum Discussed Dress Regulations - Sunday, September 12, 1964

The Sunday Evening Forum discussed dress regulations tonight. I didn't have my say till the very end, and then I ended by saying I'd take the names of all those interested in serving on a committee to discuss the matter further to the student council. The response was tremendous - at least 18 people immediately raised their hands! I've been reading philosophy and art today and discussing with various people the various problems of Park College and the world. Sometimes I can't believe how much Park means to me and how good it has been to me.

Helped Supervise White House's Frosh Clean-up - Saturday, September 12, 1964

I went to the J.R. party with Winnie and Judy tonight, spent the evening with Tom Strauss, and ended up going with him, Winnie and Hans, and Art Kluge and Sue Frazier to Tower Road for some of my infamous cherry vodka, Hans's beer and Art's wine. I went with Herb Bess to Frosh Court. He was the first one brought before the jury - for doing the "swim" on a J.R. table - his punishment was to do it in a tub of water. His parents were here so I met them. I had to supervise the LLC frosh clean-up at the White House, along with the Minister of Truth and two goonesses.