About the diary writer

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Kansas City, Missouri, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
In the first half of the 1960s I wrote nightly entries on the pages of one-year diaries. A 1961-65 Park College Diary is a transcription of those entries. The first entry was on January 1, 1960 when I was a junior in high school. 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" or "the girls." 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 10 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. [:Addendum - Beginning August 10, 2015, 50 years after the day I wrote my last entry in a one-year diary, I am writing real time posts until September 16, promoting the 50th reunion of our class September 17-19, 2015. I'll talk about A 1961-65 Park College Diary on September 19.]

August 21, 2015: Waiting for Mr. Right

According to https://www.blogger.com/ this is my 2060th post for my blog, A 1961-65 Park College Diary, which can be found at http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/ or by finding me on Twitter - @BarbaraMcDWhitt - and clicking on the parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com link in my bio.

It has been said that good things happen to those who wait. I waited until I was 28 for the right man, and yes, Park College had had plenty of them - but not for me - to come into my life.

While my third graders played dodgeball on the Oakwood Manor school playground in Kansas City North, I watched planes approaching the airport adjacent to the Missouri River and downtown Kansas City in the years before KCI.

I reasoned that the likelihood of an eligible bachelor strolling across the playground was nearly nil. But perhaps, I thought, if I obtained a job where I could fly in those planes, the chances of meeting one would be a lot better.

Three years later while at UMKC, two other graduate assistants in the school of education and I went to lunch with two woman staff members. "I would think that working as a consultant for a textbook publishing company while still single would be a good job to have." The staff member seemed to be looking my way as she spoke.

When we returned to our work area, I went directly to my advisor's office. "Do you get letters from publishing companies wanting someone to work for them as a consultant?"

"Oh, sure. All the time. Here's one right here." I approached the front of his desk where a Xerox copy of a job description lay waiting for someone to ask.

Sitting down, I read and thought, "I want this job." I smiled and asked, "May I borrow this?"

"Oh, sure. You can have it." [It was only recently that it occurred to me that I may have been set up - in a good way.]

Beginning in 1968 I worked as a consultant in elementary education for the Allyn & Bacon publishing company in nine states - Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri - from my apartment in Kansas City.

And yes, I flew in those planes.

In June 1971 I went to Swope Park, one of the nation's largest city parks, to play softball with a singles group from Second Presbyterian Church.

Lying on the ground waiting for the game to start was a cute, slender guy who had come with the Broadway Baptist singles group.

"Hi, my name's Barb. What's yours?"

"It's Bill Whitt."

"Bill what?"

"That's what everyone says. It's Bill Whitt."

"Oh. You should say 'My name's Bill Whitt, not Bill What.'"

That's how I met my guy. We were married one year later, on June 17, 1972, the same day the Watergate Break-in had occurred. Nixon's presidency didn't last. Bill's and my marriage has.

August 14, 2015: A Little Background: How a Diary Writer Came to Park

My parents met at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky in 1941 and were married on August 21, 1941 in the front yard of the home in Lakewood, Ohio, where my mother lived during her growing up years.

My father was born and raised in Dalton, Ohio until he was ten. He then went with his family to the mountain community of Frenchburg, Kentucky where his father managed a Presbyterian Mission School.

At Berea my mom majored in sociology and my dad in agriculture. My mom wrote in diaries which later influenced me to do so, too. My dad had a professor, "Prof Stewart," whom he greatly admired.

After my parents' wedding they went to Frenchburg where my father taught math for a year. I somewhat recently "did the math" and determined that I was conceived in Frenchburg and born in Washington, Iowa, on November 5, 1942. By then my grandfather had followed his second wife (his first wife died from childbirth complications) to her parents' farm in Iowa. After one year of teaching my father had decided he would rather help farm than teach and went with my mother from Frenchburg to Iowa as well.

Prof Stewart and his wife had a daughter, Almita Stewart, who had graduated from Park. My parents reasoned that since Almita had liked it, it would also be a good college for me to attend. My mom and dad also liked the fact that, like Berea, Park had an obligatory work program.

On Saturday, September 9, 1961, I wrote in my diary "Park College really looks nice! On top of that the family next door to us in our motel has a girl who will be a freshman at Park! I invited her (Judy Percival from St. Louis) over to watch the Miss America pageant tonight...." I remember my parents' facial expressions when Judy told us Park was no longer going to have a required work program - but would have a voluntary one.

On September 10 I wrote "We got to Hawley about 9:30 to unload my stuff. We went out for dinner in Kansas City, Kansas, after looking over the campus. Vivienne is so nice. She got here about 4:00. We really have a beautiful dorm and room and everyone seems so nice. We had a supper with our advisors (Vivienne and I have the same one - Dr. Hampl - French). We also had vespers, introduction-to-faculty meeting, and a mixer tonight. Viv and I got acquainted with an African boy, Nathan, from Kenya who's a freshman at Park...."


August 10, 2015: No More Writing in Diaries

And with that August 9, 1965 entry I stopped writing on a nightly basis in one-year diaries. Cold turkey. No word of warning. No explanation. I had told my then current "boy" friend Tex, or Ed or Edward that I felt as if knowing I was going to be writing a nightly account of my day and evening was causing me to conform my life to "things" that I could write about that night.

Tex said, "If you don't like doing it, then stop."

Another factor was the approaching time when I would be grading papers and making lesson plans for the third grade class I would begin teaching in September. I knew I would be tired from the daily routine of teaching responsibilities, and wanted to put my best efforts into my teaching preparations after my days at Oakwood Manor Elementary School in the North Kansas City School District.

[I've always been puzzled by the name the district adopted for itself. In the 1960s it was, and still is, a large district geographically, stretching far beyond the smaller municipality of North Kansas City in Clay County Missouri.]

I wanted the freedom to finish my grading and planning and go to bed - with the aim of getting a good night's sleep without taking the time to first write in a diary.

We went Shopping in Downtown Cedar Rapids - Monday, August 9, 1965

We spent the day shopping in Cedar Rapids as Mom, Phyllis, Virginia and Ann have been doing once each summer for three years now. I was working before, so this was the first time I've ever been downtown in Cedar Rapids. At a wholesale store I bought a Kodak Instamatic camera from which I should get good use, and a Madras blouse. I got a black clutch purse and a cute red raincoat in Armstrong's. A "family shoe store" gave me a special price on a pair of low heeled red patent pumps and black stacked heels.

Read in Book, The Elementary Teacher in Action - Sunday, August 8, 1965

We went out to Grandma's tonight for more horseback riding and visiting. It has gotten quite cool. In fact, Grandpa has their furnace going. This afternoon I read more of The Elementary Teacher in Action that Mr. Fuller gave me to read this summer. It has a lot of good ideas covering most areas connected with teaching. I've decided it might be fun to arrange for pen-pal correspondence with some other third grade class. Goodness, a month from now I'll be teaching - school starts September 7th! The girls and Leets went to Kalona to play tennis this afternoon.

Finished Empire Style Dress with Long Darts - Saturday, August 7, 1965

I finished my dress today. It should be a good one to have - dressy and in the empire line style with long darts the entire length of the front. Luckily (I'd forgotten to plan for it) the print matches exactly at the seams. Last night Virginia and I lay out in the yard covered up with blankets on the picnic benches from 11:30 to 1:00 looking for UFOs. About 12:30 we saw something move across the sky that caused us to  call the rest of the family's attention to it. It was bright yellow and faded at one point to dim white. It seemed to be too low, a little large, and moving too fast to be a satellite. Who knows!

Brad is Very Interested in a Quill and Scroll Article - Friday, August 6, 1965

Edward called me this evening as he said he would in the letter I got yesterday. It was a good chance for me to tell him it would be better if he didn't come to Kansas City when I'm busy getting ready for school and going to teachers meetings. Brad was here from 8:00 till 10:30 to discuss the Quill and Scroll article. He is very interested in it and has me all the more enthused. This just has to be good, for all the interest that has been created. I worked some more on my dress - decided to make it sleeveless.