About the diary writer

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Kansas City, Missouri, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
My professional name is Barbara McDowell Whitt. My married name is Barbara Whitt. In the first half of the 1960s, as Barbara McDowell, I wrote nightly entries on the pages of 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. 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. Now, in 2015, I invite you to read with me the diary entries I wrote in 1965 when I was a senior at Park. In some of them I mention actions I took as president of Stephens, the women's honor dorm.

Stravinsky by St. Joseph Performers in Alumni - Wednesday, January 27, 1965

I went to the concert of music by Stravinsky in Alumni tonight. Most of the performers were from the St. Joseph Symphony Orchestra. There were three numbers, one an instrumental octet, a vocal solo with piano accompaniment, and an instrumental number with narration. We had an LLC meeting tonight. The sweatshirts that the club ordered were distributed. If I'm not careful, I'll be getting back to last year's way of doing other things every night rather than studying. Jim gave Evelyn her birthday present early - a wood shelf and mirror in modern design.

Have Rewritten First Philosophy Paper for Dr. Pai - Tuesday, January 26, 1965

I've just spent all evening rewriting my first philosophy paper. If this doesn't please Dr. Pai, then I give up. It's been a long time since I've had to rewrite a paper. Actually, I think a lot of people have voiced concern over the course and still come out okay grade wise, so I'm not too worried. I've got to start thinking about upcoming tests in some of my other courses. I called Miss Dyer this evening about tutoring Jeri. She was so hard to "get anything out of," so to speak, but she doesn't object.

Four are Concerned About "Railroad" Situation - Monday, January 25, 1965

Out of the storm a calm. [Four Stephens girls] called me into [the room of two of them] to talk over the "railroad" situation - they really are concerned about the "bad name" it has caused for Stephens. I think they should be "blameless" in an unfortunate situation. One of my third graders, Jeri Pitcher, is having trouble with arithmetic, and her mother would like me to tutor her. She had high praise about how much Jerri thinks of me. Also Mr. Fike was very nice - he had a final today, but then he is going to look up some tests for us. Scorpio even guided male attention toward me when Rog asked me if I'd like to study soc psych with him and Marty Wednesday night, and Bill Lafferty called me to ask about The Family assignment.

Students were Playing "Chicken" with a Train - Sunday, January 24, 1965

I'm trying to write another philosophy paper. The more I think about it, the worse it gets. (Maybe I should stop thinking - I've never made writing a paper a horrible experience for myself before - why should I start now?) If I can just get it finished, I think I'll "escape" by going to bed. There's trouble on campus and in Stephens regrettably - some kids were involved yesterday in drinking and playing "chicken" with a train. It stopped and train men got in touch with college officials - but now I understand the girls weren't directly involved. Then in the morning I have to call Mr. Fike, whom Evelyn said can be a "bear"!

Jim Made Two Free Shots for Season's Second Win - Saturday, January 23, 1965

Park beat Graceland tonight, 83-81. It was tied with three seconds left when Jim Peeke was fouled, and he made both free shots. It's only our second win of the season. I spent the afternoon at the library reading philosophy readings. I had planned to read social psychology, but I didn't get to it. It was such a cold, gray, indifferent day - it made one feel kind of useless. I brought back some records from the library. We're enjoying those now on a January winter evening in the dorm room.

Mr. Fike Was Not Available for a Phone Conversation - Friday, January 22, 1965

Flo, Terry Osuga and I went to the movie, Who's Minding the Store?, a Jerry Lewis comedy. It was really silly. I have been quite pleased with the results I've had with Holly this week. It seems to be working out pretty well for her to come on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Dr. Pai wants me to call Mr. Fike regarding the remedial reading program. I wasn't able to reach him today. I hope it doesn't get too tricky - I've got to be interviewed by him, and I don't want him to think I'm trying to get "pushy" about it. This was a rainy but spring like day.

We Will Sell "Western Union" Telegram Messages - Thursday, January 21, 1965

We had a good house meeting tonight - the best I've conducted. It's about time, I think. I don't know why I have to feel "tense" when dealing with the dorm business sometimes. Carol Dotts and Margaret gave an "un-birthday" party for Chris and Pat, too. We decided to put up four cakes, one of which will have a $5 bill in it, for the SUDC auction. Our booth for the carnival is going to be set up for "Western Union " telegram messages. I talked with Karen Lewis Wilson in the library tonight. Dr. Pai gave my paper back with some valid suggestions.

Saw Johnson's Inaugural Proceedings Today - Wednesday, January 20, 1965

Rosemary invited us down to watch the movie based on the Russian novel, The Brothers Karamazov, tonight, so Evelyn, Liz and I watched with her. We figured out we would know ahead of time what President Johnson's inaugural ball would show, so we dispersed when the movie was over at 10:00. It's been a long time since I've watched four and a half hours of TV in one day. I watched DC proceedings from 12:30-2:00, but not much was going on. I felt fairly successful with Holly again - but not entirely (of course, that shouldn't ever be the case).

A Contest Between Two Teams of College Bowl Finalists - Tuesday, January 19, 1965

This morning's assembly was a contest between two teams of the eight College Bowl finalists. Seth Gutman, a freshman and an alternate, was amazing. He answered practically every tossup question immediately. He will be on the team now, I guess. Word has it that they now have four guys on the first team. Terry Scullin knows a lot, too. At work I'm recording intelligence scores of English Language Institute students for Dr. Pai on forms that he had me type and have duplicated.

New WJC Members are Collete and Mary Sue - Monday, January 18, 1965

The student council meeting lasted until 9:00. Collette Wallace was appointed freshman WJC member, and Mary Sue Somerville was appointed to fill the junior vacancy. The trimester program makes it difficult to keep up with the right number of members per class - Kathy Rickard has just informed me that she, too, is now a senior. I went down to the post office before philosophy class to mail Ann a Park College charm for her birthday. In philosophy we went over others' definitions of philosophy, science and religion. I wish I could have heard the reactions to mine. I'll be eager to find out Dr. Pai's thoughts about my paper.

Hope Philosophy Paper for Dr. Pai is Precise Enough - Sunday, January 17, 1965

I finally wrote something for my first philosophy paper for Dr. Pai. I hope I am being precise enough and at the same time haven't taken anything for granted and have given an explanation for all the steps of my reasoning. I read most of our assignment on test construction, and other than that, did no homework this weekend. Maybe I should finish reading an assigned Plato dialogue - I'll see what studying on the couch in the hall is like. After that's gone, it will be harder to find a place to study when one's roommate wants to sleep.

At 4:00 Dropped Teaching Application into Mailbox - Saturday, January 16, 1965

It was 4:00 this afternoon when I dropped my teaching application into the mailbox. It took quite a while by the time I finished the college personal data sheet, wrote to Who's Who for a recommendation, wrote a supplementary letter to Mr. Fike, and answered the question, "How does the subject matter of our choice contribute to the needs of students?" Evelyn and I went to Gidget Goes to Rome. It was a terrible movie, as everyone said it was. I got a letter and a copy of Phyllis's first Torch - she's the editor this semester.